March 27, 2014
25 Adar II 5774
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In This Issue
Parshat...Tazria...Shabbat Hachodesh
Youth and Family Activities
Learning Opportunities

Parshat Tazria

Shabbat Hachodesh  

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson


With this week's Torah portion, we learn a great deal about the ritual function of the kohanim (priests) in helping people cope with infectious illness.

Particularly the illness of 'tzara'at,' leprosy, becomes the focus of sustained attention, presumably because it was quite common in the ancient Near East.

Basing themselves on a story found in the Book of Numbers, the Rabbis of the Midrash viewed leprosy as an external sign of an internal decay. Illness became a symbol for corruption, immorality and callousness.

The link between illness and a lack of ethics arises from the story of Miriam's criticism of Moses' wife for being a Cushite. Clearly, Miriam uses her sister-in-law's ethnicity as a pretext for attacking her brother. Whereas Jewish tradition goes so far in rejecting racism that the Rabbis of the Midrash and Talmud justify Moses' selection of an African woman as his wife, Miriam is unable to restrain her harmful comments and her corrosive bigotry.

In a condemnation that neatly parallels Miriam's criticism that Moses' wife is too black, Miriam is stricken with an illness that leaves her skin a flaky white. Since her 'tzara'at' resulted from her critical words, the Rabbis naturally associated the two.

Thus, the biblical laws on infectious disease became an extended metaphor for self-centeredness, critical or slanderous speech, and hateful deeds.

Things God Hates

Midrash Vayikra understands the law of leprosy as an allusion to seven traits the Lord hates: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked thoughts, feet that run eagerly toward evil, a false witness and one who sows discord among people. How many of these violations pertain to an irresponsible use of language!

Speaking and thinking ill of another person, construing their actions in the worst possible way, gossiping and spreading rumors which harm the reputation of another person--these activities are so widespread among our contemporaries that they no longer attract our notice at all. Yet they strike at the core of the kind of world Judaism is trying to establish. Those practices provoke a cynical disregard of human decency; they cultivate our suspicion of each other and our assumption that others are speaking ill of us behind our backs just as we are of them.

In Hebrew, such speech is called 'lashon hara' (literally, "an evil tongue"). 'Lashon hara' is the practice of speaking about other people, rather than speaking to them. It involves transforming a living, complex human being into a caricature--an object of evil, or sloth, or competition. In speaking ill of others, we participate in their dehumanization, initiating a process whose end is uncontainable.

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for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive:

Ralph Williams 
B'nai Israel Synagogue is delighted and honored 
to welcome 
Professor Ralph Williams 
April 11th and 12th. 


Shabbat Schedule

Friday, April 11th

6 p.m. Services, Sanctuary

7 p.m. Dinner by advanced reservation only

click for dinner reservation form* 

8:15 p.m., Sanctuary

Professor Williams will speak: 

"The Transition from Slavery to Freedom"

There will be a supervised youth room from 7-9 p.m. for children ages 12 and under.

Saturday, April 12th

9 a.m.  Services, Sanctuary

1 p.m., Sanctuary

Professor Williams will speak in the sanctuary:

"We Each Came Out of Egypt".

There will be a supervised youth space from 1-2 p.m. for children ages 12 and under. 

*dinner reservations MUST be received with payment in full by April 6th.
The community is welcome to attend.

A complete schedule of religious services at B'nai Israel Synagogue during the Passover Holiday may be accessed by clicking here.

May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

March Yahrtzeits

3/30/2014 (28 Adar II)         

Isadore Goode

Anne Wechselfeld

April Yahrtzeits

4/1/2014 (1 Nisan)              

Stuart E. Allen

4/2/2014 (2 Nisan)              

Leonard Kershenbaum

4/5/2014 (5 Nisan)              

Bennie Mirkin

4/6/2014 (6 Nisan)              

Jonas Dworin

4/7/2014 (7 Nisan)              

Harold Milton Ellias

4/9/2014 (9 Nisan)              

Sam Leaderman

4/10/2014 (10 Nisan)          

Jack Chitkin

4/11/2014 (11 Nisan)          

Libby Rubinstein

Sidney Wechselfeld

4/14/2014 (14 Nisan)          

Jolyn Freedman

Sadie Weiss

4/15/2014 (15 Nisan)          

Mimi Schloss

4/17/2014 (17 Nisan)

Esther Manko

4/18/2014 (18 Nisan)          

Goldie Chaner

Rose Kaye

Rose Kleinbard

4/19/2014 (19 Nisan)          

Bluma Stark

4/22/2014 (22 Nisan)          

Shmuel Muchkies

4/23/2014 (23 Nisan)          

Julius Abramson

4/26/2014 (26 Nisan)          

Ida (Huddle) Band

Lottie Kwiatek

4/28/2014 (28 Nisan)          

Sara Garber

Morris Soloway

  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,  click here  
phone:  248-432-2729
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Shabbat Tazria/Hachodesh
Friday, March 28th
6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, March 29th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Rebecca Tron, Geula, Stanford, Nicole and Julie Rapp in honor of the caring B'nai Israel Synagogue community.
There is a Shabbat Shiur in the chapel today prior to minha, led by Steve Freedman, Hillel Day School Head of School. 
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 or Mindy Shuback. 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.
To Laurie and Robert Kimmel on the birth of their new granddaughter, Sarah Tehilah, born least week in New York.  Mazel Tov as well to Sarah's parents, Avihud and Fayga Kimmel, and to her big brother Tuvia.

 It is customary to "sell" all hametz in you possession prior to Passover.  CLICK HERE FOR THE HAMETZ SALE DOCUMENT/CONTRACT.
Community Opportunities
Spring Detroit Jewish Coalition for Literacy Workshop
March 28th 10 a.m.-Noon, Federation Building.
Event includes light buffet breakfast.  
There is no charge, but rsvp requested:248-642-2656 or e-mail  Click here for complete event information.

The Jews of Detroit:
Past, Present and Future, a symposium
April 6, 2014 
McGregor Conference Center, Wayne State University

Upcoming TKA/BI Joint Opportunities 
TKA/BI Women's Seder 
April 8th, 2014 6-9 p.m., TKA/BI Social Hall.  Kosher Dairy.   Please rsvp to
 or call Connie Silver: 248-851-2149

Bookstock 2014 
Sunday, April 27-Sunday, May 4th
Laurel Park Place, Livonia
Used Book and Media Sale, Supporting the Need to Read
Click for complete information.  
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities

J-Serve Detroit SUNDAY, MARCH 30TH
All 6-12 Graders Welcome!
J-Serve Community Wide
Volunteer Day
, Noon-5 
Meet at Temple Beth El and join teens from across our community to volunteer and help with Detroit after-school activities for youth.  Kosher snacks and bus provided.  Pre-registration required.
 Register by clicking hereClick here for flyer with complete information   
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:   4/27, 6/1.
Pesach Day Camp  

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


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 for more information.  FUTURE DATES:
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Learning Opportunities
passover table SIYYUM, Erev Pesach
Monday Morning, April 14th
Attention first-borns and others!  
Joel Goldstein will lead us in a Siyyum, the celebratory conclusionary study of a section of rabbinic text, to suspend the customary fasting requirements of Tzom Bechorot, the Fast of the First Born. Joel has just completed the Mishnaic Seder (order) of Tehorot.
     First born traditionally fast from dawn on Erev Pesach until the seder begins, as a statement of thanksgiving to God for sparing the Israelite first born in the plague of the first born in Egypt.  
    We will enjoy a final hametz breakfast following the siyyum. 

Adult Education
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
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.

SHABBAT CLASS with Dr. Mitch Parker:    Lego Movie

12:45 P.M., CHAPEL prior to Minha
"A Hero named Emet:  Is the Lego Movie Good for the Jews?" 
Previously viewing the movie is not a requirement for the class.

Lunch and Learn Series 
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow lunch and learn
First Tuesday of every month
Next session:  12:15 p.m., April 8th.
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road Bring your own lunch.  There is no charge to attend.   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: March 29th, May 10th, June 21st.  Click here for schedule and list of presenters. 
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


29  Brittany Beider 

29  Mark Webber

30  Ryan Schmeltz

31  Sharon Knoppow

31  Meredith Weingarden


  2 Daniel Serlin   

  3 Mitch Parker

  3 Miry Serlin

  4 Stephen Jacobson

  5 Deborah Balkin

  5 Michael Dorfman 

  6 Tillie Silverman 

  6 Dane Zeff

  7 Arnold Berlin

  8 Oscar Band      

  9 Nancy Kaufman

12 Brianna Dines

12 Arica Jacobson     

13 Regina Meisler

13 Matthew Orel

15 Eli Eisman

15 Cheryl Litt

16 Jonathan Abramson

16 Jack Friedman

18 Karen Rosen  

20 Cheryl Berlin  

21 Rachel Kapen

21 Jeffrey Lupovitch

21 Cooper Myers

22 Marvin Finkelstein

24 Elianna Orel

26 Evan Chudnow

26 Marvin Kozlowski

27 Noel Lawson

27 Adam Weingarden

27 Shira Wolf

30 Charles Seigerman

30 Nathan Soverinsky


Jewish Wedding 28 Bob & Joyce Breitman 

  4 Martin & Sheila Kurland

  5 Vern & Karen Gordon

19 Louis & Sally Soverinsky

27 Michael and Carol Golob  

    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.

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.

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