Selichot and High Holiday Highlights

As the moon of Elul begins to wane, the new year approaches. Rosh Hashanah begins at the new moon, awaiting the new light, just as the creation story does, in the potential of darkness and void.

We will begin to explore this theme and the liturgy of the season in our Selichot gathering, Saturday evening September 20th. We will meet at 7:30 for pot luck dessert and then continue with Havdalah and the ritual. The gathering will take place at 2960 Lakeview Drive, Ann Arbor. Positive RSVPs always appreciated for planning purposes to ravmichal@aarecon.org or 734 845 2361.

Other highlights of our high holidays together will include:

  • Personal reflections on the special themes of Rosh Hashanah.
  • Tashlich with pebbles for the health of our river and wildlife.
  • Song and study of the Akedah for the second day of Rosh Hashanah on Friday September 26th.
  • Fourth Friday/Shabbat Shuvah service Friday September 26th, featuring seasonal music and a d’var Torah on the Akedah.
  • Inclusion of the Yiskor liturgy in Yom Kippur morning services.
  • A full afternoon of movement, learning and remembering on Yom Kippur day.
  • Sukkot retreat at the Emrich Center in Brighton October 10-12.

As always. everyone is welcome to join AARC for all or part of our celebration/commemoration of these special days.

Welcome to Becky, Brian, Sam, and Joey!

Our newest members are Becky and Brian Ball and their sons, Sam and Joey.

I asked Becky if she’d introduce her family to us, and she wrote this:

I was actually born and raised in Ann Arbor, but my husband is from Rhode Island (we met living in Los Angeles). We’ve been back in Ann Arbor for 12 years, but finally begun to look for a congregation to belong to. My husband teaches special education in Saline, and I teach social studies at Skyline in Ann Arbor (World History, World Humanities, Economics and Government). We are an interfaith family – I am Jewish while Brian was raised Catholic. I love quilting, kayaking and medieval history. My husband enjoys writing and gardening. Sam (8) and Joey (5) both went to preschool at the JCC, but both are now at Eberwhite Elementary. They are obsessed with legos and superheroes. We have four cats and are a vegetarian family. Our favorite movie is the original “Star Wars.” My favorite book is “The Lightbearer,” a novel about the Roman Empire. Brian’s favorite book is “The Great Gatsby.” We live in Scio Township between Ann Arbor and Dexter, and love the natural setting of wildlife and being near the river, but also being close to the libraries and museums of town.

Welcome to Becky and Brian!

Welcome to Becky and Brian!

Sam and Joey

And to Sam and Joey, too.

 

Join the Food, Land and Justice Bus Tour to Detroit

[Members Idelle Hammond-Sass and Carole Caplan have been working with others in the community to organize a bus trip to Detroit and day of learning as part of the Food, Land and Justice grant. They pass along this note with details,  printable flyer and the link to purchase tickets.]
honeyAs part of a year of programing grounded in the Jewish practice of Shmita  you are invited to join with members of the Ann Arbor Jewish community for an exciting visit to Detroit on Sunday September 14, 2014.

So much is happening around the issues of food systems, security, accessibility and affordability in Detroit–let’s take the day to learn about it first-hand! After meeting at the Ann Arbor JCC, we will travel by bus to D-/town Farms, and learn how their work is making important healthy change both personally and communally.

We will then arrive at historic Eastern Market where we will hear from several speakers as to their important roles in the food movement. We will enjoy a healthy lunch and have time to shop the artisans’ market as well. We will study together, laugh together and then brainstorm how we might be part of this important movement moving forward.

Details of  the FOOD, LAND and JUSTICE trip to Detroit:

Space is limited—reserve yours today! Contact Carole Caplan (caplan.carole AT gmail.com), or Idelle Hammond-Sass (Hammond_sass AT msn.com) for more information.

This program is generously funded by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor.

Entering Elul – Participation and Creation

It is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the preparatory month leading towards Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally the time to begin serious reflection on the year that has passed in order to prepare for the one ahead.The month is ritualized with prayers of selichot/forgiveness and a blast of the shofar each day to help keep us aware and on track.

This year, we will be doing the alternative reading for Rosh Hashanah, the story of creation. Reflecting the tradition that  Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of creation, the passage is also is a reminder of the continual work of creation and re-creation, in the world and in our own lives.
In keeping with these themes of preparation and re-creation, I invite you each to consider two questions:
1. How might I contribute to our high holiday experience this year?
2. What do I want to create or re-introduce into my life in the coming year?
I doubt many of us will hear a shofar each day this month, but perhaps you can infuse your usual first morning sound – whether an alarm clock or the timer on your coffee maker – with a reminder of the holy time to come.

 

Read About Sholem Aleichem with the Book Group

[Here’s a note from Jon Sweeney on the next meeting of the Congregation’s book club.]

By Jon Sweeney

The AARC Book Group meets again on Sunday, September 7, 7pm at the home of Greg Saltzman.

We are all reading The Worlds of Sholom Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye, by Jeremy Dauber, a professor of Yiddish at Columbia University. Aleichem was a fascinating character, probably the most important Yiddish writer of the twentieth century, and there is much to discover beyond Fiddler!

Everyone and anyone is invited to join us. You are welcome to join for one meeting only or every time. No RSVP needed, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact jonsweeney AT gmail.com.

Also see:

Fun at the Annual BBQ

Grownups, teens, and kids: Everyone likes marshmallows at our 2014 Annual Bar-b-q.

BBQ-3 (2014)

Mark and Bass

 

 

 

 

Maya likes marshmallows

Maya likes marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows

Roasting marshmallows

A Blessing for New Website!

Yashar koach to project coordinator Mark Schneyer, as well as Margo Schlanger and the rest of the website team, for a wonderful product and successful launch. May your efforts broaden our outreach and deepen our in-reach, enhance our presence in the world and our connections to one another, and provide years of information, education, rumination and registration.

In the words in the psalmist:

May the sweetness of the DIVINE ONE be upon us. The work of our hands establish for us; yes, the work of our hands – establish it!  (90:17)

Sukkot Retreat 2014, Save-the-date!

Lulav, pointing right

WHEN: Fri. Oct. 10 to Sun. Oct. 12

 

WHAT: A weekend full of learning, community, celebration, rest, and fun

 

  • Build and decorate the sukkah; celebrate sukkot.
  • Music and folk dancing with the fun and fabulous house band, Dan Peisach and the Mazel Tovs
  • Workshops (more details soon)
  • Yoga
  • Walks to the lake
  • Shabbat service
  • Share great meals and relaxing time

WHERE: Emrich Retreat Center (Brighton Recreation Area), just 45 minutes from Ann Arbor by car

PRACTICAL DETAILS:

  • Sleeping is in bunk beds
  • Child care provided Saturday morning and afternoon
  • Cost:  TBA (you can come for the whole weekend, or for just Shabbat lunch or dinner)

MORE INFORMATION:

FUN WE HAD LAST YEAR:

Under the Sukkah, 2013

Under the Sukkah, 2013

Recipe: Chavurah Challah

By Jennifer Cohen

[Note: Jen Cohen bakes challah for most of our Fourth Friday Shabbats. She says “I think this is the most current recipe.  I confess that I change it all the time.”] 

Ingredients
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water, separated
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 large or extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5–6 cups flour (I typically use 1-2 cups whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • cornmeal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a little bit of water
  • sesame or poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat, set aside to cool a bit.
  2. Pour about a tablespoon of butter into a large bowl and swirl it around to coat the inside.
  3. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water, with a pinch of sugar and set aside to proof.
  4. In a stand mixer or other large bowl, beat together eggs, honey and melted butter. Add remaining 1 cup warm water and mix well. Add yeast mixture and blend well. Add flour, with salt, 1 cup at a time, blending well after each addition until dough is thick enough to work by hand.
  5. Spoon dough onto floured work surface and knead for several minutes. If you’d like to add raisins (1-1 1/2 cups), here is where you would incorporate them, along with enough additional flour to make a smooth elastic dough.
  6. Rub the top of the dough in the buttered bowl, then flip the dough over and nestle inside. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place until doubled in size. I let this part go on for quite a while—like 5 hours or so.
  7. When ready to bake, line a baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  8. For the Chav, I divide dough into 3 pieces and roll each into a long rope. I braid the ropes and then curve the braid into a circle, pinching the ends together. For a smaller gathering, I divide the dough in half and then make 2 smaller braided loaves.
  9. Cover with that clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
  10. Brush the top and sides of the challah with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, depending on loaf size, until golden brown.

**Pumpkin Challah for Challoween: Replace 1/2 the butter and 1 of the eggs with a cup of pumpkin puree. Add a little pumpkin pie spice to the dough.

**Apple and Honey Challah for Rosh Hashanah: Add 2 finely diced granny smith apples to regular challah. Brush the top with 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup honey, before baking and again when just out of the oven.

**Thanksgiving Challah: same as Challoween Challah, but add 1 cup of dried cranberries. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds after the egg wash.

Challah Musings

By Jennifer Cohen

[Note: Jen’s delicious challah, fresh from the oven, its smell wafting though the room at the close of Friday night services, has been an AARC tradition for almost 20 years.]

I used to say that I came into this religion through the kitchen. Growing up in Ohio, I knew very, very few Jews. Sure, I read the All of a Kind Family books, but I never imagined that any of that (kosher dishes! dressing up for something called Purim!) was still going on. I read those stories and absorbed that information the same way I did Little House on the Prairie–historical fiction. Then I moved to NY, met Adam, fell in love and a bit through the looking glass. I got a crash course on keeping kosher and the relentless holiday schedule.

Challah

This challah was not made by Jen, but it was made with Jen’s special recipe

Soon I was checking hot dog bun packages to see if they were parve and trying to figure out how to make a dinner without butter. I learned to make latkes; Adam was not impressed with my first attempts. I think he said something like “those look like bird’s nests”. I found a kosher butcher, made peace with the idea of no bacon or shrimp, and got a cheap second set of dishes. It was fairly easy to do this on Long Island. Things were set up there.

When we moved to MI, I had to search and hunt to find some of my, by then, staples. Missing some of the good bakeries, I decided it was time to learn to bake challah. I consulted several cookbooks (this was before you could go on-line!) and gave it a shot, every Friday. There were some success and some dismal failures (a potato challah that slumped off the baking sheet). I persevered and came up with a version of what I bake today. The trick was in the rising time. Earlier recipes had the rising time set at short intervals–1 hour, then punch down, then rest 40 minutes, then bake. At that time, I had two busy little boys and couldn’t sit around and wait for dough to rise. I used to make the dough, take it along with us to the park. After an hour, making sure the boys were engaged in an important excavation in the sandbox, I’d punch it down and pop it into 2 loaf pans. (I had a little work station set up in the back of the mini-van.) Then, 1/2 an hour later, we’d drive home and bake. Warm challah for teatime and a fresh loaf for dinner.

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