July 18, 2013
 11 Av  5773
Click here for Daily Minyan Schedule

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
In This Issue
Parshat Va'etchanan
Learning Opportunities
Parshat Va'etchanan
Shabbat Nachamu
(Isaiah 40:1-26) 
Rabbi Dorothy A. Richman


You who live secure 

In your warm houses
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:


Consider whether this is a man,

Who labors in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.


Consider whether this is a woman,

Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.


Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.


Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you.


Primo Levi


Primo Levi wrote this poem in the shadow of the Holocaust, but his vision is especially relevant in the context of contemporary global inequity. It challenges all who live in comfort while others subsist in privation. Why does he use the frame of the Shma to do so?


Found in the center of this week's parshah, the Shma is a prayer declaring God's singularity: "Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God. The Lord is one." The Shma is repeated twice daily: in the morning and at night. It is often the first prayer taught to a child, and, famously, the Shma has been recited as the last words of many Jewish martyrs.


Primo Levi, in titling his poem, "Shma," attempts to redefine this traditional prayer. His poem commands a single-minded focus not on the unity of God but on a sub-set of God's creatures, people living in poverty and chaos. Levi insists that human suffering is what our people should be "listening" to: as per the Shma, these sounds and images should be engraved on our hearts and follow us through our day. Effectively, they should be the frames of our experience.


How are we to hear this suffering? In one sense, it has never been easier. With the click of a mouse, one can access detailed information about any number of tragedies in the developing world. On the AJWS website, one can receive updates on Darfur, Zimbabwe, Burma, and too many other countries experiencing crises of violence, poverty and disease.


But listening is not enough. The verb shma carries additional meanings-it also denotes doing, obeying, performing, acting. Perhaps Levi titled his poem, "Shma," precisely for its multiple meanings. He wanted to jolt his reader, through graphic and painful images, into action. Emmanuel Levinas, a famous contemporary Jewish philosopher, described the traditional Shmaas "an awakening: 'Hear, Israel!"


I read the poem's upsetting closing curses as a contemporary warning: if we do not awaken, if we will not hear, if we do not use our blessings of privilege to improve the situation of those who suffer privation, we deny our own power to create change. There are serious consequences to this failure of action.


There are many ways to respond to the voices of those who suffer: to educate ourselves on issues of global justice, to volunteer, to advocate, to share our resources. The Shma, according to Jewish law, is supposed to be said aloud. It makes sense: we are crying out to one other: "Listen, Israel! Act!" This week, will you hear it?


Rabbi Dorothy A. Richman is the Rabbi Martin Ballonoff Memorial Rabbi-in-Residence at Berkeley Hillel. She is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary.  

May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

July Yahrtzeits

7/18/2013 (11 Av) 

Tilly Rose 

7/20/2013 (13 Av) 

Simon Aaron Kapen

7/21/2013 (14 Av)

Rose Feibus

7/22/2013 (15 Av)

Mayme Lawson

7/24/2013 (17 Av)

Moishe Glazier

Phillip Nusholtz

7/25/2013 (18 Av)

Lillian Handler

7/28/2013 (21 Av)

Theodore P. Mason

7/29/2013 (22 Av) 

Joel D. Hamburger, 

Bennie Magy

7/31/2013 (24 Av)

Bertha Chitkin

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 we can update our records.


Please click here if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.  

Join Our Mailing List
To make a donation to the synagogue, 
click here 
phone:  248-432-2729

Shabbat Services: Shabbat Nachamu/Va'etchanan

Friday, July 19th

6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, July 20th  
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Shabbat Table
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Josh and Sandra Lerner.
Study session between lunch and mincha:
"Non-Jews, Shabbat, and the Exclusive Privileges of Being Jewish," offered by Joel Goldstein, University of Michigan Mechon Hadar Scholar.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors.  Please e-mail 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.  

Yahrtzeit candle
Plaques to be dedicated on Shemini Atzeret, September 26, 2013. 

Please e-mail Cheryl Berlin with your student's address, phone and e-mail address for the 2013-14 school year by July 31st.  
  Join us for a night at the ballpark!
Tuesday, August 20th
Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
5:45 bus leaves TKA/BI.  
Jerusalem Pizza, transportation and tickets all included in the price.

B'nai Israel Synagogue High Holiday Tickets


Shabbat in the Park 2013

 6 p.m. 

Bloomer Park, West Bloomfield


August 2nd.

Bring your dairy or pareve picnic and join us for Shabbat music, food and fun!


Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Upcoming Youth Services  

Supervised Youth Activities,  Room 3, lower level 

Parent volunteers staff the youth room during the summer months.

To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier  to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.


VOICES NEEDED, Youth ages 10+ 
to accompany our hazzan during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.  
E-mail the synagogue if your child would like to participate.
Learning Opportunities   
Saturday, July 20 between lunch and mincha
Mechon Hadar
"Non-Jews, Shabbat, and the Exclusive Privileges of Being Jewish"
Offered by Joel Goldstein, University of Michigan Yeshivat Hadar Scholar

Learn to Read Hebrew with Michael Wolf
Monday evenings, 7-8:30, July 8th-August 19th
BI/TKA Library  Materials Fee:   $36.00
Class size is limited. This class is for adults with limited or no Hebrew reading knowledge.  Click here for registration form.  Non-members of B'nai Israel are welcome to attend.

Sacred Remnants:  Rediscovered Treasures of the Jewish Past with Professor Howard Lupovitch
Wednesdays in July, 7:30 p.m., Beth Ahm

July 24:  "The Aleppo Codex: The Real Text of the Torah" 

July 31:  "The Soviet Archives: The Unknown World of Eastern Europe" 

$15 per session or $50 for the series

RSVP nancyellen879@att.net or call 248-851-6880
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities

Save the Date:  
Road Rally
Road Rally with TKA and BI 
Sunday, July 28th, 5:30 p.m.
Prizes and kosher dinner included.
Send your reservation and full payment, payable to Temple Kol Ami by July 21st: 
5085 Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield, MI  48323
For further information, e-mail Sallyjo or call 248-851-7267.

All stitchers are welcome.  Bring yourKnitting1 
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:   e-mail Gail Raben.

Caring Community Information

Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery

Please email Michael Golob or call the synagogue:  248-432-2729
if you wish to add a name to our communal list.  

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.

Congregant looking for a ride to services
West Bloomfield congregant is looking for a ride to morning or evening minyan and/or Shabbat services. The congregant lives behind Crosswinds Mall (Kroger), just north of Lone Pine Road. If you are available to assist, please contact Rabbi Robbins at (610) 574-5179 or rabbi@bnaiisraelwb.org. Thank you.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake July Birthdays

18 Howard Jacobson

19 Randall Soverinsky

20 Miles Singer

21 Adina Berger

24 Leslie Chudnow

24 Bernice Handler

27 Barbara Kappy

28 Francine Stark-Hundiak

29 Robin Jacobson

29 David Lazarus

30 Hannah Finn

30 Ian Robinson

31 Brandon Kappy

31 Noah Weingarden

July Anniversaries  
Jewish Wedding

19 Allan & Karen Lovinger

30 David & Gloria Ruskin



If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
USCJ logo
Quick Links

B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, 
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.