2nd Michigan Jewish Food Festival

Click on postcard for details

Did you know that Metro Detroit is at the forefront of both the urban agriculture movement (and here) and the Jewish food movement? In 2000, there were about 80 farms within Detroit city limits; in 2016 the number soared to an amazing 1,400 urban farms in Detroit. Detroit’s number of black urban farmers is growing, and cooperation with Jewish organizations such as Hazon and the Isaac Agee Downtown synagogue, is on the uptick. Here is a nice reflection on this cooperation by rabbinic student and Hazon fellow Zoe McCoon.

On August 4th, Hazon and Oakland Ave Urban Farm hosted a “Resilience in the North End” Shared Shabbat Experience

The Jewish food movement connects food accessibility, eating, cooking and sustainable agriculture with Jewish tradition. For 3,000 years, Judaism has been encouraging us to think critically about the food we eat, the land our food comes from, and the ways our food choices affect the health of our community and our planet. Hazon organizes from the principle that the more people are able to understand their own relationship to food and land, and simultaneously, to Jewish tradition, the more they will engage in creating healthier and more sustainable communities for all. Hazon does this by building connections and relationships between farmers, entrepreneurs, farm workers, consumers, distributors, rabbis, Jewish leaders, business leaders, and other faith leaders.

On Sunday August 27th, Hazon Detroit will sponsor the 2nd Annual Michigan Jewish Food Festival.

The Festival will be at Eastern Market and will run from 11am-4pm. Carpools will be meeting at East side of Arborland Sunday at 9:45am, leaving at 10am. RSVP to Idelle hammond_sass@msn.com,   or Martha  marthakransdo@umic.edu.

Last year, 5,000 people came to the first Michigan Jewish food festival  This year’s event will bring together over 60 Jewish organizations and more than 60 food entrepreneurs and food justice organizations to share traditions and to build relationships.

You will be able to meet and learn from chefs

  • Joan Nathan
  • The Gefilteria’s Liz Alpern
  • Taste of Ethiopia’s Meskem Gebreyohannes

There will be speakers and demos on:

  • Jewish Ethics and Eating Meat;
  • Water Issues from Flint, Detroit and Southeast Michigan
  • Detroit and Regional Food Policy and Food Sovereignty
  • Demo tent for hands-on learning and skill sharing
  • Single Flower Honey Tasting
  • Making your own Herbal Teas for Health
  • Oral History Story Booth (on the Topsy Turvy Bus) where immigration and food stories will be recorded by the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan and the  Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archive.
  • Plus lots of activities for kids, free guided walking tours of the Eastern Market, music, and a health  area sponsored in part by Henry Ford Medical Systems.

Bulletin Board Artists Needed!

Yesterday I represented AARC at a planning meeting for the August 25th Community-Wide Shabbat at Hillel. It looks like most of the Ann Arbor congregations–Temple Beth Emeth, Beth Israel, the Orthodox Minyan, Pardes Hannah, and AARC–are coming together at Hillel to welcome Shabbat with song and have brief services and a meal. The evening will begin with activities for families with kids. The Hillel staff is arranging for extra parking. I hope many members of AARC will come out for this inaugural annual Community Wide Shabbat.

It was interesting to learn at the meeting, for the 3rd of 4th time this month, that many people who work at the JCC don’t know that the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Community (AARC) and the Jewish Cultural Society (JCS) are different organizations. I do love JCS: “Ann Arbor’s Secular Humanistic Community,” and we do both rent space at the JCC and have Sunday morning schools for our kids. But Reconstructionist Judaism is distinctive in our approach to building community that emphasizes spiritual aspects of Judaism, commitment to evolving religious practice, and inclusivity of a wide range of relationships to God and godliness. There are some great resources on these ideas on our website.

We need more opportunities for the local Jewish community to get to know us. Which leads me to the bulletin board.

Last year, the G’dolim and K’tanim designed a Tu B’Shevat bulletin board that celebrates nature and the seven species of foods in the Torah. We are ready for a new one!

We have some prime wall space at the JCC which needs some updating. We could be using the bulletin board to put ourselves out there in eye-catching informative fashion. Do you have any ideas? Is graphic design a forte of yours? We have lots of photos of activities, our handmade and distinctive ritual objects, our members. The bulletin board could highlight our  new rabbi, the upcoming High Holidays, our dynamic school for kids. Plus thoughtful, fun people in the congregation. Can you help design some of this into a bulletin board, soon, before the end of August? Contact Clare ckinberg@gmail.com.

Solar Eclipse, Rosh Hodesh Elul, Resetting the Communal Clock

by Clare Kinberg

Yesterday I got all excited when I realized that the upcoming total solar eclipse (August 21) coincided with Rosh Hodesh Elul, the new moon of the Jewish month in which we prepare for the High Holidays. What meaning could I derive from this momentous coincidence? Almost immediately my friend Max Jasny informed me that solar eclipses always occur on the new moon, but not every new moon. Max and I have a lot of things in common, for one, he works as an administrative assistant at Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, a small congregation in a beautiful place, with a Reconstructionist rabbi. But clearly, he knows more about astronomy than I do!

Still, a total solar eclipse on Rosh Hodesh Elul has been viewed only five times in the last 250 years. It is a moment that can be grabbed to acknowledge the grandeur of the universe and the many opportunities the Jewish calendar cycle gives us to reset our personal and communal clocks.

This week I had two important meetings in planning for next year: The High Holiday Logistics Committee (Allison Stupka, me, Idelle Hammond-Sass, Mike Ehmann and Rebecca Kanner) kicked into gear with a potluck on Allison’s back porch. We planned the “big move” of all our prayer books and ritual items from the Jewish Community Center over to the UUA building which we rent for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. We are so looking forward to having the services led by our new rabbi, Ora Nitkin-Kaner. As in all past years, AARC ticketless HH services are open to all and are smoothly run with lots of volunteer energy. You can view the volunteer sign up here. At least, put the dates in your calendar.

The Beit Sefer/Religious School Committee also met this week. Allison Stupka (busy girl!), me, Becky Ball and Stacy Dieve met at Becky’s home and planned two upcoming events for prospective, new and returning Beit Sefer families. We will be having a “popsicle party” on Wednesday August 30th at 6:30pm at the JCC for all returning Beit Sefer families and all families who are checking us out as a possible place for their kids to attend religious school. We’ll play on the playground (or gym if the weather is bad), share summer experiences, reacquaint the kids, and take the opportunity to show prospective families the school.

We also planned a religious school Open House at the JCC during Sukkot on Sunday Oct 8 for prospective families who may have connected with us during High Holidays and are still needing a religious school for their kids.

Coming Up in July…

  • July 28, Fourth Friday: Kabbalat Shabbat and Vegetarian Potluck at the JCC. This will be the last Fourth Friday that Rabbi Alana will lead for us at the JCC.
  • July 29Saturday, Isabel Ahbel-Rappe’s bat mitzvah: Rabbi Aura Ahuvia will lead services.

August Notes…

September Notes…

  • September 10: First Day of Beit Sefer, and Annual BBQ Picnic, this year at Lillie Park. More details soon.
  • Saturday September 16, Selichot
  • September 17: Apples & Honey: The Ann Arbor Jewish Community puts out the welcome wagon at the JCC and we will be doing a table.

High Holiday Dates

  • Wednesday September 20th, Erev Rosh Hashanah
  • Thursday September 21st, Rosh Hashanah
  • Friday Septtember 29th, Erev Yom Kippur
  • Saturday September 30th, Yom Kippur
  • Sunday October 1, Sukkah Building

Clare Kinberg is AARC Events and Communication Coordinator, and Director of AARC Beit Sefer/Religious School. You can reach her at ckinberg@gmail.com

 

 

Rabbi Alana discusses faith and millennials with Ray Suarez

Rabbi Alana Alpert

Rabbi Alana was part of an “On Point” radio discussion among “millennial” clergy on July 6, 2017. In this discussion a rabbi, an imam, an Episcopal priest and a Catholic priest discuss why they have dedicated their lives to the clergy. Asking questions about declining numbers of people affiliating with congregations, the host Ray Suarez seemed to be motivated by concern for his own daughter, recently ordained as an Episcopal priest. Rabbi Alana did a great job in challenging the assumptions that young people are not interested in religion and getting in strong statements about creative Judaism and the spiritual pull of social justice activism. She also gave some good explanations of the work Detroit Jews for Justice is doing. Take a listen!

We have two more opportunities this summer to participate in Rabbi Alana led services. On July 28, AARC will have its regular Fourth Friday Kabbalat Shabbat and Potluck at the Jewish Community Center. And, news flash, Rabbi Alana will lead a Reconstructionist service at the Community-Wide Shabbat at Hillel on August 25th. Because August 25th is a fourth Friday, AARC is moving our regular service to Hillel on that evening. More about this will be posted soon. In the meantime, you can register for the free dinner here. There will be children’s activities, several choices for services (TBE and BIC are having their congregational services at Hillel that evening as well), in additional to a communal dinner.

Isaac Asimov’s Book of Ruth

I’ve written about Shavuot several times over the past few years. In 2015, I wrote on the culmination of the counting of the Omer and the concept of “our lives as torah.” Last year, when Loving Day and Shavuot fell at the same time, I reflected on Jews and interracial marriage. In that blog, I recounted reasons I’d found that we read The Book of Ruth on Shavuot, “…the story takes place during the seasonal harvest that the holiday marks; Ruth’s acceptance of the Israelite faith is analogous to the Jewish people’s acceptance of Torah; and because of the legend that King David, a descendant of Ruth, died on Shavuot.”

Last week my friend Abbie Egherman told me about the 1972 Isaac Asimov book, The Story of Ruth. Abbie is on a search for books that will inspire us, as Jews, to become more deeply and actively involved in refugee support and resettlement. According to Asimov’s memoir, his retelling of Ruth’s story is a long essay treating the book “as a plea for tolerance against the cruelty of the scribe Ezra, who forced the Jews to ‘put away’ their foreign wives.” Asimov’s essay places the story in context of the culture of the time it was written, but his purpose, as explained in his memoir, was to reflect on the potential of any people to become persecutors when in positions of power. In particular, he wanted Jews to look at our own history, situations in which we have been in power as well as eras when we have not.

There will be plenty of time to discuss Asimov’s reflection, as well as other retellings of the Book of Ruth at our congregation’s Shavuot gathering.

 

AARC Shavuot in Stages

May 30, 2017

Everyone Welcome

RSVP Here 

Location: Marcy Epstein’s home, 1307 Henry St.:

6:30pm Holiday blessing, Parsha Study, and Spring Soup

7:30 Community celebration with flower strands and wreaths and Ice cream treats

8:30 “Many Books of Ruth” Real storytelling, with wine and cheese tasting

Also:

May 31st 6:30-7:30 Yiskor/Memorial Serivce at the JCC

contact for Marcy: dr_marcy@hotmail.com

Second Saturday May 13 with Beit Sefer/Religious School Students

Some of the G’dolim working on our bulletin board.

Our G’dolim students, their teachers and madricha will be leading Second Saturday Shabbat morning service on May 13th. For many liberal American Jews, the Kabbalat/Welcoming Shabbat service on Friday evening is a well-attended social event of the week. The more sparsely attended (except for Bnei Mitzvah) Saturday morning service, when traditionally שחרית/Shacharit/Morning prayers and blessings are combined with reading from the Torah, is a more prayerful, relaxing time conducive to contemplation and learning. Perhaps a hard thing for pre-teenagers to lead for the congregation. But you may be surprised by how thoughtful they can be.

The students have learned the structure of the Shabbat morning service—still a mystery to many adults. They have a beginning familiarity with the prayers and melodies our congregation uses, and they have prepared a discussion on the Torah portion, Emor, which is packed with possibilities. We hope many of you will come pray and learn with us on May 13.

Second Saturday Shabbat Morning Service

May 13, 2017, 10am-noon

Jewish Community Center of Ann Arbor, 2935 Birch Hollow Dr. 48108.

AARC members are teachers

With the spring holidays, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Passover, and Shavuot, AARC is coming near the end of two years of our members stepping up, without rabbinical direction, to plan our community’s observances. Of course, having started as a havurah, without a rabbi, many veteran members were used to planning holidays and services. And Rabbi Alana has been an inspiring service leader over this time.

In a few months, sure to quickly fly by, AARC’s new rabbi Ora Nitkin-Kaner, will be in Ann Arbor to begin her tenure with us and we are anticipating her leadership with excitement, and admittedly, relief. I’d like to shine a light on a few of the lay leaders who’ve filled in this year, not just administratively and logistically, but as religious and spiritual teachers.

From an article “Who is a Reconstructionist Jew” on the Reconstructionist Judaism Website: Reconstructionist communities challenge Jews to participate fully in our shared Jewish civilization. From building a sukkah to appreciating Jewish music, from caring for the Jewish young and old to leading Torah study – community members should experience Jewish civilization in our day as fully as they experience secular civilization.

Judaism will continue to be a dynamic civilization only if we choose to participate, create and transmit vitality to future generations. Reconstructionist rabbis work in partnership with committed lay people to formulate guidelines that serve as Jewish touchstones for our times. These guidelines are presented and democratically considered in Reconstructionist communities as standards for enhancing the Jewish life of the individual and the community rather than as binding laws.

A couple of weeks ago Jack Edelstein led our Second Saturday Shabbat morning service and discussion with such aplomb, I can’t wait till he leads again. Jack is my model of a Reconstructionist: knowledgeable in Hebrew, traditional prayer and Jewish source texts, he reads the Recon siddur/prayer book “beneath the line,” that is, during prayer, he emphasizes modern interpretations and understandings of the kavanah/intentions of the prayers. He led the discussion with respect for everyone’s input. My advice to all, next time Jack leads a service, come!

Over this past year, Evelyn Neuhaus, Margo Schlanger, Debbie Zivan, Barbara Boyk-Rust, and Allison Stupka have led Saturday morning services. Each of them brought learning of great value to the service. Dina Kurz has planned our last two Purims, and Rachel Baron Singer edited a new Haggadah just for us. Carol Lessure, Marcy Epstein, Mike Ehmann, Carole Caplan, and Nancy Meadow (and if others, please forgive me) have hosted home observances this year. Marcy is already planning for our Shavuot observance, May 30. I want to extend a thank you to all of them for helping us “participate fully in our shared Jewish civilization.” And I want to extend an invitation to each of our members to consider sharing your knowledge, skills, and spiritual leadership with the community as we move forward.

In May, Deb Kraus will be leading Fourth Friday and the following Saturday (when Peter Cohn will become Bar Mitzvah), and in June, Josh and Michal Samuels will lead. We are incredibly lucky to have these teachers in our congregation and we can all look forward to learning with them.

Passover Seder Details

What: AARC 3rd Night Seder

Where: Ann Arbor Jewish Community Center, 2935 Birch Hollow Road

When: Wednesday April 12, 6pm

Join with our community to rededicate to our freedom, and our activism for freedom for all. With a complete but not too long haggadah followed by a potluck meal.

Everyone welcome, but we need people to RSVP so we know how many places to set. Sign up here, both to RSVP and to bring something. If SignUp Genius is awkward for you, just email Clare that you are coming and what you will bring: ckinberg@gmail.com.

The self behind the mask

by Rachel Baron Singer

For many Jews, Purim is synonymous with raucous celebrations; it’s a time to be festive, to indulge in sweets, and to maybe get a little shikker before the night is over. But it’s important to note that Purim is also a time for personal reflection—a time to consider our motives and deeds, and who we really are beneath the surface. The costumes we wear on Purim, whether we’re dressed up as Mordecai or Magneto, serve as a reminder of this principle.
It’s often said that Purim is about “the hidden” being revealed. Haman revealed his wickedness, just as Queen Esther revealed her identity to save the Jewish people. Some Jewish scholars also say the story of the Megillah is about hidden miracles or the “hidden hand of Hashem.” And when we dress up to celebrate Purim, we must also contemplate who we are when the charade ends, and then move forth with that knowledge firm inside us throughout the rest of the year.
In a tumultuous political climate that has many people feeling as though their moral is integrity being tested, this contemplation of ‘the self behind the mask’ is especially important. Dressing up is extremely fun, but it’s the revelation of who you are underneath it all that is ultimately what Purim is all about. So when you put on a cape or a funny hat this weekend, also consider what parts of yourself you don’t wish to conceal, and how you can go forward after Purim to bring that truth to the light…after you’re all done noshing on Hamantashen, of course!

Schedule for our Purim Fun  Saturday March 11 at the JCC 

4-6pm Hamantashen-baking party in the JCC kitchen from 4:00-6:00 PM  gsaltzman@albion.edu

• 6-7 pm Megillah reading lead by Dina Kurz and Debbie Zivan, with Debbie Gombert leading the Purim musicians.

• 7-8:30 pm Pot luck dinner AARC style with Purimspiel writtten by Livia Belman Wells and Shani Samuels. No nuts, no meat, fish okay.

• 8:30 pm — Havdalah (Can you volunteer to lead the Havdallah? contact Dina Kurz dinakurz@gmail.com

Purim Fun on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reading the Megillah, 2016. The megillah readers are: l-r Drake Meadow, Rachel Baron Singer, Barbara Boyk Rust, Rena Basch, Harry Fried, Dina Kurz, Dave Nelson, and Paul Resnick.

Costumes, Purim spiel, witty fun, Megillah reading, potluck dinner with hamentashen… what could be better?

Please join the AARC as we celebrate Purim this year with a participatory, family friendly, lay-led service on March 11 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Jewish Community Center. All ages are invited to join in the reading of the Megillah, reveling in their costumed attire, followed by a vegetarian, nut-free potluck and a ‘dinner theatre’ congregational Purim spiel. The fun and witty evening will conclude with Havdalah.

Purim’s theme of the difficulty in discerning good from evil is especially contemporary. Come celebrate the Jewish tradition of booing the Hamans of the world, and cheering the Esthers and Mordechais.

Purimplayers, 2016, left to right Ruby Lowenstein, Jacob Schneyer, Eli Kirshner (foreground), Livia Belman-Wells (hidden)

 

Purim celebration schedule

6:00 – 7:00 pm Megillah reading in Hebrew and English

7:00 – 8:30 pm Potluck with ‘dinner theatre’ Purim spiel

8:30 pm Havdalah

Join the fun!

Anyone who would like to have a specific role in the evening, please contact dinakurz@gmail.com .  Debbie Zivan will be chanting parts of the service in Hebrew and there are many roles for English readers.
Interested in hosting a hamentaschen baking gathering?  Let Clare know and she’ll put out a call for other bakers!
We are looking for musicians, old and young, who want to enliven the festivities. Again, get in touch with Dina if you have not already done so.
Looking for costume advice: Contact   Nancy Meadow  for the young and Rachel Baron Singer for the older set