Torah Portion / Synagogues
Life And Death And The Power of God
Ilipir hat did Jews argue
about before we had
Israeli politics, feminism
and gay rights? It's hard
to believe, but the topic that elicited
the most passion was an entirely aca-
demic point: whether animal sacrifice
remained a legitimate form of Jewish
I say that this dispute was academic
for the obvious reason that Jews
haven't offered animal sacrifice since
the Romans destroyed our Temple in
70 C.E. Yet, never underestimate the
significance of aspiration. Orthodox
prayer books have in recent years high-
lighted the sacrifices, providing
detailed explanations about just where
to splash the blood. Reform liturgy
followed the lead of Mordecai Kaplan,
who derided the "parade of animals"
and removed all prayers for a restora-
tion of the sacrificial cult.
Daniel Nevins is a spiritual leader at
Adat Shalom Synagogue.
days 7:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday and legal holidays 8
a.m., 6 p.m. lvriah religious school (810) 732-6312.
Allen. Ritual director: Dr. Martin Herman. President: Dr.
Ellen Kahn. Services: Saturday 8:30 a.m.
ADAT SHALOM SYNAGOGUE
BETH ISRAEL (ANN ARBOR)
CONGREGATION SHAAREY ZEDEK
29901 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 851-
5100. Rabbis: Daniel Nevins, Herbert Yoskowitz. Cantor:
Howard Glantz. Rabbi emeritus: Efry Spectre. Cantor
emeritus: Larry Vieder. Services: Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9
a.m., 6:45 p.m.; weekdays 7:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday
8:30 a.m. Bar mitzvah of Evan Adelsberg, son of Phyllis
and David Adelsberg.
BETH TEPHILATH MOSES
CONGREGATION BETH AHM
5075 W. Maple, West Bloomfield, 48322, (248) 851-6880.
Rabbi: Charles Popky. Ritual director: Joseph Mermelstein.
Rabbi emeritus: A. Irving Schnipper. Cantor Emeritus:
Shabtai Ackerman. Services: Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9:30
a.m., 6:30 p.m.; weekdays 7 a.m., 7 p.m.; Sundays and
civic holidays: 8:15 a.m., 5 p.m.
BETH ISRAEL (FLINT)
CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM
2727 Michigan St SE, Grand Rapids, 49506-1297, (616)
949-2840. Rabbi: David J.B. Krishef. Cantor: Stuart R.
Rapaport. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 7:30
a.m.; Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
31840 W. Seven Mile, Livonia, (248) 477-8974. Cantor:
David Gutman. President Larry Stein. Vice presidents:
Martin Diskin, Al Gittleman. Services: Friday 8 p.m.;
Saturday 9 a.m.
2000 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48104, (734) 665-
9897. Rabbi: Robert Dobrusin. Services: Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 9:30 a.m.; weekdays 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 5
14601 W. Lincoln, Oak Park, 48237, (248) 547-7970.
Rabbi: David A. Nelson. Cantor: Samuel L. Greenbaum.
Ritual director: Rev. Samuel Semp. Services: Friday 6
p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m., 5
p.m.; weekdays 7 a.m., 6:30 p.m. Bar mitzvah of David
Martin Baum, son of Denise and Elliott Baum.
AHAVAS ISRAEL (GRAND RAPIDS)
offerings and meal offerings, the
As is often the case, my own
thanksgiving and expiation rites. What
Conservative movement staked out a
does all this mean? A powerful clue is
middle ground, continuing to study,
given in the beginning: just before the
the ancient sacrifices and to review
animal was killed (shechitah), the
their details in our liturgy. Yet we
donor placed his hands on the head of
stopped pleading with God to restore
the sacrifice (semichah).
the sacrifices. Instead, Conservative
This moment of physical contact
congregations respectfully acknowl-
just before the sacrifice must have had
edge our past practice and leave it to
God to determine the form of worship great spiritual power. In the Talmud,
Rabbi Chiya bar Ashi says in the name
in messianic times.
of Rav that these two rituals had to be
In this practice we follow
juxtaposed (Brakhot 42a).
Maimonides, who presented
But what exactly was being
the sacrifices in great detail
in his Mishneh Torah,
Was the donor transfer-
who also argued that animal
ring his guilt to the animal,
sacrifice was a temporary
so that its death atoned for
strategy to wean ancient
his sin? This common expla-
Israel off of idolatrous wor-
nation simply does not stand
ship, not a permanent fea-
up to scrutiny. Semichah was
ture of our religion (Guide of
performed not only for expi-
the Perplexed, 111:32).
When we pray for
RABBI DANIEL ation offerings but also for
all sacrifices. Such a transfer
redemption — for the
rebuilding of Jerusalem, what
Special to the may have been the core of the
Yom Kippur scapegoat rite,
exactly do we hope to restore
but it was not the point of the
— the sacrifices just as they
daily sacrifices. No, it is evi-
Were, or a new bloodless ritual
dent that the ritual of semi-
that offers God only the "serv-
chah was not to transfer sin, but to
ice of the heart"?
inspire awe for the force of life and
This week, we linger upon the
details of all the sacrifices — the burnt death.
G-5240 Calkins Road, Flint, 48532, (810) 732-6310.
Cantor emeritus: Sholom Kalib. President: Leonard
Meizlish. Services: Saturday 9:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; week-
146 South Ave., Mt. Clemens, 48043, (810) 465-0641.
Services: weekdays 7:15 a.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.;
Sunday 8 a.m.
CONGREGATION B'NAI MOSHE
6800 Drake, West Bloomfield, 48322, (248) 788-0600.
Rabbi: Elliot Pachter. Cantor: Earl Berris. Services:
Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; Monday-
Thursday 7 a.m., 6 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m.; Sunday and
legal holidays 9 a.m.; Sunday 6 p.m. Bar mitzvah of
Bennett Price, son of Katie and Martin Price.
ISAAC AGREE DOWNTOWN
1457 Griswold, Detroit, 48226, (313) 961-9328.
Chazan: Cantor Usher Adler. Baal Kriah: Rabbi Craig
Rabbis: Joseph H. Krakoff, Jonathan E. Berkun. Rabbi
emeritus: Irwin Groner. Cantor: Chaim Najman. Ritual
director: Leonard Gutman.
Southfield: 27375 Bell Road, Southfield, 48034, (248)
357-5544. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:30
a.m.; Monday, Thursday 7:15 a.m.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday
6 p.m.; Saturday 8:45 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; Sunday 8:45
a.m. B'nai mitzvah of Matthew David Ellias, son of Lisa
and Frank Ellias; Jamie Kyla Fishman, daughter of
Leslie and Jefrey Fishman.
West Bloomfield, B'nai Israel Center: 4200 Walnut
Lake Road, West Bloomfield, 48323-2772, (248) 357-
5544. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:15 a.m.;
Monday, Thursday 7 a.m.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 9 a.m., 6:15 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. Havdalah.
bar mitzvah of Yonaton Lev Freedman, son of Joan and
2300 Center Ave., Bay City, 48708; (989) 893-7811.
Cantor: Daniel Gale. President: Dr. Jonathan Abramson.
Services: Saturday 9:30 a.m. A liberal, egalitarian con-
gregation serving the tri-cities area. Religious and
Hebrew education programs for children and adults.
207 Grandview Parkway, #209, Traverse City, 49684, (231)
929-4330. Rabbi: Stacie Bahle. Year round Shabbat serv-
ices, holidays, education.
The word "sacrifice" is already a
Christian interpretation of our rituals.
The animals do not suffer on behalf of
the people. If we want to understand
the ancient ritual, we must recall its
Hebrew name: korban. This means
"drawing close." When the donor
brought forward this animal and laid
hands upon its head, it was for the
purpose of coming closer to God.
God gives life and God brings
death, and revives us once again. This
is the greatest power of the Almighty,
and it was this timeless dynamic that
was rehearsed in the ancient worship
service. Whether or not Israel will
again offer animal sacrifice, we can
leave for the Messiah to answer.
Meanwhile, we who practice Judaism
must infuse our rituals with the same
sense of awe, majesty and power that
our ancestors felt in the Temple.
Place your hand on the head of
someone you love and bless them.
What do you experience at the
moment of contact?
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GROSSE POINTE JEWISH COUNCIL
(313) 882-6700. Rabbi: Nicholas Behrrriann. Cantorial
soloist Bryant Frank.
P.O. Box 130014, Ann Arbor, 48103, (734) 996-3524 or
995-1963. Rev. Lauren Zinn. Services: Friday 6:15, follow-
ing dinner. Jewish Roots with Interfaith Wings holds bi-
monthly Shabbat dinner, services, kids' programs, family
school and Hebrew school for all ages.
AGUDAS YISROEL MOGEN
15751 W. Lincoln, Southfield, 48075, (248) 552-1971.
Rabbis: Dov Loketch, Asher Eisenberger. President: Irwin
ANN ARBOR CHABAD HOUSE
715 Hill St., Ann Arbor, 48104, (734) 995-3276. Rabbi:
Aharon Goldstein. Services: Friday at sundown; Saturday
9:45 a.m., 20 min. before sundown; weekdays 7:30 a.m.;
Sunday 9 a.m. Times for weekdays and Sunday are for
the academic year.
ANN ARBOR ORTHODOX MINYAN
1429 Hill St., Ann Arbor, 48014. Rabbi: Rod Glogower.
Services: Friday at sundown; Saturday 9:30 a.m. and 20
minutes before sundown; weekdays during the academic
year 7:30 am.; Sunday 9 a.m.
BAIS CHABAD OF FARMINGTON HILLS
32000 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 855-
2910. Rabbi: Chaim Bergstein. Services: Friday sundown;