NEWS & EVENTS

Feb. 6, 2024

SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE WEEKLY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

This week it's BABY WIPES. On Friday night or any time you're at temple, please bring BABY WIPES this week!

CONVERSION? ADOPTION? HOW HUMANISTIC JEWS VIEW "JOINING THE TRIBE"

... scroll down to read.

✦ Feb. 9, 7PM


▶︎ GUEST SPEAKER: NOMI JOYRICH, MICHIGAN DIRECTOR, JEWS FOR A SECULAR DEMOCRACY

 

NATIONAL "REPRO" SHABBAT


Nomi will update us on the great progress in the area of reproductive rights here in Michigan and let us know about the work left to be done ... like lifting the ban on state Medicaid funding and the mandatory 24 hour waiting period.

IN PERSON OR ON YOUTUBE:


Click HERE or on the graphic for YouTube (live & recorded).

✦ Feb. 16, 7PM


▶︎ RABBI FALICK WILL SPEAK

 

THE RISE OF ANTISEMITISM ON THE LEFT

Synagogues are vandalized. Chanukah menorahs are damaged. The Holocaust is denied or used as an antisemitic cudgel. Protestors attack Jewish businesses "charging" them with genocide. Activists hail Hamas as they deny or celebrate the 10/7 massacre. Jews are erased from their own history.


Using the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism as a guide, Rabbi Falick will share what too many not-so-well-intentioned people on the left have borrowed and adapted from Jew-haters on the right.


This is not a presentation about whether anti-Zionism is antisemitic. It's a presentation about desecrated synagogues and highly-shared social media posts calling all Jews rats and demons. It's not about debatable issues. It's about hate.

Re-Scheduled from an earlier date...


✦ Feb. 23, 7PM


▶︎ GUEST SPEAKER: JOEL BROWN

 

CLIMATE CHANGE & GLOBAL WARMING:


A HUMANISTIC ASSESSMENT OF A CRISIS IN TIME


Long-time congregant Joel Brown is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, personally trained, in part, by former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Climate Change in 2007.


Joel has also been trained and certified by the Climate Reality Project, an international non-profit organization where he received a deeper understanding of the science of climate change and the impacts and solutions to the climate crisis, nationally and globally.


He will share what he has learned about how we can better support solution action.

Re-Scheduled from an earlier date...


✦ March 1, 7PM


▶︎ GUEST SPEAKER: STATE REP. SAMANTHA STECKLOFF

 

UPDATE FROM LANSING



We will welcome Rep. Samantha Steckloff, Michigan House District 19, representing Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Southfield, Bloomfield Township, Bingham Farms, Franklin and Southfield Township.

✦ March 8, 7PM


▶︎ RABBI FALICK WILL SPEAK

 

HAVE YOU EVER CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT?


Rabbi Falick will talk about the significance to Humanism about keeping an open mind, even about things that are very significant. He'll share some personal examples and then open up the program to anyone who wants to share their own examples of times they've changed their minds about something important.

NEXT LUNCH BUNCH

WED., FEB. 28, 12:30PM


Please bring your own lunch ...

coffee and tea service will be available.


-------------------


Contact Suzanne Paul (suzanne@crpaul.com) for more information!

A Variety of Weekly Programs

6:30-8PM

NO CHARGE!


Join us as we socialize and participate in a diverse array of programs, some featured monthly, others unique!


Coming Up:


February 12

Personal Safety with Law Enforcement and Security Expert Paul Caradonna


Paul will speak about how to keep yourself safe, what to report to the police, and how to interact with law enforcement. As both an attorney and police officer, he can also answer your questions.


February 19

Dr. Bruce Hillenberg


An introduction to Jewish "Mussar" Literature, virtue-based ethics based on the idea that by cultivating inner virtues, we can improve ourselves.


February 26

Dancing with Cheryl


CHJ member Cheryl Feit is an Israeli dance teacher who will teach and lead us in a variety of folk dances.



➜ For more information, contact Melanie Goldberg, mdg0906@gmail.com

THE WORLD'S OLDEST HATRED

THE HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM

WITH RABBI FALICK


CONTINUES:

MONDAYS AT 1PM


ON ZOOM:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89316945686


CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS LESSONS ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

HOLD THE DATE!


SUNDAY, APRIL 14


DAY OF SERVICE & CELEBRATION

Featuring sandwich-making for the NOAH Homeless Project


Needed: Medium-sized to large cardboard boxes to pack lunch materials for project!

NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING


THIS Sat., Feb. 10, 11:30AM to 12:30PM

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82417709465


ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!

COLLECTIONS UNDERWAY


Help us to clothe and supply those in need ...


... with toiletries, new or gently used winter clothing, toys, children's books and other needs, household items. Drop off in lobby.


If donating items from other categories or larger items, please first contact Audrey Pleasant (audreypleasant@gmail.com) for more information. 


NEW!

We are featuring a weekly focus on needed items. Details for this week are at the top of the newsletter!

KNIT / CROCHET / CRAFT FOR A CAUSE

Next Session:

Sat., Feb. 24, 1-3PM

All welcome; no skill needed. Contact Audrey Pleasant: audreypleasant@gmail.com to be on the reminder list.

An array of recent warm hats knitted by our group!

FREEDOM HOUSE

JEWS FOR A SECULAR DEMOCRACY

Go to: https://bit.ly/bonishi to register.

CONVERSION? ADOPTION? HOW HUMANISTIC JEWS VIEW "JOINING THE TRIBE"

If you were one of the millions of fans of HBO's "Sex and the City" you probably remember television's most famous conversion to Judaism. It began with a visit by Charlotte York, one of the four main characters, to a synagogue:


Charlotte : Hello, My name is Charlotte York and I am interested in joining the Jewish faith.


Rabbi : Sorry, we're not interested.


Ultimately, Charlotte was admitted to the "tribe" but not before going through intensive classes, facing more rejection, living as a Jew for more than a year, facing more rejection, marrying a Jewish man, and facing more rejection. You get the idea.


Her rabbi's initial response aligns with the myth that rabbis are required to reject potential converts three times to test their ardor. In fact, ancient Jews were frequently quite active proselytizers. The Hasmonean (Maccabean) rulers of second-century B.C.E. Judea even imposed forced conversion on their conquered neighbors!


When the rabbinical class rose to power sometime later, it sought converts quite actively (though never by force). Their success rates were uneven. Plenty of their failures were the result of requiring circumcision, quite the high price of entry (and why women joined more frequently). With the rise of Christianity, however, most Jewish communities were forbidden to convert new members and that was that. External prohibitions evolved into internal reticence.


Charlotte's disinterested rabbi became the norm.


Now contrast his response with a description of Rabbi Wine's interaction with a potential new entrant to the Jewish scene:


He held his palm up under his mouth and quickly expelled a puff of air as if he was blowing fairy dust at me. This was followed by the proclamation, "Poof! You're Jewish!"


This particular memory of how he accepted newcomers reflects Humanistic Judaism's openness to anyone who "identifies with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people," as our congregational mission statement proclaims.


Yet while some may recall Rabbi Wine doing something like this (and I've done it too!) he was actually not quite so flippant about the significance of a ceremony or other rituals to welcome people into our Jewish community. In fact, he advocated creating ceremonies because of the importance they have always had for newcomers and the communities that welcome them. Rituals, he taught, provide newcomers with the kind of recognition of membership that Jews from birth experience through their earlier ceremonies. For the community they also present an opportunity to embrace new members.


In conventional Jewish communities, conversion ceremonies have several requirements. For both men and women, these include appearing before a beit din - a ritual court (usually comprised of three rabbis) and engaging in ritual immersion in a mikvah - a ritual pool (or open-air substitute like the ocean, a river, etc.). For men there is the additional requirement of circumcision or, if already circumcised, having a tiny amount of blood taken from the site of the earlier procedure.


Of the major conventional movements, Reform Judaism is the only one that does not require these elements. However, the vast majority of Reform rabbis urge their converts to undergo them if for no other reason than to obtain recognition of their conversion by movements to their right. (Forget about Orthodox Judaism. They only recognize Orthodox conversions and many times not even those.)


A Humanistic Jewish welcoming ceremony is unlikely to include any of those elements (except perhaps for the ritual immersion which I've heard has been offered on occasion). This makes it improbable that our newcomers will enjoy recognition as Jews by those to our right. Which is everyone. Nevertheless, Rabbi Wine's wisdom about offering such ceremonies—without requiring them—still stands.


Alongside discussions about how to avoid gatekeeping and our realism about how about the limited recognition of joining the Jewish people through our movement, we have also talked a great deal about what we should call the process of joining.


Outside of Humanistic Judaism, the undisputed English term is conversion, a word that Rabbi Wine felt was inappropriate to becoming a Jew. Conversion, he said, implies a change in belief. That's not really something that a humanist attracted to Humanistic Judaism is doing. He noted that our version is more like that of naturalization, affiliation, or adoption. Ultimately, our movement started using the language of adoption. Not about our communities adopting the newcomer, but about the newcomer adopting us.


While I certainly agree with the desire to abandon outdated language, I also believe that our new words should meet people's needs. In the case of becoming Jewish, adoption language is just not cutting it.


I think part of this is because when we think of adoption we think of a child being welcomed into a new family. The child is the adoptee, not the adopter. In our use of the word, the newcomers (analogous to the children) are the adopters. They are adopting the family. That is not a thing that children or newcomers do. With respect for the thought that has gone into this, I have found that adoption language is overly confusing. People are always going to say conversion. The word is too ingrained in our lexicon.


Sadly, the Hebrew nomenclature does not help us much. The word for a convert is ger. It probably derives from the sense of that word as sojourner, but it also happens to be the word for stranger. Oddly, to call a convert a stranger does not represent the attitude of the rabbis of old. They actually considered it a great transgression to bring up a proselyte's past, especially with any sense of derision. It turns out that just like the word convert, a term that does not quite fit our sensibilities, the word ger just stuck.


That said, no matter what word we choose, our ceremonies should still reflect the fact that what is really happening is an adoption by newcomers of their new community. My own  ceremonies emphasize the notion of affirmation. Celebrants affirm their sense of belonging to the Jewish people and our community affirms its embrace of a new member.


Humanistic Jews are far from disinterested in welcoming new members. Jewish culture has always been blessed by what they bring to us even as we hope, in return, to bless them with the beauty of our heritage. We are a tiny little people. At 15.7 million we comprise just 0.2% of the eight billion worldwide population. A culture cannot exist without members. Which is why, in the spirit of those ancient and more welcoming rabbis of old, we Humanistic Jews have opened our arms to embrace all who would join us.


IMPORTANT LINKS


YAHRZEITS

 

Click here to see upcoming Yahrzeit Memorials.

 

TRIBUTES

 

Click here to see recent Tribute Gifts.

WELL WISHES


BEST WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY TO:


Nitsan Ben-Gal, Jim Walker, Kate Ben-Ami


Please inform us if you know that someone is ill or in need.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS

TU B'SHEVAT SEDER & SHABBAT DINNER!


Our Jan. 26 Inter-generational holiday and Shabbat event was a HUGE success! Hope you can join us next year!

Thank you to Jean Klarich and Arthur Liebhaber for these photos!

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS

Mazel Tov to CHJ Member Mark Lipson on the release of "Launch Control," his fifth album!


The album contains all original Detroit jazz music composed by Mark, the late Detroit euphoniumist Brad Felt, virtuosic trombonist, Vincent Chandler (WSU faculty), and the brilliant pianist, Mike Jellick (who recently performed at the Kennedy Center.)


To join Mark at an upcoming online listening party, VISIT THIS LINK. You can also visit his other two websites: Marklipsonmusic.bandcamp.com (to purchase music) and Marklipsonmusic.com for much other content.

JEWISH COMMUNITY NEWS

ONLINE, IN-PERSON & BOTH!

Classes are for members only or by arrangement with Rabbi Falick or Ann-Marie Fisher, exec. director.


RABBI FALICK'S MONDAY CLASS:

THE HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM

Exploring the history of the world's oldest hatred.

Mondays, 1PM, Entire recorded series posted to CHJ YouTube Channel. Or join live on Zoom : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89316945686


RABBI FALICK'S SATURDAY CLASS:

JOURNEY THROUGH THE TORAH

Join this exploration of the iconic narratives of the Torah through both critical and traditional perspectives.

Saturdays, 10AM, Zoom Only.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/759671597


HISTORY CLASSES WITH NATAN FUCHS

Sundays, 10:30AM, In Person Only. On hiatus.


SOCRATES CAFE

Next Session: Tuesday, 11AM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/182488428


MAH-JONGG

Tuesdays, 1-2:30PM, In-Person

For more information, contact Denise Parker, 248.321.9428


YOGA

Fridays, 1:30PM In-Person

with Karen Lutz

Wednesdays, 9:30AMIn-Person

with Connie Grossman

ZOOM REQUIRES A PASSWORD!

The password was sent under separate cover. Please contact rabbi@chj-detroit.org if you need it.


ONLINE VIDEOS OF PROGRAMS & CLASSES

Visit LibrarySHJ.com and our YouTube page for videos of past services, classes, lectures, and more!

CONGREGATION FOR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM

OF METRO DETROIT


248.477.1410 / office@chj-detroit.org


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