Shabbat Shalom December 27, 2013

helping hand
Shabbat Shalom December 27, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

As we are vacationing in Florida with family, there is little time to devote to this week’s Shabbat message so I will let this poem speak my words for the last Shabbat Shalom of 2013.  I tried to find info on the author but came up empty handed.  Maybe one of you have heard of him or her. This message is my wish for 2014.

“May Light always surround you;
Hope Kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desire.
Through all that you Reach for,
May your arms Never Tire.”
D. Simone

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Healthy 2014,



 Happy Birthday to this week’s celebrants:

Dec. 27th
Louis Pasteur (Scientist of germ theory)
Cokie Roberts (Journalist)

Dec. 28th
David Gad-Harf (Happy 60th)
Jordan Orley (Diane’s Dr. nephew)
Lori Sachs (Oakland County athlete)
Marty Liebman (Abba of Future Rabbi Miriam)
Sheri Schiff (Community Activist)
Michael Jonas (Brilliant Photographer)

Dec. 29th
Howard Cash (Ann Arbor Gene Genius)
Patti Aaron (Ann Arbor Health Activist)
Sharon Eisenshtadt (SHE)
Linda Samelson (Community Activist)

Dec. 30th
Judy Liebman (Ima of Future Rabbi Miriam)
Alicia Blas Macdonald (Stone Wood Ct.)

Lynn Greenberg Obron (Jeff’s better half)

Dec. 31st
Deana Lockman (Tamarack supporter)
Tammi Freedland (Fab Five Cranbrook Mom)
Hannan Lis (Soul Mate)

Jan. 1st
Jodie Krasnick (Mosaic Mission Member)

Jan. 2nd
Norman Kaplan (Diane’s Dad)

Shabbat Shalom December 27, 2013

Shabbat Shalom December 20, 2013

Snowy Western Wall Shabbat Shalom December 20, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Hatred against Israel has invaded our US Academic Institution this week as the 5,000 member American Studies Association(ASA) voted to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel for her “abhorrent” treatment of Palestinians.  This BDS movement is rampant in Europe and Arab nations but was less prominent on our American soil…till now.  You’d think those in the field of academia would do their homework and fact check the history books regarding the Jewish/Arab relationship in the Middle East. In actuality, Jews have probably been the kindest to Palestinians compared to treatment by their own leaders and neighboring nations. Israel is not perfect as no country is and much progress is needed, but singling out Israel for BDS while countries like Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and so many others continue to kill their own citizens is just ass backwards.  Footnote: Brandeis and Penn State Harrisburg have dropped their membership with ASA since this boycott.

More Hatred
Hatred was also spewed recently by the famed anti-semite, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame as he compared Israel’s actions to the Nazi regime and bellows about evil Rabbis. Here is an article that covers his whole rant:

Saner Voices
“The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list.” This quote is by a brave retired Saudi navy commodore.  He recognized the 65-year mistake of the Arab nations to deny Israel’s existence. He poignantly suggests that if they had spent the mass fortune used for weaponry on education and health care instead, their countries would be lightyears ahead of where they are today. Take a peek at his article:

Hopeful Democracy
This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the first flame (literally) ofself-immolation (sacrificing oneself by burning in the name of a cause) in Tunisia that ignited the Middle East protests or Arab Spring. Hope is on the horizon for Tunisia as there seems to be a political compromise between the Islamist and the Secular Leaders. The western world will be closely watching and hoping for a democratic result.

Absurd Debate
Now, don’t be shocked by this next revelation, but Santa Claus is White.  If you haven’t seen the witty repartee by Jon Stewart in response to Fox’s Megyn Kelly’s debate about the ethnicity of Santa Claus, it is well worth a glimpse.  This clip is 9 minutes but you can skip to the 3 minute mark to start the fun:  And farewell to John Oliver as he departs the Daily Show for his new home at HBO.

This also serves as a subliminal message about the
Forgotten Harvest event April 26th featuring Tim Allen (seen here as Santa Claus)

My teen walls were plastered with Cat Stevens posters as his music was constantly playing on my turntable.  And very soon he will join the ranks of Kiss, Hall & Oats and Linda Ronstadt as fellow Rock and Roll 2014 inductees.  Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat and his early album Matthew and Sons will forever be my favorites. The message of this song is to speak up about what you believe:  And how about that great soundtrack to Harold and Maude:

Mazel Tov to Grand Rapids and Michigan Gold Coast on their #1 spot on the Lonely Planets Top 10 guide of places to visit in 2014:


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


P.S. Kudos
– 33 States to go as New Mexico became the 17th State to jump on the Marriage Equality Bandwagon.
– Putin pardons Pussy Riot “Hooligans” and 30 Greenpeace activists.


Corrections from Last Week:
-There are only Three Jewish Supreme Court Justices (not four).
-Federation THANX event is Tuesday (7pm) Jan. 14th (not 13th). Please sign up and join my table

Disgraceful Legislation
Please join the fight against our recent Michigan legislation which eliminated abortion coverage from insurance policies:

Michigan goodies for Soldiers
If you’d like to send Michigan goodies to a Michigan soldier serving overseas, please click here:

Mittens for Detroit
As our extremities start to freeze in our frigid Michigan Winter, lets help those who don’t have cozy mittens to warm their fingers. Please support Mittens for Detroit by attending their big fundraiser Jan. 25th at MGM Grand in Detroit for the 4th Annual “A Night of Giggles & Gloves” Comedy Show & Silent Auction. You can support their efforts here:

New MI Science Center
Bravo to our Michigan Science Center (in Detroit) as it celebrates its 1 year re-opening with free admission on Thursday Dec. 26th (9am-5pm).

Ryan Fishman for State Senate
Please help us support Ryan Fishman to become the State Senator representing Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Clawson, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Troy.  He will be a great State Senator and your help with his campaign is greatly appreciated.


 Mazel Tov to this week’s celebrants:

Dec. 20th
Barbara and Larry Haber
(Happy 50th anniversary)
Michael HarPaz
 (Talented Michigander in Israel)

Dec. 21st
Hannah Moiseev
(Pride of Marla and Andy)
Gina Horwitz
(Mom to Israeli soldier Stephanie)
Helen Katz
(newly enjoying retirement)
Rachel Robinson
(Fed. Team Member)

Dec. 22nd
Ladybird Johnson
(First Lady)

Dec. 23rd
Joseph Smith, Jr.
(Mormon Church founder)

Dec. 24th
Nancy Glen
(Ralph’s better half)

Dec. 25th
Steve Fisher
(Gail chose wisely)

Dec. 26th
David Sedaris


 Merry Christmas to friends who will be celebrating this week.

Bonus Video. I really think you’ll enjoy this awesome, creative, music video of the winter streets of Detroit:

Shabbat Shalom December 20, 2013

Shabbat Shalom December 13, 2013

Shabbat Shalom December 13, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

White House
I usually start writing these emails on Monday and complete the final version Thursday evening (or before, depending on my schedule). Last week’s message was sent to the system before the news broke of Nelson Mandela’s passing (tribute below). Hannan and I were at the White House Hanukah Party Thursday evening as President Obama included praise to Mandela in his Hanukah Greeting:  Also at the party was Larry David, who (as you can see by his expression) passed on my request for him to be this week’s Shabbat Shalom greeter.

Though Israeli basketball star, Omri Caspi, who plays for the Houston Rockets was happy to offer you a Shabbat greeting.

In the line to enter, we met famed food critic/cookbook author Joan Nathan and her daughter and even-though I don’t cook, I knew who she was.  Others notables at the party were all four Jewish Supreme Court Justices.  We also saw Texan friend, Marc Stanley (see birthdays below) who is Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council. We were honored and grateful to be invited to this year’s party.

As our global community mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and he is laid to rest on Sunday, there are so many regional wars that should take note of his method to conflict resolution.  In his early days, he too resorted to violence but he became enlighten that non-violence is a more effective (and humane) route.  After 27 years in prison, he had a partner to peace with then South African

President F.W. de Klerk who released him and later joined forces to peacefully unite their beloved country.  May Mandela’s passing inspire the regions of conflict especially the Middle East to follow his lead and bring peace to their people.  Also, may future Tribute Organizers carefully screen their Sign Language Interpreters.

Mandela in Motown
Four months after his prison release in 1990, Detroit was fortunate to receive a visit from him when he met Rosa Parks and paid tribute to Joe Louis, Marvin Gaye and Motown.  He spoke at Tiger Stadium to a pack audience who cheered every word:

Mandela fights AIDS
AIDS was destroying South Africa during Mandela’s tenure however he failed to act and even denied its seriousness at the time. But he changed his tune in the first few years of the 21st century when he announced his son’s death to the disease and henceforth became a stalwart activist and supporter of the AIDS fight.

Back to DC
As mentioned last week, Hannan and I were back to Washington DC this week for the American Joint Distribution Committee Centennial Celebration, where we were addressed by Sec. of State, John Kerry and VP. Joe Biden.  “The Joint” as it is lovingly referred to by the millions it helped throughout the last century is a Humanitarian Agency focusing on rescue and relief for both  our Jewish and greater global community.  Hannan is a proud board member.

Joel in NYC
I have another great activity for my NYC priority list (hoping to get there soon).  The amazingly talented Bronx bred singer/songwriter, Billy Joel, has committed to performing MONTHY at Madison Square Garden with his wide array of tunes and only ending this commitment when fans no longer fill the seats (which could take decades). This talented (tribesman) first played MSG in 1978 and the Piano Man is still going strong four decades later.  He’ll celebrate his 65th birthday at MSG on May 9th.  I’d love to see that show. Also, he is due a Mazel Tov for receiving one of the Kennedy Center Honors last weekend.

Disgraceful Actions
I’m embarrassed by our Michigan Legislators this week who have taken a huge leap backwards regarding Health Care for Women with their bill banning Insurance Coverage for abortions even in cases of sexual assault. This is flat out disgraceful.
More Politics
To avoid another government shutdown (which nobody wants), the House crafted a bi-partisan budget plan that will go to the Senate next week. Though conservative Paul Ryan was an author and even John Boehner supports it, there are still some extreme conservatives and Tea Partiers who opposed the bill (before they even read it). We must beware as these extreme elements plan to invade our Senatorial Race (see below).
Gun Control
On this one year anniversary of Sandy Hook, may the strength of the victim’s families inspire our legislators to instill sanity within our gun regulations and help prevent future massacres.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom for those inclined, an easy Fast of the 10th of Tevet commemorating the destruction of our First Temple,


P.S.  As a 1982 MSU Grad. I must congratulate our Spartans on their journey to the Rose Bowl.

P.P.S.  Jerusalem was frozen this week to a rare Snowstorm.



My current top priorities these days are the Senate Race, our Jewish Community and Hunger.

Please help support Gary Peters in his effort to continue the admirable work of current Senator Carl Levin.  Extreme Conservative (like Carl Rove) will be descending upon our State to fight against Gary’s efforts to represent us in the US Senate.  We must rally the troops and stand up to this invasion.  Please help:

Please join my table at our Federation’s Sabra Thanx event (for donors of $365 or above) to hear SPANX CEO, Laurie Ann Goldman on Tuesday Jan. 13th at 7pm at Shaarey Zedek.  For more info:

Please help us combat hunger by saving the date of April 26th for our Forgotten Harvest Comedy Night featuring homegrown Tim Allen.  To learn more about the amazing work of FH, check out their website:

 Happy Birthday!

Nov. 27th
appy Half Birthday to Marc Stanley
Missed his full birthday of May 27th

Dec. 13th
Elise Schostak (David’s better half)
Liz Guz (Tennis buddy)

Dec. 14th
Marc Shaye (Franklin fan)

Dec. 15th
Dana Siegel (youngest of 3 sisters)

Dec. 16th
Ludwig Van Beethoven

Dec. 17th
Elissa Miller (Rabbi Jason’s wife)
Natalie Newman (mom of IDF soldier Josh)

Dec. 18th
Jeff Mark (one of my 3 favorite brothers)
Simcha Tolwin (Happy 40th)

Dec. 19th
Carl Dorn (Renee and Kevin’s dad)

Mazel Tov to Dr. Terri Orbuch on her new PBS show (Channel 56, airing this week) called “Secrets from the Love Doctor”.

Shabbat Shalom December 13, 2013

Shabbat Shalom December 6, 2013

Shabbat Shalom December 6, 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

Big Local News
A Fresh Start is how the judges’s approval of Detroit’s Bankruptcy was perceived by many in our State, though many others (mostly pensioners) are worried about their future income. Everyone will need to sacrifice to ensure a brighter (literally on the night streets) future for our beloved City.  The appeals have already stated so this process will blaze be a long, but hopefully, fruitful trail.  Detroit’s woes have been spotlighted all over the global media but this week Jimmy Kimmel highlighted our homegrown talent.  Check out this youtube of last week’s Piston’s dance-off and their appearance on Jimmy’s show:

Speedy Year
How did December and the end of 2013 creep up so fast? What is the secret to slowing down our savory times and speeding up our sad one. Whether savory or sad, they all seem to pass so quickly.  Being busy speeds them along but busy days sure beats boredom. Last week was busy with non-stop family celebrations savoring all four of our children (plus a son-in-law, a granddaughter, a boyfriend and Hannan’s High School buddy) all slumbering at our home.

Shorter Version
These next two weeks are extra busy with 2 separate trips to DC (one for the WH Hanukah party and one for the Centennial Celebration of the Joint Distribution Committee) so next week’s Shabbat emails might be a bit condensed.

Israeli Hero
For the 3rd year in a row, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, (the brilliant and articulate) Ron Prosor, addressed the UN’s bias against Israel.  His speech is so powerful, meaningful and educational, that I wish it could be beamed directly into every Israel detractors brain.  I highly recommend taking the time to read and forward this masterpiece.  I just wish his words could truly bring Peace to the Middle East.

Global Heros
Dec. 1, 1955 was the day Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat to a white man which flamed the sparks of our Civil Rights movement elevating her to national hero status.  For 6 years now, CNN has been highlighting global heros of our era as this past Sunday (Rosa Parks Day), they honored another 10 “Saints”. A sample of their missions are:
-Cleaning Up Our US Rivers
-Protecting African Girls from Circumcision and Empowering them with Education
-Bringing Urban Gardens and Fresh Food to our Poorest Neighborhood.

Each hero is given $50,000 to continue their non-profit work as well as the exposure of millions of viewer to their mission.  Its a brilliant and priceless gift by CNN.  To learn more about this amazing program, please check out this website:

ReThink Israel
Another great new non-profit is ReThink Israel.  Its chock-full of interesting Israeli facts, programs and innovative initiative. Check it out at or like it on Facebook at

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


Bonus Video:  Yes, I am a bit Michigan-centric in these emails as I’m proud and honored to be a Michigander. There is much pride in our State. Here is an awesome poem that reflects that pride:

And while we’re in the Michigan mood, check out this Attraction List and score yourself.


My current top priorities:

Please help elect Gary Peters as our next US Senator by supporting his campaign. Hope to see you at the fundraiser Sunday Dec. 15th (2-4pm) at the home of Roz and Stanford Blanck. Please contact Elisa Malile for event details and to RSVP at 313-318-5421 or

Please join my table at Federation’s Sabra event (for donors of $365 or above) to hear SPANX CEO, Laurie Ann Goldman
on Tuesday Jan. 14th at 7pm at Shaarey Zedek. For more info:

Please help combat hunger by saving the date of
April 26th for the Forgotten Harvest Comedy Night featuring Tim Allen.  Please let me know if you are interested in Corporate or Individual sponsorships.  There is a wide and reasonably range of options.
Happy Birthday to this coming week’s celebrants:

Dec. 6th
Wendy Kirsch (Camp Sea-Gull friend)
Nick Lalla (Ariella’s Northwester Friend)

Dec. 7th
Fran Victor  (Bill’s better half)

Dec. 8th
Dec. 9th
Ronda Ferber (Mom to 5)
Avi Brandvain (Beth’s Israeli half)

Dec. 10th
Neal Elyakin (Shabbat Crew Original)
Penny Blumenstein (JCD Leader)
Susan Slabotsky (Great Grant Writer)
Roz Blanck (Federation partner)

Dec. 11th
Dale Rubin (Federation supporter)

Dec. 12th
Carol Tarnowsky (High School Friend)
Lauren Kepes (Lucy’s sister)
Shabbat Shalom December 6, 2013