Cantor Stuart’s Retirement Shabbat

Cantor Stuart Rapaport will be retiring as Cantor of Ahavas Israel after 45 years of beautiful, inspiring, and dedicated service! A special luncheon in his honor will be held on October 2, 2021 after Shabbat morning services. (Approximately 12:00 pm.) RSVPs for the luncheon are imperative and should be made by Friday, September 24, 2021 by emailing, texting, or calling Marisa Krishef at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 616-450-6419. Any RSVPs made after that date or walk-ins cannot be guaranteed. Please also contact Marisa if you could volunteer your time to help with set up or clean up. We are looking forward to celebrating Stuart together!

Congregation Ahavas Israel Havurot

Have you heard what some people in our congregation are doing?
They have signed up for small havurah groups! Do you want to join in on the fun?
We are inviting you to choose from the topics or categories listed below. 

Each group commits to just three months. After three months you can decide to stay with that group or switch to a new havurah. That's it! It's that simple. 

We are looking forward to reconnecting after so much time apart (Each havurah can decide if they want to meet in person or on zoom). So submit your havurah choices before August 13th! You can...

  • Find the Havurah selection form online at,
  • Fill out the form below and send your responses to the synagogue office, or
  • Submit your responses by email to Melissa Hillman or Shoshana Jackson.

Form submission, Questions or Suggestions? Contact Melissa Hillman at 616-540-0103 or  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.

Personal/Family-Based Groups:

Topic-Based Groups:

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

•Wine Tasters (21 and up) Havurah


Please respond by August 13, 2021.




Age Bracket:       ( ) Under 30      ( ) 30-64      ( ) 65+

Are you a current member of Congregation Ahavas Israel?      ( ) Yes      ( ) No

Please list your top three Havurah Group choices from the list below





Study Groups

Rabbi Krishef’s study groups are meeting online. See the synagogue calendar or contact the rabbi for the zoom link. We hope to begin meeting in person sometime this summer, but we’ll maintain the zoom link until the coronavirus danger has completely passed.

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.

• Thursday Tanakh study, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., Schuler Books and Music, 28th St. (either in the back of the store or in the café). We are studying the books of Kings. Exciting narrative! Intrigue! Politics! Backstabbing! Join us.

• Jewish mysticism/Zohar study group, Mondays, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Ahavas Israel library. We are reading through Daniel Matt’s translation and commentary of the Zohar.

Welcome Cantor David Fair!

We welcome Cantor David Fair to Grand Rapids! Our “Meet and Greet” Shabbat service, led by Cantor David on July 31 was a great success.

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.

Graduates Congrats!

Mazal Tov to our Graduates!

Willow Cook (Hudsonville High School) Willow plans to attend Eastern Michigan University in the Fall. Everyone is invited to her Graduation Open House on Sunday, June 27 from 12 - 4 PM at 3478 Perry St, Hudsonville MI 49426. This is an outside event with Covid-friendly catering.

Arend Vyn (East Grand Rapids High School) Arend plans to attend the University of Michigan in the Fall.

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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