Shabbat Shalom
From Israel
February 5, 2016
Cycle of Life
We arrived last week to our 2nd home... Israel. or, depending how you look at it, our 1st home but sadly we were greeted with the news that Hannan's uncle (his mother's brother) had died that day. Since Jewish burials must occur within 24 hours, our first day was filled with a drive up to Haifa to attend the funeral at a crowded municipal but immaculate cemetery.  Israeli funerals (free, if you use the public system) are quite different from the ones we are used to in the States. Burial space is limited so plots are stacked on concrete rows of tombs and as Israeli tradition dictates, coffins are replaced with white cloth bags. Rest in peace, Yosef Segal z"l.

Swearing In 
The rest of the week was filled with family, friends and food and last night we witnessed Mataan's army swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall. Pictures speak louder than words so here are some photos from his ceremony. 

Mataan is siting on the ground, far right.

Mataan and Josh Schaefer

By the way, there is a very interesting documentary call Beneath the Helmet  which spotlights the training camp where Mataan is currently stationed. Also, this film was just listed as the 5th Best Military documentary on Netflix. 

Equal Status
The backdrop to the ceremony was the newly "egalitarianized" Western Wall (HaKotel).  For years women (of the Wall) and non-orthodox worshipers had been trying to secure a pluralistic space at the sacred Wall so both genders can pray together and women are free to wear tallit (prayer shawls) and read Torah. After years of stagnant orthodox policy, the Israeli Cabinet finally blessed this progress with a vote of 15-5. The government will provide 35 million Israeli Shekel to create the new space with all the necessities. This is a significant achievement and deserves much praise. Here is a short video explanation of the effort and while watching it I noticed our own Michigan Rabbi Arnie in one of the segments.
And for more info on this issue, you can read this article:

Jerry in Israel
Everything in Israel is either "no problem" or "impossible".  This is true and was observed by Jerry Seinfeld when he was here in December.  He shares his thoughts with Trevor Noah on Israel, Aging and Comedians in Cars in this clip:

Helping All
Israelis never find it impossible to engage in Tikkun Olam (healing the world) as they will go anywhere to help anyone even if the victims don't perpetually like Jews or Israelis. IsraAID an example of this selfless efforts and here is a beautifully filmed video of explaining this incredible organization:
And while on this topic, this week the UN declared Israeli's "search and rescue" team, Zaka an official UN consultant.  This is a big deal for Israeli diplomacy.

Birds Love Israel
As you can tell, Israel is the theme of this week's email and for my last segment related to our homeland, check out this bird story.  A small swath of land in the north of the country called the Hula Valley is home to the migration of 500 different species and is a "mecca" for birdwatchers each year. 
While Israeli   Ornithologist (bird expert), study and help protect these birds, they often attach transmitters to assist in this effort. However, some Israeli neighbors are unfamiliar with ornithology and thought a vulture captured in Lebanon was an Israeli spy.

US Politics
As everyone knows by now, Iowa's big winner was Ted Cruz with Trump and Rubio as close contenders and though Hillary Clinton came in first, by a split hair, Sanders is still a strong opponent.  Huckabee, Paul, Santorum and O'Malley all "suspended" their campaigns which we all know is a euphemism for "threw in the towel". We are down to 2 Dems and 8 Repubs. My prediction is that Michael Bloomberg will NOT enter the race if it looks like Clinton and Rubio will secure their nominations. Onto New Hampshire and the rest as we keep tabs on this crazy race.

Here is some wonderful Israeli music to enjoy:

Wishing you and your family a 
Sweet Shabbat Shalom 


P.S.  Heard the good news that Punxsutawney Phil predicts any early Spring.  

P.P.S.  Correction from last week, Abe Vigoda played Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller.  Hal Linden played the lead character.

March 9th (Wednesday)
JVS 8th Annual Trade Secrets
Benefiting the JVS Women to Work Program
Temple Beth El
Featuring the inspiring story of Linda Schlesinger-Wagner, Founder of clothing line, Skinny Tees.

April 19th  (Tuesday) 
Emily Stillman Foundation
Spring Sensation Luncheon
Tam-O-Shanter Country Club
Guest Speaker:  Heather Thomson CEO of Yummie, Inc.

April 20th (Wednesday)
U of M Food Allergy Center
Spring Luncheon
Knollwood Country Club

May 4th (Wednesday) 
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
Lois Linden Nelson Woman's World
Honoring Henrietta Weisberg
Featuring Paula Abdul
Save the date. More details to follow

May 6th (Friday)
Orchards Children's Services
2016 Gerald L. Levin Champion for Children's
Signature Event
Soundboard, Detroit
More details to come.

May 7th (Saturday)
Forgotten Harvest 
24th Annual Comedy Night
Fox Theatre
Save the date. More detail to follow

May 13th (Friday)
Planned Parenthood 100 Year Gala
Detroit Marriott at the RenCen
Save the date. More details to follow

May 22nd  (Sunday)
Hillel Day School Annual Gala
Beverly & Arthur Liss and Norma & Michael Dorman
For more info, please contact  Amy Schlussel

May 19th-25th
"Becoming American: The Jewish Experience"
Travel opportunity through EMU Alumni Association to
NYC, Philly and DC.
This experience is open to the public regardless of your University Affiliation, religion, race, age, shoe size...
Any questions can be directed to:
And for further details of the trip:

June 10th (Friday)
Starfish Family Service
Great Hearts Gala
Eastern Market Shed 5, Detroit
Honoree: Mariam C. Noland and the Community Foundation for SE Michigan

Get all your Election questions answered here:

New Hampshire Primary (1st in country) Tues. Feb. 9th

Super Tuesday March 1st
15 various State's caucuses and primaries

Our Michigan Primary is  Tuesday. March 8, 2016.

Presidential Election is  Tuesday. November 8, 2016

2 Democrats
1. Hillary Rodham Clinton  
2, Bernie Sanders 

8 Republicans alphabetized (polls are too erratic)

Happy Birthday...
Feb. 5th
Randi Berman Sakwa 
Linda Adler Hurwitz
Feb. 6th
Pamela Applebaum
Nell Dority
Betsy Kellman
Feb. 7th
Amy Carson Schlussel
Rabbi Paul Yedwab
Jeffrey Jucewicz  
Feb. 8th
Margaret Bornstein
Jill Mainster Menuck
Stacey Gordon
Feb. 9th
Michelle Guttenberg Wexler
Maria (Charlie) Kao
Richard Burstein 
Feb. 10th
Feb. 11th
Ryan Friedrich
(Big) Al Muskovitz 
Dodo Kepes

I am prone to spelling, grammatical and birthday mistakes. Please ignore the typing mistakes but if I missed your birthday or got the wrong date,  please let me know.