Letters – November 1, 2018
Orthodox Students Attend Community Day Schools
Since its founding in 1958, Hillel Day School has provided an outstanding education to Jewish children in Metropolitan Detroit — no matter how they practice Judaism at home. The school has always welcomed Jewish students affiliated with Orthodox synagogues while Hillel was a member of the Conservative movement’s Solomon Schechter network of Jewish day schools and, since 2008, when the board of trustees voted for Hillel to become a community day school driven by a mission, not denomination. Today, children across the Jewish spectrum spend up to 13 years at Hillel, from our ECC through eighth grade, in a respectful environment that adheres to halachah to maximize inclusion for all students and staff.
Since its founding 19 years ago, Frankel Jewish Academy has similarly been a welcoming educational institution for students from all Jewish backgrounds and denominations. FJA has always been a school that inspires students to dedicate themselves to Jewish tradition, peoplehood and the State of Israel. Whether FJA graduates go directly to university or spend a year at yeshiva in Israel, they are prepared to lead in all parts of our Jewish community. Today, our FJA community is as diverse as the community it serves. Students graduate with a sense of Jewish responsibility across denominational differences and a drive to make the entire world a better place.
As the leaders of both schools, we are disappointed by the statement made in the Oct. 18 issue of the Jewish News that Orthodox children cannot be expected to attend Hillel Day School or Frankel Jewish Academy (“Population Snapshot: The Children Are Our Future,” page 10). They can be expected to, they do attend and they have always attended, when Detroit numbered 100,000 Jews and today, when it numbers 70,000. The presence of Orthodox Jews adds to the richness of the overall school community, as does the presence of all students. Each one graduates with confidence and pride in his or her own personal ritual practice and with respect for the diversity of authentic Jewish self-expression.
We need more unity in the Jewish community, not less. Whether one is a member of Young Israel, Temple Israel or B’nai Israel, all Jewish children are welcome to and, in fact, do attend our two schools.
— Steve Freedman
Head of School
Hillel Day School
— Rabbi Azaryah Cohen
Head of School
Frankel Jewish Academy
Observant Jews Feel Welcome at Hillel
As observant Jews and parents of current Hillel students and/or Hillel alumni, we take exception with the recent Population Snapshot that states “Orthodox children cannot be expected to attend … Hillel Day School.” Not only do our children attend Hillel, they thrive there. As a community day school, Hillel is comprised of students from every Jewish affiliation. While not homogenous, the student body, and its families, learn about every facet of Judaism, find commonalities and respect the differences.
Additionally, our children learn about their history, Halachah and heritage, and truly apply this knowledge to the diverse world in which we live. The innovative way in which all children, regardless of Jewish affiliation, learn at Hillel is inspiring.
All Jewish children and families are respected and welcomed. Hillel truly strives to be a viable choice for families who are Torah-observant, and while we may be the minority at Hillel, we feel at home here.
— Lea and Jonathan Brateman, Southfield
— Naomi and Joshua Elberg, Southfield
— Monica and Ari Fischman, Southfield
— Aviva and Moses Fridman, West Bloomfield
— Amy and Bryan Gottlieb, Huntington Woods
— Dana and Larry Horwitz, Windsor
— Gabi Burman and Adam Kaplan, Huntington Woods
— Amy and Jeff Schlussel, Huntington Woods
Still Making An Impact
Thought you might like to know that your cover story “No One is Immune” (March 1, 2018) has had an impact on a neighbor of mine in Florida. She and I happened to be talking in early September, and something she said prompted me to think of the article. I had read it only a couple weeks earlier when going through old Detroit JN issues that I’d set aside to read.
In that article, it stated that Jamie Daniels’ treatment included a stay at a facility in Palm Beach, Fla. Since I was just getting ready to go to Michigan for Yom Kippur when my neighbor and I spoke, I gave her the issue to read while I was gone. The first time she saw me in our building’s lobby after my return to Florida, she thanked me for sharing the article with her, saying she really found it of value.
That article, which undoubtedly had an impact in the Metro Detroit Jewish community when it was first published, is still helping concerned parents and grandparents!
— Sheryl Silver
Hallandale Beach, Fla.
A Culture of Hate
This letter is responding to the online story “Fliers on 3 college campuses blame Jews for Kavanaugh assault allegations,” posted on Oct. 9 at thejewishnews.com.
There is no longer the truth being disseminated in politics. As far as the bigots and despots are concerned, anything goes.
I believe this article is the direct result of Dangerous Donald’s hate speeches. Jews should be very, very concerned because even with his decent Republican followers, there are too many assorted xenophobes, who will speak and spread more hatred because of their leader’s example of spewing hate of minorities.
When you hate browns, blacks, yellows, you also hate whites, normally Jews (except for their lawyers, dentists, doctors, and comedians). Hate knows no boundaries. Please remind your children of this sad fact, the earlier the better.
Because there is no limit to hatred, many people who may feel they will be exempt just may be future targets, as well. Republican Jews and their families are not exempt. They will suffer with the liberal Jews, too.
There are bigots waiting in the shadows for the minorities they hate, and then they let loose with their false venomous accusations. Jews make great targets in the political experience, even among themselves.
Ever wonder why the increase in anti-Semitism during these last two years?
— Jerry Soble
Endorsements Were Objective
There is so much negative campaigning these days. I appreciated your objective descriptions of the candidates for governor in the Oct. 25-31 issue of the Detroit Jewish News. Although you endorsed Ms. Whitmer, you also listed some good arguments for voting for Mr. Schuette. While I plan to vote for Ms. Whitmer, it was gratifying to see positive aspects of both candidates described instead of negative ones. Similarly, although you endorsed Ms. Stabenow, you also acknowledged potential positive aspects of Mr. James. Thank you for staying positive — it was refreshing!
— Peter Wolf
‘I’ll Vote for James’
It is too bad that the DJN chose to endorse the tax-and-spend incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Her recent record includes voting against House Resolution 1 to reduce taxes and voting against House Bill 1 to allow tax payer education savings plan to be used for elementary and secondary school expenses, including home schooling.
Stabenow voted for House Bill 1 that raised taxes; voted against House Concurrent Resolution 1 that cuts federal spending by $41 billion; voted for House Concurrent Resolution 1 that allows filibustering on tax reform; voted against House Bill 1628 Heller amendment that repeals the 40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health plans (“Cadillac” plans).
Stabenow voted for the flawed, feckless Iran nuclear deal, endangering the U.S. and Israel.
Stabenow voted against Senate Bill 2311 that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of rape and incest or when the life of the mother is threatened.
With regard to her experience, her whole career has been as a politician living off the taxpayer. She has no experience in the private sector or creating jobs. On the other hand, her opponent John James has created a successful business and jobs. James has years of successful management and administrative experience in the military. Just on that basis, I shall vote for James.
— Sylvia Fleshman
No on Proposal 2
There is a problem with creating voting districts in Michigan. When the UAW had the State Legislature Democrat dominated, and now with Republican dominance, the voting districts are created every 10 years to favor the dominant party — gerrymandering (“JCRC/AJC Endorses Proposals 2 & 3,” Oct. 25, page 8).
Using the serpentine-shaped 14th Congressional District as their example, the Voters Not Politicians group created Proposal 2. Their slogan: Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around. This is true. But their example of the 14th District is not true.
Prop. 2 would create an “Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.” This commission would consist of 13 people, whose names would be randomly selected by the Secretary of State. Supposedly, the 13 would be divided among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated registered voters.
But there is no means of guaranteeing the truth, or permanence, of these claimed affiliations; Prop. 2 states: “self-identifying.” Whole groups of politically related people, many with relevant experience, and even their relatives, would be prohibited. (There is a discrimination question here.)
There is no consideration for competence of these commission members. There would be practically no accountability for them whatsoever. They cannot be fired, terminated or voted out of their position by anyone other than 10 of the other 12 commissioners. The Michigan voting public would have no vote over them.
Their use of funds has no oversight. They would be given a blank check to spend taxpayer dollars.
The only judicial review would be at the Michigan Supreme Court. And even the Supreme Court would only be able to require the commission to re-do their mapping.
Gerrymandering into unfairly dominated districts is a real problem, needing addressing. But Proposal 2 is a poorly developed and dangerous solution, which would put possible incompetence, discrimination and almost total unaccountability into the redistricting process — and into the Constitution.
— Larry Freedman
I am an American Muslim from Ann Arbor, and I am writing to express my horror at the heinous murders that occurred at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and to express my solidarity with the Jewish community. I am sickened by the world-wide rise of anti-Semitism, and my heart bleeds not only for the loss of each of those who were killed and for their families, but also for the terror this act undoubtedly has ignited among the members of the Jewish communities throughout the U.S.
I am just so sorry. This is not the America I know.
— Karen Hanson