DJJ community organizer Eleanor Gamalski was interviewed in a recent article by Model D contributor Imani Mixon entitled "Reconnecting With Their Roots: The Past, Present, and Future of Jewish Life in the North End." Read an excerpt of Eleanor's comments below and check out the rest of the fascinating article here - including thoughts from our friend Roger Robinson of Red Door Digital - a frequent meeting space of DJJ.
Gamalski, 24, was born and raised in Bloomfield Hills and currently lives in Hamtramck, but her work has brought her closer to the city. Although Gamalski's life had quietly orbited around the city, she didn't become intimately familiar with it or her Jewish faith until the loss of her grandmother a few years ago. In the presence of her grandparents' childhood friends who reminisced about their upbringing in northwest Detroit, she was immersed in traditional Jewish rituals and exposed to a Detroit-centric side of her history.
"I didn't know who my people were," she says. "And then I realized I actually do have a centuries-old history that I just hadn't engaged with at all." Gamalski's spiritual and professional path has given her a more nuanced understanding of the region, and how history impacts its current state of affairs. "So many Detroit struggles are truly regional struggles, and the suburbs are very implicated in that," Gamalski says. "So to be able to reach out to the majority suburban population of the Jewish community made a lot of sense."
Read on here!