Search Results for: Ackerman

Member Profiles: Mark and Erica Ackerman

erica ackerman mark ackermanMark and Erica Ackerman have lived in the Burns Park area of Ann Arbor since 2001. Mark is a professor at UM in the School of Information and in the Division of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering where he does research in human-computer interaction (social computing). Erica is a web developer at the University, as well. They have two grown children, Rebecca and Zachary. Rebecca is a data analyst for a non-profit in New York City, and Zach was recently elected to the Ann Arbor City Council. You can read an interview with Zach about his election here.

Among other things, Mark is a news junkie, and Erica is active in the Democratic Party and has a passion for fighting global warming. An example of Erica’s blogging on the subject can be seen here. Mark and Erica began coming to AARC High Holiday services several years ago, and have gradually gotten more involved in the congregation.

Q&A with City Council Primary Winner Zachary Ackerman

Zachary Ackerman, 21 year old U-M student and son of AARC members Erica and Mark, won the August 4, 2015 primary for 3rd ward City Councilperson and will run unopposed in the November election.  In the busy days following his primary victory, Zach kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his experiences, including his Jewish upbringing.


Emily Eisbruch (EE): Congratulations Zach!  How do you balance your campaign with the responsibilities of being a University of Michigan student?
Zachary Ackerman (ZA) : Balance in one’s personal life is always difficult to strike. Luckily, being a student allows for flexibility. This summer, when I really hit the campaign trail running, I was working full time at the University’s IT department. From time to time, people will express concern about how I will balance work on Council with work as a student. The reality is that I will only be both a student and a representative on Council for one or two meetings.

EE: How has this campaign experience compared to your expectations? What have you learned?  What are your hopes moving forward?
ZA: I’ve worked professionally for Democratic politicians for a number of years, but being the candidate is very different. Knocking on fifty strangers’ doors a day is really putting yourself out there. What I found most interesting and most valuable is how different each household, each street, and each neighborhood in the Third Ward really is. It was critical that I did knock every door in the ward because every household proved to have its own concerns with the City. I look forward to getting to work to address those priorities.

EE: How, if at all, did Jewish upbringing or education feed into your interest in public service?
ZA: I was raised on stories of my great-grandparents and my grandfather. My grandfather’s parents came to the United States in the wake of the Russian pogroms. Like so many they had nothing to their names but their faith and family. They settled in Columbus, OH and opened up a small tailor shop, which went on to serve the growing Jewish community of Columbus. It was there that they helped found an Orthodox congregation and raised my grandfather. My grandfather died young from wounds he sustained in Italy in WWII, but he used his short life to its utmost. After the war, he became a pharmacist, serving the community his parents had helped root. As the owner of Ackerman Drug, he helped local kids pay their way through school, and filled prescriptions for the sick and indigent. I was raised to be a mensch like my grandfather. I was raised to believe community can and should take care of its own.

EE: Tell us about your Jewish background.  Did you participate in Jewish activities growing up?
ZA: I grew up a member of the Beth Israel congregation here in Ann Arbor. There, I attended Hebrew school three times a week and became a bar mitzvah (my Torah portion was Ki Tavo). A few years ago, my parents joined the AARC. Since then, I’ve joined them for High Holiday services and look forward to seeing everyone again soon.


EE
: Thank you Zach, and we hope to see you soon at the AARC also!

 

 

 

The Just City/Mincha/Farewell to Rabbi Michael

Michael Strassfeld photo

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

March 25 to 26 is our year’s last Shabbaton with Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, who has visited us from New York and led terrific services and events.  He and we will be busy this last weekend:  Our Fourth Friday March 25 will be our community’s Purim celebration–Megillah reading, dinner theatre, shtick, etc.  More details here and here.  Please join us!

 

For March 26, we’ll focus on Shabbat.  At 3 pm, Rabbi Michael will lead text study on the topic of the “Just City.”

the_just_city

The Just City

He writes:  “What makes for a ‘just city’ according to Jewish tradition?  What is the overall responsibility of its citizens to those who are in need? Is there a limit to that responsibility? How do you balance legitimate self-interest with helping the poor? How do you navigate endless needs and issues of fraud? What institutions are necessary for a just city? We will look at rabbinical and biblical texts to help us explore these questions.”

And we’ll conclude with a Mincha service at 4 pm (sharp — it’s a short service), followed by seudah shlishit (shabbat snack).  Rabbi Michael, Erica Ackerman, and Debbie Zivan will read Torah.  All are welcome, at the JCC.  PLEASE RSVP, here. (We need to make minyan, and estimate food.)

Please join us for this discussion, and to say farewell to Rabbi Michael and thank him for his time with us.