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October 11, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-11
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9 #


A Home Away from Home,
A School Away from School

by JoAnne Viviano
Hillel and the Chabad House, the
two main organizations serving the
campus' Jewish population, ensure
that the Jewish community is able to
build and share its heritage. The two
organizations have much in common,
but Chabad House acts more like a
home or hangout for Jewish students,
while Hillel provides a larger
assortment of programs and activities.
It's Friday night, and Rabbi
Aharon Goldstein and his wife are
preparing dinner. The couple works
together to ensure that students
attending evening service will receive
a homecooked meal. Chabad House,
traditionally referred to as "A home
away from home for Jewish
students," provides more for Jews on
campus than religious services.
Besides providing students with
physical sustenance, Rabbi Goldstein
counsels students having trouble
finding themselves. "Students at the
university stage are searching for the
meaningful and worthwhile," he said.
"'This particular age is an exciting
time, a crosspath. We study, talk and
help people. We direct them."

LSA junior Ilana Chemomordik
appreciates this help. "A lot of
students come to Chabad who are far
away from their families. The
Goldsteins are very modem-thinking.
If you come to them with a
problem... they'll understand
completely and they'll help you
through it," she said.
"We create a homey and friendly
atmosphere for Jewish students away
from home where they can
experience, express and enlighten
their Jewish identity," Goldstein
This goal is achieved primarily
through education. Chabad House
offers classes every night of the week
on various subjects and at different
levels.This pedagogical role is a point
of pride for Goldstein. "What we
stand out for is what we push most
education and practice."
Chemomordik is impressed with
the philosophy of Chabad House, as
well as how it ties in with her studies
at Michigan. "I'm always fascinated
that the things I learn in...
psychology class are part of their
philosophy. It all ties in together," she
To reinforce their teachings, the
house holds a 2000-volume library of

Hebrew and Judaic books to provide
students with information on history,
philosophy and religious law- as
well as culturally significant
biographies and fiction.
According to Goldstein, these
resources are available to any student
on campus. "We don't exclude
anyone from the experience and
exposure," he said. "We feel it's
important that a Gentile should have
a good experience. We (have to be)
decent to each other."
Chemomordik agrees. "There's
no such thing as a clique at Chabad
House. All people from different
backgrounds are equally respected,"
she said. "I've never felt more
accepted than in the Chabad
Goldstein is intent on assuring
that Chabad house is available to
students. "We believe very much in
outreach. It's our responsibility to
help our fellow Jew. It's important to
bring water to the horse."
While the Chabad house's
primary purpose is to serve the
University's Jewish community, a
second Jewish foundation, the
University of Michigan branch of
Hillel, embraces all denominations.

Every Friday, the Goldsteins provide a Sabbath dinner. MICHELLEGUY/Weekend

Continued from page6
man committing adultery with
somebody else's wife, or somebody
being a greedy capitalist It's sin. It's
just a moral behavior that needs to be-
Q: Could you expand on what
you said about Jews being chosen
for a purpose?
A: God made a unique family of
people -12 brothers. And from the
12 tribes, an entire nation was bom.
This nation gave us the promise of
the Messiah, they gave us the 66
books of the Bible, the Old and New
Testaments without which we
wouldn't have Judeo-Christian ethics.
We wouldn't have the Christian faith.
The bulk of what we know of God
comes through the Jewish people. It's
a tremendous service they've done,
but they've paid for it because other
nations have hated them. They've
been jealous of their success. The
Jewish people are inordinately
successful, for a small body of people.
I heard one guy say this - now I
Rocer,your dadF
and ihave
decided to
sop feediriq,
you. OK?
...and cut
aOf your
ra low dnc

didn't say this - but this is what he
said. "You can take all the wealth. and
divide it up equally among all the
people in the world and in 10 years
the Jewish people would have most
of it back." And that's an
exaggeration, but there's truth in that
Part of it is because of their
willingness to work, to support one
another and to band together. Those
are Godly characteristics that I think
were built into them as a people and
passed on to their generations.
There's a lot more Godly things that
they need to pass on that they are not
Those are traits that they've hung on
to and people are jealous of that. Also,
people feel threatened by their
presence in the Middle East. And
some of it is irrational and demonic.
Like what Hitler did, that was
Q: What's the most frightening
thing you see on Diag?
A: Complacency. If I hold up a
photograph of a baby that's been
dismembered in an abortion and for
them to either just ho, hum or laugh

I thin
of it.

'If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am for myself alone,
what am I? And if not now, when?" Questions like these can be answered
at the Michigan branch of Hillel, the second largest student organization
on campus.


Regular price: $9.95
Logo's price: $7.96
Friday - Sunday
, October 11 - 13
E ..
bk tore

"Hillel is accessible to all religions.
It's not a dosed institution," said
Bernstein. "Hill Street Cinema
attracts students from the University
community that aren't necessarily
Jewish. Many activities are not aimed
at Jewish students."
"Hillel serves many students of
many different backgrounds," agreed
LSA senior Marc Israel, chair of
Hillel's allocations committee.
"U-M Hillel has a long tradition of
involvement in the larger University
community, particularly in the area of
engagement with intellectual,
political and social issues," said
Executive Director Michael Brooks.
Brooks believes that the
foundation at Michigan is a one-of-a-
kind organization, as opposed to other
Hillel foundations in the nation.
"While the Hillel Foundations on
most campuses primarily serve the
religious and cultural needs of Jewish
students, U-M Hillel is unusual in
that it does all of this and much
more," he said.
"(Hillel) is a model around the
country that student organizations
and campus organization look to as
the forerunner to many things,"
Bernstein said.
I Hillel does strive to meet the
religious needs of the campus' Jewish
students, faculty, and staff. Reform,
Conservative and Orthodox are
"three large and active groups which
meet for religious services and
programming... reflecting the full
range of Jewish practice, observance
and belief," said Brooks. Other
religious programs which the
foundation offers include a kosher
meal program, non-credit Judaic
-courses, holiday-celebrations; and - -

Israeli dancing.
Hillel was the third such
foundation established in the United
States. B'nai B'rith, the world's largest
Jewish fratemal organization, founded
the organization in 1926.
Three years ago, the Mandell L.
Berman Center was constructed to
house the foundation. Over 1500
people attend regular programs each
week and over 4000 students are
on the foundation's mailing list
Brooks added that the motto
adorning the walls at the entrance to
Hillel's Mandell L. Berman Center
on Hill Street is "a good reflection of
what we're all about."
The motto, a famous saying by an
important Jewish scholar, reads, "If I
am not for myself, who will be for
me? And if I am for myself alone,
what am I? And if not now, when?"
"We support the needs of the
Jewish students on campus, but feel
an obligation to share the rich (Jewish)
history, experience and perspective
with the rest of the University,"
Brooks explained.
This sense of obligation is
manifested in the many programs
which Hillel creates, funds and
supports. Hillel joined the Michigan
Housing Division in founding the
award-winning 'Talk To Us" theater
company that deals with social issues
by compelling students in the
audience to interact with the actors.
Ten years ago the foundation
developed Consider magazine, which
is still published weekly. According to
Brooks, the publication "provides a
platform every week for debate and
discussion on a wide range of issues of
local, national, and international
Continued on page 9

Continued from page 4
"Consider is one of the important
contributions to the life of the entire
Hillel has made other
contributions to campus life as well.
"Hill Street Cinema features films
which are intended to stimulate
thinking and discussion about matters
of real concern to the entire
community," Brooks said. "It is an
important contribution to film life in
Ann Arbor." Films are shown every
Thursday and Saturday; this month's
movies concern issues of war and
peace and of gender and society.
Additional contributions to Ann
Arbor's rich culture are made by the
Hill Street Forum, which sponsors
the Celebration of Jewish Arts series,
now in its tenth season, and the Great
Writers Series, which has brought to
campus the likes of Joseph Heller,
John Irving, Elie Wiesel and Kurt
Vonnegut, Jr.
Hillel houses six different Israel-
related student groups. "They all
hold radically different views and
have the widest range of viewpoints,"
said Brooks. "Students are adults and
there's no point in protecting them
from viewpoints that might upset
them. They should be allowed to
weigh the viewpoints and make up
their own minds."
"U-M Hillel has no 'party line' on
any issue," Brooks commented, "but
rather sees its role as providing a
forum for debate and discussion."
As well as continuing its well-
grounded, traditional programs,
"almost every year one or two new
major programs are launched by
Hillel," Brooks said. "There has been
an increase in all areas, a tremendous
increase in programs of specific
interest for Jewish students."
Some of the Hillel's newer
programs include Volunteers In
Action and the Golden Apple Award
for Teadirg; Volunteers ItAtdohtis

"a community service group which
works in soup kitchens and helps the
elderly, young, and needy," said
"The Golden Apple Award is
presented to an outstanding professor
each year who is invited to give... the
lecture he or she would want to give if
this were the last one ever,"' he said.
'The award is really a great
project that will most likely start
ocurring on other campuses," Israel
The foundation also finds the
printing of Prospect, the University's
monthly joumal for Jewish students.
Brooks believes that the journal
"regularly presents views that would
be anathema to much of the Jewish
Hillel upholds its traditional role of
accepting all religious denominations
by welcoming non-Jewish students to
participate in such events. LISA junior
Valarie Benezra, who organizes the
reform Chavurah prayer group, said
that non-Jewish students who come
to services encounter a welcoming
and friendly atmosphere. 'They
bring a different perspective and the
knowledge of a different theology.
The more opinions we can get the

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