I would like to thank the many people who have wished me well in my second journey as President of Ahavas Israel. The world is quite a different place since my first term in 2002.

Security was not an urgent matter then. However in 2020 it is a very pressing one. We have done many things to protect our building and attendees, we have an active security committee, good relations with Grand Rapids Police and, thanks to Ken Strauss and Doug deLange, a grant was awarded to Congregation Ahavas Israel that will allow us to further harden our building and create a safer environment.

In 2002, a few people were thinking about how the Grand Rapids Jewish community can be better served by considering how collaboration between Ahavas Israel and Temple Emanuel might work. In 2020, there is a sizable committee of community members who are actively working to define what collaboration between Temple, Ahavas, Jewish Federation, United Jewish School and Jewish Theater might mean. You will be hearing more about this in the months ahead. If you have any questions now, you can contact me, Barbara Wepman, Lanny Thodey, Shoshana Jackson, JudyJoseph, Diane Rayor or Rabbi Krishef.

The coronavirus has created many challenges. After a short reopening of our Shabbat services, they have been paused for the time being. Weekday minyans are held online on Zoom at 8:00 a.m. and last 30-35 minutes. We have a consistent group that meets Monday-Friday. There is room for more so join in. Please consider starting your day in a prayerful way. The Zoom settings are published weekly in the eVoice or you can contact Rabbi Krishef or Deb. 

Our office is open with limited hours during the week. If you want to talk with Deb or Rabbi, please call or email to make an appointment. Once you arrive, you will need to wear a mask and keep a six-foot distance from others in the building.

As High Holidays approach, different variations on possible in-person or home-based streaming models are being considered.  It is too soon to say (it is early August as I write this) what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will look like. We have purchased a professional quality camera and set up streaming technology in our building. In addition to streaming, Rabbi is also considering other ways to make the Holidays meaningful to you. You will be hearing more as we get closer to September 20.

Have a safe New Year.

Sanford Freed


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