Tag: Detroit Jewish community

Southfield Students to Receive Literacy Boost in Partnership with Rep. Lawrence and Jewish Community

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Ensuring young students receive the proper tools to be fully literate by the end of the third grade is of utmost importance to school districts across Michigan. Per a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students who were not proficient in reading by that time, were four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who were proficient readers.

Committed to ensuring Southfield schoolchildren have a strong chance of success, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, who, herself, is a former Southfield Public School Board president, has launched the “Brenda Lawrence Educational Initiative,” a literacy tutoring program in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC (JCRC/AJC) and Southfield Public Schools.

Said Congresswoman Lawrence, “I am so proud to be a part of this critical initiative that brings together our community to help improve the educational trajectory of our children. It is of the utmost importance that we provide our students with the support they need to succeed in school and gain the confidence to know that they have the ability to achieve anything.”  

Through the Initiative, several metropolitan area synagogues will be providing congregants to serve as literacy tutors to students in kindergarten through the third grade in Southfield. Each congregation, including Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Young Israel of Southfield and Temple Emanu-El, will be assigned to a school, with volunteers conducting tutoring sessions virtually for the time being.

Said Charles Hicks, Southfield Public Schools Board of Education president, “I appreciate the partnership and collaboration between the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Southfield Public School District. We must do whatever we can to mitigate any literacy loss as a result of challenges that arise as a result of the pandemic. Together, we can do what is in the best interest of our most valuable stakeholders … our children.”

Added Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC Executive Director Rabbi Asher Lopatin, “According to the 2017 results from the National Assessment of Education Progress, Michigan ranks in the bottom third of states for fourth grade reading. For our organization, it is imperative that we give our local schoolchildren a chance for a bright future beginning at an early age. It is an honor for us to partner with Congresswoman Lawrence and Southfield Public Schools, as well as volunteers from throughout our community, on this important project.”

JCRC/AJC has a long history of literacy advocacy. For more than 10 years ago, the non-partisan nonprofit has served as the administrator for the Detroit Jewish Coalition for Literacy, an umbrella organization that seeks to increase the Jewish community’s involvement in the fight against illiteracy. In non-pandemic times, the group mobilizes and trains volunteer readers, tutors and book drive organizers who serve thousands of students in programs established in Detroit Public Schools and public schools throughout Oakland County.

For more information and to get involved, contact Sandy Lippitt at slippitt@jfmd.org.

JCRC/AJC’s mission is to represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community, and to establish collaborative relationships with other ethnic, racial, civic and religious groups. JCRC/AJC educates and advocates on important issues, seeking consensus with a commitment to Jewish values. For more information visit www.jcrcajc.org.

For more than 70 years, Southfield Public Schools has served families from birth to 12th grade and beyond. The district, operating 14 schools, serves nearly 6,000 children in the cities of Southfield and Lathrup Village. Preparing innovative learners for a global society, Southfield Public Schools is one of 28 public school districts in Oakland County

JCRC/AJC Names Rabbi Asher Lopatin Executive Director

September 17, 2019 – Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC (JCRC/AJC) has named Rabbi Asher Lopatin its new executive director effective immediately. The announcement was made by Board President Alicia B. Chandler.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin is the founding director of the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse, a nonprofit designed to bring diverse people together in enriching dialogue, and the founding rabbi of Kehillat Etz Chayim, a new, Modern Orthodox synagogue in metropolitan Detroit. Prior to serving in these roles, he was president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York and the senior rabbi of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago. While there, he and his wife, Rachel, helped found the pluralistic Chicago Jewish Day School and he co-chaired the Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Fellow with an M. Phil in Medieval Arabic Thought from Oxford University, Rabbi Lopatin also has done doctoral work at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, in Islamic Fundamentalist attitudes towards Jews and Israel. He received ordination from Rav Ahron Soloveichik and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, and from Yeshiva University, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. In 2011, Rabbi Lopatin became a permanent member of The Council on Foreign Relations.

In addition to being a nationally sought after teacher and scholar, Rabbi Lopatin has written numerous articles and chapters for more than 20 books.

“On behalf of the board and staff of JCRC/AJC, we are truly honored to welcome Rabbi Asher Lopatin as our executive director,” said Board President Alicia B. Chandler. “Rabbi Lopatin’s depth of knowledge concerning Judaism, Israel and interfaith relations is unparalleled. His commitment to bridge building and advocacy will be of great importance as we continue to establish collaborative relationships and represent the metropolitan Detroit Jewish community, Israel and Jews throughout the world to the general community.”

Detroit Jewish Community Applauds Michigan Senate and House Resolutions on Israel’s 70th Anniversary

April 19, 2018 – The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit praise the Michigan State Legislature for its passage today of resolutions celebrating 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel.

Senate Resolution 154, sponsored by Senator Arlan Meekhof, and House Resolution 308, sponsored by Representative Robert Wittenberg, passed today with bipartisan support. The resolutions celebrate Israel’s landmark anniversary and reaffirm the many vibrant ties that link Michigan and Israel.

“On behalf of the Detroit Jewish Federation, I would like to express our gratitude to Sen. Meekhof and Rep. Wittenberg, and all of the co-sponsors from the Michigan Senate and House, for their recognition of this historic occasion,” said Beverly Liss, President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. “We’re extremely proud of the strong, supportive bond between Israel and the state of Michigan, and we deeply appreciate our lawmakers’ ongoing commitment to this relationship.”

Alicia Chandler, President of Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, remarked, “Israel’s 70th anniversary is a time to pause and reflect on the miracle that is the modern state of Israel. What was just a dream for millennia is now a complex, vibrant, thriving democracy which brings innovation and technology to the world. Each year is an opportunity to celebrate pluralistic and democratic values towards which Israel continues to strive.”

The metro Detroit Jewish community will honor this milestone anniversary for the Israel through a year-long Israel@70 campaign. In the coming months, there will be at least 70 programs honoring the occasion, ranging from small gatherings to major community-wide events.

Senate Resolution 154
House Resolution 308