April 24, 2014
25 Nisan 5774
Click here for Daily Minyan Schedule

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
In This Issue
Shabbat Kedoshim
Youth and Family Activities
Learning Opportunities
Shabbat Kedoshim
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson 

In any five-book anthology, the third book always forms the center of that collection.

So it is that Vayikra (Leviticus) is the center of the Torah. At the center of Vayikra is Kedoshim, the Holiness Code. This parashah is central in more than just location. A pinnacle of spirit and morality, it embodies the high water mark of all religious writing, in any period.

What makes Kedoshim uniquely magnificent is its insistence on a maximal Judaism--one which demands much, teaches even more, and which creates a completely new orientation in the hearts of those who try to take it seriously. 

Kedoshim does not tailor Judaism to fit the personalities or ideologies of any particular group of Jews. Instead, it posits a lofty set of standards and then challenges the Jews of every age to rise up to match its high ideals and exalted holiness. It asks of us all to grow beyond our own comfortable conventions, our own sleepy standards, to confront our evasion of excellence.

There are some Jews for whom Judaism is primarily a set of behavior. What matters, for them, is whether or not a Jew performs the required behavior (ritual) in the proper manner. Such people measure "religious Jews" by the number of homes they won't eat in or by the punctilious performance of ritual deeds.

Yet another group of Jews see Judaism exclusively as a form of social action. Ethics, for them, is the sum and total of any "living" Judaism. Marching against injustice, petitioning Congress and writing letters to the editor--this forms the entirety of what is important in being Jewish. Either of these approaches to Judaism may be right, but neither of them captures the totality of Kedoshim.

Both of these philosophies of Judaism ("Judaism is doing the proper rituals," or "Judaism is being a good person") contain an important insight, but both of them reflect only a caricature of the fullness of Judaism as it is developed in the Torah and by the rabbis of the Talmud and the Midrash.

Indivisibility of Ethics and Ritual

At core, this week's reading demonstrates the indivisibility of ritual and ethics. Without seeing any difference, the Torah speaks about paying a laborer his wages promptly, observing Shabbat, honoring parents, not forming idols, the proper mode of sacrifice, and leaving food available for the poor. In this purposeful jumble of ritual and ethical injunctions, the Torah offers only a single justification: "You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy." What a staggering claim!

A maximal Jew practices rituals that are rooted in ethics, and acts on an ethical system that finds expression and reinforcement through ritual. Ethical rigor and ritual profundity--that is the Jewish definition of holiness. By blending those two strands, we create a tapestry stronger and more enduring than either individual thread alone.

Ritual requires ethics to root it in the human condition, to force it to express human needs and to channel urges, to serve human growth and to foster insight. Ethics requires ritual to lend substance to lofty ideals, to remind, on a regular basis, of ethical commitments already made, and to create a community of shared values and high standards. Ritual without ethics becomes cruel. Ethics without ritual becomes hollow.
JTS logo
for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: 

May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 

April Yahrtzeits 

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.  

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.

Support B'nai Israel by using the Amazon button to shop today!
Shabbat Kedoshim
Friday, April 25th
6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, April 26th 
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Room, lower level
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by the Gittleman Family.*
Interested in learning or polishing up on birkat  
hamazon? just click here! 
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.
SNL SNL:  Saturday Night Learning.  
Begins this Saturday, April 26th, 8 p.m. at the home of Mindy and Fred Shuback. Text learning, light refreshments and havdalah.  Host homes will rotate weekly.  Please e-mail Mitch Parker if you would like to host or have any questions.
Photo appointments for the new directory are Monday and Tuesday, April 28th and 29th.  Sign up online  or contact Warren Lada or Ruby Robinson with questions.
Baby Blocks
Mazel Tov to TKA Cantorial Soloist Tiffany Green and her husband, Curin on the birth of their new son, Asher Frederick Green, born April 14th.  
Sunday, April 27th, 11:30 a.m.
Unveiling for Esther Manko, dear friend of B'nai Israel Synagogue, will be held at Chesed Shel Emet Hebrew Memorial Park) Cemetery, 14 Mile and Gratiot.
Community Opportunities
TKA Blood Drive
April 28th, 2-7:45 p.m., Social Hall

Bookstock 2014 
Sunday, April 27-Sunday, May 4th
Laurel Park Place, Livonia
 Used Book and Media Sale, Supporting the Need to Read  
Click www.bookstock.info for complete information.  
Special Event:  
Annie's Ghosts Annie's Ghosts:  A Journey into a Family Secret
Beth Luxenberg was an only child, or so everyone thought.  Six months after her death, the secret emerged . . . Annie.
Sponsored by Jewish Family Service and Jewish Federation
Monday, May 19th 
Intimate Eventing with author, Steve Luxenberg
Wednesday, May 21st
Afternoon Lunch and Learn with the author, JCC West Bloomfield.  Click here for event flyer.
For more information, visit www.jfsdetroit.org or call 248-592-2301, or e-mail: anniesghosts@jfsdetroit.org

JTS Metro Detroit Gala
Thursday, May 29th, 5:30 p.m.
Adat Shalom Synagogue
B'nai Israel Synagogue honorees:  Ruth and Mark Webber.  Please call the JTS office:  248-258-055 for more information or register online:  www.jtsa.edu/Detroit2014

Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
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.

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, 
 May 3rd. 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.  FUTURE DATE:
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.
April 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., May 7th.
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: May 10th, June 21st.  Click here for schedule and list of presenters. 
Want to brush up on your prayer skills, tropes or birkat hamazon? Click here.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


24 Elianna Orel

26 Evan Chudnow

26 Marvin Kozlowski

27 Noel Lawson

27 Adam Weingarden

27 Shira Wolf

30 Charles Seigerman

30 Nathan Soverinsky

If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
USCJ logo
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

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