Celebrating a Unified Community: The Orthodox Community Gathers to Support Federation and Jewish Detroit

June 30, 2014 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Community Gathering
An overflow in the backyard tent watches the proceedings on live video feed

JUNE 18, OAK PARK, MI. On a warm, wet spring evening, over 500 Orthodox men and women gathered at Gary and Malke Torgow’s home to take part in a historic gesture of appreciation and support for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and the entire Jewish community at large. Every inch of the Torgow’s home—as well as a backyard tent—was filled to capacity to celebrate the closeness and unity of Jewish Detroit.

Community Gathering
Federation CEO Scott Kaufman greets the large group

“The event was not only a testament to the strength and commitment of the Orthodox community,” said attendee Leslie Ungar, “it was also a wonderful reminder of the ways in which all Jews are connected and must rely on one another for support.”

Co-chairing the event were Alan Zekelman and the Presidents of Akiva, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, Yeshiva Darchei Torah and Yeshiva Gedolah: Dr. Chanan Kroll, Dan Mendelson, and Dr. Saul Weingarden.

Gary Torgow opened the event by explaining how much emphasis the Torah places on the obligation of gratitude and appreciation. “Expressions of gratitude make us all a stronger and more successful community,” he said.

Community Gathering
Ethan Davidson addresses the audience at Malke and Gary Torgow¹s Federation Campaign event.

The program included brief remarks from Ethan Davidson, son of famed Detroit entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Davidson, who applauded the unique and wonderful relationship between the Orthodox community and the Federation. He emphasized how individual needs and aspirations are realized when Jews join together as a community.

Dr. Howard Korman, Past President of Akiva, introduced Scott Kaufman, Federation CEO, with warm words of thanks for Scott’s leadership and vision. “Without question, the Orthodox members are vital to the success of our broader Jewish community,” Kaufman said. “Beyond that, we are so fortunate for programs such as Partners in Torah, which provide Jewish content and Torah classes to the full community. In many ways, our community is a model for connection and collaboration between all streams of Jewish life.”

Alan Zekelman introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Rabbi Berel Wein, a world-renown lecturer and author who spoke eloquently about the important example Detroit sets for the rest of our country. He marveled at the achdus (unity) of the assembled group and described how expressions of gratitude are vital for the health and success of a community.

Community Gathering
Federation Annual Campaign Co-Chair Sandy Muskovitz Danto and members of the audience at the event
Community Gathering
Robert Aronson is welcomed by Rabbi Avi Cohen of Partners Detroit

The event was also attended by members of Federation’s leadership, including Incoming Federation President Larry Wolfe; Past President Nancy Grosfeld; Foundation, President Todd Sachse; officers Rabbi Harold Loss and Josh Opperer; and 2014 Annual Campaign co-chairs Sandy Muskovitz Danto and Dr. Jeffrey D. Forman.

All who attended were moved by the event. “The communal warmth and meaning of the evening was matched by its success as a fundraiser to support Jewish needs,” noted Sandy Muskovitz Danto. Close to 600 gifts were made to the 2014 Annual Campaign during the evening. The Annual Campaign is Federation’s single most important vehicle for securing the welfare and vitality of the Jewish community, locally, globally and in Israel.

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