The William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History holds a wide range of interesting stories about the uses of Apple products among Metro Detroit Jews.
Okay, I confess. Yes, it’s true. I am one of “them.” I am a devout Apple computer user, and I have been so since 1996. Perhaps, I have been brainwashed to believe, but I love my Mac computer and am happily using it to write this column.
Apple Inc. (formerly, Apple Computer Inc.) was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. To say that their venture was a success would be a great understatement. Apple is now a global producer of computers, smart phones, software, servers, media content and God knows what else. Since it was created 45 years ago, the company has been responsible for many pathbreaking technological advancements (along with a huge net worth and very healthy stock share prices).
I decided to see what I could find about Apple in the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History. A search indicated that there are many Apple product users in Detroit’s Jewish community; “Apple Computers” were cited on 71 pages. “Mac Computers” were cited on another 79 pages, but almost all of those advertisements were for computer repairs or classes. Of course, just searching for “Apple” will raise thousands of entries, from apple trees to apple pie recipes to apples in Israel.
However, the Archive does hold a wide range of interesting stories about uses of Apple products among Metro Detroit Jews. An early story, in the Nov. 16, 1983, issue of the JN reported that United Hebrew Schools students were studying Hebrew on computers, and that most of the students “had been trained to use the Apple computer at their public school.” An advertisement in the Dec. 15, 1989, JN encouraged readers to “Give an Apple Computer for Chanukah and help your children learn and grow” or “Help your business prosper and grow.”
One can find several feature articles related to Apple. In the April 4, 1993 issue, “Standing Room Only” is an ode to Sidney Fine, legendary professor of history at the University of Michigan. For his four decades of exemplary teaching, Fine received the “Golden Apple Award,” sponsored by B’nai B’rith Hillel, and — you guessed it — Apple.
In “Computer Wars,” (June 18, 1999) longtime JN writer Suzanne Chessler reviewed the TNT Channel movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley, a drama about the founding of Apple Inc. starring Jewish actor Joey Slotnick as Steve Wozniak. “Sound Advice: An Apple A Day” by Neal Check is a technology report, but it also has a brief history of Apple (April 25, 2013).
Former Young Israel of Oak Park Rabbi Reuven Spolter wrote a most interesting essay in the Oct. 27, 2011, JN “Red Thread” section — “iChoice: Steve Jobs and Us” — that explores the balance between raising children and a work life. The catalyst for his inquiry was a report of writers’ extensive interviews with Jobs. Spolter reported a sad reason from Jobs for a biography: “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them.” Yes, a very sad answer from a person who changed the modern world.
Finally, I should note that Apple computers was a clue in five crosswords in the JN.
Well, I now know I’m not alone. Are you also one of the chosen (or brainwashed) — an Apple user?
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.