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Lisa Lis, with
In Detroit-area activist's newsletter,
celebs send their Shabbat best.
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November 17 2011
ending out a weekly email
newsletter to friends has
become a passion for Lisa
Mark Lis of West Bloomfield.
Lis, a suburban Detroit-based
community activist and philanthro-
pist, in her Friday morning email
posts to friends and family not
only wishes her readers a "Shabbat
Shalom," but she often has a celeb-
rity extend their wishes, too.
Lis has video-
taped such notable
James Taylor, Carole
King, Paul Simon,
Neil Sedaka and
David Broza send-
ing their Shabbat
best. Politicians as
far up as President
Obama, with first
Obama, have offered
wishes on camera
for Lis, as have
U.S. Rep. Debbie
(D-Fla.), the chair
of the Democratic
and U.S. Sen.
Other celebs who
Matchmaker Patti Stanger and actor
Wallace Shawn, who perhaps is best
known for his role in The Princess
Lis isn't shy about asking for a
quick "Shabbat Shalom" greeting
when running into a celebrity. When
she told Marvin Hamlisch about
some of the famous people who
had recorded messages, the com-
poser raised a glass of champagne
to Lis' camera phone and said, "I'm
not Paul Simon, and I'm not James
Taylor. I'm Marvin Hamlisch and,
yes, I know how to say (Shabbat
She's been sending her weekly
greeting every Friday for nearly two
and a half years. She isn't sure how
many people are on her distribution
list, but it includes friends and fam-
ily from around the world, including
a large contingent in Israel (her hus-
band, Hannan, is a native Israeli).
Lis says she sends out the mes-
sages to wish as many people as
possible a good weekend and to stay
in touch with her connections.
"I do it to say `Shabbat Shalom,
and then anything else I add is
my soapbox:' Lis said. "I started
to include the video messages of
famous people saying `Shabbat
Shalom' as a fun addition to the
emails. It makes people smile. Now
people have come to expect them:'
Political views are included in
some of her weekly messages. So are
reminders to attend local fundrais-
ing events for causes she supports. A
paragraph encouraging her readers
to remember Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit during his captivity was a
staple of each week's email message
until his release last month.
Every message includes wishes of
"Happy Birthday" and "Mazel Tov"
to her friends and family celebrating
milestones in the upcoming week.
Lis plans to continue finding the
chutzpah to ask celebs and politi-
cians to utter those two Hebrew
words for her camera phone. After
all, it's not every Friday that an
email arrives with a video of the
leader of the free world wishing you
a "Shabbat Shalom." II
Jason Miller is an entrepreneurial rabbi
and technologist. He blogs at