WEEKLY NEWS / July 28, 2020
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(Suspended For Now):

*Monday/Friday 
9:30am-2pm
*Tuesday-Thursday
10am-3pm

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PHYSICALLY APART.
HUMANISTICALLY TOGETHER.
Published weekly. Deadline for submissions: Mondays at noon.
Scroll down for this week's commentary by Rabbi Falick
Today's Topic : CANCEL CULTURE
FRIDAY AT 6PM!

JOIN US FOR "WELCOMING SHABBAT" AT THIS LINK
This week's guest is Deb Drennan, executive director of Freedom House Detroit which provides a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. Its mission is guided by the belief that all persons deserve to live free from oppression and to be treated with justice, compassion and dignity.

Freedom House offer a continuum of care and services to our residents as well as to other refugees in need. We advocate for systemic change that more fully recognizes the rights of asylum seekers.

To learn more or to make a contributions, please visit Freedom House of Detroit's website at this link.
MEMBERSHIP MATERIALS ARE ON THEIR WAY!
With the introduction of our new membership model, this year you'll be receiving a different kind of membership packet. It includes:

  • a full explanation of how our new approach works;
  • information about our costs and sources of income;
  • our new annual membership pledge form, and
  • a "State of Our Congregation" letter from your Executive Board.

All of this is currently in the mail (though you might experience pandemic-related delays with USPS). You will also receive a copy of the packet via email.

You can also find the "State of Our Congregation" letter at this link . 

Thank you so very much for your continued membership and support!
SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE INITIATIVE:
GET OUT THE VOTE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN
Here's a satisfying and easy community service you can do to make a difference while staying safely at home.

In cooperation with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and other allies we're participating in a campaign to encourage voting.

This project is organized to make participation as easy as possible. You'll receive a packet of 40 postage-paid cards followed up by an email with addressees and sample language for the cards and a sample message will be sent by email. If you can't commit to 40 cards, you can share with others.
 
If you have questions or would like to join this effort, contact Audrey Pleasant at audreypleasant@gmail.com.
NEXT BOOK CLUB
SUNDAY, SEPT. 20, 11AM
Facilitated by Rabbi Falick
LINK TBA
OUR NEXT SELECTION:
"The Weight of Ink" by Rachel Kadish

Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”

You can purchase it AT THIS LINK for Kindle or Amazon delivery ... or support independent bookstores by shopping at BOOKSHOP.ORG .
CALLING ALL GARDENERS!
Volunteers are needed to do a spring clean up of the temple grounds!

We meet Tuesdays at 10am at the temple.

Please bring your own gloves, mask, and, if you have, any gardening tools. We have lots and lots of green space and we are committed to staying at least 6 feet away from each other!

No experience is needed. We have fun and become BFFs. 

Please contact Sarah Markowitz,  1luciann1@comcast.net or Cathy Radner  radner210@gmail.com with any questions. 
ZOOM REQUIRES A PASSWORD!
The password was sent under separate cover. Please contact rabbi@birminghamtemple.org if you need it.
ONGOING CLASSES / PROGRAMS

RABBI FALICK'S SATURDAY CLASS ("REBBE'S TISCH")
Join him for a historical look at Jewish texts throughout the ages.
ONLINE @ 10AM, SATURDAYS
Dial-in Meeting ID: 759 671 597

RABBI FALICK'S "BELIEFS OF THE JEWS" CLASS
"Mordecai Kaplan and the Birth of a New Judaism"
ONLINE @ NOON, MONDAYS
Dial-in Meeting ID: 214 102 965

SOCRATES CAFE
Now on Zoom!
ONLINE @ 10:30AM, EVERY TUESDAY!
Dial-In Meeting ID: 182 488 428
ZOOM IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

NO DEVICES?
DIAL-IN WITH ANY PHONE & ONE OF THESE NUMBERS!

Zoom's mobile app works on most smartphones. However, you can also dial-in the old-fashioned way from ANY phone using one of these numbers and the Meeting ID provided for each group or class:

646.558.8656 / 312.626.6799 / 253.215.8782 
301.715.8592 / 346.248.7799 
CANCEL CULTURE
Even in the midst of disaster, it’s good to know that Americans have not stopped arguing about the freedom of – and limits on – speech. The latest is the ongoing debate over “cancel culture.”

For those of you not keeping up, according to dictionary.com cancel culture “refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Cancel culture has raised the hackles of many in the intelligentsia, including many whom I admire. 

In a show of indignation, a group of mostly liberal intellectuals (including many whom I admire) recently published “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” in Harper’s decrying “the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.” There have been specifically Jewish responses, too.

Over at the Forward editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren attempted to put a Jewish spin on cancel culture with a piece titled “Nobody canceled Shammai. Our tradition demands we respect the argument.” She was referring to the ancient rabbi Shammai whose losing arguments are preserved in the Talmud. Cancel culture, she wrote, means “defining people out of the debate.”

Rudoren may be a great editor-in-chief but she’s a lousy historian. Jews have a long history of “defining people out of the debate.” Elsewhere in the Forward, Conservative rabbi David Wolpe – who should know better – described cancel culture as “un-Jewish.” Well maybe Rabbi Wolpe doesn’t like it, but un-Jewish it is not.

Ever heard of Elisha ben Avuya? You won’t find his name in the Talmud because following his excommunication as a heretic, he was known solely as “the Other.” Baruch Spinoza, one of the luminaries of the early Enlightenment was also canceled in Jewish circles, expelled from his community with curses and damnations. While the Dutch ultimately named their highest scientific award after him, to my knowledge the only Jewish program that ever honored his name is located on Twelve Mile Road in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Plenty of Jews have been canceled by other Jews throughout our history. They were not victims of phony-baloney modern social media disapproval. They were canceled by people in charge because they dared to challenge authority. For my money, that’s the real and more dangerous version of cancel culture.

These two men were actually canceled (though never forgotten) by the authorities of their times. That’s real cancel culture. What critics of popular cancel culture are talking about is the public criticizing of rich or famous people and companies that never lack for platforms and opportunities, no matter how unacceptable their behaviors or words may be. By focusing on modern popular cancel culture, the writers of the open letter, Rudoren, and Wolpe, are all ignoring the real dangers to freedom of speech.

Feminist author Jessica Valenti pointed this out in an excellent piece for medium.com:

Americans have watched as thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demonstrate against racist police violence — only to be tear-gassed and beaten. Video after video shows journalists, clearly identifying themselves as such, being hit and dragged, knocked over and arrested. The most challenged book in American libraries last year? A children’s book about a trans child.

… At the end of the day, “cancel culture” is a term full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It’s certainly not about free speech; after all, an arrested journalist is never referred to as “canceled” nor is a woman who has been frozen out of an industry after complaining about sexual harassment. “Canceled” is a label we all understand to mean a powerful person who’s been held to account. It’s a term meant to re-center sympathy on those who already have privilege and influence — a convenient tool to maintain the status quo.

As for me, I’m going to put my energy into defending the free speech of those who are not celebrities, public figures, and corporations.
* REFU'AH SHLEIMAH (SPEEDY RECOVERY)
Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery to:

Ceci Stone, Patty Becker, Julie Eliason, Titus Mendell, Karen Tremper Harris, Claire Levine, Robert Liebhaber, Arlene Goldberg, Myron TInk

Please inform us if you know that someone is ill or in need.
* ONGOING CLASSES & PROGRAMS
ADULT CLASSES
See above for what we're doing online!
 
SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
  • Next meeting: TBA.
  • Please help Team Qaddo assist the Qaddo Family. You can donate HERE
  • Toiletries collection continues, but Winter Wear collection is over for the season. You can keep knitting and collecting, but save items for the fall, when collection resumes. (Will resume when we re-open.)
  • Sign up for Social Justice Committee email list for information about what's happening at BT and social justice programs all over. Send your request to audreypleasant@gmail.com.

YOGA
Connie's class is suspended until further notice.

ONLINE VIDEOS OF PROGRAMS & CLASSES
Visit LibrarySHJ.com for videos of classes, lectures, and more!
* THIS WEEK'S CARTOON
By Marilyn Rowens
* METRO DETROIT COMMUNITY SHARING
Temple Kol Ami's Social Action Committee has partnered with Hazon (the Jewish Lab for Sustainability), to launch our "Community Food Project." This project will offer weekly free food packages to people in need. Food packages will be distributed in the Temple parking lot by appointment using health precautions while protecting the dignity and confidentiality for those who participate.
 
Although we live in an affluent area, we have neighbors and friends experiencing significant hardship that often overlook. We don't want anyone to go without, so please tell anyone that you know who may have food needs to go to tinyurl.com/tkacfp and for their food pick up time.