Tzedakah BoxYou can make online payments to the general fund (dues, Kol Nidre Pledges) or the building fund. Click here to go to a secure page where you can set up an account to pay with a credit or debit card.

 

At this time, you cannot make online tributes "in memory of" or "in honor of" individuals. To make a donation to Ahavas Israel in memory or in honor of a special person or event, please download and return this Form to the synagogue office along with a check.

 

Synagogue Activities – Where are We Going and How to Make Sure We Get There
 
Many of the questions in the focus groups we had in the summer were designed to elicit information on what draws people to congregational life. Questions such as “What was your fondest memory of participating in a religious community” and “What is your concept of an ideal congregation?” as examples.
 
Many of the responses were around activities, such as adult weekend retreats, the challah bake, lifecycle events that were community-oriented (i.e. not private events), Israeli dancing, a Chesed group that provided meals for members in time of crisis or simcha / joy, outdoor services, bonfires, and other fun activities.
 
Some members noted the absence of an active youth group, and lack of activities for youth and families with kids. This is something that has changed, as Ahavas at one time did have an active youth group.
 
How did this happen? Why are we not attracting many families with kids (i.e. “our future”)? Well, I have a theory about that that I think is pretty solid in its reasoning. First, some background:
 
•Leading Indicator - An indicator that predicts future events and tend to change ahead of that event. Sometimes used as a predictor.
 
•Lagging Indicator - An indicator that follows an event. 
 
In performance management we often talk about “lagging” and “leading” indicators. What are those? Simply put, its cause and effect. Leading indicators are the “inputs” or what you do to (hopefully) achieve a certain result, or “outputs.” These can be a little tricky as inputs can be variable. An example would be if I wanted to lose weight. Leading indicators would be what I eat and how much I exercise. If I eat healthy, lower calorie foods and exercise more than I do now I am very likely to lose weight. If I eat pizza, ice cream, and have too many “drinky poos” I am likely to gain weight. The inputs influence the results.  Another example would be the link between the rate of hand washing (leading) and infections (lagging).
 
Lagging indicators are the outputs, and are generally easy to measure.  For this example, I would step on a scale and/or take my measurements. Is my weight going up or down? Is my volume larger or smaller? If I don’t like my outputs, I have to adjust my inputs. Another example would be financial statements.  They are lagging indicators that show the result of spending.
 
Now let’s translate this to a synagogue environment. 
 
First: What is the desired outcome? 
•More families with kids as members.
•An active Youth group.
•Just more fun, period.
 
Then: What are the activities you must undertake to achieve the desired outcome?
•More activities and programs for families and kids that they’re interested in. 
• More activities and programs for youth that they’re interested in.
• Fun activities for all ages, and lots of them.
 
The key here is something they’re interested in.”  There is the popular saying, “If you build it, they will come.” The caveat is that the statement has to be taken in context. It’s from the film “A Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner, and referred to building a baseball field for baseball players. They didn’t build a hockey rink for baseball players. This is a critical distinction, and would be the tricky leading indicator.
 
My theory is that we do not have many families with kids or youth groups because there are not enough planned activities or programs for these groups, and/or the activities/programs do not have a wide enough appeal. There could be many reasons for lack of appeal, and one that has been stated in focus groups is in regards to timing. They want earlier activities so the kids aren’t up too late and have a chance to wind down before bedtime. Some of our family-oriented activities are generally held a bit too late for them. 
 
Therefore, if we want more families with kids and an active youth group then we need to come up with the things that will attract them, and at the right time. Yes, it’s just that simple. If we get a good response –our lagging indicator – then we know we were successful in our choice of leading indicator. If we don’t, then we just adjust our leading indicator and see what happens. It may take a few tries to get it right, and that is okay. We learn from failure. 
 
Just to point out, there is no official Ahavas Rule Book that says you have to be on a committee to organize a fun activity. You can do that all by yourselves. You will not automatically be put on any list as a Chairperson if you step up. I promise. You are also allowed to publicize your event on our Facebook page, and in the weekly email blast. You will have to coordinate the email blast and any Voice articles with our office manager ahead of time, and that includes room use and timing. You also might want to check the calendar to make sure it doesn’t conflict with another activity. Please give her plenty of notice, especially for Voice articles (one month ahead of time.) We do now have a potluck policy for bringing non-hekshered or homemade food into the shul. If you’re interested then you can contact Rabbi Krishef for the details. It’s not difficult. 
 
Last, and certainly not least, our own Ken Strauss has stepped up and started organizing activities for the year (a leading indicator) with many Board members participating. So far, we have something scheduled for each month and they look like loads of fun! If you’re willing to help out in any way, please contact Ken. Let’s see how it turns out. Let’s get this party started!!
 20161120 172617
 
     
      Future Ahavas Youth Group meme !!
 

 

Ahavas Israel Grand Rapids, MI

Shalom!

 

Congregation Ahavas Israel welcomes all persons who wish to explore a spiritual path using Traditional Jewish practice in an egalitarian Jewish setting.

 
 

 

 

 

Over a century of traditional Judaism in Grand Rapids

 

 

 

Mission Statement of Congregation Ahavas Israel:

Congregation Ahavas Israel creates a vibrant egalitarian Conservative Jewish community helping each individual follow his/her spiritual path using traditional Jewish practice.

Vision Statement:

To create connections between individuals in our Jewish community through religious, educational, and social programs that attract participation of all our members.

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

 

Congregation Ahavas Israel

2727 Michigan NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: (616) 949-2840
Fax:   (616) 949-6929
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Ahavas Israel is an Energy Star certified building, one of only 100 religious institutions in the country to have been so rated.

Summer Quiz answers:

How many of these fruits can you name in Hebrew?

  1. Strawberry [Toot Sadeh]
  2. Watermelon [Avatiah]
  3. Grapes [anavim]
  4. Raspberry [Toot S'neh]
  5. Apple [Tapuah]
  6. Orange [Tapuz]
  7. Grapefruit [Eshkoliot]
  8. Date [Tamar]
  9. Fig [T'einah]

May Quiz answers:

Happy Yom Ha-atzma’ut!

  1. What is Yom Ha-atzma’ut? [Israel Independence Day]
  2. How old is the modern State of Israel? [Israel will be 66 years old on May 6]
  3. When was Jerusalem first proclaimed the Capitol of the Jewish world (+/-50 years)? [1000 BCE]
  4. How many peoples/nations/cultures other than Israel/Jews mentioned in the Bible still exist in the world today, culture intact? [None!]

April Quiz answers:

Define the following Seder terms and what they symbolize:

  1. Karpas - Green vegetable, symbolizing spring.
  2. Z’roah - Shank bone, symbolizing the Passover offering.
  3. Beitza - Egg, symbolizing spring and the Festival offering.
  4. Maror - Bitter herb, symbolizing the bitterness of slavery.

March Quiz answers:

What is the name of Haman’s wife? [Zeresh]

What is the relationship between Mordecai and Esther? [cousins]

What is Esther’s Hebrew name? [Hadassah]

How many times per second does a swallow need to beat its wings in order to maintain air speed velocity? [About 15 beats per second]

February Quiz answers:

In historical order:

  1. Exodus from Egypt/Mount Sinai
  2. Isaiah ben Amoz
  3. Babylonian exile
  4. Death of Jeremiah
  5. Book of Esther
  6. Destruction of the second Temple
  7. Editing of the Mishnah

January Quiz answers:

The following Hebrew letters stand for numbers - can you figure out how much?

  1. Tet-Vav (as in Tu Bishvat) - 15
  2. Lamed-Vav (hint: the number of righteous people in the world in any given generation) - 36
  3. Tav-Shin-Ayin-Dalet (hint: it’s related to the current Jewish year) - 774. The 5[000] would be indicated by a ‘heh’ with a bar over it, but it is usually omitted when writing the year.

December Quiz answers:

  1. What does the Hebrew word menorah mean? (Candelabra)
  2. What is the Hebrew word for a Hanukkah menorah? (hanukkiah)
  3. What is the Hebrew word for dreydle? (sevivon)

Upcoming Events

Mar
1

03/01/2017 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Mar
2

03/02/2017 7:15 am - 8:00 am

Mar
2

03/02/2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Mar
2

03/02/2017 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Mar
2

03/02/2017 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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