Ahavas Israel Book Group

Ahavas Israel’s Book Group News:

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 7:00 p.m.

Ilana Kurshan, If All The Seas Were Ink

Ilana Kurshan’s memoir is impressive for many reasons. On its face the story is about a woman — the author — and how she recovered from her divorce through daf yomi, the daily practice of studying the Talmud, which took over seven years to complete. But Kurshan’s divorce is neither the focus of her book nor the main story of her life. Rather, the book’s topics range widely, from Kurshan’s childhood to her aliyah to Israel, to parenthood. Organized in a loosely chronological fashion, it is arranged by Talmud tractates.The power of this memoir arises from the expert connections Kurshan draws between her personal story and the talmudic anecdotes.

Evident from the beginning is Kurshan’s expertise in the Talmud, rabbinic Judaism, midrash, and Jewish topics more generally. Perhaps due to the nature of daf yomi, which is less deep dive and more high-level, she strikes the right balance between explanation, detail, and depth in her retelling of talmudic stories. This is helpful because the Talmud is, frankly, complicated, and the numerous stories occasionally make the memoir a touch too dense. Fortunately, for the majority of the book, Kurshan’s skilled writing makes the stories accessible and also animates the rabbis and their debates for a modern audience.

Kurshan’s passion for the written word is a key feature of her inner self. She is not only an expert in rabbinic literature; she also weaves secular literature and poetry throughout the book. The literary quotations add emotional richness to the memoir.

Due to Kurshan’s deft explanations of Talmudic personalities and principles, even readers without a background in Jewish topics will enjoy this insightful memoir. Readers will be inspired by Kurshan’s resilience and renewal, with the Talmud by her side.

Community Tu B'shavat Seder, February 5, 2023

Save the Date:

Congregation Ahavas Israel and Temple Emanuel  are joining together to celebrate Tu B'Shevat, the New Year for trees, Sunday, February 5, 2023. Join us for a Seder and light dinner, $10/person. Contact 616-459-5976 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make a reservation.

Tu Bishvat flyer 2023

Purim 5783/2023

Join us for Purim celebrations:

Monday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Ahavas Israel

  • Joint Temple Emanuel and Congregation Ahavas Israel Purimshpiel
  • Two Megillah readings/experiences, one by Congregation Ahavas Israel, one by Temple Emanuel


Tuesday, March 7 at 8:00 a.m. at Ahavas Israel,

Purim morning minyan -in person, in the Sanctuary. It will include a Megillah reading. We will broadcast the service on our usual platforms -- see the eVoice for the direct links.

Torah Reading with Cantor Fair

On Tuesdays, beginning January 3, 2023:

Cantor Fair will teach a 12 week class on how to chant Torah (or “leyn”) on weekdays and Shabbat. Students will study how to chant, what the trope markings look like, perfect their Hebrew-reading skills, and even learn a bit of history behind this sacred and holy art. Contact Cantor Fair (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to register.

Rabbi Krishef’s study groups and classes

Rabbi Krishef’s study groups and classes

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