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Upcoming Events

Sanctuary Shabbat speaker, November 1

Rich KarelseNovember 1 - Rich Karelse, Life Heritage Funeral Homes, “The meaning of the Flag Folds as Presented at a Veteran’s Funeral.”

Rich Karelse began working in funeral service in 1986. In January of 1999 I received a Certified Pre- Planning Consultant Certification through the National Funeral Directors Association. In 2007, he became a Certified Celebrant through In Sight Books in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A celebrant is trained to meet the needs of families in writing and delivering personal eulogies. He is also a 12 year member of the West Michigan Board for Hospice of Michigan.?

Rich has lived in Grand Rapids all his life, married to Linda since 1975. They have three daughters, who also live in the Grand Rapids area, and 4 grandsons.

Jewish Theater season 15

theater grPlease click here to see the flyer for the -Jewish Theater of Grand Rapids 2014

Family Promise

Our next dates to volunteer for Family Promise are Tuesday, December 2 and Thursday, December 4.
Volunteers are needed to prepare food for both nights, play games with children and stay overnight (one man and one woman needed each night).
There will be a maximum of 20 people to prepare food for.

Contact Mort Hoffman with questions or to volunteer: 616-949-6088 (H); 616-361-2738 (cell).


Rabbi Krishef's Sabbatical

Rabbi Krishef will be on Sabbatical during the months of November, December, and January.
Are you interested in sharing/willing to share a d’var Torah during the weeks that he is away? Please contact him to be put on the schedule.

Junior Congregation

Junior Congregation is about a creating a community in which you look forward to hanging out and having fun with your friends while learning and doing prayer, studying and arguing about Torah, and reinforcing Hebrew skills.

The UJS has adopted a new Hebrew program, but the simple truth is that the more often one engages with Hebrew, the more fluency one will develop. Therefore, Junior Congregation this year will include elements of a Hebrew and Torah educational program, as well as retaining elements of a Junior congregation Shabbat service. It will incorporate a Torah discussion, some Hebrew prayer reading practice combined with learning about the prayers, and the service itself.

Junior Congregation will be led by Marisa Krishef, Marni Vyn, and Esther Katz, usually meeting on the first and third Shabbat of the month at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel or classroom 6. We'll be learning new tunes and helping the grown-ups by leading end-of-service prayers in the sanctuary. Come join us!

Junior Congregation is primarily aimed at students who are reading, but younger students, with parental assistance, are welcome. There has been some interest expressed in a monthly “Tot Shabbat” service for younger children. Interested? Contact Marisa Krishef at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 459-4627.

Because of the start of the holidays, note the day and time changes in September and October:

JCong will meet on October 4 (11:30 a.m., Yom Kippur) and Saturday, October 18

thumbs up shabbat

Future Sanctuary Shabbat speakers/programs

Rabbi Krishef is having trouble finding speakers for the Sanctuary Shabbat speaker series. If you would like to see the series continue, please contact him with suggestions for speakers or perhaps volunteer to be a speaker.

  • April 5 - open. (Dr. Madelon Krissoff’s presentation, “Wellness - What is it, and How Do You Get It?” is postponed to a later date)
  • May 3 - Marisa Krishef and the Shir Shalom Choir
  • June 7 - Joanna Bojsen
  • July 5 - Paula Bojsen“Forgiveness - the Key to Healing and Spiritual Growth”
  • August 2 - Shmuel Bowman, Executive Director, Lifeshield

  • September 6 - Dr. Jeremiah Cataldo, GVSU, “Where’er the ger (stranger) may roam: inside and outside of law and identity in Ezra-Nehemiah”

  • October 4 - No Sanctuary Shabbat because of Yom Kippur.

  • November 1 -Rich Karelse, Life Heritage Funeral Homes, “The meaning of the Flag Folds as Presented at a Veteran’s Funeral.”

  • December 6 - Michael Miller, Acton Institute.

Please contact Rabbi Krishef, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Study Groups


Isaiah Study group, Zohar Study group, Mishnah Study group, and Biblical Hebrew (Genesis) reading group

For more information, see the Adult Education page.

JTS iTunes U

altThe Jewish Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the launch of the JTS iTunes U

site. The site, accessible via Apple’s iTunes, makes public lectures, Torah commentaries, and select JTS courses available for free streaming and downloading.

 The JTS iTunes U site features a wide variety of content.

 The weekly Torah commentary podcasts are easy to find and subscribe to, as are recordings of public JTS lectures and events, such as the popular series of Library Book Talks that feature JTS faculty and other distinguished authors discussing their latest books.

 Collections of lectures detailing issues in contemporary Jewish philosophy, theology, and ethics highlight how JTS scholarship engages with the challenges of the 21st century.

 In the near future, full courses—complete with course materials—will be made available, providing access to JTS’s world-class faculty and high-level Jewish learning.

The JTS iTunes U site can be visited via iTunes at:

Betzalel Art Group

BETZALEL ART GROUP, Wednesdays, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., room #1

Join the fun at the Betzalel Art Group and be inspired by others as you work on your own projects. Bring your fiber art project or oil painting or any other art or craft you enjoy doing. Everyone is welcome. This is an open and flexible group, so come as your schedule allows.

For more information, please contact Barb Christiaans, 531-1151 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Delving Into Our History
With the help of Peg Finkelstein and Barbara Robinson from the Temple Emanuel Archives, significant progress has been made on the Ahavas Israel Archives.  The project was generously funded by Mort and Peg Finkelstein and Raleigh Finkelstein in memory of their parents. Contributions to the Gen and Jack Archive Fund provides continued support.  The committee is working at the synagogue Wednesday mornings from 10AM until noon.  If you are interested in being a part of this important project, please contact Toby Weiner Dolinka at 949-6528.
If you have materials (especially photographs) that would be valuable for the archives, please contact Toby.