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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

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
Orchard Lake

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
Lake Orion 

‘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
Farmington Hills

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

‘So Sorry’

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
Ann Arbor

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  1. In response to Larry Freedman’s letter (“No on Proposal 2”, Nov 1-7, page 10), he is correct in saying there is a problem with how district maps are drawn in Michigan. Proposal 2 is the fix to that problem. An opposition group has been making false claims and purposefully spreading misinformation about Proposal 2. You may have seen this in flyers in your mail, and on television ads (radio ads from this group have been pulled from 19 stations in Michigan because they are so blatantly dishonest). Some of these false claims made it into Mr. Freedman’s letter. Let’s take a look.
    Proposal 2 creates a citizens commission of thirteen members, including four people affiliated with each of the two major parties (currently Democrats and Republicans), and five people unaffiliated with either party. Parties that traditionally did not participate in the redistricting process will now have a seat at the table. The minority and majority leaders of the house and senate can each strike five applicants from the final pool before the commissioners are selected. All information from the commission will be available to the public, meetings are open to the public. All Michigan voters, including Mr. Freedman, will be able to see how the commission operates, unlike the current process which is done behind closed doors.
    Proposal 2 sets a minimum dollar limit for the commission, to make sure that the state legislature cannot defund the commission essentially leaving it powerless to conduct this important process. Every expense must be reported and audited, which does not happen in the current process. Any additional funds requested must be approved by the legislature, in the same way that other budget requests, like money for roads or schools, must be approved. Any money that is not spent will be returned to the state. We don’t know how much the current process costs because this information is not tracked or reported. But we do know the cost of living in a gerrymandered state by looking at our roads, schools, water quality and other issues that aren’t being addressed by politicians who are no longer accountable to their voters.
    Proposal 2 was created with input from people all over the state of Michigan. Voters Not Politicians held 33 townhall meetings in 33 days while crafting the proposal, to understand how the people of Michigan wanted fair district lines to be drawn. They learned that voters do not currently think that elected officials are accountable to them. Politicians and lobbyists draw the lines behind closed doors without input or oversight from voters, essentially putting them in power for a decade. The only people that are currently represented in the process are the ones who control the way the lines are drawn. Proposal 2 will bring redistricting out into the open so voters can get their voice back and know exactly why the lines are drawn the way they are.
    It is just wrong for any party to take advantage of the system, no matter who is in charge. Politicians have an inherent conflict of interest in drawing the lines which determine who their voters will be – they should not be the ones directly drawing the maps. Proposal 2 puts more power in the voters’ hands, making politicians more accountable to voters, not to lobbyists or special interests. There is nothing in this proposal that bans people from participating in the open and transparent process of drawing the maps. Everyone in the state of Michigan, including politicians and their families, are welcome to give their feedback on the maps, whether at one of the ten open meetings required to be held across the state before the maps are created, or the five meeting after the maps are created, or online during the process. Proposal 2 is transparent and inclusive every step of the way.
    Vote ‘Yes’ on Proposal 2.

    Kathy Krauskopf
    Huntington Woods

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