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Posts by Barbara Lewis

Left to right: Jeri Fishman, Liz Modell, Jodee Fishman Raines, Hillary King

Common Thread

Though not so unusual, seven synagogues currently are led by women. Barbara Lewis Contributing Writer Seven congregations in the Detroit Jewish community are led by female presidents. What’s so remarkable about that is that it’s so unremarkable. None of the current female congregation presidents feels like a trailblazer, though several noted it is unusual to have…

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The old B’nai Moshe building in Oak Park that housed Bais Yaakov School.

New Girls’ School

Yeshiva Beth Yehudah begins building project on old B’nai Moshe site. Barbara Lewis Contributing Writer Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, Detroit’s largest Jewish day school with 1,063 students, according to Jewish Federation figures, has begun construction of a new elementary and middle school building for girls in Oak Park. The new facility will replace the existing Bais…

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Rabbis Alex and Amy Greenbaum of Beth El Congregations in Pittsburgh in a Twitter post against gun violence in February.

Native Son

Pittsburgh rabbi knew some shooting victims and is focusing on his congregation’s needs. Barbara Lewis Contributing Writer During the week following the Oct. 27 massacre at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum felt like he was at “ground zero.” Above: Rabbis Alex and Amy Greenbaum of Beth El Congregations in Pittsburgh in a…

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Jodie Wittenberg Heicklen, Fran Heicklen and Cecile Richards

Making Trouble

Activist Cecile Richards urges women to take action and fight for progress. Above: Jodie Wittenberg Heicklen, Fran Heicklen and Cecile Richards Photo by Barbara Lewis More than half of the registered voters in the U.S. are women, more than half of all college students are women, and women account for nearly half the workforce. And, if Cecile…

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Rabbis Herbert, Yoskowitz, Rachel Shere and Aaron Bergman and Canton Daniel Gross

Diamond Anniversary

Adat Shalom Synagogue celebrates 75 years. Above: Rabbis Herbert, Yoskowitz, Rachel Shere and Aaron Bergman and Cantor Daniel Gross In the beginning, most of Detroit’s Orthodox and Conservative congregations developed along ethnic lines. There were Polish shuls, Hungarian shuls, Lithuanian shuls. Then a small group of men broke the mold, organizing a congregation to serve all Jews…

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Hadassah President Carol Ogusky with Gail Katz, new administrative assistant Emily Morgan and Randi Richmond, new senior manager for member outreach and community engagement.

New Structure

Greater Detroit Hadassah sees changes with new hires. It’s not your bubbie’s Hadassah. At least not if Randi Richmond has anything to say about it. In April, Richmond started her new job as Hadassah Midwest’s senior manager for member outreach and community engagement. She replaced Evelyn Diskin, who retired in March after 28 years as…

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Kusnetz with the double-keyboard harpsichord he built.

A Lifetime of Innovation – Master Woodworker

A self-taught master woodworker has created everything from sailboats to salad tongs over the course of 75 years. Turn to almost any corner in Harold Kusnetz’s Southfield home and you’ll find evidence of 75 years of innovation and artistry. A mechanical engineer by trade, Kusnetz, 93, is a self-taught master woodworker whose creations range from…

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LGBTQ+, LGBTQ, LGBQI+ pride flag rainbow flag

Laying Out The Welcome Mat

Shaarey Zedek reaches out to LGBTQ+ community. Congregation Shaarey Zedek is making a concerted effort to reach out to marginalized communities, starting with those who identify as “LGBTQ+”: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and any sexual or gender minority that doesn’t yet have an initial. Rabbi Aaron Starr announced the initiative in his May 26…

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ELI Talks In Detroit!

Two local lecturers to be featured. ELI Talks are coming to Detroit! The program, which produces videotaped lectures on diverse Jewish topics and makes them available to a broad audience online, will be at Repair the World in Detroit’s Mexicantown district June 18, 19 and 20. Two Detroiters, Abi Taylor-Abt and Rabbi Dan Horwitz, are…

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Passengers aboard the MS St. Louis, May 13, 1939-June 17, 1939. On May 13, 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba, carrying 937 passengers, the majority of whom were Jewish. When the St. Louis arrived in Havana, the passengers learned that the landing certificates they had purchased were invalid. After Cuba refused to allow the passengers to land and the United States (and other Western Hemisphere nations) did not offer to take the passengers, the ship returned to Europe. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee worked with the State Department, ultimately persuading four countries — Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium — to admit some of the passengers. The remaining 254 were forced to return to Europe and were killed by the Nazis.

Americans and the Holocaust

A new exhibit dispels the myth that most Americans were unaware of the atrocities happening in Europe. Was it simply ignorance that Jews were being murdered en masse? Was it anti-Semitism? Or did the United States’ unwillingness to rescue Europe’s Jews from the Holocaust have more nuanced causes? That’s the question Daniel Greene set out…

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