JN Editorial: Valued Orthodox Outreach

Once more, our Orthodox community turned out with gusto to support the larger Detroit Jewish community through gifts to Federation’s Annual Campaign. The outpouring reinforced how we as a community are made up of parts that ultimately fit together.

The perception may be the Orthodox community, especially its day schools, only draws on the Campaign via annual allocations. But the nearly 600 Campaign gifts pledged during a June 18 gathering at the Oak Park home of Malke and Gary Torgow underscore how the Orthodox community gives back, not just receives; the Campaign assists a multitude of sectors within the Jewish world. Gary Torgow is president of Southfield-based Yeshiva Beth Yehudah and vice president of the Federation executive board.

The Orthodox community helps shape the way forward in other ways, too. For example, it provides a network of Torah learning opportunities for Jews at various levels of religious observance. It also hosts events that help bring Jews of all stripes together, bound by heritage if not beliefs.

Look around the crowds at the annual dinners of Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, Yeshivat Akiva or Yeshivas Darchei Torah. Many attendees are not Orthodox, demonstrating the value Jews of other streams place on Orthodox day school learning.

One of the themes at the Torgow-hosted gathering surrounded gratitude and the role it plays in Jewish life. To be grateful is to be humble and appreciative, not aloof and demanding. Keynoter Rabbi Berel Wein, a revered rebbe visiting from Jerusalem, gave Torah context to that theme, making it all the more compelling.

Importantly, the evening was one that recognized we ultimately are one Jewish community with many interlinking strands. ■

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