February 13, 2014
13 Adar 1 5774
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In This Issue
Youth and Family Activities
Learning Opportunities

Parshat Ki Tissa 

Rabbi Abigail Treu 


Art projects made at school, loose pages of schoolwork, a constant stream of drawings done at the dining room table: our home with three young children in it is a testament to the human need to create, to make something as a means of self-expression. This gives rise in a mother's heart to two conundrums: with each page so precious to its author/illustrator, I find myself stealthily recycling the pieces that won't be missed. How to break it to children that what they treasure is not, in fact, so precious? How to let each child know that his or her work is perfect as it is, and is not supposed to look like anyone else's?

How to blame the Israelites for the Golden Calf episode, when it seems that all they want to do is create something holy? 

The theme of "making things" is bold in Parashat Ki Tissa. The verb asah-to make or to do-recurs throughout, beginning with God's instructions to Moses. First, that he should make the laver of copper and its stand (Exod. 30:17). The verb here is starkly singular (asita) as it is with the next task, to take spices and make (asita) a sacred anointing oil, and again to take herbs and make (asita) incense. Regarding the latter two, it is explicitly stated that the recipes given to Moses are not to be replicated for any other purpose or by anyone else; only Moses may use them, and only for these consecrated ends.

Next comes the work of furnishing the Tabernacle, and now it is not Moses but Bezalel who is singled out for the task. "I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, understanding, and in knowledge . . . to work (la-asot) in all manner of workmanship . . . and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make (v'asu) all that I have commanded you . . ." (Exod. 31:3-6, following the old JPS translation).

Later in the parashah, the tablets inscribed by God are described as ma'aseh elohim, God's work (Exod. 32:16). The verb is also used by God to describe all God will do for Moses and the people (see also 32:2, 10, 21; 34:10; and 34:17).

No wonder the Israelites make the Golden Calf. With so much making of holy objects-by Moses, Bezalel and his crew, and God-what other outlet do they think they have for their creative and religious expression? And if God isn't going to tell them what to make, why not make something of their own invention?

But-one might object-God has told them what to do, and certainly what not to do. Number one on the "not-to-do" list-just handed over at Sinai, where the people still stand at the foot of the mountain waiting for Moses to descend-is make an idol. The "to-do" list is already replete with positive mitzvot. Aviva Zornberg posits,

Perhaps, after all, the people are all too pious in their attachments? Perhaps they have never, in fact, left Egypt, that place of the deaf and the dumb and the calloushearted? Perhaps there is a pathology of Egypt that can be healed only by a capacity to listen? "And God said, 'If you will listen attentively to the voice of God . . ." (Particulars of Rapture, 409)

Clearly they have not listened, or at least have not understood what they heard.

Rashi, commenting on God's endowing Bezalel with "wisdom, understanding, and knowledge," glosses, "Wisdom is what a person hears from others and learns; understanding is that which he understands in his heart, on his own, out of the things he has learned, and knowledge is a holy spirit." The hearing comes first, but then it is up to the listener to understand, in his or her heart, what s/he has learned from all that s/he has heard. 

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for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: 
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

2/13/2014 (13 Adar I)           

Gloria Braverman

Arthur Goodman

Sol Reichberg Taub

Leo Weber

2/14/2014 (14 Adar I)           

Wolfe Brown

Esther Nusbaum

2/16/2014 (16 Adar I)           

Yetta Langfelder

2/17/2014 (17 Adar I)           

Ann Doneson 

Maurice Katz

Esther Wolok

2/18/2014 (18 Adar I)           

Alan Breitman

Rose Lifshitz

2/20/2014 (20 Adar I)          

Doris Barahal Tron

2/22/2014 (22 Adar I)           

Edith Nusholtz

2/26/2014 (26 Adar I)           

Esther Patent

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phone:  248-432-2729
Shabbat Ki Tissa
Friday, February 14th
6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, February 21st
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Sharon and Jerry Knoppow in honor of their granddaughter Miriam Saperstein's 16th birthday.
Click here to help with Kiddush Lunch
*Kiddush Lunch is available through donations to the Kiddush Lunch Fund, the generosity of weekly sponsors, and volunteer efforts of our congregants and regular attendees.  Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch.  To sponsor as part of a "group," please e-mail Joanna Abramson. You may also make a donation to the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.  To sign up to help prepare Kiddush Lunch please use the "volunteer spot" button above.

Purim 2014
Purim is just around the corner.
Rabbi Marjorie Lehman will speak on:  "Leaning JTS logo Toward or Away from Freedom:  How do the Rabbis talk about the Mitzvah of Reclining at the Passover Seder?" Rabbi Lehman is a fellow at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studeis at the University of Michigan during the spring 2014 term. Click here for a complete bio on Rabbi Lehman and for an event flyer.  All are welcome.  There is no charge for this event.  Please e-mail Tom Wexelberg-Clouser if you plan to attend.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
FAMILY CAMP 2014 MARCH 21st-23rd

NCJW Detroit NCJW Annual Jewish Youth Awards

National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit is proud to continue the tradition of honoring exceptional high school students who demonstrate leadership within the Jewish community, and is awarding scholarship money through its annual Jewish Youth Awards. All High School Seniors are invited to apply. 2014 AWARDS: DEADLINE for application submission is Friday, March 7, 2014 at noon. The application form and all supporting documentation must be received at the NCJW/Greater Detroit office, 26400 Lahser Rd., Suite 306, Southfield MI 48033-2675 no later than noon on Friday, March 7, 2014.

Awards totaling $5,800 will be distributed to the finalists at the Awards Ceremony on April 27, 2014.

1st Place: $2500; 2nd Place: $1300; 3rd & 4th Places: $500; and 4 Honorable Mention Prizes of $250. click here for complete award information and application.

J-Serve Detroit
J-Serve Service Leadership Immersion
February 16-18, 19-21
Don't get stuck over February break when you can spend three unforgettable days living and volunteering in Detroit. 

Family Night at Minyan, one Sunday/month.  
Bring your family to help make minyan at 5 p.m. and enjoy pizza dinner in the social hall following services. MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  3/9 (we will assemble Mishloach Manot for BI seniors), 4/27, 6/1

Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities 

SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12. 30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun. 

11-11:45 a.m., ROOM 9
MARCH 1ST,  APRIL 5th, MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.)   


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 teens@bnaiisraelwb.org for more information.

To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Learning Opportunities  
Adult Education
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
February 22     March 8 and 22    
April 12 and 26    May 10 and 24    June 7 and 21
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 lunch and learn
First Tuesday of every month
Next session:  12:15 p.m., March 4th
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road Bring your own lunch.  There is no charge to attend.   Future Dates: March 4th, Apr8th.  Please e-mail Hillel Buechler if you plan 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. 
Future Dates: February 22nd, March 29th, May 10th, June 21st.  Click here for schedule and list of presenters.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


14  Jeffrey Eisman

14  Rebecca Tron

16  Benjamin Eisman

16  Brian Newhouse

16  Miriam Saperstein

17  Michael Golob

17  Leia Serlin

20  Colton Graub

22  Seymour Manello

25  Sheila Kurland

25  Sharon Rosen

26  Aaron Orel



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

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.   

Shiva assistance: To assist in providing a shiva meal for BI member families and/or if you are able to lead a shiva minyan, please e-mail the synagogue.


Upcoming TKA/BI Joint Opportunities 

Book Club
TKA Sisterhood Book Talk and Swap
Sunday, March 2nd, 2 p.m., Social Hall
Connie Silver to lead conversation on Great Reads from 2013 and will suggest what to read next.  Take books home to read - swap ones you enjoyed.  Please bring up to 5 books to swap for others you might enjoy.  Everyone welcome. rsvp to tkasisterhood@hotmail.com or call Connie:  248-851-2149.
MARCH 23-30, 2014
TKA will once again be housing guests for one week from South Oakland Shelter. There are many ways to get involved and help. Everyone's help is needed! Chuck Seigerman and Steve Dines are the BI point people for this. Click here to sign up online or e-mail Steve or Chuck with any questions.
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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.