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June 14, 2012 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-06-14

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1 01



ates, will 'oe 'responsible
ansv,ver to Israel

Detroit's Fred M. Butzel Memorial
Award, Detroit Jewry's highest honor,
and the ZOks prestigious Louis B.
Brandeis Award.
Philip Slomovitz, short in stature
but a giant in Jewish ,activism, died in
1993 at age 96, dynamically leading
the Jewish News for 42 years. He was as
compassionate as he was hard driving.
He wasn't deluded into thinking Herzl's
Zionist dream would suddenly be ful-
filled in the ashes of Hitler's tyranny and
Jews would live on happily ever after. He
knew it would take the grit of a philan-
thropically and politically engaged dias-
pora to sustain the fruits of Zion.
By the end of his life, Slomovitz was
blind, dictating his column from his
Southfield home to Percy Kaplan, retired
executive director of the local JNF chap-
ter. His strength of character in a profes-
sion where the limelight can consume
integrity never wavered.
Slomovitz learned he would be
inducted into the Michigan Journalism
Hall of Fame three weeks before he died.
Upon hearing of the honor, he said:
"My urgent hopes have always been as
they are now, and as they can never be
erased, that in our nation, those in our
profession will continue to strive always
to the highest goals:'
In his nominating letter, Leonard
Simons, then-president emeritus of
the Detroit Historical Commission and
a financial backer in the founding of

the Jewish News,
described Slomovitz
as "a relentless prod-
der of his readers'
Gary Rosenblatt,
now editor of the
Jewish Week in New
York, succeeded
Slomovitz as editor
of the Jewish News
in 1984. In a 1990 Jewish News profile
when Slomovitz, at age 94, further
trimmed his workload, Rosenblatt
said: "Mr. Slomovitz is a role model for
every Jewish journalist: a man who has
devoted his life to informing and help-
ing his beloved community through the
written word."
Ever grateful for the circle of influen-
tial and confident friends who stepped
up as investors to get the important
ideas bouncing around in his head to
print on a weekly schedule, Slomovitz
reached deep into his neshamah, his
Jewish soul, to conclude his letter to
them on Nov. 5, 1942.
Mirroring his anticipation, the letter
ended: "I have the same hopes today
that I had early in March, when you first
came forth with your liberal assistance
to our adventure in the interests of the
highest type of Jewish journalism: that
you will have occasion to take pride in
having been a factor in rendering a ser-
vice to the community" 0

JNIS First Copy Boy
Cherishes His Memories

Benno Levi, 89, of Oak Park
had just graduated from Detroit
Central High School when he
started his first job as office boy
at the Jewish News in 1942. He
remained there for a year until
he was drafted into the U.S. Army
the following summer.
His job entailed picking up and
delivering copy and ads, picking
up papers at the press, serving as
columnist Danny Raskin's "sec-
retary" and maintaining Editor
Philip Slomovitz's permanent ref-
erence files.
"That was a fascinating job,"
Levi said, recalling correspon-
dence from Eleanor Roosevelt
and Henry Ford, among others,
as well as all the news from
Palestine. "Mr. Slomovitz was the
dean of American Jewish editors
then. It was a great time — an

exciting time."
Levi, who
came to
Detroit at age
Benno Levi
11 with this
circa 1943
siblings as
part of the
Kindertransport through the
German Jewish Children's Aid
Society, earned about $18 a week
at the JN.
"When I went off to the Army,
the JN did a story about me that
made me sound like I was an
executive," Levi said.
Levi was featured in a JN story
in April 2011 when he was spoke
about his life experiences to
members of the Jewish Historical
Society of Michigan. ❑

— Keri Guten Cohen, story
development editor


would like to thank

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70 years

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June 14 • 2012


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