Cantor Stuart’s Retirement Shabbat

Cantor Stuart Rapaport will be retiring as Cantor of Congregation Ahavas Israel after 45 years of beautiful, inspiring, and dedicated service! A special Shabbat luncheon in his honor will be held on June 11, 2022. Please plan to celebrate with us as we honor him for his many years of service.

RSVP by May 27, 2022 to Marisa Krishef by texting or calling 616-450-6419 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also contact Marisa if you are able to volunteer for this special event.
Now that he has become Cantor Emeritus, we need to cover what he used to do with lay participation.  Please contact Rabbi Krishef to be placed on a Torah reader signup list.  We are also creating a service leader schedule.  Contact Rabbi to be placed on that list.

It’s never too late to join or create a Havurah!

Movie Lovers, Vegan Topics, Gaming, Young families, Outdoor Activities, and more!
You want to join in on the fun? Find the Havurah selection form at Or you can send your responses to the Synagogue office, or submit your responses to Melissa Hillman (616-540-0103 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Shoshana Jackson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 734-709-3434). Questions, suggestions? Contact Melissa or Shoshana.

 Havurot listed in Bold are currently active:

Personal/Family-Based Groups:

Topic-Based Groups:

•Young Families Havurah •Board & Card Games Havurah  
•LGBTQ+ Havurah •Hiking, Biking & Outdoor Activities Havurah
•Mother's Havurah •Movie Lovers Havurah (Jewish/Israeli, etc.)
  •Photography Havurah
  •Vegan Cooking & Topics Havurah

Youth Scholarship Committee

Participation in an intensive Jewish summer program or Israel experience is a predictor of a strong Jewish identity as an adult. The Jewish education that comes from living, eating and sometimes praying with a community of Jewish youth is both informal and enriching. Congregation Ahavas Israel encourages you to seriously consider participation in a Jewish camping, Israel travel, or USY on Wheels experience. In particular, Ramah Canada is opening a US program, "Ramah Eastern Great Lakes,” which will run a 7-10 day “taste” program for ages 7-9 (most likely). The location will be near Cleveland and the dates will be in August. The taste program will be followed by a family camp! Contact Rabbi Krishef for more information.

Ahavas Israel has a generous Youth Scholarship program for overnight camps and Israel programs, and an incentive savings program for travel to Israel (called S.K.I.P). To get a Camp Scholarship request form or SKIP enrollment form, see “Youth Camp and Israel Scholarships” on, or contact the synagogue office.

Scholarship applications and SKIP enrollment forms are due Friday, December 31.

A summary of Scholarship and SKIP guidelines (for more information, see

Camps or Programs Eligible for Scholarship Grants
The Ahavas Israel Scholarship Committee will consider granting scholarship aid to a participant in programs that meet the following guidelines:
1. The program must be an overnight program of at least 2 weeks in duration.
2. Kashrut is observed.
3. Friday night/Saturday programming in some way reflects the specialness of Shabbat.
4. The program, in its mission statement, has an agenda of Jewish education.
Currently, the approved Camp programs are Camp Ramah, Camp Tavor, and Camp Tamarack.

S.K.I.P (Send a Kid to Israel Program) - A Travel to Israel Incentive Program

The purpose of S.K.I.P. is to encourage and enable students of Congregation Ahavas Israel to participate in educational or qualified activities in Israel. The program will be financed partially by the parents or a designated contributor on behalf of the participating child and partially by the Congregation.

The child must be enrolled in the Beit Sefer B’yahad/United Jewish School of Grand Rapids or be a member of the USY chapter at the Congregation as well as being a member of the Congregation.

Enrollment in the Program may begin anytime after the child enrolls in the religious school. They may enroll as early as the Kindergarten grade or as late as grade 12. A child may be enrolled in S.K.I.P. by their parents or a designated contributor.

Upon an enrollment contribution of $180.00 or more by a parent or designated contributor, a matching contribution from the Hy and Greta Berkowitz Scholarship Fund of $180.00 will be made. Each year, up to $180.00 will be matched by this fund for each child who is participating that year.

Israel programs emphasizing Jewish learning or Jewish living experiences for a duration of at least three weeks and sponsored by United Synagogue, Federation, other recognized national Jewish organizations, or recognized Israel based organizations are eligible. Private trips, or trips involving Bar/Bat Mitzvah of the student will not be approved for funding.

Introduction to Judaism

Taught by Rabbi David Krishef

Beginning Monday, October 19, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Cost:  $70/members and B’nai Noah affiliates, $95/non-members (includes a copy of the sourcebook)

A basic introduction to Jewish history, beliefs, rituals, holidays, and life cycle celebrations, taught in partnership with the Miller Intro to Judaism Program at American Jewish University. The syllabus will be available for download from under Adult Education Programs (or call the office to have it mailed/emailed to you).

This class will be offered by Zoom and in person. Those coming in person will need to wear masks. Seating will be appropriately socially distanced.

Making Choices Michigan Update

No one can predict when a sudden illness or accident may occur, leaving a person unable to make personal healthcare decisions. Currently, far too many people enter the last stage of life without ever having a conversation about their preferences for end-of-life care, documenting those preferences, and informing loved ones or a patient advocate of their desires. When you cannot speak for your self, the health system’s default is to provide every treatment available to extend life. The alternative is a reliable, documented plan called an Advance Directive.

When your wishes for care are known and have been honored, surviving family members experience significantly less anxiety, stress and depression. Thus, making your health care choices known is a gift that gives beyond one’s death.

Making Choices Michigan, established in 2010, is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit community collaborative committed to helping people determine their end-of-life preferences, documenting those preferences in an advance directive (AD), developing a system for storing and retrieving the AD, and educating the healthcare community to honor a person’s AD to ensure that end-of-life preferences are respected. Congregation Ahavas Israel is an active participant in an interfaith outreach program of Making Choices Michigan. For more information, please contact Making Choices Michigan at 421-4840 or Sandy Freed at 540-2030. There is no charge for this service which provides you with a legal, reliable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Living Will.

Building Use Policy Update

The Congregation Ahavas Israel building is heavily used, by both the synagogue and by those who rent space, including the Federation, All Souls Community Church, and the Children’s Workshop preschool. Ahavas Israel’s office manager, Deb Johnston, manages the building-wide calendar and schedules building use. All scheduled classes, meetings, programs, and events need to be cleared with Deb in advance. If a building request requires setup and cleanup, she schedules that with our custodian and takes that into account when considering other building requests.

In order for Ahavas Israel’s building request system to work, Deb needs all requests, including a detailed setup plan, to be submitted at least 14 days, (two weeks) before the event. If the information is not submitted on time, we reserve the right to say no to the request. She makes every effort to accommodate all requests. If she says that a room is not available on a particular date, it is because it has already been scheduled by another group or another event. Please understand that in matters of building use, she speaks with the authority of the Ahavas Israel board of Trustees. Please respect both her deadlines and her decisions.

Thank you,

Sandy Freed, President
David Krishef, Rabbi

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