Shabbat Shalom January 25, 2013

Shabbat Shalom January 25, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

We had a great time in DC to witness the 57th inauguration of our 44th president.  The city was hopping with about 1 million celebrants and
more than a few dignitaries.  We ran into Senator Chuck Schumer at Starbucks on Sunday.  Did you know his name means Guard in Hebrew which is fitting as he is guarding our nation from his Senate seat. And for those who watched the swearing in, he was also the guard/MC/chairman for the Inaugural Committee. We also saw friends Jocelyn B, Gary & Colleen P, Eric and Dina F, Hy & his father Jim, Orna & Keenan W, Richard & Kathryn L, Debbie & John D, Sandy & Pam L to mention a few.  Here are some photos.

Addressing our Nation                        Parading Pennsylvania Ave.                                   Like the fedora?

“For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth.”  President Barack Obama, Jan. 21, 2013.

As these words were spoken, they struck a cord in me.  I found the message universal. We may know what is right. We may say what is right.  But only our actions will prove our intentions.  We must continue our mission and passions in life by acting out our will.  To borrow from Nike… “Just Do It” is a good reminder when contemplating your next step (as long as its a step in a positive direction).

With the festivities over, its time to make some progress on several urgent issues.  One, of course, is the safety and wellbeing of our citizens.  Since Newtown (only 43 days ago), there have been 1,210 gun deaths in our country. It seems like you hear of another shooting everyday.  Just this week a 15 year old in New Mexico gunned down his mother, father and 3 young siblings.  This website is keeping a tally of every gun death that has occurred since Newtown.  We need to take some action to halt this growing list.

Bravo, Senator Diane Feinstein on introducing a much needed Assault Weapons Ban on Capital Hill this week.

Shame on you, Michigan Legislators on introducing efforts to bypass Pres. Obama’s initiative to curb gun violence in Lansing this week.

Whether Beyonce sang live or not doesn’t really matter as the beautiful voice we heard was definitely hers.

Here is a lip sync dub that looks and sound so real but the words and message are hilarious.  I can’t figure out how they can dub this so perfectly.

“Yesh Atid” (translates to) “There is a Future” for a Central Political Party in Israel.  Elections took place on Tuesday and newcomer Yair Lapid’s new central party, Yesh Atid, got a whopping 19 seats, right behind Bibi’s 31 seats.  Yair’s next step is to form a coalition to help move the country forward so he can curb the cost of living and limit the power and influence of the ultra-orthodox agenda.  Yair is young (49), charismatic, passionate and diplomatic. Time will tell if he has the “right stuff” to harness the complex Israeli parliamentary system and navigate the society to prosperity and security.  I know Yair would agree that Tel Aviv is the most innovative city of the year so let’s help make it clear to the rest of the world by voting here:

Don’t forget to plant or hug a tree this weekend in celebration of our Jewish Holiday of Tu B’Shevat also known as the New Year for the trees as this is the time in Israel when the trees awaken from their winter schnooz and start thinking about new growth.  Its interesting that only two weeks ago in Jerusalem the ground was covered with snow, so I hope the trees aren’t too confused.  Thanks, Susie C for sharing these photos.

Shimon and Bibi?                                                                          Snow covered prayers

I don’t know who this Matt fella is but he sure gets around, including Jerusalem, Detroit and all points in between.  Check out this incredible video which I’m sure must have taken months to complete.  Dance certainly is a universal languge. Enjoy and thanks Ettagail for sharing:

My dear friend, Diane O, has been in India for the last couple of weeks with this handsome Indian guide who is wishing us Shabbat Shalom in front of the Taj Mahal:

Bravo to India for taking a hard look at the unjust, unequal, unacceptable, inexcusable treatment of women taking place everyday on their streets.  As mentioned above, looking, speaking, investigating are all great, but it only action that will bring the change that is needed.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom,



Happy 100th birthday Grand Central Terminal (not Station as most people refer to it).  Apparently, it is the largest terminal in the world (most number of platforms) and it the 6th most visited world tourist attraction.

Forgotten Harvest – please mark your calendars for an evening our home on Tuesday March 5th @ 6:00pm for dinner and discussion of the incredible work of Forgotten Harvest.

JDC – Then one week later on Tuesday March 19th @ 7:00pm come back to our home for a very interesting glimpse of the lifesaving work of the Joint Distribution Committee

US Holocaust Memorial Museum – Then in late April (4/28 & 4/29) please join us along with Rose and David Handleman at the 20th anniversary of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  By the way, this Sunday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Very soon, the first hand survivors will be unavailable to personally share their stories.  All we’ll have are recorded memories and artifacts.  This is why our US (and local) museums are so important.  Please help support them.

Shabbat Shalom January 25, 2013

Shabbat Shalom January 18, 2013

Shabbat Shalom
Shabbat Shalom January 18, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Women and guns

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court made the landmark decision that a “women has the right to an abortion until viability”. 40 years later we are still fighting to protect this right while many State and Federal legislators try to project their religious and moral beliefs onto our bodies and erode our rights as women.  We must continue to stand up for our rights.

It is frustrating to see the lack of common sense and compromise coming from our legislators specifically regarding Assault Weapons.  Where, in the 2nd amendment, does it say we have the right to mow down as many people in a split second as possible.  I thought the Right to Bear Arms was for the right to protect ourselves and our families. Let’s face it, assault weapon owners are not using them for protection, unless they are in the mafia or a drug cartel.  Every Military Officer (I’ve heard interviewed) says these weapons were built for the battlefield and DO NOT belong on our streets, in our neighborhoods, near our movie theaters, in our schools, though out our campuses, outside our grocery stores…

Maybe we can use our assault weapons (collectively) to destroy those evil planets because the White House has (just last week) rejected the request of over 30,000 petitioners to build a Death Star.  This is not a joke.  The Obama administration officially announced that our Military must do WITHOUT a Death Star weapon.  One reason… the cost would have been $850,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s quadrillion, for you, Big Bang Theory fans).  I believe that would have skyrocketed our Debt Ceiling.  Now, if we HAD built a Death Star, I’m sure the NRA would have supported individual ownership.

Bravo to Pres. Obama for signing 23 executive orders to help curb gun violence.  Click here if you’d like to read them:

Numbers 11 and 14 are very interesting. Currently there is NO director of the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agency) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has a gag order on firearm research and stats.

People can change their (extreme) minds.  Just look at Governor George Wallace.  50 years ago (this week), George Wallace took the Oath of Office to become Alabama’s 45th Governor and ended his acceptance speech with these infamous words…”Segregation now, Segregation tomorrow, Segregation forever”.  Just 9 years later an assassins bullet left him paralyzed and several years after that he had a change of heart and apologized to the Black Community admitting he was wrong and asked for forgiveness.  His words and actions were forgiven but not forgotten.

I’m quite sure Mike Harris will NEVER ask for forgiveness and we should never forget this words as they unfortunately represent the continued anti-semitism that has and will (most likely) continue to plaque our people. He brazenly blames every evil in this world on the Jews and the State of Israel, including Sandy Hook.  Beware, this video will stir anger in you:

One month after the Sandy Hook disaster, the children of the school choir got together with
(singer/songwriter) Ingrid Michaelson to record “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to help raise funds for their town.  The song is available to download at iTunes. Here is a snipet of that recording:

Martin Luther King would have been 84 this year.  Sadly, his life was cut short at 39.  What more was in store for this man of vision? Many in our national Jewish Community were proud partners in his quest for civil rights.  This photo includes MLK and Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.


Please join us at the Gem Theater on Tuesday Jan. 22nd for the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” Speech. Please sign up at

I assume MLK would have commended leaders like Cory Booker and John Huntsman for joining No Labels
( ) which is an all inclusive initiative to stop the Congressional gridlock and start compromising.

Lastly, this is a beautiful and musical example of a collective act of loving kindness.  The song and location are a perfect match.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom,


Death Star, No Joke

iTunes of Sandy Hook choir

Sandy Hook Choir on Good Morning America


I truly enjoy writing these emails to stay connected to all of you.  I encourage you to reach out to old & new, near & far, family & friends and do the same. It can be a simple hello or a longer message like mine.  The connections (or reconnections) you maintain are very rewarding.

Tuesday Feb. 5th (6:30-10:00pm)
Girls night out at Shaarey Zedek Vashti’s Banquet
Belly Dancing, Henna body art, Middle Eastern Food and much more
248-357-5544 Ext. 84 or

Tuesday March 5th (6:00pm)
Please join us for a light supper at our home to learn about the food gathering/distributing work of Forgotten Harvest.
RSVP to Marc Berke at 248-967-1500 Ext. 161 or

Tuesday March 19th (7:00pm)
Please come to our home to learn about the lifesaving work of the Joint Distribution Committee.

Happy Birthday (this week) to 91 year old Betty White, 49 year old Michelle Obama and 71 year old Muhammad Ali.

Rest in Peace, Pauline Friedman Phillips (aka Dear Abby) who died this week at the age 94.  May you continue to give advice along side your twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer (aka Ann Landers) who passed away in 2002 and our dear friend, Jeff Zaslow (of blessed memory) who took over for Ann Landers when she left her post at the Chicago Sun Times.  All of your wise words of advice will be greatly missed here on Earth.

Shabbat Shalom January 18, 2013

Shabbat Shalom January 11, 2013

Shabbat Shalom
Shabbat Shalom January 11, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Look to the Wise Ones for answers…


Did you know that a 22 year-old Jewish woman was responsible for women’s rights in post WWII Japanese society.  Just after WWII ended, Beate Gordon (who passed away last week), found herself as the only female assistant to General Douglas MacArthur while he was drafting Japan’s Postwar Constitution.  Japanese women (back then) were treated more like property than people. She helped establish the equality that current Japanese women enjoy today by contributing women’s rights issues to their constitution: (Thanks Leah C. for sharing)

This week commemorates the 2nd anniversary of that fateful shooting in Tucson that left Congressman Gabby Giffords scarred for life.  As the NRA has a $300 million budget with a fraction of that amount dedicated to the other side, it is not surprising little progress has been made to combat this problem. Gabby (this week) created a new initiative called the Americans For Responsible Solutions to equalize the playing field so our legislators are NOT indebted to NRA lobbyist.  And, hopefully Mayor Bloomberg will dedicate his efforts to this cause once his Mayoral term is up.  I’m routing for a Giffords/Bloomberg team to lead us to saner gun control solutions.

One day we hope to own a home in Beersheva to stay warm during these cold Michigan winters and to help to fulfill David Ben Gurion’s dream to populate the Negev.  The Jewish National Fund Beersheva River Park (1700 acre environmental space) will now include a 3,000 tree forest memorializing the Sandy Hook victims. One day the “lush” Negev will be as popular as its northern neighbors.

Speaking of keeping warm, 2012 was the hotest year in record history for the (contiguous) United States.  Though MI has been covered with snow for a few weeks, rumor has it, it will be 50 degrees this weekend. Also experiencing a warm spell is Australia with a record heat wave of 129 degrees this week.

Sometimes it hard to believe that we live in the 21st Century, while some in the world still act as though it were the barbaric era of the Middle Ages.  Gang rapes in India, Chinese ivory envy causing the mass killing of 11 Kenyan elephants, executions of Kurdish women activists in Paris and a Saudia Arabian beheading of a poverty-stricken Sri Lankan nanny. By the way, international domestic workers have minimal rights compared to other laborers. Some good news…the Pakistani student (Malala Yousafzai) shot by the Talaban to prevent her from promoting education for girls has left her UK hospital and hopefully on the road to recovery.

Now I love Adam Levine‘s moves as much as the next gal, but this rendition deserves a Grammy or at least the Michigan People’s Choice award.  I guarantee a smile while watching it, especially if you know Michael “Levine” Smolash (who can really move his hips) or King “Harold” or Neil, Josh, Paul, Wendy, Jennifer, Marla to mention just a few of our friends I spied moving like “graggers”.  The lyrics and vocals are prefect and the dance moves, from disco to break dance to Gangnam to Krav Maga (to that move Paul does) are professional and humorous.  Kol HaKavod (well done) to theTemple Israel community for bringing Purim to the masses (this one should go viral).

Hannan and I will be heading to DC for the (hopefully warmer than 4 years ago) Inauguration.  We would love to connect with others in our nation’s capital while there.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom,


P.S.  I don’t think anyone could explain our Detroit/Canada bridge situation better than the Jon Stewart Show (aired this week):

And speaking of Detroit, Bravo to Kresge for pledging to continue their financial support of $150 million to help revitalize the city.


Condolences to Natan, Daniella and Michael on the passing of their beloved wife and mother, Norma HarPaz.  May her memory, music and love bring comfort to your sorrow.

Condolences to dear friend, Lisa Sobel and her family on the passing of her grandmother, Belle Sobel Sapstein.  She was a classy women who lived a long beautiful life.

Please join Rose and David Handelman and Hannan and I (April 28th & 29th) as we co-chair the Michigan Delegation’s journey to DC for the 20th Anniversary of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to see and support this incredible museum and be part of our Michigan Initiative to help recover and preserve artifacts so our future generations will Never Forget and Never Repeat the past atrocities. For more info, please contact Lisa Acker 847-433-8033 or or visit the website

Please join us a the 50th Anniversary of “I have a dream” speech on Jan. 22nd 6:30pm at the Detroit Gem Theater.

Please save the evening of Tuesday March 5th for a Forgotten Harvest event at our home.

Happy January Birthdays to:
Norman K (Dad to Texan daughter, Diane and her sisters)
Marilyn V (grandma to George, Robert, Aidan, Jack among other lucky ones)
Aaron B (recent vistor of Ho Chi Minh City)
Gabi K (favorite handsome Israeli cousin)
Mataan (favorite handsome first born son, no longer a teenager)
Dan W (Jenna’s daddy)
Ben F (Andover, Columbia, U of M grad with 2 adorable kids)
Stacy K (mom to Alaska bound Katie)
Linda K (Mumford, U of M, WD pres. Alum)
Lisa R (Jake’s mom)
Eric Z (Betsy’s Gem Husband)
Fern HK (Lauren and Max’s greatest supporter)
Jamila R (favorite Dutch Niece)
Dalia S (One of Tzachi’s moms)
Susu S (Grandma to Schoenbergs kids)
Jeff S (Favorite Travel Genius)
Robyn L (better half to Shlomi)
Rachel W (NextGen pres. elect)
Diane K (Emery’s loving spouse)
Josh B (Dad to Sosie and Sage)
Susie P (Norm’s partner in Grandparenthood)
Bryce S (Republican pay)
Don B (Love of my mom’s life)
Perry T (President of Detroit Nation)
Yossi P (Israeli Knesset Member)
Adam B (Obama Advance Team)
Rachel S (Wendy’s High School daughter)
Tzvi R (My favorite Son-in-Law)
Lisa S (Florida friend and college roommate)
Ronen A (one of our favorite friends to see in Israel)
Sarah B (roommate on first trip to Israel)
Sid G (Lucky husband to “big” birthday gal Ingrid)
Brenda R (All she is saying is “Give Peace a Chance”)
Dana L (MSU Hillel booster)
Diane O (heading to India)
Danielle W (2nd generation of my first Israel trip)
Deborah R (proud mother to Michael)
Ken G (recent visitor to Kenya with his family)
Shari R (Spill the Honey producer).

Sorry if I forgot you… please let me know so I can mark my calendar for next year.

Shabbat Shalom January 11, 2013

Shabbat Shalom January 4, 2013

Shabbat Shalom January 4, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

What gifts will this New Year of 2013 bring us…?  Wiser Gun Control Restrictions, Compromising Politicians, Peace Treaties, More Attention to Mental Health, Easier and Quality Access to Health Care, More Concern for our Environment, Continued Financial Strength.  I would be thrilled if any of these issues were enhanced within the next 12 months.

Speaking of Mental Health, Gun Control, Financial Strength and Peace Treaties, here is a sad statistic that is affected by all of them.  In 2012 there were more soldier suicides than war zone fatalities.  Our soldiers deserve more resources and attention to help combat this troubling phenomenon. Let’s hope 2013 brings a reversal to this unacceptable trend.

Yes, there was FINALLY a DC deal to avoid a Financial Calamity (retiring the other overused FC phrase) yet Congressman Boehner (from Ohio, safely protected from Superstorm Sandy) sent his colleagues home before voting on the aid package for NY/NJ Sandy victims. Many of these victims STILL have no power or safe living conditions. Two months after the storm is WAY too long to wait for assistance.

Due to the fact that massive amounts of water bottles are floating in our oceans and resting in our landfills, Concord, Mass has just passed our nation’s first ever water bottle ban that makes it a $50 fine to sell 16oz (or smaller) bottles of water.  Who will be next?

I’m sure any vessel of water would be greatly appreciated in Death Valley as it is (now) officially the site of the hottest recorded temperature (134 degrees recorded in 1913) since the previous Libyan record (136.4 degrees in 1922) was recently disqualified after researchers determined it was a faulty reading.

If you are unavailable to reach Jerusalem this year, part of Jerusalem can come to you via the internet.  After 5 years of digital imaging, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to view (with enhancements) online.  Click here to learn more about this incredible work:

Rest in Peace, Patti Page, who famously sang “Doggie in the Window” and “Tennessee Waltz”.  But my favorite was Moon River.  Enjoy:

Our family adventure to Tucson (hiking, mountain biking, tennis and horseback riding) and Eugene (eating, drinking and wine tours) was wonderful.  Here are some photos as proof:

Our Family                                                                Their Family

And our New Years Eve/Hannan’s Birthday Celebration was a blast, thanks to those who helped us celebrate.


Last supper of 2012                                                  My Tennis Buddies

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom,


P.S. Happy 20th birthday dear son, Mataan.


Condolences to the Groner family and our Shaarey Zedek family on the passing of our beloved and respected Rabbi Irwin Groner who dedicated his life to our community for 53 years.  He will be greatly missed.

While on our family trip to Eugene, Oregon, we attended Shabbat services at Temple Beth Israel.  The last reading of the service was this poem by Judy Chicago:

And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then will cherish life’s creatures
And then all will live in harmony with one another and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

This is my wish for 2013…

Shabbat Shalom January 4, 2013