Friday, May 17,
7:00 pm Shabbat Services at CAS, held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Services will be co-led by the students in religious school. The Service
and Oneg will honor Hannah and Ed Dietz for their many years of service to our
congregations. Hannah has been a guest soloist lending her beautiful voice to
both congregations and was Cantorial soloist for many years at Beth El. In
addition she has held positions on the Beth El board and been an active Beth El
member. Help us honor this wonderful couple as them move on to their next
(warmer) adventure. Please bring a treat to share for Oneg.
Saturday, May 18, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon, Adult Education at the CAS/BE Office and
Education Center at Logan Landing, 3143 Logan Valley Road
Saturday, May 18, 7:30 pm, Movie Night at the Dennos Museum, Janis Room:
WHO IN THE WORLD WAS DEBBIE FRIEDMAN?
Which prayer in our shabbat service touches you deeply? The
Mishebeirach -- the prayer for healing?
If you love the version of the Mishebeirach that we do at services, you
have Debbie Friedman to thank.
In the 1970s, one woman -- Debbie Friedman -- revolutionized Jewish music.
She wasn't a cantor, she wasn't an Orthodox Jew, she didn't go through
traditional channels, but by singing in summer camps, by connecting Jewish
liturgy with the American folk tradition, by speaking to basic human questions
and experiences, Debbie Friedman singlehandedly breathed life into American
Cantors were threatened by her, the Jewish establishment tried to reject her.
On Saturday, May 18, we'll gather to watch A Journey of Spirit, a stunning
documentary about the life & songs of Debbie Friedman.
Let's talk about what makes Jewish prayer hard and inaccessible.
Let's talk about what it means to sing "Jewishly." Let's
learn from the mouth of Debbie Friedman what
it means to pray with integrity, with heart, with creativity.
JANIS ROOM, DENNOS MUSEUM 7:30 pm. Bring you favorite
dessert/popcorn/snack. Surprise us.
Definitely appropriate for teens and please encourage them to come.
EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO PRAY, YOU MUST SEE THIS DVD!
Sunday, May 19, 9:00 am, B’nai Mitzvah Class at the CAS/BE Office and
Dates to save - Rabbi's Future visits:
27-29 - Special invitation: Roger Gerstle and Marjie Rich welcome all congregation members to their daughter Lena's Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, June 29, 10am at the UU. We hope you can make it!
- Aug 29-31, 2013
- High Holidays
- Sept 19-29
- Oct 17-20
- Nov 21-24
- Dec 12-15
- Jan 16-19, 2014
- Feb 13-16, 2014
RABBI'S MESSAGE - May 2013
over a week ago, on the Friday after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, as all
my friends in Boston were shut up in their homes, I found myself crying at
services in Michigan. I stood in the front of the Beth El sanctuary,
filled to capacity, and wept. I looked around me and saw many eyes
filling with tears, as a deep quiet filled the space like steam, billowing
upwards. Bonded by our tears, we prayed together: for peace, for an
imperfect but enduring love. We forgot that we don't know how to pray,
just for a moment.
It is my wish that this sort of unification of
yearning and love not be occasioned by tragedy only, but that this posture of
prayer, this trust in each other as community members be cultivated, become
something we can depend on and return to.
I was reminded in that experience of collective
prayer why it is that we gather in community in moments of struggle. We
can hold each other, surprise each other, challenge each other. We can
remind each other of what it means to be human, courageously.
In a quote from the Babylonian Talmud, a text
from the rabbis that dates to the seventh century, the rabbis write:
One should always stand in awe of the
community. (Sotah 40a)
What does it mean to stand in awe of the
community? After last month's time bringing in shabbat together, I stand
in awe of this community's compassion, this community's vision, this
community's desire to hold each other in challenging moments, to learn, to
mourn, to heal.
I look forward to standing in awe of this
community in the months to come -- in simcha and in struggle. May we come
to each other and be met, growing stronger and braver, more alive, through our
When we see each other in May, we'll celebrate
all the learning that our students have done this year at a song-filled Friday
night service led in part by our religious school students. On Saturday
night, there will be a screening of a powerful documentary on the life of
Debbie Friedman, and we'll have the chance to discuss together the incredible
transformation of Jewish prayer over the last fifty years. Be on the look
out for Debbie Friedman tunes during Friday's service!
May springtime bring us occasion to celebrate
together, to appreciate all that is flowering in our community.
I look forward to seeing you in May!
A number of people asked of a copy of the poem I
read as part of my dvar torah last month. I include the beautiful words
of Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai, below:
A Man Doesn't Have Time In His Life
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.
A man needs to love and to hate at the
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to
takes years and years to do.
A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when
he begins to forget.
And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.
He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.
Rabbi's Message for Purim
Last year on Purim, I was on day four of a six-day fast. I was participating in the Fast for Fair Food, a fast organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworkers' organization based in Immokalee, Florida. They were calling for a six-day fast to raise the awareness of the struggle for just pay and treatment on the tomato fields of Florida. I had the fortune of meeting with the CIW in September of last year and was invited to participate in the fast, even though I couldn't be with them in Florida.
A fast on Purim, you say? Isn't Purim all about merry-making and costumes?
The holiday of Purim -- which for us this year will be on Saturday night, the 23rd of February and Sunday, the 24th -- obliges us to let loose, to let go of our senses of right and wrong, of our expectation of who are friends, who foe. We have the opportunity to relax the boundaries of our lives and live into the possibility, the unknown. Joy is our one responsibility, it's a mitzvah (an obligation) to eat, to carouse, to be free and jubilant and wild.
How then did I justify fasting over Purim?
There is one element to Purim that many progressive Jews don't practice: ta'anit Esther, or the fast of Esther. Ta'anit Esther is typically undertaken the day before Purim and is a day-long fast (from sun-up to sun-down) to commemorate the three-day fast of Esther and the Jews of Shushan leading up to Esther's defense of the Jewish community.
Taking on the fast of Esther as a practice is a chance to create counter-point with the hilarity and hysterics of Purim: Ta'anit Esther reminds us to think about taking action, to commit to resist oppression and injustice wherever we find it, to ready our bodies and focus our spirits on the goings on of our communities.
This year, we have the chance to experience both faces of Purim. We can fast in solidarity with Esther on February 21st, who resisted over a millennium ago, and in solidarity with communities today who face down adversity with courage and creativity. With farmworkers who are still struggling for their rights, with First Nation and Native peoples who are actively mobilizing under the banner of Idle No More, with DREAM Act students and communities across the world facing down guns and political repression, in the name of freedom.
Then, on Purim, just a few days later, we cut loose, reveling in our freedom, in our strength, in the miracle of finding ourselves alive and together, ready to fulfill the obligation of being fully, truly alive.
In Traverse City, we will meet together for a joyful service on Friday night and again on Saturday night, where we'll read the Megillah, laugh at each other's costumes and entertain each other with songs, dance and jokes in an event that we're calling Shushan Idol.
The Jewish month of Adar begins at sunset on Sunday, February 10. During Adar, everything goes topsy-turvy: it is a month of metamorphosis, of new growth, of possibility. Those who are able begin every day in Adar standing on their heads in recognition that at any moment, things could change, and that even in the face of such unpredictability, there is room to be playful.
May we each find ways of kindling sparks of possibility in this dark month, may we each meet each other with gratitude and joy at being together, at making community together. May we cultivate courage and commitment with each laugh we share together during this wild month of Adar.
If you are interested in participating in Shushan Idol, please get in touch with Carrie McClure at email@example.com. I'll be ready to participate, accordion in hand! I hope you'll join us!
Rosh Chodesh is the celebration of the new moon, central to the Jewish calendar and to women. We explore Jewish women's issues such as personal spirituality, ritual and celebration, share our "oys and joys," and we nosh. An article by Ruth Berger Goldston and Merle Feld describes a Rosh Chodesh group ‘a very special experience of community…a unique opportunity to lead and be led, to grow and to experiment, to learn and to teach, to struggle and to celebrate with our sisters.’ We hope that you'll want to help us grow this special group in our community. We look forward to getting to know you better.