Rabbi Krishef's Sabbatical

Beginning this coming Saturday, November 1, I will be on Sabbatical for three months. It is a common practice of rabbis and other clergy to be given a periodic Sabbatical from their regular duties for reflection, for rekindling the spirit and the sense of calling by God, for reconnecting more deeply with the tradition (Scripture, theology, liturgy), and for deepening one’s own spiritual life. My last Sabbatical was five years ago.

While on Sabbatical, I will not be available for my normal Rabbinic duties. I will not come into the office, attend meetings, or schedule appointments. I will not take phone calls or respond to email for routine questions. I will not teach, lead study groups, lead services, or give Divre Torah. The office will refer calls and emails either to the president or to the appropriate committee.

During my Sabbatical, a number of people and committees will pick up some of my responsibilities.  Of course, services will be led by Stuart Rapaport, but the Religious Life committee will coordinate service gabbai'im, to help announce pages and lead selected readings. I have invited a number of people to share Divre Torah - as of now, January 3, 10, 17, and 31 are open. Please call David Reifler (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 616-975-9577) if you would like to do one.

The one exception I will make in a normal Sabbatical practice will involve officiating at funerals, if I am in town. However, the initial phone call in regard to a funeral should go to the office during office hours (10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.).  Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.), please call Stuart Rapaport, (616) 485-5383. After the basic funeral arrangements including date and time have been set, he will contact me. If I am available, I will contact the family to speak about the funeral service.  Otherwise, Stuart will handle the funeral service.

Future Sanctuary Shabbat speakers/programs

  • December 6 - Michael Miller, Acton Institute, "Faith, Reason, Liberty, and Truth!”

    Michael Matheson Miller is Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute. With some ten years of international experience, Miller has lived and traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He lectures internationally on such themes as moral philosophy, economic development, and social theory, and entrepreneurship. He is a frequent guest on radio and has been published in the Washington Times, The Detroit News, The LA Daily News, and Real Clear Politics.  He is the Director and Host of the PovertyCure DVD Series and has appeared in various video curricula including Doing the Right Thing, Effective Stewardship, and the Birth of Freedom.

    Much of his current work at the Acton Institute involves leading PovertyCure, promoting entrepreneurial solutions to poverty in the developing world.  Before coming to Acton, he spent three years at Ave Maria College of the Americas in Nicaragua where he taught philosophy and political science and was the chair of the philosophy and theology department.

    Miller received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from Nagoya University’s Graduate School of International Development (Japan), an M.A. in philosophy from Franciscan University, and an M.B.A. in International Management from Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Business. He serves on the President’s Advisory Council of Aquinas College in Nashville, the board of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project, and the board of trustees for Angelico Press

  • January 3 - [No Sanctuary Shabbat Speaker]

  •  February 7 - Tom Dilley, The Distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish burial sitesThomas R. Dilley is a retired attorney and frequent lecturer on cemetery history in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of several books of local history, and he is a member of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission, trustee of the Grand Rapids Historical Society, past chair of the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation, and trustee of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Foundation.

He has recently published “In The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan.” In it, he details the history of Grand Rapids’ park cemeteries, finding that their development mimicked national trends and changing cultural beliefs about honoring the dead. 

  • March 7, Barbara Rylko-Bauer, "A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps: My Mother's Memories of Imprisonment, Immigration, and a Life Remade."

    Barbara Rylko-Bauer is a medical anthropologist whose writing focuses on health care inequalities, applied anthropology, political violence, memory, and the Holocaust. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and is Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University. She was Book Review Editor for Medical Anthropology Quarterly and has authored numerous chapters and articles. Her most recent books are Global Health in Times of Violence (2009) and A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Camps (2014).

    Barbara was born in 1950 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, to Polish Catholic parents who had been imprisoned during World War II in German concentration (mother) and prisoner-of-war (father) camps. The family immigrated to the United States near the end of 1950, where Barbara grew up in a Polish-American enclave of Detroit. She attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and then was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Kentucky in 1985. Barbara lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, Daniel Bauer; they have one son, John.

  •  April 4, David Rahinsky, Grand Rapids Chief of Police

Junior Congregation


JCong will meet at 11:00 on January 3rd and 17th and February 7th and 21st

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. It incorporates a Torah discussion, some Hebrew prayer reading practice, learning about the prayers, and the service itself.

Junior Congregation will be led by Marisa Krishef and Marni Vyn usually meeting on the first and third Shabbat of the month at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel or classroom 6. 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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 459-4627.

thumbs up shabbat

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.

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.


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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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