Man about to push the bowling ball

Steve Achtman sees the Jewish community come together each year at the InterCongregational Men’s Club dinner in February and in the InterCongregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League during the warm weather months.

“We take a lot of pride in that league,” said Achtman, who helps run it. “We have 18 teams this year, the most since the league started in 1996 with six teams. It has to be the largest all-Jewish softball league in the country.”

Those 18 teams represent Reform, Conservative and Orthodox temples and synagogues.

“We all bond on the softball diamond,” Achtman said.

More bonding should happen, Achtman said. That’s why the Walled Lake resident is part of a small committee that’s working to plan community-wide social events, focusing on sports, which usually are big draws.

“Our group sat around a table at Panera Bread on Orchard Lake Road [in West Bloomfield Township] two months ago and brainstormed some ideas,” Achtman said.

One of those ideas has become reality.

The inaugural InterCongregational Men’s Club Bowling Night — featuring pizza, beer and two games of bowling — will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Langan’s Nor-West Lanes, 32905 Northwestern Highway in Farmington Hills.

Cost is $30 per person ($22 for a non-bowler). At the door, it will be $35 and $27.

Jerusalem Pizza will be available for those who keep kosher, and there will be a cash bar.

A maximum 64 bowlers can participate, four to a lane.

“Here’s the kicker,” Achtman said. “We’re going to put all the bowlers’ names in a hat and draw for who will be on each lane. You may or may not bowl with your friends. We’d love to see some new friendships come out of the night.”

It’s not going to be a night of fierce competition, Achtman said. It will be more of a social event.

“We want bowlers of all abilities to participate,” he said.

Call Achtman at (248) 505-3939 for more information.

Summer Soulstice
It couldn’t have gone any better.

That was Gregg Leshman’s assessment of the Southfield Summer Soulstice 5K run/walk and one-third-mile kids’ fun run last month that was accompanied by the Southfield Spirit Fest parade and festival.

Leshman is the founder and organizer of the fourth annual run and festival, an homage to the beginning of summer. The parade was added this year by the Southfield Ambassadors, an all-volunteer group of Southfield residents and business owners who work to promote the city.

The parade kicked off from Lawrence Tech and traveled to the Southfield municipal campus on Evergreen, site of the run and festival.

Leshman said the parade had about 30 entries including marching bands, fire trucks, community groups, the Detroit Lions’ mascot Roary and the unofficial Southfield mascot Sunny.

As for the 5K race, “We had nearly 300 runners and about 1,000 spectators,” Leshman said.

Before the race started, runners and spectators were treated to the national anthem sung by recording artist Kimmie Horn while a Southfield Fire Department ladder truck displayed a huge American flag nearby.

“It gave you chills,” Leshman said.

The race winners were Cristian Vorovenci (16:38) and Denisa Costescu (19:44).

Proceeds from the day and night benefitted Make-A-Wish Michigan, South Oakland Shelter in Lathrup Village, Friends of the Southfield Police Department, Southfield Firefighters Charities, Southfield Public Arts Commission and Soles 4 Shoes, with each earning about $250.

Eighty pairs of shoes were collected for Soles 4 Shoes.

Leshman, 51, a serious runner for about 20 years, developed an affinity for Southfield when he was property manager for the Southfield Town Center office complex.

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Steve Stein Contributing Writer