July 24, 2014
26 Tammuz 5774
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Shabbat Masei
Rabbi Lewis Warshuaer

The philosopher George Santayana wrote that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. His words have been often used and more often misused. The past is not a document that can simply be pulled out of a file. The past is what we remember it to have been. How we remember it depends on how we have told it. The Torah is, among other things, a record of how the Jewish people told, or were told, its past.

Yet the Torah is difficult to use as a memory book. If an extraterrestrial being were to come to Earth and ask you about the past of the Jewish people, you would not want to hand over the Torah and say: Read this. Many of the narratives appear to be too long, repetitious and even useless in the words of Maimonides. Maimonides, in his Guide for the Perplexed (III:50) confronts head-on the challenge often posed to the Bible - that many sections are just too wordy. He points out that there is a difference between what an individual sees and what is set down in writing. When one sees an event, one can recognize the important details. When those same details are recorded in writing, they appear to the reader, who did not see them, as unnecessary. Maimonides uses as a case in point the opening verses of Parashat Masei, which are a recapitulation of the journeys of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Each stop along the way is mentioned. For instance, why tell that the nation journeyed from a place called Rimmon Peretz to another place called Livnah (Numbers 33:19)? Is this part of the Torah nothing more than a glorified travelogue? For Maimonides, it is vitally important to the Torah, and indeed to the entire enterprise of Judaism, that these details be mentioned. The journey of the Israelites in the wilderness was no mere excursion. It was a miracle. For forty years, God protected the people from harsh conditions and fed them with manna. If the story were merely repeated orally, future listeners might consider it to be false. The detailed, written exposition of these events in the Torah is reliable testimony, according to Maimonides, that these miracles actually occurred.

The problem with Maimonides' explanation is that many Jews do not believe that the Torah is a reliable testimony to the past, and therefore is not particularly worth remembering. Forget about the theoretical extraterrestrial who wants to know about the past of the Jewish people. Too many Jews today cannot answer basic questions on or about the history of our people, where we came from and where we journeyed.

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May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 


7/24/2014 (26 Tammuz)         

Maxine Gordon

Freda Kovsky

Toby Leib Myers

7/26/2014 (28 Tammuz)         

Esther Dworin

Abraham Nusholtz

7/27/2014 (29 Tammuz)         

Sophie Fischel

7/28/2014 (1 Av)         

Molly Haar

Florence Bobry Robert

7/29/2014 (2 Av)         

Milton (Billy) Graub

7/30/2014 (3 Av)         

Saul Raimi

7/31/2014 (4 Av)

Herman Stark

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Shabbat Masei
Friday, July 25th
6 p.m. Chapel
Saturday, July 26th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Barbara Kappy marking the yahrtzeit of her mother, Sophie Fishel, and by the following Kiddush Lunch Group: Fred and Mindy Shuback, Cheryl and Mitch Parker, Sharon and Leonard Rosen, Laurie and Robert Kimmel, Fran Stark and Dave Hundiak, Ed and Fran Chudnow, Evan and Leslie Chudnow, Rebecca Tron, and Sandy and Warren Lada.
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*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.
8:30 p.m., at the home of Rabbi Mark and Amy Robbins. please rsvp to Mitch Parker 
if you plan to attend.
Community Activities
Tisha B'Av

Congregation B'nai Moshe, 8:45 p.m.click here for flyer and complete information.

MACCABI 2014 Detroit INFO
Host families and assistance needed.  Please consider getting involved.

Contact the JCC Maccabi Hotline to get involved:  248-432-5500, 
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Shabbat Youth Activities will resume in the fall.


RAMAH CANADA LOGOFall Events for Camp Ramah
September 7th
Camp Heremelin, 12:30 p.m. at the home of Doreen Hermelin
September 14th
Welcome Back from Camp Ramah
5-7 p.m., Adat Shalom Synagogue 
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Learning Opportunities
Adult Education
"Making Sense of the Machzor"
A 3-Part Series as part of SNL, Saturday Night Learning
Shabbat, September 6, 13, 20 - 6:30 pm
Prepare for the Yamim Noraim over Seudah Shlishit, as we wrap up the season's Saturday Night Learning sessions.  
Location TBD

"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
will return in the fall.

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Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake


24 Leslie Chudnow

24 Bernice Handler

27 Barbara Kappy

28 Francine Stark-Hundiak

29 Robin Jacobson

29 David Lazarus

30 Hannah Finn

30 Ian Robinson

31 Brandon Kappy

31 Noah Weingarden 


      Jewish Wedding

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Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery.  

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