April, 2017 / Nissan-Iyar, 5777

April at the Downtown Synagogue

Lunch and Learn
Monday, April 3
12:00 pm
Stephen Henderson and Nancy Kaffer of the Detroit Free Press will lead us in discussion of post-election issues. Details can be found below. 
Chocolate Tasting
Wednesday, April 5
7:00 to 8:30 pm 
Alexandra Clark, Founding Chocolatier of Bon Bon Bon is bringing her knowledge and fair-trade chocolate to the synagogue . More information below.
Gen S    
Sunday, April 23
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
For the third installment of this ongoing series, we will make hygiene packages for Cass Community Social Services. Brunch too, of course. More below.

Rabbi's Message:  Freedom from Fear     

Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav is famous for saying "All the world is a narrow bridge, and the most important thing is to not be afraid." However, a better translation of the original Hebrew (which used the reflexive form of the verb "to fear") is "...the most important thing is to not make yourself afraid." Ultimately, the choice between immobilization and progress is yours to decide.

We live during a frightening time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise, and so are discrimination and intimidation directed at millions of vulnerable people. One of the goals of those who hate is to instill fear. We must not let them make us afraid, and we must not make ourselves afraid. Rather, we can demonstrate an unwavering commitment to our values and our prophetic voice. Now, more than ever, we must be courageous.

The Jews who marched out of Egypt were afraid. Pharaoh's army was chasing them, they entered a desert without clear sources of food and water, and they were headed to a place they did not know. But ultimately it was because of their fear that almost all of the people who left Egypt never entered the Promised Land. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, who, after scouting the Promised Land, had faith in the face of fear, were allowed to enter.

Passover is about freedom from slavery. But it must also be about freedom from fear. I invite each of us to use our Passover celebration to strengthen ourselves for the journey that lies ahead. We cannot stop now.

Rabbi Ariana Silverman  
Upcoming Events
All events are at IADS unless otherwise noted. For more information on some of the events below, click here.

Lunch and Learn with Stephen Henderson and Nancy Kaffer 
Monday, April 3 at 12:00 pm 
We're delighted to host Scripps Howard Award for Opinion winners and Detroit Free Press journalists, Stephen Henderson and Nancy Kaffer to speak about post-election issues, especially the attacks on the free press and media. Kosher, vegetarian lunch provided.

Chocolate Tasting with Bon Bon Bon 
Wednesday, April 5, 7:00 to 8:30 pm 
Taste a variety of fair-trade chocolates from around the world and learn about the differences in chocolate production with the owner and founder of Bon Bon Bon, Alexandra Clark. This event is limited to the first 35 people who RSVP to

Detroit ShabbAsana yoga with Emilie Kahn    
Saturday, April 15, 10:30 to 11:45 am
From Habitual Bondage to Freedom with Bhandas - Embodying Passover
In celebration of the Passover holiday we will explore moving from a physical place of constriction to one of expansion. As Pharaoh witnessed the ten plagues, we read over and over that his "heart is hardened," indicating that his obstinacy becomes habitual. Day to day, as we sit and move with postures of leaning over computers, desks, and steering wheels, we create the habitual shapes of hunched shoulders, slumped chests, and "closed" hearts. Come join us for an extended yoga class exploring poses that support opening our hearts and accessing the spaciousness we all have in our shoulders and chests. This class is suitable for all levels and will embrace the Passover holiday - challenging you to release habits that are no longer serving you by offering a countering movement to the habitual way we often move through the world.

Gen S: Where Social Meets Service III      
Sunday, April 23, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Join us for our 3rd Gen S event! We will be meeting at the synagogue to make hygiene packages to donate to Cass Community Social Services (CCSS). The Detroit-based agency works across the city in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health, housing, and jobs. Join us after for a delicious bagels and lox brunch! Kindly RSVP by emailing vsitron@downtownsynagogue. This program is powered by PresenTense.

Downtown Synagogue Annual Community Seder and 
Passover Yizkor Service 

The Downtown Synagogue will host a community Seder the second night of Pesach, Tuesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. We must have your RSVP and payment by Wednesday, April 5. Click the link to download the invitation and RSVP form. Return the completed form and your payment by the deadline. You can also pay via PayPal.

Passover is one of four times during the year we hold a Yizkor Memorial service. These are Yom Kippur, Sh'mini Azeret, Passover Day 8, and Shavuot Day 2. This year our Passover Yizkor service is on Tuesday, April 18, beginning promptly at 9:00 am, with Yizkor occurring at approximately 11:00 am. We need participation at this service, a minyan at least, to ensure that those in attendance who wish to say Yizkor are able to do so. 

IADS Volunteer Shout Out 
In recognition of all of our March volunteers:

Thank you to Chef Bee and Susannah Goodman for cooking Shabbat dinner; Ruby Robinson, Eric Hansen, Jeff Herbstman, Oren Goldenberg, Noam Kimelman, Susannah Goodman, and Marty Herman for helping to lead services this month; Marty Herman for leading the Purim Megillah reading; Les Kannon, our resident "handyperson" for assembling our new office chairs and performing other important tasks and repairs; the entire Creative Communications Committee, especially Vadim Avshalumov, for a successful neighborhood Shabbat; and Chava Knox and Polly Jones for cooking a delicious meal for Building a Bridge Over Dinner. Thank you to everyone else who volunteers their time and energy to IADS. A lay led congregation is is only as strong its volunteers.

If you're interested in volunteering, please contact Vicki Sitron at 313-962-4047 or

We apologize for any names left off the list. Please let us know and we will recognize you next month. 

Rebbetzin's Corner

Rabbi Arthur Waskow tells a story about Passover dishes. When he was a kid, he grew up in a halakhically observant household and, indeed, neighborhood. Preparations for Pesach were carried out with special rigor and shalom bayit ("peace in the home") was thrown out the window with the chametz.

To read the rest of Rebbetzin's Corner and preparing for Pesach, click here .

Support Eden Gardens 
Eden Gardens Block Club is hoping to raise $3000 to employ two people to work with youth for six weeks this summer and they need your help! You can donate, using this link and clicking the "donate" button at the top. Eden Gardens is located at 12155 Glenfield in Detroit. Thank you for your support.

Additionally, Eden Gardens has applied for a 2017 Seeds of Change ® Grant. We need your votes! Visit the Seeds of Change ® website and vote for Eden Gardens (Eden Garden's Garden, Detroit). You may vote once per day and voting ends April 19. Please help us win one of the 24 available grants! 
Grant Award Announcement  

The Downtown Synagogue is fortunate to have the generous support of the William Davidson Foundation as we build on our historic past and move into the future here in the heart of downtown Detroit. Their transformative two-year grant award, beginning in July of 2017, will allow us to support key staff salaries and programming, thereby assisting us in realizing our full potential. Many heartfelt thanks and much gratitude to the William Davidson Foundation for their faith in our journey!
Get Involved!
Green the Synagogue!
If you are interested in being part of an effort to make our synagogue more environmentally sustainable, please contact Rabbi Silverman.

Help Us Cook!
We're always seeking volunteers to help us in the kitchen! We pride ourselves on our delicious home cooked Shabbat and Lunch and Learn meals. If you want to contribute to the synagogue by cooking, please contact the synagogue to get on the schedule.

Clean House!
As we work to clean up and clear out in our Synagogue, we ask your cooperation. If you notice a spill, please wipe it up. If you drop crumbs, please clean them up. If you use the kitchen, please clean up. If you have extra papers or handouts, please take them home to recycle them, or, if needed, leave them in the designated box in the library for ritual burial. As we continue to create our welcoming communal home, please help us to keep it inviting. As the saying goes, "it takes a village." 
Gemilut Chasadim - Our Caring Community 
As life presents challenges, surprises, and celebrations, please let the Downtown Synagogue community know, so we can acknowledge your experiences. Please share your information with us here.

Amazon Smile
The Downtown Synagogue is now on Amazon Smile! If you use to buy useful and useless things, a percentage of eligible purchases gets donated back to us. Please bookmark this link and don't forget to use Amazon Smile when you shop Amazon. Thanks for your support!

Shop at Kroger
Make sure to register your Plus Card and designate IADS as your Kroger Community Rewards Program, if you haven't already done so. When you shop at Kroger, swipe your Plus Card each time you shop and the synagogue benefits. It's that easy! From November to January, you earned $51.31 for IADS. For more information, or to sign up, click here.
Don't Forget!
We hold regular Shabbat services! 

Shabbat services every Friday night at 7:00 pm
Rabbi Silverman leads services the first Friday of every month
Liven up your weekly routine by joining us to welcome Shabbat. In the midst of busy schedules and tantalizing local events, Friday nights at IADS remain a signature weekly rhythm. Whether you have joy you wish to share in song or you are feeling in the mood to just be quietly present, we have a place reserved just for you. Services at 7:00 pm followed by a deliciously prepared Kosher vegetarian dinner. End your hectic work week with ruach and community.

Torah study (before Saturday services) at 9:00 am
Shabbat services every Saturday morning at 9:30 am
Rabbi Silverman leads services the second Saturday of every month
Where would Jews be without the Torah? Torah is the center of our Saturday Shabbat service. It is a mitzvah to make a minyan so we can read the Torah and people can say kaddish. Please come to the Saturday morning Shabbat service at 9:30. We want to pass the Torah l'dor v'dor.

Contact us if you have questions or requests pertaining to our service schedule.
Purchase Your IADS T-Shirts Today!
Our incredibly soft tees are setting trends all over the city. Grab yours today before we run out!  $18.00 for members in good standing and $25.00 for friends. See more photos and get purchasing inf here.



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The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue
1457 Griswold - Detroit, MI - 48226 - (313) 962-4047