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January 23, 2004 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-23

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still get together every month or so years
after the trip," said Temple Israel Rabbi
Paul Yedwab said. "Family camp fami-
lies do the same."
Ahuvia sees the site of meetings as
crucial. "Providing venues in which peo-
ple can connect with each other is the
key," she said. "Those venues need to
enable people to talk; and they need to
occur regularly, so people have a chance
to develop friendships over time."
She also looks to subdivide the con-
gregation into groups, including others
in similar life-stages. Like many congre-
gations, Beth Israel offers a monthly Tot
Shabbat service, geared toward families
with small children. Many congrega-
tions also hold youth Shabbat and jun-
ior Shabbat programs to bring together
families with same-aged children.
The Library Minyan, a monthly edu-
cational Shabbat morning service at
Shaarey Zedek, brings together adults
looking to celebrate Shabbat in an inti-
mate and interactive service with Rabbi
Lauren Berkun, Jewish Theological
Seminary Midwest Rabbinic Fellow.
In perhaps one of the most family-ori-
ented areas, most congregations also
hold Shabbat and holiday celebrations
together, like Shaarey Zedek B'nai
Israel's yearly Passover family seder and
the Downtown Synagogue's annual
Chanukah party.

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Some of the Temple Israel Minyan Group are, seated Batya Berlin, Esther Ressler and
Estelle Seltzer. Standing are Henrietta Levine, Saul Ablecop, Alan Nathan, Sidney
Levine and Ben Gurvitz.

Sometimes being made to feel . part of a
big family is as uncomplicated as sharing
in the simchah moment, an opportunity
at Beth Shalom for congregants to share
good news — like the birth of a child or
an upcoming vacation — during
Shabbat services.
For Young Irael of Oak Park mem-
bers, feeling included can be as easy as


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sitting down to the computer and join-
ing other congregants in Rabbi Reuven
Spoiler's synagogue chat room. The
online chat room was established for
members to share everything from
newspaper articles about the situation in
the Middle East to request to share a
ride to New Jersey.
At the Sara Tugman Bais Chabad
Torah Center in West Bloomfield,
Rabbis Elimelech Silberberg and Rabbi
Avrohom Wineberg have become online
employment agents of sorts. "We
thought if we could ask our members to
let us know what available positions
they knew of, we might find young
families interested in moving into our
community," Rabbi Silberberg said.
"Then we decided if any of our current
members were in need of these services,
we would be there for them, too."
For some, a simple phone call makes a
memorable connection.
"In several of our Synagogue 2000
congregations, a major effort is made to •
call every member family at Rosh
Hashanah to wish them a happy new
year — for `friend-raising,' not fund-
raising," Dr. Wolfson said.
Gathering for services may be the core
of congregational life, but it's the
Shabbat invitation, the drive to the
supermarket, the hospital visit that
extends the hand of family outside the
synagogue doors.
"We need to make sure that not just
the clergy is there when someone is in
need, the congregation has to reach out,
too," Rabbi Nelson said.
"The shul is not just supposed to be a
destination — a place to do your -
Judaism," Lynne Schreiber of Young
Israel of Oak Park said. "It has to be an
extension of your family." 11]

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