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November 2013 Events

  • 7:30 pm Please put Saturday, November 2, 7:30 p.m. at the Dennos Museum meeting room on your calendar.  This is a not to be missed opportunity to participate in an interactive program for our two congregations with Jack Segal on
    "Israel and Palestine: Is Peace Possible in a Sea of Instability?" 
    Those of you who are familiar with Jack's teaching know that you ordinarily have to register and pay tuition to NMC. But on November 2, we'll have him all to ourselves!  And we'll have a chance to share some Jewish perspectives on this continually challenging subject.
    Jack is currently co-chairman with his wife, Karen, of the International Affairs Forum, which brings speakers throughout the year to NMC’s Milliken Auditorium.  Jack made 40 trips to Afghanistan as Chief Political Adviser to the NATO Commander and had a hand in shaping NATO policy throughout the Afghanistan conflict.  He also served in the Clinton White House.  Working as a team just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Jack and Karen established the first U. S. diplomatic mission in central Russia.  They both also had a front row seat for Saddam’s SCUD missile attacks while Jack served as senior U.S. adviser on political / military issues in Israel and the Palestine territories during the Gulf War and Karen, as a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University, pursued a study of US/Israeli strategic cooperation.
    We look forward to seeing you Saturday, November 2 and please bring snacks to share!

Jack Segal is a retired senior adviser to the NATO commander. He now presents classes and the International Affairs Forum at NMC. Jack is extremely knowledgeable about the Middle East and is highly skilled at encouraging audience interaction with a great sense of humor. 

Monday, November 4:
  • 7:00 pm, Library Conference room on the NCMC Petoskey Campus
Temple B'nai Israel in Petoskey is pleased to be hosting Australian-Israeli actress and dramatic educator, Helen Gottstein for a one night only performance of her one-woman show,  "The Four Faces of Israel," to be held in conjunction with North Central Michigan College (NCMC) International Event Series for Fall 2013.
The performance will take place on Monday, November 4 in the Library Conference Room on the NCMC Petoskey campus at 7:00 pm. The program is free and open to the public.
Her presentation highlights the  complex challenges of modern day Israel and the Middle East including its history, its passions and its people. There will be a reception with Helen following the performance

October Events

Friday, October 18:
  • 7:00 pm Shabbat Service at Temple Beth El, 311 Beth El Way, Traverse City. Please bring a snack to share for oneg!

Saturday, October 19:
  • 10:00 am Contemplative Shabbat Service at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC
  • 10:45 am Adult Hebrew and Torah study at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC
  • 11:30 am Adult Education at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC
  • 6:00 pm Spirituality Havurah meeting at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC

Sunday, October 20:
  • 10:00 am Religious School at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC
  • 1:00 pm Congregation Ahavat Shalom Annual Meeting at the Jewish Community Center, 3143 Logan Valley Road, TC. We will be discussing and approving the annual budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and discussing potential negotiations towards merging with Congregation Beth El.

September Events


Because Reb Arielle was already committed as a cantor to the shul she served last year for High Holidays, we will have a guest rabbi serving us this year. Leora Abelson is one of Arielle's fellow rabbinic students at Hebrew College, and Arielle recommended her highly to us. You can learn more about Reb Leora by CLICKING HERE. We are looking forward to welcoming and worshiping with Leora and her family (her parents will be with us for Yom Kippur.)

Wednesday, Sept. 4

7:30 pm Erev Rosh Hashanah Services at the UU, 6726 Center Road, Traverse City. Please bring a treat to share for oneg. 

Thursday, Sept. 5:

10:00 am Rosh Hashanah Services at the UU

12:30 pm Tashlich - meet at Temple Beth El, 311 Beth El Way, Traverse City

1:00 pm Lunch at Minerva's (reservations required, limit of 40 people)

3:30 pm Family Service at the UU

Friday, Sept. 6: 

7:00 pm Shabbat Shuvah Service at Temple Beth El. Please bring a treat to share for Oneg.

Friday, Sept. 13

7:30 pm Kol Nidre Service at the UU

Saturday, Sept. 14:

10:00 am Yom Kippur Service at the UU

 service immediately following morning service, approximately 12:00

3:30 pm Family Service at the UU

4:30 pm Closing Service at the UU

5:30 pm Break the Fast at the UU (reservations required) This year we are excited to have BTF catered by Spaghetti Jim's!

August Events

Friday, August 307:00 pm Shabbat Services at Temple Beth El, 311 Beth El Way, Traverse City.  
Please bring a treat to share for Oneg. 

Saturday, August 31Help Celebrate Eve's Bat Mitzvah!

Dear Congregation Ahavat Shalom and Temple Beth El community members,

We are looking forward to sharing our simcha when Eve becomes a Bat Mitzvah on August 31st. We are blessed that both Reb Arielle and Reb Chava will be jointly conducting the service with Eve, and that she has had the opportunity to have both of these amazing women in her life. 

Lisa and Andy Robitshek

July Events

 Friday, July 57:00 pm Shabbat Services at Congregation Beth El, led by Beth El member Andy Beider. Please bring a treat to share for Oneg.

June Events

Thursday, June 276:00 pm Potluck and pre-theatre discussion at the home of Lois Kowalsky, followed by the professional theatre performance of "Hamlet" at Interlochen. 

This is a professionally produced play with theatre faculty and Interlochen Arts Academy theatre alumni, in the outdoor Upton Morley amphitheater at Interlochen. Prior to the play, we will meet for a pot-luck dinner and pre-play discussion of Jewish resonance in "Hamlet", led by Rabbi Arielle. If you are interested in attending, the tickets are $26 and must be purchased in advance. ( The theatre has limited seating. 

Based on prior Shakespeare productions at Interlochen, this should be an outstanding evening of entertainment and camaraderie. 

Friday, June 286:00 pm picnic, followed by7:00 pm Shabbat Services at Sayler Park in Acme Township The address is 5923 Yuba Park Road, Williamsburg MI 49690. Please bring a treat to share for Oneg. For directions to the park, click here


Saturday, June 29:10:00 am Help Celebrate Lena's Bat Mitzvah!

Roger Gerstle and Marjie Rich welcome all congregation members to their daughter Lena's Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, June 29, 10:00 am at the Unitarian   Universalist Congregation, 6726 Center Road.  There will be a celebratory oneg following the service. We hope you can make it!

May Events

Friday, May 17, 7:00 pm Shabbat Services at CAS, held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall.
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: 
 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 Jewish community.  
Cantors were threatened by her, the Jewish establishment tried to reject her.  They couldn't.
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.
Coffee/tea available. RSVP to Marge LaRose ( or 231-929-3340). 
Definitely appropriate for teens and please encourage them to come.

Sunday, May 19, 9:00 am, B’nai Mitzvah Class at the CAS/BE Office and Education Center

Dates to save - Rabbi's Future visits:

  • 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
  • March 13-16, 2014
  • April 10-13, 2014
  • April 25-28, 2014


Just 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 association.
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 same moment,
 to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
 with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
 to make love in war and war in love.
 And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
 to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
 what history
 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 loves
 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?
You're right!
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  I'll be ready to participate, accordion in hand!  I hope you'll join us!


April Events

Sunday, April 7, at 7:00 pm, Yom Ha Shoah, Day of Burning, a Holocaust Memorial service will be held at Congregation Beth El, on Beth El Way, a small street off Washington, behind the Court house, Traverse City. This will be a service commemorating the millions killed, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, etc. by the Nazi regime. It is our mandate to remember; never to forget. Please join us in this timely service when hate and discrimination is still rampart in our world. This will be a short service, open to all to attend. 

Friday, April 19, 7:00 pm Shabbat Services at Congregation Beth El. Please bring a treat to share for Oneg. 

Saturday, April 20, at the Offices and Education Center at Logan Landing, 3143 Logan Valley Road
    10:00am - Adult Education

Saturday, April 20 - Adult Evening. Details will be announced. 

Sunday, April 21 at the Offices and Education Center

    9:00am - B'nai Mitzvah class
   10:00am - Religious School

March Events

7:00 pm Shabbat Services at the UU with Rabbi Arielle. Please bring a treat to share for oneg.


10-12 -- Adult Education at the UU. This time will include a chance to study liturgy and Hebrew together, as well as a chance to talk about relevant themes of the Torah portion.  

Please RSVP if you plan to attend so we'll know how many bagels to bring!

Community Seder

The joint congregational Seder lead by Rabbi Arielle will be held Saturday, March 23, 5:30 pm at the Unitarian Church on Center Rd. Every year,  Jews around the world come together to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt.  We'll gather together to tell the story and to talk about what narrow spaces we're leaving and what liberation looks like for us this year.  This is a great chance for us to connect as a community and to welcome in springtime together.


Friday, February 22, 7:00 p.m. at Temple Beth El - JOINT SHABBAT SERVICE
Everyone is invited for an evening of fellowship & worship led by student rabbi Arielle Rosenberg. Please bring something to share for oneg. 

Everyone is invited for an evening of fellowship & worship led by student rabbi Arielle Rosenberg. Please bring something to share for oneg. 
Saturday, February 23 Adult Lunch and Learn, at the DENNOS MUSEUM CENTER (no admission charge) .
        9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Meet at the museum and view the exhibit "Them"
        10:30 a.m. - 11:15 p.m. Student rabbi Arielle Rosenberg will give a program (open to the public) on Jews in the Civil Rights Movement
        11:15 a.m. - noon Torah Study
        Noon: Kiddush! Please bring a dish to share. Bagels and lox will be provided.

        7:00 pm  PURIM PARTY - "SHUSHAN IDOL" at the UU on Center Road. 

Sunday, February 24, at the Shapiro home
        10:00 a.m. - Religious School will make hamantaschen and learn about Purim with rabbi Arielle

Oys and Joys!
THANK YOU to Arielle Rosenberg, Megan Shapiro, and Carrie McClure for organizing our upcoming Purim party!

THANK YOU to Emmy Lou Cholak and all who answered her call for help for organizing dinner on February 13 for the homeless individuals in our community.  

POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS to Dick, Terri and Aaron Mount. Dick recently experienced a mild stroke and surgery to clear a blocked artery, and Aaron faces ongoing challenges with Cystic Fibrosis. 

LOVE AND SUPPORT to Fred and Debbie Goldenberg on the passing of Fred's mother, Enid Goldenberg.


The Rich/Gerstle family travelled to Cuba over the holidays on a Jewish mission trip. We visited synagagues in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, and Havana. We gave the congregants all the gifts (and medications purchased with the money) donated by CAS and Beth El members.  It was a very powerful experience for us, to see the perseverance and survival of these small congregations. We received such warm welcomes, including salsa lessons provided by the teen members, meals, and a slide show. So much is the same, and the differences are fascinating.  Thanks to all for the gifts, words of encouragement, and interest. Hurray for the joint Tikkun Olam effort of our 2 congregations!

Arielle Rosenberg's First Visit as Interim Rabbi, January 201

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 5773/2012
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services for Congregations Beth El and Ahavat Shalom will be held jointly and led by Rabbi Seth Castleman with soloists Keith Firstenberg and Fred Goldenberg and the voices of members of both congregations. All services will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 6726 Center Rd, unless otherwise noted.

If you are not a member of our congregation and would like to join us for services or for break the fast, please complete the NON-MEMBERS FORMWe welcome you to all of our services!

High Holy Days - 5773

Rosh Hashanah, Sunday, September 16
  • Erev Service 7:30 pm – Oneg to follow (see below)

Monday, September 17
  • Morning service – 10:00 am
  • Tashlich service – 12:30 pm meet at Temple Beth El
  • Optional lunch at MInervas’s – 1:00 pm (see below for reservation information)
  • Family service – 3:30 pm

Tuesday, September 18 – Second day service

  • Afternoon service – 5:00 pm at Temple Beth El 
  • An informal group will go to dinner together following services, reservations not required.

Yom Kippur, Tuesday, September 25

  • Kol Nidre – 7:30 pm

Wednesday, September 26
  • Morning service – 10:00 am
  • Yiskor service – 12:30 pm
  • Family service – 3:30 pm
  • Concluding service – 4:30 pm

Sukkot 2011

Please click on the link above to watch a slide show of celebrating Sukkot. Thank you to Raphael Coiman for sharing his home and his pictures.

Rosh Chodesh

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. 

Our coordinators are Lisa Robitchek ( or 409-0039) and Megan Shapiro ( or 421-1531).

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians Annual Traditional Jiingtamok (Powwow), Peshawbestown, Sunday August 21, 2011.
We are planning to meet to carpool in Traverse City to go to the powwow. It's a great event, and we will be particularly looking for comparisons between Jewish and Odawa traditions and values. The Grand Entry (when an honor guard and all of the dancers enter the dance circle ceremonially) will be at 1:00 p.m. We are currently working on details about what time we are going up; we are thinking we would like to get there a little early to grab a bite to eat from the food vendors and get settled in. We hope to be able to arrange a brief discussion with a tribal member before the event to discuss the significance of what we will see and event ettiquette.

Rosh Chodesh meeting at the home of Susan Metcalfe, 402 Chestnut Street, Grayling MI 49738, Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.
Susan Curtis and Sharon Vreeland will be sharing their blintz making recipe and techniques! We will make both cheese blintzes and potato & onion blintzes. More information will follow in about a week as to what people can bring. If anyone has an electric frying pan and/or crepe pans those will be particularly welcome! We will share a dairy meal centered around out blintzes. We also plan to carpool, complete with Jewish music for the "bus" ride. So, get those RSVPs in soon - once we know who plans on coming we can arrange carpool meeting points for the trip.

Remembering the Holocaust

Central United Methodist Church

Traverse City, Michigan
May 15, 2011


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