WEEKLY NEWS - Feb. 16, 2021
PHYSICALLY APART.
HUMANISTICALLY TOGETHER.
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
GEORGE WASHINGTON & THE JEWS
THIS FRIDAY AT 6PM
(or anytime after that)
NEXT FRIDAY JOIN US TO CELEBRATE PURIM AND THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ...
THIS SUNDAY!!
DIEGO RIVERA AND HIS DETROIT INDUSTRY MURALS
A Virtual Tour On
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2pm
JOIN US FOR A VIRTUAL CONGREGATION-WIDE FIELD TRIP TO THE DIA!

DIA Docent Joel Stern will will take us on a one-hour virtual tour of the murals and share the complex and intriguing story behind Diego Rivera and his Detroit Industry Murals. 

These impressive murals, located in the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts, have now been declared a National Historic Landmark.

Open to all BT members of all ages!

with Rabbi Falick
Continues NEXT TUESDAY, Feb. 23, at 7pm
NINE Sessions:

1. The Quandary: Who, What & Why is a Jew: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

2. The Textline: Origin Stories & Texts: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

3. The Wanderings: Diasporas: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

4. The Laws, Pt. 1: Doing the Jewish: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

5. The Laws, Pt. 2: Celebrating the Jewish: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

6. The Beliefs: Religious and Other Ways of Jewish Thinking: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

7. The Troubles: Antisemitism Throughout the Ages: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

8. The Troubles (cont.'d) & American Jewish History Pt. 1: CATCH UP AT THIS LINK

FINAL CLASS NEXT WEEK:
9. American Jewish History Pt. 2 / Israel & Zionism
On Zoom:


  • No registration or password required.
  • No membership required.
  • This class is open to anyone anywhere!
  • Sessions will be recorded.
NEXT MEETING: SAT., MARCH 6, 11:15AM
LINK TBA
WINTER MITZVAH (N.O.A.H. FEEDING CTR.)
PANDEMIC VERSION ... WAYS TO HELP!
Sunday, Feb. 21 - Monday, Feb. 22
Because of generous participation in this year's Souper Supper and other donations, we can carry on with this important effort.

Julie of Cafe Clare has offered to make 400 sandwiches and place them in individual plastic wrappings.

YOU CAN STILL HELP!

Donate Desserts: Bring donations to BT by arrangement with Audrey (see email address below) OR THIS SUNDAY, between 1pm - 3pm

Transport Food: from Temple to Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, the morning of Monday, Feb. 22.

Other offers welcome! Contact Audrey (audreypleasant@gmail.com) with your suggestions.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS, DESSERT MAKERS AND TO JULIE!!!!
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.
UPDATES & UPCOMING!
** IMMIGRATION:

Zooming In: Perspectives on the Global Jewish Movement for Refugees (Webinar by HIAS)
Sunday, March 7, 1:30pm

Join HIAS for an afternoon conversation with HIAS experts about how global Jewish organizations are working in collaboration with Jewish communities in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and the United States in support of and in solidarity with displaced people, and explore how the emergent global Jewish movement for refugees is evolving.



** REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS:

Natl. Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL): Disinformation Training w/ Rep. Padma Kuppa (Michigan House of Reps.)

Hear NARAL Pro-Choice America and special guest State Rep. Padma Kuppa (HD-41) present an in-depth training on disinformation surrounding reproductive freedom. 

In today’s polarizing culture, it is critical that we sharpen our skills to identify far-right extremist attacks on reproductive freedom and make the truth known: Reproductive Freedom is for EVERY BODY. The anti-choice movement knows they can’t win on the merits, so they’ve been pioneers in building the disinformation landscape we’re all dealing with today. Learn what disinformation is, how to identify it, and how to respond to it in our everyday lives. 

Contact Audrey (audreypleasant@gmail.com) to learn how you can help with these causes!
SUPPORT COSECHA'S CAMPAIGN: "LICENSES FOR ALL"
Our friends at Cosecha are continuing with their campaign for "Driving Without Fear." For years, undocumented immigrants have been unable to obtain or renew driver’s licenses in most states across the country.

From their site: "Every day millions of immigrant parents and workers get up in the morning to go to work or to leave our children in school. Many of us have to do it by foot, using public transportation, or we ask for a ride because we don’t want to run any risks. Many other take the risk and drive because we have no other choice - holding our breath the whole way."

SJC encourages your support for this campaign in Michigan. It is in the interests of everyone's safety and dignity to pass legislation for this. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/cosechamichigan/ and by contacting SJC Co-Chair Rene Lichtman, renelichtman@gmail.com.
TOILETRIES / WINTER WEAR COLLECTION
We are continuing to collect toiletries and winter wear: warm socks, hats, scarves, mittens, and other items. (There is a collection box at the east side door of the Temple. Especially for large donations, you may want to let office know they will be arriving so someone will bring them inside.)
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.
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

"NEWS FOR JEWS & HUMANISTS TOO"
A weekly discussion of Jewish (and Humanistic-related) current events with Rabbi Falick
ONLINE @ NOON, MONDAYS
Dial-in Meeting ID: 214 102 965

JEWISH HISTORY CLASS WITH NATAN FUCHS
"From Roman rule to the Great Exile: How Judaism Became Centered in the Diaspora"
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
GEORGE WASHINGTON & THE JEWS
Though I’m a little late for Presidents Day, there’s still almost a week until George Washington’s birthday. That’s good timing for a short Jewish appreciation of one event in his presidency which – though it involved a vanishingly tiny number of Jews – I consider to be one of the greatest moments in Jewish history.

It happened in August 1790, early in Washington’s first term in office, not terribly long after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Like today’s presidents, Washington and others had taken to the road to drum up support for a cause. This one was big. The states were considering the adoption of the amendments that came to be known as the Bill of Rights and Washington and an entourage that included Thomas Jefferson was on a tour of states to encourage ratification. At their stop in Newport (née NewPort) , Rhode Island, they were greeted by an array of local leaders, merchants, and clergy.

At the end of the 18th century there was barely any American Jewish community to speak of. The entire Jewish population of America numbered no more than 3,000 (out of slightly fewer than four million). They were scattered around the various states north and south and most were Sephardic, of Spanish or Portuguese descent. As an almost immeasurably small minority, they also had no professional leaders or clergy. Instead, lay leaders took on those roles, men like Moses Seixas, the so-called “sexton” of the Newport Hebrew Congregation (later called the Touro Synagogue), whose letter of welcome was presented to the new president upon his arrival in town. 

The congratulatory missive was filled with the usual pieties, sprinkled with references to biblical Israel and gratitude to God. But it also contained the acknowledgment that something brand new had just happened to the Jews. In this young republic they would be counted as equal citizens.

It read in part:

Sir,

Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits — and to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to NewPort.

… Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People … generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: — deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine….

A few weeks later the congregation received Washington’s reply:

Gentlemen:

… The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation….

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

… May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. …

— G. Washington

Before continuing with my praise of Washington, it's important to acknowledge that what he wrote was not entirely true. Not everyone in this land was equal. There was plenty of sanction for bigotry and assistance for persecution. Every evaluation of our history must pay attention to America's disastrous racial record.

That said, it is still possible to read these words with awe when we realize that this was the very first time in human history that a nation’s leader had said anything like this to Jews. Consider this: at about the same time that Washington was celebrating full Jewish citizenship in America, Russia was establishing its infamous Pale of Settlement. Further west in the German lands, France, and Great Britain, the so-called Emancipation of the Jews was creeping along at a snail’s pace, equality and citizenship still out of reach. Is it any wonder that Jews were attracted to this country?

In 1790 there was still some way to go before all American Jews enjoyed the full benefits of equality. Early federalism permitted continued discrimination by states even where the U.S. Constitution forbade it. But those barriers fell in short order and the Jewish community grew, even gaining some small influence in the halls of power. By 1840, when the Damascus Blood Libel Affair broke out, the American Jewish community successfully lobbied for U.S. intervention. By the Civil War American Jews successfully lobbied President Lincoln to reverse Gen. U.S. Grant's Jewish-focused crackdown on profiteering.

Happy Birthday to our great (if flawed) first president. May his letter to the Newport Jews inspire us to help spread the equality that we have enjoyed to all Americans.
1982 USPS stamp commemorating Washington's 1790 letter.
*REFU'AH SHLEIMAH (SPEEDY RECOVERY)
Best Wishes for a Speedy Recovery to:

Debra Luria, Julie Eliason, Karen Tremper Harris, Myron Tink, Peter Schweitzer, Deb Drennan

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!

YOGA
Suspended for now.

ONLINE VIDEOS OF PROGRAMS & CLASSES
Visit LibrarySHJ.com for videos of classes, lectures, and more!
*THIS WEEK'S CARTOON
By Marilyn Rowens
...will return soon!
*BT COMMUNITY SHARING
MAZEL TO TO THE MOLNAR FAMILY!

On the birth of Noa Hennes Molnar!

Noa was welcomed into the world by her parents Sam and Clare and her grandparents George and Shelly Molnar and Sara Hennes and Chris Dempsey!
MAZEL TOV TO MARK LIPSON ON THE UPCOMING RELEASE OF HIS JAZZ ALBUM: "POINT OF ARRIVAL"
This new work was composed entirely by Mark and performed by an incredible ensemble including Mark himself on percussion. You can listen to one of the tracks and pre-order his album now!

Enjoy great music and support one of our very own members!

PIANO LESSONS WITH EZRA DONNER

BT Music Director Ezra Donner is offering piano lessons!

Ezra writes: "Students between the ages of 8-12 usually do very well with piano in my experience, and older and younger students and adults are welcome as well."
Lessons begin at $19 per half-hour and are currently offered in-person at Ezra's home studio in Ypsilanti as well as remotely on Zoom.

You can contact Ezra at pianist4486@yahoo.com.