A Modern Pioneer In Community Activism
he Detroit-area Jewish com-
munity lost one of its pre-
eminent volunteer leaders on
Feb. 24, 2013, with the passing of Marian
Shifman at age 87.
Retired to Lake Worth, Fla., from resi-
dence in West Bloomfield and originally
Detroit, Ms. Shifman was a modern
pioneer in community activism and con-
structive leadership for the entire metro-
As a United Foundation "Heart of
Gold" Award winner in 1977 and the
first woman to be president of the
Detroit Jewish Community Council,
1979-81, (predecessor to the Jewish
Community Relations Council), she set
a rarely matched standard for volun-
In letters of nomination for Ms.
Shifman's Heart of Gold Award, her
rabbi, Hayim Donin of Congregation
B'nai David, wrote, "No assignment
was too much for her abundant talent."
Rabbi Joshua Sperka of Young Israel of
Greenfield described her as "a person
with rare human qualities ... empathy
and understanding with a sense of direc-
tion and determination"
VIVIAN ABLECOP, 93,
of Farmington Hills,
died March 4, 2013.
She is survived by her
son and daughter-in-law,
Stephen and Marlene
Kaufman of Farmington
Hills; daughter and son-
in-law, Kerri and Sandy
Litinsky of West Bloomfield; grandchil-
dren, Jeffrey Kaufman, Elaine and Paul
Cohen, Tony and Layne Averbuch, Sammy
and Amy Averbuch; great-grandchildren,
Jaclyn and Samantha Cohen, Julia, Aiden,
Isaac and Judah Averbuch.
Mrs. Ablecop was the beloved wife of
the late Saul Ablecop; the cherished sister
of the late Lillian Thurswell, the late Clara
Baker and the late Hanna Rogers.
Interment was at Adat Shalom Memorial
Park. Contributions may be made to a
A graduate of Detroit's Central High
women's organizations, but also in speak-
School (1944) and Wayne State University ing to a wide variety of church groups and
(1948), Ms. Shifman began a volunteer
public high school classes, explaining,
enlightening and demonstrating Judaism
career as a USO hostess during World
War II, continued by tutoring stroke vic-
to the unknowing and suspicious.
tims in speech rehabilitation in the 1950s
Her work with the Roundtable of
and '60s, and included the
Christians and Jews in the
inauguration of elementary
Detroit area was among the
first major volunteer contri-
school-based tutorial pro-
grams for "problem-laden"
butions on this subject by a
prominent woman. In fact,
children in the late '60s.
As president of the
her and others' volunteer
efforts in this cause made
of Jewish Women's
only practical sense to her.
"I can't see why I should be
paid for doing something I'm
and while a member of the
really doing for myself" she
national executive board
of the American Jewish
said in a 1977 interview with
Marian Shif man
Congress, 1972-76, she was
the Eccentric newspapers.
an outspoken advocate for
Although the 1970s became
creating a world where Jews and the rest
known as a decade of significant social
of the world would find common ground.
change as the result of some engaging in
bombastic behavior, Marian Shifman's
She did this by personally promoting bet-
ter understanding between people of dif-
volunteer style was low-key and from
ferent ethnic and religious groups.
behind the scenes. "She was content to
Her countless volunteer hours were
do her good works quietly, effectively
and with little fanfare" observed Alvin
spent not only at board and committee
meetings, organizing, for example, the
Kushner, then-executive director of the
first joint meetings of Catholic and Jewish Detroit Jewish Community Council.
charity of one's choice. Arrangements by
Ira Kaufman Chapel.
ELMER "AL" ASIN, 80, of Commerce
Township, died Feb. 25, 2013.
He is survived by his beloved wife,
Marilyn Asin of Commerce Township;
son and daughter-in-law, Barry and Amy
Asin of Palo Alto, Calif.; daughters and
sons-in-law, Susan and Bruce Hessenthaler
of Commerce, Debra and Craig Fahle of
Grosse Pointe; grandchildren, Sam and
Julia Asin, and Alex Fahle; many other lov-
ing family members and friends.
Contributions may be made to the
National Kidney Foundation or to a char-
ity of one's choice. Interment took place
at the Temple Israel Gardens of Beth El
Memorial Park Cemetery in Livonia.
Arrangements by Dorfman Chapel.
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Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery
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BLANCHE FORMAN, 94, of Southfield,
died Feb. 26, 2013.
She is survived by her sons and daughters-
in-law, Dr. Paul Forman and Karen Feldman
of West Bloomfield, Dr. Richard and Robin
Forman of California, Dr. Bruce and April
Forman of New Mexico, and Kenneth
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ARLENE BEALS, 88, of
West Bloomfield, died
March 2, 2013.
She was a former
member of Congregation
Beth Moses and its sister-
hood, Congregation B'nai
David and its sisterhood.
Mrs. Beals was also active
with Congregation Shomrey Emunah and
was a volunteer with Yad Ezra.
She is survived by her husband of 59
years, Leo Beals; son and daughter-in-law,
Marc and Susan Beals of West Bloomfield;
daughter and son-in-law, Marcia and Chuck
Seigerman of West Bloomfield; grandchil-
dren, Aaron and Alana Beals, Jodi Beals,
Mamie Beals, Deborah Anstandig, Jared
Anstanding, Evan Seigerman, Cydney
Seigerman; great-grandchild, Kyra Beals.
Contributions may be made to Yeshiva
But the impact was often significant
and considerable over the long term as
countless non-Jews have an improved
understanding of Judaism, and inter-
ethnic dialogue within the community is
now the norm.
She was also an ardent Zionist and
a devoted Jew. As the chairman of the
1975 Woman's Plea for Human Rights
for Soviet Jewry program, she was part
of the vanguard that eventually allowed
the relocation of Russian Jews to Israel.
In later years, she helped to make real
the operation of the Detroit Holocaust
Memorial Museum, serving among its
"Her dedication to serving humanity
was a natural outgrowth of the Judaism
she felt" says her husband, Aaron
Marian Shifman left behind Aaron, her
husband of 67 years, the former propri-
etor of Shifman's Mens Wear for 55 years;
son, Elliot of Novi; daughter, Monna of
Palm Beach, Fla.; son, Errol of Fountain
Hills, Ariz.; and, according to her nephew,
Rabbi Sanford Kopnick of Valley Temple
in Cincinnati, Ohio, "a legacy of righ-
teousness for an abiding blessing:'
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