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April 25, 2013 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-04-25

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Downtown Success!

IADS celebrates fund-raising success.


Three generations: Sharon Knoppow, Mariam Saperstein and Ellen Knoppow
talk with Sen. Mike Kowall.

Equal Pay Day

NCJW contingent voices concerns
about pay equity to legislators.

Karen Schultz Tarnopol

Special to the Jewish News



sea of red flowed through
the Capitol Building on April
9 as Michigan men and
women showed their support in favor
of pay equity. The red clothing they
wore symbolized women being "in the
red" with respect to pay.
Fifty years ago, President John F.
Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act
that requires employers to give women
and men equal pay for equal work and
yet, today, women continue to earn 77
percent of what men earn nationally
and 74 percent of what men earn in
Members of National Council of
Jewish Women-Greater Detroit Section
(NCJW), known for their work advo-
cating for the rights of women and
children, were present and prepared to
make an impact at the state rally.
"The reason this is so important to us
at NCJW is that it's an economic issue
and a social issue," says Sharon Lipton,
NCJW state policy advocate co-chair.
According to Cathy Cantor, Lipton's
co-chair, "Our NCJW delegation of 30
women was the largest contingent of
the more than 21 organizations that
came to Lansing for the Equal Pay Day
rally. Tuesday's visit to Lansing enabled
us to advocate directly with our sena-
tors and representatives"
The group voiced their concerns to
Sen. Vincent Gregory (D-14 District),
Sen. Mike Kowall (R-15th District)
and Rep. Klint Kesto (R-39th District).
Among legislators also present at the
rally were State Reps. Vicki Barnett
(D-37th District) and Rudy Hobbs
(D-35th District).
Pay equity supporters say the bills

are significant because the disparity in
pay and benefits tends to affect many
generations in families, not just the
women. It's common to see a single
mother with children, for instance,
moving back in with her parents
because she isn't able to earn enough
to support her children on her own.
Everyone, from the children to the
grandparents, are forced to sacrifice.
Among the NCJW participants were
three generations of a family of long-
time activists, each equally passionate
about the issues. Mariam Saperstein,
15, of Huntington Woods, her aunt
Ellen Knoppow, 43, of Ferndale, and
her grandmother Sharon Knoppow, 71,
of West Bloomfield, agreed this issue
was worth fighting for.
"This event really brought home
the effect these issues will have on
Mariam's life," Sharon Knoppow said.
While talking to Sen. Kowall,
Mariam expressed her frustration, say-
ing, "If I am going to stay in Detroit
when I graduate, things are going to
have to get better"
Irma Glaser, NCJW's chair for
the rally, said, "So often I hear from
women who are upset because they
feel powerless concerning issues
that are important to them and their
families. NCJW's visit to Lansing let
women use their collective voices in a
powerful statement aimed at getting
constructive legislative action:'
Despite frustration going in, the day
ended on a positive note, according to
co-chair Cantor.
"Four bills that will strengthen
Michigan's laws about pay equity were
introduced in the House and one
Resolution was passed [declaring April
9, 2013, Pay Equity Day in Michigan],"
she said. "We hope that the Senate bills
will be introduced later this week or

he Isaac Agree Downtown
Synagogue, a hub for Jewish life
in the city of Detroit, hosted a
celebratory event Tuesday, April 9, at
Cafe D'Mongo's in Detroit after it secured
more than $120,000 for exterior and inte-
rior capital improvements.
Several generous private donors agreed to
put up half the cash —but only if the syna-
gogue could raise $60,000 by midnight on
Tuesday, April 9, in crowd-funding dona-
tions through the website Indiegogo.
The synagogue reached and surpassed
the goal on Monday, April 8, having raised
$61,698 through its online campaign with
donations from more than 600 contribu-
tors. All funds raised beyond the $120,000
will go toward integral capital improve-
ments, including facade restoration and an
elevator for greater accessibility.
"These funds will allow us to make
critical repairs to our historic building
and lay the groundwork for a full renova-


See related column on page 37.

IADS director Anna Kohn

The crowd at Cafe d'Mongo's
enjoyed the evening.

Anna Kohn, IADS Board Member
Amit Weitzer and IADS president
Leor Barak

Miriam and Pinhas Barak

Noah Percell and Leor Barak

20 April 25 • 2013

tion in coming years," said synagogue
president Leor Barak. "We're so grateful
for the stories, comments and messages
of support from long-time members and
new supporters alike:'
The initial $120,000 will help the
Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue make
improvements in five key areas: the
installation of a fire escape to allow for
eventual access and safety on the upper
floors; an improved bathroom (the con-
gregation currently has one bathroom to
accommodate the almost 300-member
synagogue); critical kitchen upgrades; a
mural (including graffiti removal); and
the installation of a bike rack outside.
"We'll also use it for sustainability plan-
nidetermine the best steps to take for
the future success of the up-and-coming
Downtown Synagogue community," said
synagogue director Anna Kohn.

Amit Weitzer, Anna Kohn and Oren

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