Sara Kravitz looks through a telescope at the planet Jupiter.
Sara Kravitz looks through a telescope at the planet Jupiter. (Temple Kol Ami)

Experiential Judaism like this is at the core of what Kol Ami does, and the West Bloomfield synagogue’s Astronomy Havdalah was a huge hit with the congregation.

“Havdalah cannot begin until the three brightest stars in the sky can be seen,” said Rabbi Brent Gutmann as he kicked off Temple Kol Ami’s Astronomy Havdalah. “Can any of you see three stars yet?”

Yes, three “stars” could indeed be seen in the fading twilight, but they were actually the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. “Good enough!” declared Rabbi Gutmann and, with that, Havdalah began.

Kol Ami members Craig Organ and Paul Gross then invited the congregation to look through their telescopes at the planets. Many had never looked through a telescope before and were amazed by being able to see Jupiter’s four biggest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Meanwhile, others took turns looking at stunning Saturn and its rings and the planet Venus through Organ’s telescope.

Experiential Judaism like this is at the core of what Kol Ami does, and the West Bloomfield synagogue’s Astronomy Havdalah was a huge hit with the congregation. In particular, the fun event added very special meaning to Havdalah for the children who participated. 

Temple Kol Ami members Paul Gross and Craig Organ with their telescopes
Temple Kol Ami members Paul Gross and Craig Organ with their telescopes Temple Kol Ami
Once three stars became visible, Havdalah began at Temple Kol Ami’s Astronomy Havdalah
Once three stars became visible, Havdalah began at Temple Kol Ami’s Astronomy Havdalah Temple Kol Ami
Daria Gutmann looks through a telescope at the planet Jupiter
Daria Gutmann looks through a telescope at the planet Jupiter Temple Kol Ami
Moon Pies were a popular treat at Temple Kol Ami’s Astronomy Havdalah
Moon Pies were a popular treat at Temple Kol Ami’s Astronomy Havdalah Temple Kol Ami
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