slice of life
by Shaye Winer
he regional presidents of AZA and BBG
joined hands in holy matrimony March 14
as a way to share Jewish tradition with all of
Michigan Region B'nai B'rith Youth Organization.
While their wedding may have been mock,
Jewish Heritage Chairs Carly Cykiert and Jonathon
Morof, both of Farmington Hills, made this night as
real as you could ever imagine.
"In the past, Jewish heritage nights have been
plain and simple," said Cykiert, 16. "This year, we
wanted something that could be educational, but in-
teresting and fun as well."
Rabbi Daniel Schwartz of Temple Shir Shalom
in West Bloomfield performed the ceremony before
a congregation of more than 100 BBYO teenagers
as well as some family members of the bridal cou-
ple. The program goal was to have as many BBYO
members as possible participate in wedding roles.
There were bridesmaids, groomsmen, people offer-
ing small prayers, a flower girl and chuppah (bridal
canopy) holders. Morof and Cykiert served as best
man and maid of honor.
Stephanie Horwitz, 17, and Jeremy Sherman, 16,
both of West Bloomfield, were the mock bride and
groom. Her parents, Gina and Arthur Horwitz, and
his parents, Fanny Sherman and Jeffrey Sherman,
were under the chuppah with the happy couple.
Throughout the service, teens came up to the mi-
crophone to explain the meaning of different seg-
ments and traditions so the audience could under-
Left: Bride Stephanie Horwitz performs the traditional walks around her groom, Jeremy Sherman, during BBYO's mock wedding.
Right: Arthur Horwitz of West Bloomfield, father of the "bride" and publisher of the JN, lowers the veil for his daughter,
stand and apply what was going on to real life and to
their own Jewish heritage.
"As regional presidents, Stephanie and I work re-
ally closely together, so it was exciting to hold the
mock wedding and act as if we were getting mar-
ried," Sherman said. "But the best part was that while
everyone had a great time, everyone still learned
something about Judaism."
This also was a night of dancing. Following the
wedding, the "bride" changed out of her white wed-
ding dress and joined her "groom" on the dance
floor with other BBYO teens. A DJ kept things go
ing, and the food was plentiful. After all, what is a
Jewish wedding without any of that?
"Michigan Region has upped the bar on Jewish
programming," Horwitz said. "BBYO is based off
of brotherhood and sisterhood,
along with Judiasm. At the mock
wedding, the best of both shined.
I can't wait to see where Michigan
Region goes from here!"
Shaye Winer, 1.8, is a senior at West
Bloomfield High School.
an alternate perspective
by Brett Alpiner
ouest for try_
Gay Orthodox rabbi advocates not fearing thos e who are different.
Rabbi Steve Greenberg is just like any other Modern Orthodox
He says he told his closest friends and family, then those he
worked with and the rest of the layers eventually were unpeeled
with T2T reporter
food and studies Torah. Those who devote their lives to an al-
as time elapsed. Not until he was in his 30s did the rest of
mighty power are special.
the world know of his lifestyle when he wrote a piece in a local
rabbi, he davens (prays) in the morning, says blessings over his
Greenberg is special for another reason as well — he's gay.
Greenberg, a senior fellow at the National Jewish Center for
From then on, things have been understandably difficult for
Learning and Leadership in New York and the first openly gay
Greenberg, who has lost some close friends and relatives, while
Orthodox rabbi, was in town the weekend of March 6 to hold dis-
gaining other friends and a new appreciation on life.
cussions on behalf of the Jewish Gay Network of Michigan.
Greenberg knew his life would be special, even challenging,
The rabbi was born in Ohio to a Conservative Jewish family
but he never intended to be a sponsor for gay liberties. As he
was about to start; the rabbi gave a very insightful talk about
and, around age 14 or 15, became fascinated with traditional
said, "I involuntarily became an advocate for gay rights." In do-
homosexuality and the importance of not casting out those who
Judaism. As he says, that's when "his quest for truth began."
ing so, he says he has become at odds with some Jews and
we deem unusual.
Greenberg discovered in his late teenage years that he was
different. One night, he stared in the mirror and told himself that
things would be different from this day on. He was right.
Although everyone wants to know about his experience,
Greenberg says coming out of the closet is complicated.
"It's like an onion in that I came out in layers," he says during
a discussion at the Beverly Prentis Wagner Teen Center at the
Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
B2 teen2teen April • 2009
But he also has gained many friends in the struggle for equal
treatment amongst homosexuals that span worldwide.
Greenberg goes around the country and world defending gay
rights. His book Wrestling with God and Men is a look into gay
"People are afraid of things that are different," Greenberg
said, something he obviously feels very strongly about.
Although he is controversial and polarizing, Greenberg is a
gentle man who, when I asked if he would have preferred the life
of a straight kid living in anonymity, responded, "No way."
rights as defended by the Torah.
At the JCC, his discussion focused on homosexuality in teen-
age life. I sat amongst a small crowd a few hours before Shabbat
Brett Alpiner, 19, is a freshman at the University of Michigan-