Go To Shul!
By MIRIAM WEINER
The photograph of my mother was over 50 years old and it
showed me a time of her life that I had not known and could not
really imagine. It was such a surprise to find it in a synagogue library
in Tulsa, Okla., and it was the basis for a fascinating afternoon's
journey through time.
A few years ago, my mother and I went back to her hometown of
Tulsa where she grew up. During that week, we stopped by the
synagogue where her family had belonged for many years and were
thrilled to find that they had published a Golden Jubilee Book
commemorating the 50th anniversary year of B'nai Emunah in Tulsa.
Synagogues and temples throughout the country have published
illustrated histories ranging from small pamphlets to large books. The
formats vary greatly. Some include extensive statistics while others
offer an insight into the problems of the times and how their members
Finding your roots is a fun, fulfilling family project. And a great
place to start is in your synagogue's library. The congregations of
Detroit have been descibed at length in many published histories
including, but not limited to, the following:
Jerusalem Bus Stop — Take a tour of Jerusalem as
you travel around the board; all ages, available at
Borenstein's and Spitzer's.
Target 613 — Learn the traditions of Jewish holidays
and the mitzvot; ages 6 and up; available at Borenstein's
Torah Slides and Ladders — A Chutes and Ladders-
type game to learn Jewish traditions and practices; ages
4-12; available at Borenstein's.
Tradition — A game of Jewish facts, trivia and humor;
ages 13 to adult; available at Borenstein's.
The Lights of Life — An electronic matching game
which tests children's knowledge in basic areas of Jewish
life; ages 6-9; available at Borenstein's and Spitzer's.
Cong. Shaarey Zedek, 1861-1981, 198 pages, 1982.
Temple Beth Jacob
Dedication Volume, 23 pages, 1955.
Shalom Yeladim (Hello Children) — Judy Caplan
Ginsburgh and Jerry Heinberg, available at Spitzer's.
Mercedes, "Speed of Sound" — Songs for the whole
family, available at Spitzer's.
Temple Beth El
Cong. Beth El. A History . . . 1850-1900, 89 pages, 1900; A
History . . . 1900-1910, 2 vols., 1910; An Outline History of
Congregation Beth El from 1850 to 1940, 80 pages, 1940; The Beth El
Story, 238 pages, 1955; 110 Years of Temple Beth El, 24 paces, 1960.
"U.Shanah Tovah" — Stories and songs for Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur, available at Borenstein's and
"MBD (Mordechai Ben David) and Friends" — Songs
for the whole family available at Borenstein's.
Silver Anniversary Album, 40 pages, 1966.
Cong. B'nai Moshe, 15 pages, 1982; Dedication Volume Four, 102
Spitzer's is located at 21770 W. 11 Mile, Southfield.
Borenstein's is located at 25242 Greenfield, Oak Park.
pages, 1960. (New publication is planned for 75th anniversary in
Young Israel of Oak-Woods
Silver Anniversary, 48 pages, 1980.
75th Anniversary of Cong. B'nai David, 75 pages, 1966.
Temple Emanu-El: 25 Year Anniversary, 140 pages.
Story of the Synagogue, 101 pages, 1952.
Dedication Journal, 35 pages, 1958.
Forthcoming publication in late 1987 commemorating 25th
Michigan's most extensive collection of Michigan Jewish History is
located in the Leo M. Franklin Archives at Temple Beth El. The
archives' holdings are preserved and readily accessible through the
efforts of the archivists, Aid and Miriam Kushner. Holdings include:
historical and some pictorial records of early Detroit and Michigan
Jewry; records of Detroit, American and European Reform Jewish
history; historical and pictorial information regarding all synagogues in
Detroit and most of Michigan; records of the Lafayette Street
Cemetery (Detroit's oldest Jewish cemetery); a collection in miniature
of Detroit and world synagogues made by Kushner; burial records of
Beth Olam Cemetery (Detroit's second oldest Jewish cemetery); birth,
marriage and death records and other records of Temple Beth El
membership dating from 1850 to the present.
Through photograph and phrase, these anniversary albums
reprsent a labor of love as they trace the history of their synagogue
from its earliest beginnings to the present.
Miriam Weiner is an authority on Jewish genealogy and a syndicated columnist.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 18; 1987
Continued from Page L-2
round hallot rather than oval or
rectangular ones. Round hallot are
reminiscent of crowns — either the
crown with which God rewards the
people of Israel who are righteous
or the crown of God's kingship
which is a major theme of this
There are other traditions which
have evolved concerning hallot.
Often the hallah is made in the
shape of a ladder or birds are
placed on it. Birds express the hope
as does the imagery of the ladder
that our prayers will move swiftly
Other food customs which
express hope for a sweet year are
carrot tzimmes and eating the head
of a fish. One reason that carrot
tzimmes is eaten is that the Yiddish
word carrot is "meiren" which also
means to multiply, expressing hope
for a productive year. Another
explanation offered for the selection
of carrots is when sliced, they
become coin shaped and symbols
of prosperity. Eating the head of a
fish expresses the hope that we as
a people will be offered leadership
and greatness. On the second
evening meal of Rosh Hashanah, it
is customary to eat a new fruit such
as pomegranate or kiwi so that the
She-he-heyanu blessing can be
On Rosh Hashanah afternoon
of the first day, it is customary to go
to a river or lake (a flowing body of
water), and symbolically cast our
sins away by throwing bread
crumbs into the water. A brief
traditional service accompanies this
act. Some scholars have cited
Micah 7:19, "You will cast `Tashlikh'
your sins into the depths of the
sea" as the source of this custom.
During the Middle Ages,
Tashlich was vehemently opposed
by many rabbinic scholars. They
feared that the symbolism would be
taken literally and people would
accept this simple act as a method
for ridding themselves of sin rather
than the arduous process of
Renee Wohl is Director of the Midrasha
College of Jewish Studies.