March, 2017 / Adar-Nisan, 5777

Much ado about March at Downtown Synagogue

Purim: The Whole Megillah
Saturday, March 11
7:30 to 9:00 pm
Be happy! Its Adar! Cheer for Queen Esther and boo Haman, dress in costume and celebrate our freedom. Details on our Purim festivities below. 
Wine & Cheese & Civil Liberties
Monday, March 20
7:00 to 8:30 pm 
Kary L. Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan will lead us in a timely discussion. More information below. Plan to join us in conversation.
Building a Bridge over Dinner   
Sunday, March 26
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Prior to the growing season, members of the Eden Gardens Block Club and IADS will share a meal and learn from each other. More below.

Rabbi's Message:  The Obligation of Privilege    

Mordechai had this message delivered to Esther: "Do not imagine that you, of all the Jews, will escape with your life by being in the king's palace. On the contrary, if you keep silent in this crisis, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, while you and your father's house will perish. And who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a crisis." Esther 4:13-14

I now hear the voice of Cornell Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP, when I read the verses above from the megillah. Esther had told Mordechai that she does not want to approach the king to plead for the Jews because doing so could risk her life. Cornell Brooks preached last fall that when we feel discouraged or overwhelmed by the challenges we face, we can think of Mordechai's response.

For Esther to retreat in fear would be both unproductive and selfish. Mordechai reminds us that it is precisely those with privilege and status who are in a position to make change, and therefore have the responsibility to do so. Esther sees herself as someone with so much to lose-her privilege, her status, her survival-rather than someone with so much to give. One does not need to be a queen, or even President of the NAACP, to recognize we have tremendous power, and the ability to use our power for good.

And further, Mordechai implies a divine force behind Esther's selection as queen. Although the Book of Esther never mentions God, some interpreters see Mordechai's words as implication that God is indeed present in the story, and is working through people like Esther. Whether or not we believe in fate, we can call on our faith to give us the strength we need to be God's partners in changing the world.

So as we face a daunting challenge, let us not be immobilized by fear.  Who knows, perhaps we have attained our power, our privilege, our voice, for just such a crisis.

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 Lisa Nuszkowski 
Monday, March 6 at 12:00 pm 
As founder and executive director of Detroit Bike Share, the city's first public bike share system set to launch in Spring 2017 with 420 bikes at 42 stations, Lisa Nuszkowski is an advocate for and leader in transportation and mobility in Detroit. She led the effort to launch Detroit's inaugural Open Streets program in Fall 2016, which temporarily closed four miles of roadway to vehicles and opened the streets up for people to walk, run, bike, play and engage with the community.  Kosher, vegetarian lunch included. 

Puppets and Purim Party  
Saturday, March 11, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
PuppetART Theater, 25 E Grand River Avenue
Join the Downtown Synagogue's Tot Shabbat in the D and JTot Detroit for a special Purim Shabbat at the PuppetART Theater in Detroit! The show begins at 2:00pm and is one hour long. Please arrive 20 minutes before the show. The event is FREE if you RSVP in advance to Vicki at with how many tickets you need. After the show, we will celebrate Shabbat with songs and snacks at the theater! Based on the Yitzhak Manger stage production that was shown internationally in the late 1950's, the performance is filled with laughter, wisdom, tears, and Klezmer music as well as colorful costumes and Persian scenery. This program is possible by funds from jbaby detroit, a program of the The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and is geared toward babies and toddlers.

Purim: The Whole Megillah   
Saturday, March 11, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Join the Downtown Synagogue at our annual community reading of the Megillah for the holiday of Purim to commemorate the defeat of Haman's (BOOOOO!) plot to get rid of the Jews, foiled by the heroic and dazzling Esther (YAAAAAY!). Come in costume, bring a box of kosher pasta to use as a grogger - all to be donated to Yad Ezra after Purim. Hamantashen and beverages will be provided.

Wine and Cheese and Civil Liberties     
Monday, March 20, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Join us for wine, cheese, and an intimate conversation with Kary L. Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. Moss earned a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a JD from CUNY Law School at Queen's College. Prior to joining the ACLU of Michigan, she clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then served as staff attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project which was founded by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Building a Bridge Over Dinner   
Sunday, March 26, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
As we look to start our fifth season of working, learning, and laughing together in Eden Gardens, we're excited to hold our annual Building a Bridge Over Dinner event with special guest speaker, Malik Yakini, executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). Join IADS and Eden Garden Block Club as we enjoy food inspired by our growing seasons of the past, talk over our family histories, and continue bonding as two communities. Please email or click "going" on the Facebook event to RSVP.

Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Yoni Dahlen 
Monday, March 27 at 12:00 pm
First Fruits; a Different Look at the Passover Haggadah. In our continuing new rabbi series, please join Rabbi Yoni Dahlen of Congregation Shaarey Zedek as we prepare for Pesach and explore a fresh take on the Haggadah.

Rosh Chodesh Women's Circle  
Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00 pm
Rabbi Silverman will lead the group this month and we will meet at IADS. We will discuss how women have shaped the celebration of Pesach and ways to include women's voices in the seder. Contact Sydney Skully at for details.  

Downtown Synagogue Annual Second Seder  

The Downtown Synagogue will host a community Seder the second night of Pesach, Tuesday, April 11 at 7:00 pm. Mark your calendars and plan to join us. Click the link to download the invitation and RSVP form. Mail the completed form and your payment to the synagogue. We will also be sending the letter and form via "snail mail" in the next couple of weeks.  

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

Thank you to Chef Bee, Emily Levine, and Liz Kannon for cooking Shabbat dinner; Ruby Robinson, Sydney Skully, Erwin Waldman, Jeff Herbstman, Lauren Hoffman, Jacob Plante, Eric Hansen, and Marty Herman for helping to lead services this month, an anonymous donor for sponsoring a kiddush luncheon, Liz Kannon, Amit Weitzer, Rebecca Waisanen, Susannah Goodman, and Oren Goldenberg for volunteering at the Dance Party; Emilie Kahn for leading another wonderful Detroit ShabbAsana yoga; Liz and Les Kannon for helping out with the Tu B'Shevat seder; and Steve Mertz for fixing the synagogue's doorbell. 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.

Also, thank you to Congregation T'Chiyah and the Reconstructionist Synagogue of Detroit for co-sponsoring and co-leading an amazing communal Tu B'Shevat Seder.

Support Downtown Synagogue when you shop Amazon 

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!
Mazel Tov! 

To Ruby Robinson on being selected for the Wexner Heritage Program Detroit 2017 class. 

Rebbetzin's Corner

Purim offers us a chance to think about hospitality. The megillah opens with a feast and a hostess who draws the line at how far she will go to entertain her guests

To read the rest of Rebbetzin's Corner and what Purim teaches us about hospitality, 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.
Community Events and Opportunities 

Limmud Michigan 2017 
Sunday, March 19, 9:00 am to 5:15 pm
Wayne State University Student Center
5221 Gullen Mall, Detroit 
Over 60 sessions of all kinds given by expert presenters (many from our IADS community) and panels from near and far; Kosher lunch and snacks; "Camp Limmud" for K-8th grade; transportation arrangements from suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor; plentiful convenient parking. For more information and how to register, click here.

The Zookeeper's Wife Advance Screening 
Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00 pm
The Maple Theater, 4135 W Maple Rd, Bloomfield Township
The Zookeeper's Wife tells the true story of a working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. See the incredible Holocaust story that we have never seen before. Advance screening passes available on a first come, first served basis by clicking on this link. The film opens on Friday, March 31. 
Get Involved!
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 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.

Shop at Kroger
If you shop at Kroger, you can earn money for the synagogue by registering your Plus Card with the Kroger Community Rewards Program and swiping your Plus Card each time you shop. It's that easy! 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 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 (proceeded by the Torah study at 9:00). 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.



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