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September 20, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-09-20

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A Time Of Transition

Birmingham Temple ushers in the
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Keri Guten Cohen

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20

September 20 • 2012

embers of the Birmingham
Temple in Farmington Hills
will hold their High Holiday
services without Rabbi Tamara Kolton.
The temple board accepted the res-
ignation of its senior rabbi in late
August.
"We appreciate the
service she has
devoted to the tem-
ple for the past years
and wish her all the
best in her future
endeavors:' said tem-
ple president Les
Kutinsky prior to
Rabbi Tamara
Rosh Hashanah.
Kolton
"The Birmingham
Temple will continue to run as it has
run. We are looking forward to Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur services
and toward a good year."
As at other synagogues where clergy
members have left, members are step-
ping up to fill in as well as professionals.
"Rabbi Miriam Jerris will perform
services at Rosh Hashanah; she has
been with us for years and years,"
Kutinsky. "We have other people for
Yom Kippur. People have been sup-
portive and very optimistic. It's always
a shame if someone resigns or leaves."
Kolton said that when she tendered
her resignation on Aug. 21, "I antici-
pated being at the bimah to celebrate
the High Holidays 5773.
"I wish the entire Jewish community
of Metro Detroit a happy, healthy and
sweet.New Year, and I look forward to
being a continued voice for spirituality
in the Jewish and greater community."
Jerris, a longtime temple member,
is rabbi of the Society for Humanistic
Judaism/North America, whose offices
are on the Birmingham Temple campus.
"This is in keeping
with what I do, rab-
binic support:' Jerris
said before the holi-
day.
"It just happens
I'm available at
Rosh Hashanah.
This is not so dif-
Rabbi Miriam
ferent from what I
Jerris
do all the time; the
Birmingham Temple is one of our affili-
ates, and they need support.
'At Rosh Hashanah, I will acknowl-
edge that this is a time of transition, and
that the temple and society are available

to support members': Jerris said.
"I also will emphasize that
Humanistic Judaism will go on because
we have incredible people involved. Our
membership is up to the task, with
a little guidance. This is not without
pain, loss and sadness, but also a new
opportunity, a time to get involved.
New beginnings are exciting."
A longtime member says services
are covered through October.
Next spring, the Temple, which has
250 family units, will celebrate its 50th
anniversary. It was founded in 1963
by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, a founding
figure of Humanistic Judaism, and eight
families. Rabbi Wine was killed in a
2007 car accident in Morocco.
The temple website explains that
"Humanistic Jews are cultural Jews who
find that Judaism is most meaningful in
the context of modern thinking.
"We enrich our lives with the High
Holidays, Shabbat services, by enjoy-
ing Jewish music, history, and by cul-
tivating our ties to the Jewish commu-
nity and the State of Israel. We instill
in our children a love of Jewish culture
and a pride in their Jewish heritage. As
Jews and as human beings, we believe
that we have the power and responsi-
bility to direct the course of our lives."
Kolton grew up at the Birmingham
Temple since age 8, celebrating her
bat mitzvah there. In 1999, she was
the first rabbi to be ordained by the
International Institute for Secular
Humanistic Judaism/North America,
the seminary that ordains Humanistic
rabbis. She also is a licensed clinical psy-
chologist. She lives in Farmington Hills
with her husband and two children.
"The Society for Humanistic Judaism
will continue to give support as the
temple moves forward and decides its
next steps:' Jerris said. "They will tell
me what they need from me.
"What I believe about Humanistic
Judaism is that we can do whatever we
need to do. We weathered Sherwin's
death; we are functioning and ordain-
ing rabbis, holding classes and starting
communities. [There are now 27, with
four started in the last two years.]
Sherwin always said Humanistic
Judaism is more than one person.
"There is a void when a rabbi leaves
a congregation, but no one person is
Humanistic Judaism, and those of us
who have found this philosophy and
relevant Jewish experience are not
going to let it fade it away. We certain-
ly won't let the Birmingham Temple
fade away. There's continuity." ❑

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