WEEKLY NEWS - June 8, 2021
Office Hours
(Suspended For Now):

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

248.477.1410
Published on Tuesdays.
Deadline for submissions: Mondays at noon.
Scroll down for Rabbi Falick's commentary:

SHAME & PRIDE & PREJUDICE
THIS FRIDAY AT 6PM
(or anytime after that)
CLASSES
Reopening Update

As Michigan continues to reopen, please note that some classes are now offering an in-person option. *Full Vaccination* is required and Zoom remains an option for most classes for now:

  • YOGA ... returns tomorrow, Wednesday, June 9 at 9:30am (in-person only)

  • "UNROLLING JUDAISM" will offer in-person AND Zoom options beginning Monday, June 14 at Noon

  • Natan Fuchs' history class is going on hiatus after this week. We expect that it will be in-person when it returns in the Fall.

  • Rabbi Falick's "Rebbe's Tisch" Saturday class will remain Zoom-only for the time being.
A deeper look at Jewish customs, traditions, and historical events ... from ancient times to today!

NEXT CLASS:
Monday, June 14

IN-PERSON AT TEMPLE
(FULLY VACCINATED ONLY!)

OR ON ZOOM:

THE JEWISH DIETARY LAWS
OR ... Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Why Your Cousin Shirley Eats Pork at Chinese Restaurants While Keeping a Kosher Kitchen at Home!
NEXT SJC MEETING:

Saturday, June 12, 11:30am at
BT'S "FREE LITTLE FOOD PANTRY"
BT has installed a "Free Little Food Pantry" for those in need. We will need donations of non-perishables to keep it filled.

WE NEED FOOD DONATIONS!

NO PASTA FOR NOW!

WE ESPECIALLY NEED:

  • PERSONAL CARE / HYGIENE
  • HAND SOAP
  • CLEANING PRODUCTS
  • CEREAL
  • SPICES
  • PAPER PRODUCTS

ALSO: canned tuna & chicken * proteins / grains * canned fruits & vegetables * soups / sauces / condiments * breakfast items * snacks

You're likely to find the pantry full, but please be aware that Items ARE being taken and then replenished from supplies kept inside the Temple building.

Contact Audrey (audreypleasant@gmail.com) for more details.
YOU'RE INVITED TO ...

 Location: West Bloomfield High School
Time: 10am - Noon

Light refreshments, storyteller, poet, music, buttons, Black Corvette Club, vendors.

All are invited!

If you can help usher, please contact Audrey: audreypleasant@gmail.com.
STOP VOTER SUPPRESSION IN MICHIGAN!

Keep sending emails and making calls to your Michigan legislators to express opposition to voter suppression bills now being considered.


For more details or if you have causes you want the SJC to support, contact Audrey Pleasant (audreypleasant@gmail.com).
HELP FREE LOCAL JOURNALIST DANNY FENSTER FROM MYANMAR!

A message from his family in Huntington Woods:

Danny is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, and was detained at Yangon International Airport on Monday May 24th, 2021, shortly before he was due to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur. He was on his way home to the US to surprise us; we hadn’t seen him in over three years. We understand he has been transferred to Insein Prison in Yangon, a political prison notorious for its human rights abuses. We do not know why Danny was detained and have not been able to contact him or confirm his safety since Monday. We —his mother Rose, his father Bud, his brother Bryan, and his whole family — are concerned for his well being and are calling for his immediate release.

We call for the immediate, safe, and unconditional release of our son, American journalist Danny Fenster, from unlawful detainment by the Myanmar regime.

JOIN THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MAILING LIST!
Sign up for the Social Justice Committee email list for information about what's happening at BT and beyond. Meeting agenda and copy of the monthly report to the board is emailed to all list members. Send your request to audreypleasant@gmail.com.
IT'S SPRING CLEAN-UP TIME AND WE NEED ...YOU!
SUNDAYS @ 9:30AM
All hands needed and appreciated!

Please bring any tools, especially hedge trimmers, saws, rakes, yard bags, plus gloves. We have lots of fun!

Please contact Sarah Markowitz, 1luciannn1@comcast.net or Cathy Radner, radner210@gmail.com, with any questions.
SHAME & PRIDE & PREJUDICE
This morning I made one of my very rare visits to Facebook to wish an old friend a happy birthday. Not having visited in a while I scrolled down a bit and, to my delight and surprise, was greeted by rainbow-enhanced profile pictures, photos of teens in rainbow accessories posted by their parents, and general wishes for a “Happy Pride Month.” Many of these were from our own members. For someone who spent the first 37 years of life deeply closeted, this was an emotional experience.

On Friday night during our YouTube Pride Shabbat I spoke to Michigan State University Prof. Tim Retzloff about the history of the struggle for LGBTQ rights. The fact that he and many other academics now teach courses about this is in itself remarkable. During our conversation, he reminded me about darker times for LBGTQ people. Times when no one’s children adorned themselves in pride rainbows to the delight of their parents; when “coming out” meant losing family, friends, status, and employment; when even prominent human rights advocates who happened to be gay fearfully kept their own homosexuality in the shadows.

I grew up when my parents and their friends casually threw around words like “faggot.” I endured adolescence in Miami during a vicious backlash – led by “Florida Sunshine Girl” Anita Bryant – against tentative moves to offer legal protections to gay men and lesbians. I entered Reform Judaism’s seminary in 1984 when being openly gay violated school policy (I would later discover that I was far from alone there). These and dozens of other experiences led me to believe that I would never be able to live my life authentically. Fortunately, through the hard work of activists like those we learned about on Friday night, societal attitudes did change. They paved the way for me to come out in 1998. 

(Because my story is also my former wife’s story and out of respect for her privacy I would never publicly share details of how that all played out. Suffice it to say that ours was not a happy marriage and that, quite obviously, most marriages like ours burden both the closeted and straight partner. That is why we made the choice to do something better for our children while they were still young. Today she and I – and Arthur! – share the pride of having reared two wonderful women and the joy of jointly grandparenting two adorable little ones.)

My time of coming out, even with the upheaval of a divorce, was one of what I can only call liberation. I felt that I was finally free, no longer needing to hide who I was. Free from what, you may wonder. Free from shame.

From my earliest days of self-awareness, I – like most other queer people my age and older – endured life in an environment of hate and intolerance that taught us to live in shame. Even after I came out there were those who sought to push me backwards, to devalue and humiliate me because of my orientation. When I applied to work at the JCC in Miami my prospective boss was approached by a prominent local rabbi who made it his crusade to prevent my employment. This time, however, people rose to my defense. As small-minded people like him slowly entered the minority, thousands and then millions of people also emerged from their closets of shame.

Shame itself is the reason for a month dedicated to pride. I’m sure you’ve heard the perpetual questions of the haters: “What are you so proud of?” and “Why isn’t there a straight pride parade?” The answers should be obvious. It’s because our society never shamed straight people. Straight youngsters never stayed up at night, contemplating suicide, because they were humiliated by their crush on someone of the opposite sex. Straight youth never grew up hearing that should they want to be teachers or counselors or clergy they were violating the laws of God and nature, posing a threat to the youngsters around them.

Today, though in decreasing numbers, there remain many young people who are subjected to such messages. Much of their shame comes from traditional religious traditions that seek to cure them through “conversion therapy,” a tool of torture now outlawed in many places. And even as tolerance and respect grow for gays, lesbians, and bisexual people, basic protections can be elusive. Michigan, for one, continues to lack employment and housing rights laws. On top of all this, trans people increasingly find themselves the target of conservatives working overtime to limit the rights of this small and vulnerable group of people. These examples serve as a reminder that no matter how far we’ve come there is still much ground left to cover. All of this is the reason that LGBTQ people – and their growing cadre of allies – take each June to say no to humiliation and degradation. 

As humanists we place the worth and dignity of all people at the pinnacle of our value system. The goal of this rainbow-festooned month is to remind us that every child deserves to grow up conscious that they are deserving of such dignity. 

That they are worthy of living their lives with pride.
ZOOM REQUIRES A PASSWORD!
The password was sent under separate cover. Please contact rabbi@birminghamtemple.com 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 (No class on Sat., July 3)
Dial-in Meeting ID: 759 671 597

NEW CLASS! UNROLLING JUDAISM
A deeper look at Jewish customs, traditions, and historical events ... from ancient times to today! See above for more information. (NOTE: This class is also available at temple for fully vaccinated people who wish to meet in person.)
ONLINE @ NOON, MONDAYS (No class on Monday, July 5)
Dial-in Meeting ID: 214 102 965

JEWISH HISTORY CLASS WITH NATAN FUCHS
"From Baghdad to Sepharad and Ashkenaz: The Jewish Diaspora in the Early Middle Ages"
ONLINE @ 10:30am, SUNDAYS
Dial-in Meeting ID: 840 703 07256

SOCRATES CAFE
On Zoom!
ONLINE @ 10:30AM, EVERY TUESDAY!
Dial-In Meeting ID: 182 488 428
BT COMMUNITY NEWS
MAZEL TOV TO NEW GRANDPARENTS WENDY & CHRIS JANES!

Wendy (our wonderful temple bookkeeper) and Chris and their children welcomed Harper Rose to the world on Sunday May 16! All are healthy and happy!
*REFU'AH SHLEIMAH (SPEEDY RECOVERY)
Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery to:

Joe Gadon, Julie Eliason, Karen Tremper Harris, Peter Schweitzer

Please inform us if you know that someone is ill or in need.
*ONGOING CLASSES & PROGRAMS
ADULT CLASSES
See above for regular adult classes online.

YOGA
Back in Person! Wednesdays at 9:30am

ONLINE VIDEOS OF PROGRAMS & CLASSES
Visit LibrarySHJ.com and our YouTube page for videos of services, classes, lectures, and more!
*THIS WEEK'S CARTOON
By Marilyn Rowens, ז״ל