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Oh Brother, It’s a Mixed Bag

Our gratitude to actor Charlie Sheen, who thankfully eclipsed us in the attention-getting department after March’s issue hit the street. We felt the pushback and have published a sampling for your reading pleasure. That’s not to say it was all bad; and, we are contemplating giving away a vial of tiger blood with every new paid subscription to Red Thread, should that come to pass. Thanks and keep writing in.


Even Giants Start Small
RE: “Meet the Man …” (March 2011)

Harry Kirsbaum wrote an interesting profile about strip club owner Alan Markowitz. But Alan has another claim to fame: working at Sol & Zygie’s Mobil, the former gas station on 10 Mile Road at Greenfield in Southfield. My dad and uncle, Zygie and Sol Allweiss, provided first jobs for many young people in our community. Another alum is journalist Ken Fireman, now an editor with Bloomberg Business News.

— Esther Allweiss Ingber, Oak Park

Help Is There for the Asking
RE:  Letter to the Editor (March 2011)

I am responding to the letter from Dani Gillman-Glickfeld [in reference to the Day Schools and Turf Wars portion of the Editor’s Letter, February 2011], the mom who hopes her daughter who has special needs will be able to attend a Jewish day school but worries that lack of supports may not make it the right fit for her.
I wonder if she is aware of JARC’s School Inclusion program, which has provided supports to 50 students with autism and various developmental disabilities in day schools since its inception in 1999.

We are currently providing comprehensive supports to 15 students in five Jewish day schools. With proper support, a child with a disability can be successfully included in the classroom with his or her peers. In collaboration with parents, school administrators, teachers and consultants, JARC’s School Inclusion coordinator develops and implements a plan of action for every student.

This allows each child to develop social and academic skills at his or her own pace while remaining a vital member of the class. Families with a child in the program are asked to contribute to the cost of the supports on a sliding scale basis, but the vast majority of the cost is paid by JARC through private fundraising.

Unfortunately, we cannot serve all the families who are on our waiting list because of funding. However, with increased financial support from our community, JARC will be able to continue offering — and even expand — vital services to children and their families and reach out to parents to make their dreams of full day school inclusion a reality.

— Laurel Berger, MSW, Director of JARC’s Harris Children and Family Division

Our Bad:

In the feature “Meet the Man Who Women Want, etc.,” (March 2011), we inadvertently wrote that Alan Markovitz’s father, Max, had passed away. We are pleased to report that, in fact, the elder Mr. Markovitz is alive and well, and enjoying the Florida sunshine; we regret the error.

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
— Mark Twain

Discretion Would Be Nice
RE: The March 2011 Issue
As a rabbi, a young Jewish professional and a former (college) magazine editor, I loved the first few issues of Red Thread. I was impressed by the diversity of content, the edgy, hip feel and the production. It seemed like the perfect publication to hook young adults who are still finding their place in the Jewish community.

The current issue, however, deeply troubled me. It had three pieces that were degrading to women, corrosive to men and demeaning of marriage and marital fidelity.

The article on the strip club magnate was entertaining, and even though I am convinced that strip clubs are guilty of each of those offenses, I would not have written you had this article been published in isolation.

But the Man on the Street column was also entirely about lap dances and strip clubs, again casting a gratuitous spotlight on the objectifying of women. This pattern is disturbing.

Worst of all was the feature titled “Single Men and the Married Women They Know … Biblically!” It glamorized casual, adulterous sex. Strip clubs may argue that they are business ventures involving consenting adults — though I still believe they are objectionable — but the behavior glorified in the Single Men column was hurtful, because infidelity often destroys marriages.

The values expressed in these pieces are utterly antithetical to Jewish values. Jewish Detroit really does need Red Thread, and Red Thread needs to be hip and edgy, pushing the margins of the conventional. But it is possible to be edgy and unconventional without paying apparent respect to misogyny and family-destroying infidelity.

— Rabbi Jonathan Berger, Rabbi-in-Residence, Hillel Day School, Rabbi, B’nai Israel Synagogue

RE: The Februry and March 2011 Issues
Last month when I got my Jewish News, I read the Red Thread, which was stapled inside. I was appalled at the contents: one story about juicy farts, another about being peed upon [inadvertendly by a dog on a balcony].

These stories belong on the playground or an alley, not in the Jewish News — childish dirty humor not worthy of a religious paper.

This month, Red Thread devoted an entire page to a notorious thug. Was this a reward for his full-page advertising? He admired his fathers “b*lls.” “I don’t take any sh*t.” He refers to his establishments as “t*tty bars.”

Shame on the Jewish News for printing such utter crap. Please note my e-mail is rabbi tears. How apropos!

— rabbitears63, via e-mail, name and residence unknown

Editor’s Response:
RT’s Mailbag policy requires emailed submissions to include the author’s name and city of residence. However, we also believe it necessary to include all points of view — and made an exception here.

Secondly, neither Red Thread nor its sister publication, the Jewish News, are “religious” periodicals. Both cover issues affecting Detroit’s Jewish community
but are published by a secular media company; it is a critical distinction.



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