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April 10, 1992 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-04-10

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Dr. Allen and Batya Berlin: Capturing a sense of spirituality at Temple Israel.

In The Spirit
Of Reform

ancy Kaplan re-
members years
when she and
her husband
Michael did not
even know the High
Holidays had come and
It was a sad time in her
life. Her son was experienc-
ing major medical prob-
lems. Mrs. Kaplan walked
out of a Philadelphia
hospital and into the first
Jewish house of worship
she could find. It happened
to be a Reform temple. It
felt so perfect that Mrs.
Kaplan, now of West
Bloomfield, and her family


have never left the move-
Gail Hirschenfang re-
members growing up in a
Conservative synagogue
and feeling there wasn't
much place for her there.
She had a bat mitzvah, but
was not allowed to read
from the Torah. She re-
members the sight of the
cantor's daughter sitting in
the front row and har-
monizing with her father.
Yet the daughter was pro-
hibited from sitting on the
bimah. Today, Ms.
Hirschenfang is the cantor
at Temple Beth El.
Rabbi M. Robert Syme

The Reform
movement in
Detroit is
growing with
who see in it
a chance for
deep spirituality.


Managing Editor


tells the story of how when
he was a youth, growing up
in an Orthodox home in
Winnipeg, his synagogue's
minyan was short one man.
There were 15 women
nearby in the shul kitchen,
but they did not count. He
wanted to know why.
Rabbi Syme, the dean of
the Detroit Reform rab-
binate at Temple Israel,
made the journey from Or-
thodox to Reform.
Many are making the
journey to Reform. The
19th century German-
based movement is by all
accounts Judaism's fastest-
growing denomination.

Underlying that growth
is a move right to the heart
of spirituality and all that
it embodies. Reform always
has emphasized social ac-
tion, education and infor-
mation. But for too many
years, Reform was the
group one was almost
automatically lumped into
if religious participation
was at best minimal. This
is changing. At least that's
what the Union of Ameri-
can Hebrew Congregations'
numbers say.
United States figures
show that 35 percent of
Reform congregations
observe two days of Rosh

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