May 8, 2014
8 Iyar 5774
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In This Issue
Shabbat Behar
Youth and Family Activities
Learning Opportunities
Shabbat Behar

A New World

The reinterpretation of the term 'forever' encourages us to strive for new realities within our own lifetimes.

By Rabbi Asher Brander


The primacy of the Oral Law has always been the bedrock of our belief system.

Torah Shebichtav (Written Law) without Torah Sheba'al Peh (Oral Law) is likened to a body without a soul. Thus, when Oral Law seems to contradict the Written Law our sense of textual loyalty seems violated.

Our parshah is home to one of the classic examples of this apparent incongruity. The Torah states, "You shall sanctify the 50th year and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all of its inhabitants; it shall be the Jubilee year (Yovel) for you."

What are the implications of this freedom?

The Torah teaches that a Jewish servant works a six-year period of service. At the seventh year, "if the servant shall say, 'I love my master...I don't [want to] go free,' then his master shall bring him to the court...and he shall serve him forever (le'olam)."

The Torah Sheba'al Peh, however, clarifies that the term "forever--le'olam" means until Yovel. How so? Ibn Ezra (12th century Spanish commentator), cites a verse from Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) which implies that the world olam can mean a period of time. Since Yovel is the longest block of time in the Jewish calendar, the word olam, taken in the sense of "a long time" is appropriate.

But even if Ibn Ezra is technically correct, we must still ask why the Torah opts for the more ambiguous "olam" when it could simply say, "Yovel." Why create confusion in the first place?

The words of the Ramban (Nachmanides) on this topic are cryptic: "The enlightened one will understand that 'forever' (le'olam) is literal--for one who works until Yovel has worked all the days of the world (olam). In the words of the Mekhilta (legal midrash on Exodus): Rebbe says, Come and see that the world is only fifty years old as it says, 'And he shall work forever--until the Yovel.'"

Ramban is describing the nature of the world. In some mystical way the world only exists for 50 years. Rabbeinu Bechayei (late 13th century Spain) cites the Kabbalists who say that 50 represents the circle of life.

On a national scale, consider the power of 50 days. In 50 days, the Jewish people were transformed from a bedraggled nation of slaves to recipients of the Torah. We attempt that same metamorphosis each year during Sefirat Ha'omer as we count off 50 days from Pesach to Shavuot.

Similarly, the Levite may only serve in the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) until the age of fifty. At some level, his world, too, has been completed at that age.

This is the powerful message of Yovel. Each seven-year shemittah (sabbatical) cycle represents a rung, a new level achieved within the world while Yovel, which follows the seventh shemittah year, represents the dawn of a completely new world.

Even for the rational Jew, unaware of the mystical notion of the Yovel cycle, the message of Ramban still rings powerful--a Jew need not die in order to arrive at a new world; rather, he can transcend worlds in his lifetime.

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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 

May Yahrtzeits 

5/8/2014 (8 Iyar)                  

Imre Erdos

Sarah Kurland Fridenberg

Edith Miller 

5/9/2014 (9 Iyar)                  

Robert Perry Schloss

5/10/2014 (10 Iyar)              

Gabor Fenyes

Marc Silverman

5/11/2014 (11 Iyar)              

Avrum Greenbaum

Gertrude Greenbaum

5/12/2014 (12 Iyar)              Evelyn Graub

5/15/2014 (15 Iyar)             

Marilyn Soverinsky 

5/18/2014 (18 Iyar)              

Sylvia Isaacs

5/19/2014 (19 Iyar)              

Rabbi Moshe Funk

5/20/2014 (20 Iyar)              

Pearl Mirkin

5/21/2014 (21 Iyar)              Abraham Joseph Kleinbard

5/23/2014 (23 Iyar)             

Jean Rappaport 

5/26/2014 (26 Iyar)              Maurice Gordon

5/29/2014 (29 Iyar)              

Ralph Levin

5/30/2014 (1 Sivan)             

Sarah Hurvich

5/31/2014 (2 Sivan)             Esther B. Goldenberg

Sandra G. Rose

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.

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Shabbat Behar
Friday, May 9th
6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv,
Saturday, May 10th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m. Supervised Youth Room, lower level 
SHABBAT SHIUR today prior to minha in the chapel will be led by Rabbi Jonathan Berger.  All are welcome to attend.
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Kiddush Lunch Bunch participants: Bernice Jacobson, Joe Rose, Manello, Webber, Beverly Avadenka, Lou and Sally Soverinsky, Ruby Robinson, and Cheryl and Philip Litt.


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:  Saturday Night Learning.  
May 10th, 8 p.m. at the home of Rabbi Mark and Amy Robbins.  Text learning, light refreshments and havdalah.  Host homes will rotate weekly.  Please e-mail Mitch Parker if you plan to attend.
To Karen Gordon, who will be honored at the 21st  Annual Larry D. Sills Memorial JCC Golf Classic on June 2nd. For further information on this event, please click here.
Community Opportunities

Macabbi 2014.  Registration is open for Artists/Athletes, Coaches, Host Families, Volunteers and Sponsors.  JCC Maccabi Hotline:  248-432-5500,

Walk for Israel 2014
Walk For Israel
Sunday, May 18th
Celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) with the greater Detroit Jewish Community.  Events include 5K Family Fun Run, Community Walk, free Jerusalem Pizza lunch.  Click on: for more information.

JVS Job Fair
Jewish Community 
Job Connection Event
Wednesday, May 14th
Oak Park JCC
7:30 a.m. - Noon.
Visit www.ActNow.Jobs to register for the event, review and apply for jobs with participating employers, and view schedule of upcoming

The Technion and the Innovation Nation
Wednesday, May 14th, 7:30 p.m. at Temple Kol Ami
Joey Selesny, Regional Directory of the American Technion Society will speak.  There is no charge to attend.  RSVP to or call the temple office:  248-661-0040

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 Evening 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 or call 248-592-2301, or e-mail:

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:

Israel/JerusalemJerusalem, the IMAX movie
Sunday, June 1st, 2:50 p.m.
Henry Ford IMAX Theater 
Group ticket pricing available for B'nai Israel Synagogue members.  Please send your reservation directly to the synagogue by May 14th to receive group price of $9.00/ticket.  Meet at the Henry Ford IMAX at 2:15 p.m. to pick up your tickets.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities

Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities 
Our youth will lead and participate in the service. We will honor our graduating high school seniors. please e-mail the synagogue with your high school senior's Hebrew and English names, and post-high school plans.
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.
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 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.
Want to brush up on your prayer skills, tropes or birkat hamazon? Click here.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


 8   Geri Feigelson

 8   Howard Rosenberg

10  Jay Abramson

10  Armando Duer

10  Casey Ginsberg

11  Rhonda Duer

11  Paula Glazier

11  Rachel Jacobson

15  Marilyn Lantor

16  Trudy Jacobson

18  Gloria Ruskin

20  Linda Foster

21  Louise Lazarus

21  Megan Victor

22  David Feber

22  Karen Lovinger

23  Shai Ohana

26  Robin Rosen

27  Jay Kozlowski

28  Susan Birnholtz 

28  Hilda Hamburger

30  Jordan Rosen

31  Irvin Kappy 

31  Marlene Myers


Jewish Wedding

 20  Jay & Joanna Abramson

 25  Michael & Shelli Dorfman

 26  Jeffrey Lupovitch & Alissa Citron

28  David Saperstein & Susan Knoppow

29  Oscar & Adele Band

30  Ed & Fran Chudnow

30  Steve & Linda Jacobson

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.