Rabbi Daniel Nevins
Male characters and voices dominate biblical literature, yet the near-absence of female characters is particularly striking in Parashat Va-yeishev. Here is the story of Jacob (his wives don't appear) and his 12 sons (his daughter doesn't appear) exploring the world of men-in the field, on the road, in the city, and in prison. These narratives are rough and even violent, and this tone carries over to the two stories in which women do appear: Judah's coarse treatment of Tamar and Joseph's encounter with Potiphar's unnamed wife, who physically accosts him.
The Torah sets up the story of Joseph by observing that he was "well-built and handsome" (Gen. 39:6). But it is not only on the outside that Joseph looks good. His resistance to the seductions of Mrs. Potiphar shows strength of character, as does his pious explanation that he is obliged to keep faith with both Potiphar-his master-and with God. In this story, Mrs. Potiphar lacks character (in both senses of the word); she is merely a foil to showcase the virtue of Joseph. He is no longer the spoiled boy prancing about in his fancy clothes and boasting of his dreamy destiny. Joseph has become a cool and collected man; he is now an efficient manager of other people's concerns.
If Joseph looks exceptionally good in chapter 39, this impression is magnified in contrast to the view that we have just been shown of his brother Judah in chapter 38. Judah repeatedly makes desperate decisions that result in catastrophes. It had been his idea in chapter 37 to sell Joseph into slavery; the traditional commentaries plausibly attribute to Judah the plan of dipping the tunic in the blood of a kid and presenting it to Jacob. In chapter 38, Judah "goes down" from his brothers, and the descent is figurative as well as literal. He subverts the levirate marriage of his daughter-in-law Tamar by denying her access to his youngest son, Shelah, even when the boy comes of age. In this way Judah harms not only Tamar, but also the memory of his first son, his lineage, and his reputation.
If Joseph looks good due to his sexual self-restraint with Mrs. Potiphar, Judah's hiring of a woman whom he assumes to be a prostitute looks terrible. The younger brother Joseph, alone in the world, has learned to master his urges and thus his surroundings. The older brother acts from fear, loneliness, and lust.
click here to continue reading.
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
11/21/2013 (18 Kislev)
11/22/2013 (19 Kislev)
Albert W. Handler
11/24/2013 (21 Kislev)
11/25/2013 (22 Kislev
Liba Malka Ginsberg
11/27/2013 (24 Kislev)
Megan Lewis Graub
11/29/2013 (26 Kislev)
Dr. David Benjamin Levy
11/30/2013 (27 Kislev)
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.
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 email@example.com. Thank you.
TIKKUN OLAM CORNER
Ronald McDonald House Dinner preparations
Thank you to the Robinson, Robbins, Gordon and Sklar families who made dinner for Ronald McDonald house guests in Detroit earlier this month. If your family would like to participate in this mitzvah, e-mail DeDe Robinson to be informed on future opportunities.
TIKKUN OLAM/Repair the World
MITZVAH DAY 2013: December 25th
Registration begins November 1st. CELEBRATE THE STRENGTH OF COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTEER. ONLINE SIGN-UP:
| click on the Amazon button to shop today!
To make a donation to the synagogue,
THIS SHABBAT THERE IS A TKA BAT MITZVAH. PLEASE PLAN TO SHUTTLE PARK FROM PRINCE OF PEACE.
Friday, November 22nd
6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv, Sanctuary
Saturday, November 23rd
9 a.m. Services, CHAPEL
10 a.m., Supervised Youth Activities Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush will be held in the lower level today and is sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund.
SHABBAT SHIUR FUTURE DATES (prior to minha)
11/29, 12/28, 1/25, 2/22, 3/29, 5/10, 6/21.
*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.
THANKSGIVING MINYAN TIMES
Thursday 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. (Torah reading for Chanukah) and 6 p.m.
Sunday, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
YOUR ASSISTANCE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND
HAPPY CHANUKAH TO ALL!
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities
SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12. 30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun.
10-10:45 a.m., ROOM 9
Future Dates: DECEMBER 14TH, JANUARY 11TH,
JANUARY 25TH, FEBRUARY 1ST, MARCH 1ST,
APRIL 5th, MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.)
SHABBAT TEEN ACTIVITIES
D'VAR TORAH COCOA CAFE for ages 13-17, 11:00-11:45 a.m., Social Hall
Listen to the D'var Torah in the main sanctuary, then give your take over cocoa and cider. Kiddush lunch following, with Spirited singing and Birkat Hamazon led by teens. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DECEMBER 14TH, JANUARY 11TH, JANUARY 25TH, FEBRUARY 1ST, MARCH 1ST, APRIL 5TH, MAY 3RD
SHABBAT ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AGES 3-5 COMING SOON!
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
Saturday, December 14th
6:45 p.m. Havdalah, 7 p.m. Show
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
Chanukah Unplugged: A Family Celebration
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
6 p.m."Family Evening at BI Minyan,"Chapel
6:30 - 8 p.m., Social Hall
Candle-lighting, Jerusalem Pizza Dinner, Singing and Activities, with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow and Barrett Harr, NFTY-MI Regional Director of Youth Engagement
ADVANCED RESERVATIONS BY DECEMBER 2ND, $10/family, all ages welcome.
click here for reservation information
Knitting has returned!
All stitchers are welcome.
7 p.m., Meet in the TKA/BI Library.
December 4th, January 7th
Sunday, November 24th
8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Prince of Peace Church, 5300 Green Road
COMMUNITY INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH, 7 P.M.
W. BLOOMFIELD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
4100 WALNUT LAKE ROAD. All are welcome.
JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest 2014
August 17-22 in Detroit!
Tryouts wil be in December. For dates and times visit
or contact Franci Silver, local delegation head at
21 Adele Band
22 Belmont Kershenbaum
26 Jerry Knoppow
26 Kayla Pappas
28 Paula Levy
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
NEXT SISTERHOOD MEETING:
Monday, December 9th
7 p.m., TKA/BI Chapel. All are welcome.
For questions regarding sisterhood, e-mail Betsy Wolf @
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
November 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.
Lunch and Learn Series
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow
First Tuesday of every month
First session: 12:15 p.m., December 3rd
Topic: "Ancient Shabbat Stories."
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road
Bring your own lunch. There is no charge to attend.
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. There is no charge to attend.
SHOP ON AMAZON/EARN MONEY
FOR B'NAI ISRAEL
Don't forget. Every time you shop on Amazon.com, click the link provided in this bulletin. This link (which includes bi in it's url), will automatically enable us to benefit from your purchases. It's that simple. You shop, we benefit!
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ,
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.