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April 28, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-04-28

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Voice Of The People

Kol Ami honors Rabbi Roman for 25 years of caring service.

Don Cohen
Contributing Writer


program benefiting Israel or a
social action project to assist
those in need in Metro Detroit ...
or maybe a youth event ... a Torah study ...
an interfaith gathering ... or a "green" pro-
gram about taking care of the Earth.
Any of these would have been fitting
ways to honor Rabbi Norman T. Roman
on his 25th year at Temple Kol Ami (TKA)
in West Bloomfield and his 36th year as a
rabbi. But a musical concert that combines
elements of the many facets of Rabbi
Roman will be the fitting tribute.
"The rabbi's love of music helped us
decide," said Nena Chudnof, a Temple
past president and co-chair of "25 Live!"
featuring Jewish music superstars Craig
Taubman and Josh Nelson at the Berman
Center for the Performing Arts the evening
of Sunday, May 1.
Chudnof was on the search committee
of past presidents that, in 1986, brought
Roman over from Temple Beth El in
Bloomfield Township, where he had been
an associate rabbi.
"Right off, we were impressed by
his enthusiasm and his love for youth:'
Chudnof says. "And his guitar playing was
a plus from the very beginning. It helped
us be part of the service and become a
cohesive group. The congregation sings,
and it's a good feeling to be part of that
Reflecting on his 25 years at Kol Ami,
Roman says, "It means a generation of
successful and satisfying service to the
congregation. We've only had two senior
rabbis in 45 years. That speaks to the suc-
cess and competency of not only Rabbi
Ernst Conrad of blessed memory and me,
but also to the success and well being of
the congregation.
"I'm personally and professionally
content': he added. "The congregation has
been, for the most part, receptive to my
ideas and flexible in allowing me to do my
thing — rabbinically, educationally, liturgi-
cally and programmatically — both here
in the congregation and in the community."
Born in New York City in 1948, he was
raised in the Cleveland area, graduating
from John Carroll University, a private
Jesuit college in 1971. Ordained at Hebrew
Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
(HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati in 1975, he
served two congregations in Cleveland and
two in Santa Monica, Calif., before coming
to Detroit in 1982.


Temple Kol Ami clergy: Rabbis Norman Roman and Ariana Jaffe Silverman and Cantorial Soloist Tiffany Green.

Rabbi Roman with his daughter Caryn, the day before his first service at Temple Kol Rabbi Roman reads the Torah during a
Ami. His Aug. 1, 1986, sermon topic was "Shehechiyanu - A First Sermon."
Simchat Torah service.

He has received the title Reform
Jewish Educator from the Union of
Reform Judaism (URJ) and the National
Association of Temple Educators, and
he earned a master's degree in Hebrew
Letters and an honorary Doctor of
Divinity from HUC-JIR. He is an adjunct
instructor in religious studies at the
University of Detroit Mercy.
An accomplished folk singer, he is

nationally recognized for his work with
Jewish youth and his many years as rabbi-
in-residence at the National Federation
of Temple Youth (NFTY) Leadership
Institute-Camp Kutz in Warwick, N.Y., and
the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in
Oconomowoc, Wisc.
He and his wife, Lynne, are the proud
parents of Adam, Caryn, Chad, Blake,
Benjamin and the late Justin.

Outreach And Youth
"We were the first local congregation to
sponsor a Mitzvah Day:' Roman says. "Now
everyone is doing it, and that is a good
thing." TKA was also one of the first con-
gregations of any faith to regularly host
needy "guests" from the South Oakland
Shelter in Royal Oak, and was an early
participant in MAZON: A Jewish Response
To Hunger.

Voice on page 14

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