Rabbi Eric Yanoff
Adath Israel, Philadelphia
Shabbat Shalom from Philadelphia!
My Great Uncle Rabbi Sheldon Elster, shared with me a midrash about the Queen of Sheba, who once offered two wreaths of roses to King Solomon - one genuine, the other artificial. According to the legend, she defied King Solomon to detect which one was real, and which was not.
Solomon opened the window, and allowed a swarm of bees into the throne room. The bees immediately settled on the real roses. The midrash goes on to conclude, "Just as Solomon, though wise but still a human, flesh-and-blood king, discerned the difference between the roses, likewise, God, the King of all kings, knows the difference between sincere and insincere worship."
But the truth is, Solomon alone did not know how to tell the difference between the roses! He had to rely on a swarm of "flower specialists" - God's creatures, all the same - to determine the authentic gift. What, then, is the lesson for us, and for this moment in the journey of the community of B'nai Israel in West Bloomfield?
In this week's Torah portion, Parashat Terumah, God instructs Moses to lead a communal campaign to collect finery and wealth - as well as creative talents and innovation - to create the Tabernacle, a traveling Temple for worship in the Wilderness of Sinai. We read, "Vayik'chu li terumah me-eit kol ish asher yid'venu libo... - take an offering from each person whose HEART SO MOVES HIM..." (Shemot 25:2).
God only wants sincere, heartfelt gifts to build the Sanctuary. The gifts are not for show; they are not for self-aggrandizement. God is telling us, through the midrash, that it is possible to know the "real deal" when we see it (or, in this case, smell it). No one human being can determine it alone; rather, together, we can discern the most authentic gifts. Sometimes, this revelation comes only by appointing "specialists," representatives, whose specific talents and backgrounds provide the initial litmus test - so that, then, the entire community can share in the splendor of the gift.
At this moment in your shul community's history, you have entrusted a Rabbinic Search Committee, hard at work, to continue the inspiring leadership that Rabbi Berger has provided in these first years of this chapter of the synagogue's life. Each person on that committee is there to represent a need, an insight, a perspective - to determine which qualified candidate is, for B'nai Israel, the "real rose." That may not be the same person as might fit (or not fit) another community; it is, in the truest sense of the word, a shidduch, and an inexact science.
But I know one thing about B'nai Israel: You can sense the "real deal" when you know it. Your deserved expectation of excellence is something that is constantly challenging to any rabbi or rabbinic candidate - but ultimately it is one of your greatest strengths and attractors. I know that it made me better as a rabbi when I was just starting out - and for that, I continue to be grateful.
No one person can do it all - and the spirit of volunteerism at B'nai Israel proves this point clearly. You are, all of you (and especially your committee) the EXPERTS, called in to seek out the best "rose" of a rabbi for you, at this time in your journey. Solomon was wise to open the window; I pray that you all open your hearts, tune a listening ear to one another, and embrace this process with the passion and dedication that will make you successful. Mi-chayil el-chayil - From (considerable) strength - to even greater heights!
Dava, Aiden, and Ezra join me in wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach - a peaceful Shabbat, filled with much blessing. Shabbat Shalom!
For further insight on the parsha, please visit:
Caring Community Information
Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or e-mail the synagogue.
B'nai Israel Synagogue
is affiliated with The
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
To make a donation to the synagogue click here.
Special Shabbat Study Sessions
Final Session:February 16
Rabbi Berger will be conclude his in-depth study of Rabbi Danny Nevins' recent teshuvah on the use of electricity on Shabbat. The class will meet during kiddush lunch in Room 2. Please print and bring your own copy of the teshuvah, found here.
Book Club meeting this Sunday, February 17th. See below for details.
Upcoming bat mitzvah, Saturday, February 23rd:
Leia Ahava Serlin, daughter of Miry and Dan Serlin, granddaughter of Anaruth and Henri Bernard, Nancy and Howard Serlin. We look forward to celebrating with the entire Serlin family.
Shabbat Services: Terumah
Friday, February 15th
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, February 16th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Don Nusholtz in honor of Brian Newhouse's birthday. Happy Birthday Brian!
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call Mindy Shuback (248) 752-6046 or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
with Dr. Mitch Parker
This class is held on Shabbat mornings in the lower level, Room 9.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
For a calendar of Kadima events for the remainder of the school year, click here.
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
February 16 (special program), February 23
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
|Upcoming Community Events
TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
BOOK CLUB (Adults)
Book Club meets on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome.
Sunday, February 17th Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit by Joseph Epstein (non-fiction)
Sunday, March 17th: The Invisible Bridge
by Jullie Orringer (fiction)
Sunday, April 21st: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (memoir)
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY WITH PROFESSOR HOWARD LUPOVITCH: "One Book, Three Traditions- Jewish, Christian and Muslim Views of the Bible."
Wednesdays in February: 13, 20 and 27.
7:30 p.m., Congregation Beth Ahm, $5.00/session
February 6: Abraham, Ishmael, David: Bearers of the Covenant. (available on recording)
February 13: Moses and Elijah: Conduits of the Divine
February 20: Miriam and Esther: Women as Heroes and Leaders
February 27: Roundtable discussion: The Bible as a Foundation Stone
KNITTING has returned!
Not a knitter? All stitchers are welcome. Bring your needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: 3/13, 4/24/ 5/21, 6/10
Just drop-in! No registration required. For more information, e-mail Gail Raben.
81st INTER-CONGREGATIONAL MEN'S CLUB DINNER
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
6 p.m., Temple Israel. Click here for complete program information and downloadable reservation form.
Dietary laws observed.
Monday and Thursday mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Rosh Chodesh mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 7:15 a.m.
Monday-Friday evenings, 6 p.m.
Sunday Morning, 8:30 a.m.
Sunday evenings, 5 p.m.
Legal Holidays, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
Please e-mail the synagogue office or contact the synagogue: 248-432-2729, if you have a name that needs to be placed on the mishebeirach list or needs to be removed from the list.
2 Hanna Berlin
4 Murray Baruch
7 Jeremy Pappas
12 Constance Victor
14 Jeffrey Eisman
14 Rebecca Tron
16 Benjamin Eisman
16 Brian Newhouse
16 Miriam Saperstein
17 Michael Golob
20 Colton Graub
22 Seymour Manello
25 Toby Chudnow
25 Sheila Kurland
25 Sharon Rosen
26 Aaron Orel
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so it can be added to our records.
|May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
2/2/2013 (22 Shevat)
2/4/2013 (24 Shevat)
2/6/2013 (26 Shevat)
2/7/2013 (27 Shevat)
2/11/2013 (1 Adar)
Oscar Kuhn, Arnold Lada
2/12/2013 (2 Adar)
2/15/2013 (5 Adar)
Sylvia Cohen, Henrietta Hamburger
2/16/2013 (6 Adar)
Rose Lovinger Columbus,Gussie Friedman, Jack Gruber
2/18/2013 (8 Adar)
Wesley Brown, Marvin Rosen
2/19/2013 (9 Adar)
Max Silverstein, Sharon Florence Weisberg
2/20/2013 (10 Adar)
Nancy Fischer, Rhea Lazarus, Klara Stark
2/22/2013 (12 Adar)
Theodore Jacob Levine, Betty Margolis, Leah Yudell
2/23/2013 (13 Adar)
Gloria Braverman, Sol Reichberg Taub, Leo Weber
2/24/2013 (14 Adar)
Wolfe Brown, Esther Nusbaum
2/26/2013 (16 Adar)
2/27/2013 (17 Adar)
Ann Doneson, Maurice Katz, Esther Wolok
2/28/2013 (18 Adar)
Alan Breitman, Rose Lifshitz
To make a donation to commemorate a yahrtzeit, please click here. If you are a member of the synagogue and a yahrtzeit for your loved one is not on the list, please contact the synagogue office so the information can be added to our records.
Please contact the synagogue office if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.