70 Faces of Justice: A Community Shavuot Celebration
Members from Washtenaw and Ingham county Jewish congregations gathered Sunday evening for a stimulating evening of learning on Jewish approaches to justice.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Eli Savit, Washtenaw County Prosecutor. Mr. Savit offered a fascinating perspective, redefining how we pursue justice work within the legal system. Savit compared re-writing existing unjust laws to the early rabbis’ re-interpretation of the biblical commandment to kill one’s own ‘rebellious son’ (ben sorer u’moreh). The early rabbis made the discernment process for execution so long and convoluted that no one could possibly meet the standards to carry out the law. Savit likened this process to such contemporary issues as choosing not to prosecute young offenders for smaller crimes and implementing a restorative justice program for larger crimes.
Savit’s lecture led to the conclusion that the criminal justice system is influenced by larger systems of injustice in our society. Not only do we need to re-think how we prosecute crimes, but must also increase funding for education and health care–the lack of which can contribute to violence within our society. The thought-provoking lecture led to a vibrant Q and A with Mr. Savit.
Following the keynote address, attendees were sent into breakout rooms for ‘Speed Cheesecaking’ to discuss issues important to them and get to know members of other congregations. Many attendees commented that they appreciated the opportunity to get to know more people within the larger Jewish community.
The evening carried on with three consecutive study sessions where attendees could choose from discussions led by area rabbis on topics as diverse as LBGTQIA advocacy, kabbalah, gender, and social justice. Rabbi Ora led two sessions; ‘When a Pauper Takes the Bimah: The Revolutionary Message of Lecha Dodi,’ and ‘Nothing But Niggunim!’
The event was a success and everyone agreed we will carry on the tradition for years to come!
Beit Sefer Shavuot Picnic
For Shavuot this year, Beit Sefer director Clare Kinberg organized a COVID-safe outdoor picnic for the end of the year Beit Sefer gathering. The event was hosted at the home of Beit Sefer teacher Aaron Jackson. Families were treated to freshly made blintzes, lovingly prepared by Clare Kinberg.
This was the first time since the pandemic began that most of the Beit Sefer students had been together as a group! They had so much fun catching up and playing on the playground together. Yasher koach to the Beit Sefer teachers and especially Clare for organizing this event and providing such a stimulating year of learning for our Beit Sefer students.