Letters – July 12, 2018
Good Things Are Happening
We may be not aware of some very good things happening in our community. The massive effort by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Family Service, BBYO and synagogues as well as Jewish day schools called “We Need to Talk” is designed to reduce teen depression with significant funding and many professionals involved.
BBYO has the highest membership in more than 10 years and is led by Rachel Ellis Gray, who is superb, as well as the regional president, Avery Geller.
The day schools are all thriving; and at the Federation, more dollars are being raised than ever from more donors than in many years.
While I regret the closing of the Oak Park Jewish Community Center, the West Bloomfield Center is turning around. It is livelier, with much more going on.
The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC is growing stronger, and wonderful things are constantly coming from the Friendship Circle.
There is growing number of young Jewish adults living in Detroit and Ferndale/Royal Oak.
Let’s be happy with all of this.
Harvey S. Bronstein
Trivializing The Holocaust
All three letters to the editor in the June 28, 2018, issue of the JN compared the separation of children at the southern border to the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the result of a plot to totally annihilate the Jewish people and resulted in the mass murder of 6 million Jews.
As bad as the situation at the border is, there is no comparison to the Holocaust. If there was, no one would be trying to come here, legally or illegally. Who was trying to move to Germany in the 1930s and ’40s?
My wife’s relative, Genrikh, was born in Poland; at 13 he was told by his grandparents to run for his life. He fled to the USSR, which was far from welcoming to Jews, but better than staying in Poland with the Nazis coming. He was the only one of his family to survive. His picture and obituary hang on the wall at Beth Shalom to this day.
My father, Isak, fled the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941 with his mother. The crowd of people fleeing in horse carriages was bombed. His mother told him to go and try to save himself because he had a better chance to survive alone. Fortunately, he was later able to reunite with my grandmother.
The separation of children from their parents is always a tragedy, but there is a difference between what is happening now — people taking a risk to try to get a better life for themselves and their children — and what happened during the Holocaust, where parents sent their children away to save them from certain death.
Please do not compare the worst tragedy in human history with the current short-term and resolvable events, which are in the process of being fixed. There are more than enough people and countries trying to diminish the significance of the Holocaust. The last thing we need is Jews trivializing it themselves.
Condemn Fundraiser Cancellation
In May 2018, the Franklin Hills Country Club agreed to host Suneel Gupta, who is running for election to Michigan’s 11th District House seat and a member of the Michigan Democratic Party, to hold a fundraiser at the country club. Such events have been held for/by many people running for various political offices in Michigan over the many decades of the club’s existence.
The FHCC had also agreed to host Lena Epstein, also running for the same position and who is not only a member of the Michigan Republican Party but also a lifelong member of the FHCC (see July 5 issue, page 17). However, just days before the event, the FHCC Board of Directors, who represent the membership, and without notice to Epstein, held a meeting and unanimously voted to renege on their agreement with her, as well as their word.
The following is adapted from Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), writer of the original, who was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
First they came for the Republican Jewish woman, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Republican Jewish woman.
Then they came for the Republican Jewish man, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Republican Jewish man.
After that they came for the Independent Jewish woman, and I did not speak out — Because I was not an Independent Jewish woman.
Finally, they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
I call on all people in our community to publicly condemn this action. If you wish to be listed in an upcoming ad in the Jewish News as publicly condemning the Franklin Hills Country Club for canceling Epstein’s fundraiser, send me an email (email@example.com) with “FREE SPEECH” in the subject line; and please list your name(s) and city in the email.
Let us not forget the immortal words of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to prevail is for enough good men (and women) to do nothing.”
I only hope that this bigotry and hate is not broadly ascribed to the Detroit Jewish community at large.
Marc D. Manson