Risk-Taking As A Show Of Faith
rthodox Judaism is perceived
by much of the world as a
conservative, sheltered, old-
fashioned way of life, unwill-
ing to take risks in the face of new chal-
lenges, preferring to retreat into its own
shell like a turtle.
A Midrashic comment on this week's
portion stresses a genealogical aspect
concerning Nahshon, prince of the tribe
of Judah, which rejects the idea that a
conservative, risk-free existence are gen-
uine Torah values.
Nahshon is known to us as the coura-
geous individual who risked his life by
leaping into the Red Sea when the flee-
ing Israelites found themselves being
chased by the charioteers of Egypt;
indeed, it was only after Nahshon
demonstrated his fortitude and faith,
that the Almighty went the next step
and brought about the great miracle of
Shlomo Riskin is head of Ohr Torah
Stone Institution and chief rabbi of
Efrat in the West Bank.
ADAT SHALOM SYNAGOGUE
29901 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 851-
5100. Rabbis: Daniel Nevins, Herbert Yoskowitz. Cantor.
Howard Glantz. Rabbi emeritus: Efry Spectre. Cantor emeri-
tus: Larry Vieder. Services: Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 am.,
8:45 p.m.; weekdays 7:30 a.m., 6 p.m.; Sunday 8:30 am.
B`not mitzvah of Madeleine Blum, daughter of Tracye and
Robert Blum; Sara Lebovic, daughter of Diane and Joey
Lebovic. Aufruf of Andrea Michelle Koratkin and Jeffrey
Scott Belen; Rochelle Gach and Alan Droz; Richelle Lynn
Goodman and Warren Fisher Frankford.
AHAVAS ISRAEL (GRAND RAPIDS)
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
am.; 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.
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
am., 8:30 p.m.; weekdays 7 a.m., 7 p.m.; Sundays and
civic holidays: 8:15 am., 5 p.m. Aufruf of Jennie Shindler
and Adam Gnesin. Shavuot: Tuesday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.;
Wednesday, May 26, 9:30 am., 7 p.m.; Thursday, May 27,
9:30 am., Yizkor at 11 am., 7 p.m.
BETH ISRAEL (FLINT)
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.; weekdays 7:30 am.,
the splitting of the sea.
act with courage, to make the first heroic
The Midrash points out that this
and even dangerous moves, which come
courageous Nahshon had four sons,
with independence and responsibility.
including Elimelech, husband of Naomi,
Because of Nahshon's faith and daring,
as well as Shalmon, father of Boaz, two
the people were saved. Nahshon and his
major personalities in the Scroll of Ruth,
followers risked their lives by jumping
which we read on Shavuot. Now we
into the raging waters; God then made a
don't usually think of Ruth as a "book of
miracle for him, the waters splitting into
risks;" but I would like to suggest that in
dry land and serving as a wall (homa) to
presenting such a genealogy, the Midrash
them on the right and the left.
wants to stress not only the
The rest of the Israelites
characteristics of risk-taking
only entered after the dry land
but also what kind of risks are
appeared; for them the waters
favored by the Torah and
became a wall — but this time
what kind are not.
written without the letter vav,
The Torah's fourth book
\Arhich can also spell hema,
records the history of the
which means anger.
Israelites' 40 years of wander-
While Nahshon is to be
ing in the desert. By the time
praised for his risk-taking,
the book closes, it is clear that
Elimelech can only be reviled
the Jewish people have failed
their first major test. When
When a terrible famine
the spies return with a fright-
descends upon Bethlehem in
ening report about the
Judah, the home of Elimelech,
Promised Land and the ability
Special to the
he packs up his family and
to conquer it (Numbers 13-
decides to start a new life in
14), the Hebrews demonstrate
the land of Moab.
a total lack of resolve, courage
Undoubtedly, this demon-
and faith. Apparently, they have become
strates courage on the part of Elimelech,
too accustomed to the safe and secure
the ability to risk the unknown in a
desert life to take the risks into the
unknown involved in the conquest and
But his motivation was greed; he
settlement of Israel.
refused to share his bounty with his
But the Torah wants the Hebrews to
starving kinsmen, and he was willing to
6 p.m.; Sunday and legal holidays 8 am., 6 p.m. Ivriah reli-
gious school (810) 732-6312.
BETH ISRAEL (ANN ARBOR)
2000 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, 48104, (734) 665-9897.
Rabbi: Robert Dobrusin. Services: Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday
9:30 am.; weekdays 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 5 p.m.
CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM
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 am., 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 am., 5 p.m.; week-
days 7 am., 6:30 p.m. Youth Shabbat
BETH TEPHILATH MOSES
146 South Ave., Mt Clemens, 48043, (810) 465-0641.
Services: weekdays 7:15 a.m.; Saturday 10 am.; Sunday 8
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 am., 8:30 p.m.; Monday-Thursday 7
am., 6 p.m.; Friday 7 am.; Sunday and legal holidays 9
a.m.; Sunday 6 p.m. Volunteer Shabbat. Haftorah, Kerry
Greenhut Shavuot Tuesday, May 25, 6 p.m. Wednesday,
May 26, 9 a.m., 6 p.m. Thursday, May 27, 9 am., 8:45
ISAAC AGREE DOWNTOWN
Southfield: 27375 Bell Road, Southfield, 48034, (248) 357-
5544. Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:30 am.;
Monday, Thursday 7:15 am.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday 6 p.m.;
Saturday 8:45 am., 8:30 p.m.; Sunday 8:30 am. B'nai
mitzvah of Liza Pluto, daughter of Robin Pluto and John
Pluto; Ryan Isakow, son of Hilary and Selwyn Isakow.
Shavuot Tuesday, May 25, 6 p.m. Wednesday and
Thursday, May 26-27, 8:30 am., 6 p.m.
West Bloomfield, B'nai Israel Center 4200 Walnut Lake
Road, West Bloomfield, 48323-2772, (248) 357-5544.
Services: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:15 am.; Monday,
Thursday 7 am.; daily 6 p.m.; Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 9
am., 8 p.m.; Sunday 9 am. Bat mitzvah of Carly Gould,
daughter of Laura and Dean Gould. Shavuot Tuesday, May
25, 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 26-27, 9 am., 6
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 congre-
gation serving the tri-cities area. Religious and Hebrew
education programs for children and adults.
413 N. Division St, Traverse City, 49684, (231) 929-4330.
Rabbi: Chava (Stacie) Bahle. Weekly Shabbat celebrations,
holidays, year round programming, children's education.
Summer programming for downstate visitors.
1457 Griswold, Detroit, 48226, (313) 961-9328. Chazan:
Cantor Usher Adler. Baal Kriah: Rabbi Craig Allen. Cantorial
soloist Neil Barris. Ritual director: Dr. Martin Herman.
President: Dr. Ellen Kahn. Services: Saturday 8:30 a.m.
(313) 882-6700. Rabbi: Nicholas Behrmann. Cantonal
soloist Bryant Frank.
CONGREGATION SHAAREY ZEDEK
Rabbis: Joseph H. Krakoff, Jonathan E. Berkun. Rabbi
emeritus: Irwin Groner. Cantor: Chaim Najman. Ritual direc-
tor: Leonard Gutman.
GROSSE POINTE JEWISH COUNCIL
P.O. Box 130014, Ann Arbor, 48103, (734) 996-3524 or
995-1963. Rev. Lauren Zinn. Services: Friday 6:15, follow-
leave his homeland and his ancestral
roots for the sake of his wealth. Hence,
Elimelech dies, and his sons — logi-
cally — marry Moabite women. His
progeny die as well, causing Elimelech to
have reaped as his harvest in Moab only
oblivion from a Jewish point of view.
In contrast, Boaz does not leave
Bethlehem during the famine. And
when the challenge arises to do an act of
lovingkindness for Naomi and redeem
Elimelech's land — as well as to marry
the convert Ruth — Boaz assumes the
financial obligation and takes upon him-
self the social risk involved in the mar-
riage. And the descendant from this
union turns out to be none other than
King David, from whom the future mes-
sianic line emerges.
Risk is positive and even mandatory,
from a Jewish perspective. The question
we have to ask ourselves is the motiva-
tion, and that determines the result. ❑
Discuss some examples of courage
and risk taking, or lack thereof,
from both the Bible and from your
own experience. How does such
risk taking impact our lives?
ing dinner. Jewish Roots with Interfaith Wings holds bi-
monthly Shabbat dinner, services, kids' programs, family
school and Hebrew school for all ages.
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 am., 20 min. before sundown; weekdays 7:30 am.;
Sunday 9 am. Times for weekdays and Sunday are for the
ANN ARBOR ORTHODOX MINYAN
1429 Hill St, Ann Arbor, 48014. Rabbi: Rod Glogower.
Services: Friday at sundown; Saturday 9:30 am. and 20
minutes before sundown; weekdays during the academic
year 7:30 a.m.; Sunday 9 am.
BAIS CHABAD OF
32000 Middlebelt, Farmington Hills, 48334, (248) 855-
2910. Rabbi: Chaim Bergstein. Services: Friday sundown;
Saturday 9:30 a.m.; Sunday 8:30 am.; weekdays 6:50
BAIS CHABAD OF
NORTH OAK PARK
15401 W. 10 Mile, Oak Park, 48237, (248) 872-8878.
Rabbi: Shea Werner.
BETH TEFILO EMANUEL TIKVAH
24225 Greenfield, Southfield, 48075, (248) 559-5022.
Rabbi: Yisroel Menachem Levin.
from page 106