October 17, 2013
 13 Cheshvan 5774
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In This Issue
Youth and Family Activities
Tikkun Olam and Sisterhood
Learning Opportunities


Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz


Parashat Va-Yera opens with two seemingly unrelated narratives: first, 'three men' appear mysteriously to Abraham, bearing the news that his wife, Sarah, will soon conceive. Next we read of God's destruction of the cities of S'dom and Amora for their immorality and corruption.

The heavenly visitors serve as a link between the two narratives: it is they who deliver the good news to Sarah and they who warn Abraham's nephew, Lot, of the cities' impending destruction. A second connection, this one thematic and allusive, emerges from the contrast between the two stories.

Abraham is well-known for his hospitality: as the parasha opens, Abraham sits anxiously by the opening of his tent, looking to greet and provide hospitality to wayfarers. As Genesis 18:1 notes, Abraham "was sitting at the entrance to his tent at the heat of the day." Abraham actively sought strangers to whom he could be hospitable. Not only does he seek these wayfarers out, once they arrive he encourages them 'to wash their feet', 'recline under the tree', 'fetches' them bread to 'refresh their hearts,' and serves 'tender and fine' delicacies. Everett Fox, a modern commentator on the Bible, writes, "Central . . . is the idea of hospitality, emphasized in the text by the threefold use of 'pray' [please] (verses 3-4), 'pass on by' (verses 3-5), and by Abraham's flurry of activity (he himself 'runs' twice, 'hastens' three times, and 'fetches' four times in serving his guests" (Fox, The Five Books of Moses, 74). Indeed, based on Abraham's model, the Talmud declares, "hospitality to travelers is greater than welcoming the Divine Presence" (Tractate Shabbat 127a).

Moreover, Abraham's model of hospitality reinforces the rabbinic reading of the great sin of S'dom and Amora. As we are presented with God's case for the overturning of S'dom and Amora, God declares, "The outcry in S'dom and Amora - how great it is! And their sin - how exceedingly heavily it weighs!" What is the unspeakable sin of S'dom and Amora? How is it connected to the 'hospitality' narrative at the beginning of our parasha?

Picking up on the words 'outcry' (Gen. 18:20) and 'cry' (Gen. 18:21), the rabbis read intratextually, that is to say, they explored other appearances of these words throughout the Bible to determine their meaning in the present context of S'dom andAmora. Numerous examples of the Hebrew tse'aqah, outcry/ cry, abound: in Genesis 27:34, Esau bursts into a wild and bitter 'cry' after his father, Isaac, 'mistakenly' bestows the blessing of the first born on his younger brother Jacob. Exodus 3:7 echoes God's empathic declaration, "[I] have heeded their outcry because of their taskmasters . . . I have come down to rescue them because of their taskmasters." And the prophet Isaiah proclaims, God "hoped for justice, but behold, injustice; for equity (tsedaqah), but behold, iniquity (tse'aqah)" (Isaiah 5:7). Thus, each instance of tse'aqah, outcry, speaks to a categorical sense of injustice - a perversion of that which is proper and just. The victims are deprived of the bounty that is rightfully theirs. Esau is wrongfully deprived of his blessing; the Israelites are brutally oppressed by their Egyptian taskmasters; and Isaiah's contemporaries are exploited physically and morally by one another.

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These words of Torah were taken from The JTS Torah Commentary archive: 
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

October Yahrtzeits

10/21/2013 (17 Heshvan)

Manny Chudnow

10/23/2013 (19 Heshvan)

David Harris

10/24/2013 (20 Heshvan)

Naomi Lillian Markowitz

Irving A. Rubin

Martin Segal

10/25/2013 (21 Heshvan)

Nathan Weiner

10/26/2013 (22 Heshvan)

Serena Weiss

10/28/2013 (24 Heshvan)

Mary Katz

Robert Braverman

Alvin Jacobson

10/29/2013 (25 Heshvan)

Fara Caplan Baer

10/31/2013 (27 Heshvan)

Linda Kozlowski

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.  

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To make a donation to the synagogue,  
phone:  248-432-2729
This Shabbat there is shuttle parking from Prince of Peace.  Shabbat morning services will be held in the chapel.*
Shabbat Vayera
Friday, October 18th
 6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv, Chapel
Saturday, October 19th
 9 a.m. Services, CHAPEL
10 a.m., Youth Room for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush is sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund and will be held in the lower level.
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.  
*SHUTTLE PARKING NOTE:  PLEASE DO NOT PARK in front of people's mailboxes in the neighborhoods or on Walnut Lake Road.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation. PLEASE USE THE SHUTTLE to avoid any conflicts. 
NOVEMBER 8TH AND 9TH. musical notes
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities

Knitting has returned! Knitting
All stitchers are welcome.  
Meet in the TKA/BI Library.
November 5th,  December 4th, January 7th
Sunday, October 20th
You are invited to enjoy the Klezmer and World Music sounds from Red Sea Pedestrians.
Tickets:  $25.00  Must RSVP by by clicking here.
Red Street Pedestrians are a melting pot of six distinct singer/songwriters, almost a self-contained variety show. Their sound is first defined by the sweet interplay between clarinet and violin, and is colored by three singers and multi-instrumentalists, as well as masterful percussion, providing the backbone to a musical experience that is both harmonically and rhythmically gratifying. The band members are also students of the great records of the sixties (notably late Beatles), and hence they have created a realm that is both comforting and challenging to the listener. Multi-layered lyrics, rich harmonies, and masterful playing complete the story. for the Red Sea Pedestrians website click here.

Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities 

Supervised Youth Activities,  Room 3, lower level 

       provided for ages 12 and under

Shabbat mornings, 10-11:45 a.m. 

To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact

Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.


American Idol B'nai Israel Synagogue Style
Talent Show featuring B'nai Israel Youth Ages 3-18
Saturday, December 14th
6:45 p.m. Havdalah, 7 p.m. Show



visit www.campramah.com for more information.





2013-14 Grades 9-12 are eligible.

Registration begins September 23rd.

Questions?  Contact Danielle S. Longo longo@jfmd.org or call 



USY Summer Programs

USY Summer Programs Registration is now open.  9-12 Graders eligible.

Programs include USY on Wheels, Mitzvah Missions, Israel Adventures, Italy/Israel Pilgrimage, Israel/Poland Seminar, Eastern Europe/Israel Pilgrimage.  

Visit www.usy.org/escape/apply for more information and to download an application.

Tikkun Olam
TIKKUN OLAM/Repair the World
MITZVAH DAY 2013:  December 25th
Registration begins November 1st. 

BOOK CLUB NIGHT at the Book Fair.
Monday, November 11th, 7:30 p.m.
West Bloomfield JCC
B'nai Israel Sisterhood plans to attend this event, when author Elizabeth L. Silver will discuss her book:  The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.
Click here for registration form or contact the Book Fair office for more information:  248-432-5442.
Learning Opportunities   
Adult Education
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
October 19      November 9, 23     December 7, 14
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon. 
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.

Shabbat Shiur Series
Shabbat Afternoons, last Saturday of the month following lunch and prior to minha.  Shiur (class) will meet in the chapel.  All our welcome.
October 26 "The Laws of Mourning," Rabbi Mark Robbins 
Future Dates:  November 30, December 28, January 25th, February 22nd.

Caring Community Information

Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery.  

Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 to add a name to our communal mishebeirach list. 

Congregant looking for a ride to services 
West Bloomfield congregant is looking for a ride to morning or evening minyan and/or Shabbat services.  Please contact Rabbi Robbins at (610) 574-5179 or  rabbi@bnaiisraelwb.org. Thank you.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake

October Birthdays 

17 Lenny Jacobson

18 Steve Kaufman

19 Kenneth Brown

19 Ruth Kozlowski                                                             

20 Adam Marcotte

21 Annie Jacobson

23 Jerome Beale

23 Carrie Roth

24 Steven Dines

25 Ruby Robinson

26 Stacy Gittleman

28 Edith Wolok

29 Libby Beider

29 Adina Robbins

30 Philip Epstein

31 Benjamin Chudnow

31 Yael Duer

Jewish Wedding

October Anniversaries                                  

22 Warren & Sandy Lada

29 Ehud & Debi Kapen

To make a donation in honor of someone's birthday or anniversary, please click here.
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, 
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.