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November 01, 2012 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-01

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metro >> on the cover

ADL At 100

Anti-Semitism battle not over yet.

Bill Carroll I Contributing Writer


"But that can only happen when anti-Semi-
tism is stamped out forever."
Kellman is the ADEs Michigan regional
director, who'll step down in November after
11 years on the job — one of only three
people who have held that position since the
Michigan office opened in the 1960s. She'll
stay on as a consultant and to help with
events for the organization's 100th anniver-
sary celebration. The board plans to appoint
her successor this month.
In 1913, Leo Frank was convicted of
strangling a 13-year-old female co-worker
in a Marietta, Ga., plant, a case that has
become famous in the annals of American
anti-Semitism. He was later pardoned by the
governor for an unfair trial, but that didn't
stop a band of hooligans headed by local Ku
Klux Klan members. Before he could get
out, Frank was kidnapped from jail in 1915
and lynched.
The conviction — even before the
lynching — so outraged Jewish leaders in
Chicago that the local B'nai B'rith, a Jewish
service organization, formed a group called
the Anti-Defamation Committee, which
evolved into the Anti-Defamation League
and expanded into a worldwide operation.
ADL will begin its centennial celebration in
November, with events continuing through
The local ADL has had many "causes"
over the years, probably the most infamous
bigots being automaker Henry Ford and
Father Charles Coughlin, the Royal Oak
"radio priest: That the ADB work may
never be done is borne out by its "Hate on
Display" pamphlet that lists 30 thriving rac-
ist organizations with their chilling symbols
and logos.
"Our mission always will be to stop defa-
mation of the Jewish people says Kellman,
"but we've also expanded into a civil rights/
human relations agency, helping many other
minorities fight prejudice and bias, even
things like bullying in schools. The nation's
Civil Rights and Hate Crimes Acts have
given us enormous assistance."
Working "about 50-60 hours a week," her
job now includes accelerated fundraising,
developing a variety of education programs,
and serving on committees with the FBI and
several other Detroit-area law enforcement
The poor economy in recent years hasn't
helped matters, with the staff being reduced
from seven to three as the national ADL


November 1 2012

ADL Michigan Region director, and Rabbi Jason Miller at a 2009

A sporting event where the ADL honored members from
local sports teams: Charlie Sanders, Betsy Kellman of ADL,

ADL annual event.

Ted Linsdey, Vinnie Johnson, Willie Horton and Sharone

Actor Zach Braff, producer/director Gary Gilbert, Betsy Kellman,

Bigelman of ADL.

headcount dropped from 400 to 300 in 28
regional offices.

Education Director Mugged, Shot

The local office suffered another blow in
September when education director Harry
Weaver, 36, of Canton, a mild-mannered,
6-foot-3 man who was
extremely dedicated to
his job, was mugged and
shot after a meeting of a
Masonic organization in
"He's now paralyzed
from the waist down and
undergoing rehabilitation;
Harry Weaver
we don't know when he'll
return to work:' Kellman
laments. Meanwhile, she and another office
employee are picking up his responsibili-
ties. Weaver conducted ADI's "No Place for
Hate" programs at many schools using paid
Kellman, 67, a Huntington Woods resi-
dent, graduated from Detroit's Mumford
High School and has degrees in communi-
cations and education from the University
of Michigan and Wayne State University,
respectively. She spent 22 years in the cable
TV business. During the terrorist attacks on
Sept. 11, 2001, she found herself in a New
York City hotel room several blocks from
Ground Zero.
"I could see and smell what was happen-
ing, and I just sat there and cried my eyes
out:' she recalls. "I decided that something
positive had to come out of this tragedy.
I wanted to end my working career on a

positive note, not an attack that killed 3,000
people. So I joined ADL to help people, and
I think the mission is accomplished. I had
planned to stay for five years, but that grew
to 11:' She now hopes to spend more time
with her husband, Joel, a Detroit attorney,
two adult children and two grandchildren.
Kellman says she's proud of the Metro
Detroit Jewish community and the way it
reacts to problems and emergencies. "The
community is enormously engaged and very
nimble; always responsive to the needs of
others. This is reflected on local donors to
ADL and our board members. Half of the
76-member board is 40 or under7

Young Peopio On Board

Alex Stotland, 40, of Birmingham, an attor-
ney, is currently chairman of the board's
20-member executive
committee. "Betsy has
done a very effective job
and has really grown
the region, mainly by
bringing a lot of young
people into the fold:' he
says. "Much of what she
does happens behind the
Alex Stotland
scenes; she's very good
at protecting the victims.
And she goes about the job in a quiet man-
ner; she's not a publicity hound.
"The economy has been rough on all
organizations. There are many risks and
challenges, and I'm sure we'll make a come-
back along with the auto industry and other
industries. Our centennial celebration will
help raise the ADI's visibility again."

Stotland, who also serves on ADL's
national advisory committee, says the local
board hopes to appoint Kellman's successor
by November.
"The Harry Weaver case is a real tragedy':
he adds. "The irony is that he taught people
not to hate, and he became a hate victim
himself It was senseless violence."
Meanwhile, Kellman continues to open
six to 10 new cases of anti-Semitism and
civil rights violations per month. She
says about half of the cases turn out to be
legitimate. Victims can register complaints
through the office's phone, (248) 353-7553,
or the website, www.adl.org .
"Typical cases include employees who
suddenly are forced to work on Shabbat,
teachers who can't get off on the Jewish
holidays, students who are asked to sing
Christian songs around the Christmas holi-
days, athletes who are told to compete on
Shabbat and similar cases:"

Aspect§ CH The Job

Working out of a secure office in
Southfield, Kellman has had her share of
threats on her life by racist organizations.
"I've had to travel with security at times,
but it's all part of the job. Remember,
Michigan has the fifth highest hate-crime
rate in the United States.
One highly publicized case in recent
months that took a great deal of Kellman's
time was that of the Jewish Michigan State
University student who alleged he was
beaten and had his mouth stapled shut by
anti-Semitic bullies.
"I got calls from news agencies around

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