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May 09, 2013 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-05-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Speaking Up

Student inspires legislation excusing absences for religious holidays.

Julie Mack

Mlive Media Group/
Kalamazoo Gazette


Courtesy Kate Seg a l


adeline Richman, a junior
at Kalamazoo Central High
School, was reluctant to miss
school last fall to mark the Jewish High
Holidays because it would undermine her
record of perfect school attendance.
She mentioned her dilemma to Kate
Segal, a Battle Creek lawmaker in the state
House and, like Richman, a member of
Temple B'nai Israel in Kalamazoo.
Segal mulled Richman's situation and
recently introduced House Bill 4454 to
address the issue. The bill would ensure
students could still qualify for perfect
attendance awards if they miss school to
observe a religious holiday.
At Segal's request, Richman testified in
Lansing May 1 before the House Education
Committee, which then unanimously
approved the bill and sent it onto the full

11 041 1SiV

Madeline Richman, a junior at Kalamazoo Central High School, testifies to the
state House Education Committee about a bill that would give students an excused
absence for missing school for a religious holiday. At right is state Rep. Kate Segal,
D-Battle Creek, who sponsored the bill.

Richman told the committee that the
school calendar is structured to allow
students time off around Christmas and

Easter, the major Christian holidays. But
Jews, Muslims and other religious minori-
ties don't have that luxury.

"It was pretty nerve-wracking" to tes-
tify, Richman said. "But it was also pretty
cool. I felt so happy afterwards when they
passed it unanimously."
Richman is taking an Advanced
Placement government course this year
with teacher Rex Hafer, a class that is giv-
ing her insight into the political process,
she said. But this was a chance to see the
system up close and personal.
"I didn't know that a five-minute con-
versation would turn into something so
special:' she said about her exchange last
fall with Segal.
Richman said an Associated Press story
about the bill and her testimony showed
up on news websites from Florida to
Seattle. "That's pretty cool;' she said.
The bill is unlikely to pass in time to
benefit Richman before she graduates
Kalamazoo Central, said Carrie Richman,
Madeline's mother.
"But she told me that she's doing it for
her younger sister and all the kids" who
could benefit from time off for religious
holidays, Carrie Richman said. "I'm really
proud of her."

Patterson Compares House Speaker To Nazi Leader Hitler


akland County Executive L.
Brooks Patterson compared
fellow Republican and House
Speaker Jase Bolger to Nazi leader Adolf
Hitler on May 3 in a public television
interview, the Detroit News reported.
Referencing Bolger's
abrupt decisions last
week to pull eight
Democrats off com-
mittees for missing
a meeting and then
put them back on,
Patterson said "Adolf
Bolger" has "really
L. Brooks
become very arrogant

and he's throwing his weight around
up there, and I think he's embarrassing
"If he thinks he's going to be a candi-
date for governor, he better learn how to
control his temper and he better learn
better how to work with the consensus
within his own party. I think sometimes
Adolph steps a little bit to the fringe and
he's embarrassing himself," Patterson
said Friday in Lansing during a taping of
WKAR TV's Off The Record.
During his comments, Patterson even
held a black comb under his nose to
mimic Hitler's famous mustache.
On WJR-AM 760 in Detroit on


Monday, Patterson said he was not
going to apologize to Bolger. The two
Republicans are "at odds over a proposal
to reform Michigan's no-fault insurance
system that includes a cap on lifetime
medical benefits for injured motorists:'
MLive reported.
During a separate interview on WJR,
Bolger said, "I've always seen name call-
ing as something born out of desperation
when somebody feels they're losing an
argument or doesn't have an argument. I
believe there's much to talk about within
auto no-fault reform, but name calling
is not something that should be done on
any level, especially when you bring the

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Holocaust in."
Patterson says he has apologized twice
on Twitter to the Jewish community,
perhaps in response to a letter from the
local Anti-Defamation League.
"We were dismayed by your recent
comparison between House Speaker Jase
Bolger and Adolf Hitler:' ADL-Michigan
director Heidi Budai wrote on May 3.
"Such a comparison serves to trivialize
the Holocaust and is deeply offensive to
Jews and other survivors ...
"No matter how heated the debate, we
would urge you — as we have urged other
public figures — to refrain from using
Holocaust imagery in the future."

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