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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT – Order & Personalize New High Holy Days Prayer Books!

March 1st, 2015

by Elaine Lee, Membership & Communications Director

Please support the 2015 B’nai Mitzvah Class Project by ordering one or more new High Holy Days prayer books for Temple Micah. To count toward the project, orders must be completed by Wednesday, March 25. Fill in this form, or access a link via Temple Micah’s website to buy and inscribe books as you wish. The newly published liturgy, “Mishkan HaNefesh: A Machzor for the Days of Awe,” will be used by the Micah community this fall and annually. Bar and bat mitzvah families are purchasing books as a class gift to the temple and hope you join their efforts to generate an even more generous supply.

As you may remember, Temple Micah piloted a draft version at the congregation’s 2014/5775 Rosh Hashanah Morning Service last fall. Now you can help the temple obtain enough copies of the completed full set to be used at services throughout Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. Cost for each prayer book is $30, with or without an inscription. The book is published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Newly updated prayer books will be acquired by the momentum of this b’nai mitzvah class campaign combined with communal contributions. Inscribe the books in honor or memory of special people, or designate other wording. Thank you, in advance, for supporting this book drive. Then be amazed with what your Micah community does with these state-of-the-art books!

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CONDOLENCES FROM THE MICAH COMMUNITY…

  • Marguerite Oxman, yahrzeit 2-6-15, grandmother of Sara (& Klaas) Visser & great-grandmother of Nina
  • Jack Molnia, yahrzeit 2-5-15, uncle of Carol Molnia (& Gary McIntosh)
  • Leo Roth, yahrzeit 9-27-13, Micah honorary member & husband of Jan Roth
  • Anne Winokur, yahrzeit 1-29-13, Micah member

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MANY THANKS FROM TEMPLE MICAH (for donations received last month)

GENERAL FUND

  • Irv & Elaine Levy – in memory of his beloved sister, Dolores Schankerman

RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND

  • David Coren & Meg Frantz & family – in memory of his father, Clarence Coren

FRANCES REED MUSIC FUND

  • Debbie & Frank Piazza – in honor of Sharon & Jon Thorson

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GET INVOLVED IN CONTINUING ACTIVITIES…

  • Micah Boomers +/- — If you feel older or a little younger than this group’s name suggests, you’re close enough!  Micah Boomers +/- will resume with Rabbi Adam Morris remarking on biblical writings about Judges in a discussion at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at Temple Micah, 5209 Montview Boulevard. To find out more about this monthly program focused on finding meaning and relevance in the Bible, or to RSVP, contact Risa Tatarsky or leave her a message at 303-388-4239 x1. Please bring snacks to share.
  • Rabbi Mo’s Roundtable – Sometimes you have to get up early to keep with Temple Micah. Meet up with rabbi, congregants and others who can’t wait to chat about timely topics of Jewish interest at 7:30 a.m. third Thursdays monthly this spring at Snooze, 2262 Larimer St., Denver.
  • Temple Micah Women’s Book Group – Read and be ready to review “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown at 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 23. For location and to RSVP, contact Nancy Weil via Micah’s directory or call the temple, 303-388-4239 x1. New participants are welcome. If you’re a repeater with this group but don’t read the book-of-the-month, that’s okay too; you’re still welcome!
  • Para-chaplain Program — Jewish Family Service seeks Jewish volunteers for its Para-chaplain Program. Training will be held on Wednesdays, April 29, May 6 and May 13, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at 3201 S. Tamarac Drive, Denver. Bikur Cholim para-chaplains are caring individuals who visit Jewish seniors in non-Jewish facilities and in their own homes. Para-chaplains also facilitate discussion groups, lead Shabbat and holiday services or simply sit and visit with a Jewish resident who wants companionship. Apply for training at www.jewishfamilyservice.org/volunteer/para-chaplains by Friday, March 20. Or learn more about what the program entails from Beth Lippa, 720-248-4599.

Social Action Encounters & Rewards

March 1st, 2015

by Helen Spiegel, Board Member, with Jo Ann Zvares for Women’s Homelessness Initiative & Sarah Rovner for Habitat Interfaith Alliance

As part of its imperatives, Temple Micah provides dinner on first Wednesday evenings bimonthly through the Women’s Homelessness Initiative, in cooperation with Park Hill United Methodist Church. Also, the Micah team provides conversation, a prayer if requested and creative writing involvement facilitated by Jo, next on March 4. “Prior to my retirement, I spent the last 7½ years of my eclectic career working with disadvantaged women, many of whom were homeless,” she recalls. “It was the most rewarding time of my working life. So, for me, volunteering along with other members of Temple Micah’s baby boomer group has been a blessing. It gives me the chance to know that I am contributing not only food, but caring and respect to women who often do not experience caring or respect.”

To add your presence or to bring a dish for the homeless women this Wednesday or to volunteer for future occasions, contact Helen through the Micah membership directory or leave her a message at 303-388-4239 x1.

Also, here’s the latest submission from Sarah about Habitat Interfaith Alliance, including a wrap-up on the HIA used book sale and an invitation to the next HIA event – a day to work on building a home!

HIA thanks Micah members for contributing to the annual used book sale last month, either by donating books or by buying replacements. This sale raised more than $8,000 which will contribute greatly to the next house build, #14 for HIA!

This year the house building will start in mid-March, weather permitting. It will take place at 10th and Mariposa in Denver, close to Metro University downtown. This is an area to be revitalized with multi-use projects, including homes. Temple Micah will team with Rodef Shalom to work on Sunday, April 26, weather permitting. Contact either Mary Ann Strassner or Sarah, with questions and to reserve your spot; both are reachable in the Micah directory or through the temple, 303-388-4239 x1. There will be other days opening for volunteers, and you can sign on to work any of those days too. Once again our thanks go out to Temple Micah folks who contribute to HIA’s success.

Happiness is… the Daffy Month of Adar

March 1st, 2015

by Bethany Friedlander, Educator

I came back from a run the other day. Both my dog and I had kind of gotten stuck in a brief flurry of rather large snowflakes. We could have made good Frozen extras. The month of Adar is the perfect time for such bodily decorations. It is actually a mitzvah to be happy. We are asked to get dressed in funny costumes, eat Haman’s ears (in Hebrew, hamantashen are ozne haman – literally Haman’s ears), play with really noisy toys (groggers), go to Purim carnivals, and have plenty to drink.

One of my favorite parts of the holiday of Purim is giving mishloach manot – gifts – to friends, family and to the poor. Unlike our American counterpart, Halloween, where we go to our neighbors and beg for junk, we take the time to make pretty containers filled with all sorts of goodies, and deliver them to friends, family and the poor.

In religious school we learn about the different holiday, study the texts, taste the foods and try to actively participate in the joy of celebration. This year Purim is certainly a time for all of this at Micah. On Sunday, March 1 the kindergarten, first and second grade students partnered with Kavod on the Road to create mishloach manot boxes for delivery to people in our community. Third through seventh grade students as well as madrichim studied different chapters of Megillat Esther and have created silly limericks that will be part of our continued festivities on Friday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. as we read from the Megillah and party like it’s 3,000 years ago in Shushan. Hope to see you all there.

IT’S ADAR…BE HAPPY!

Micah Tomorrow Awarded $5,000 RCF Incentive Grant

March 1st, 2015

by Brenda Bruno, Temple Administrator, on Behalf of the Board

How do you go about asking someone to donate to the Micah Tomorrow endowment fund? I’ve accompanied Liz Feldman and Nancy Litwack-Strong on a few of their appointments and the answer seems to be “start talking and see where it takes you!” Each meeting has a different vibe: often lots of laughter and joyful; heartwarming; sometimes focused on numbers and how the endowment is managed.  It’s always about meaningful connections we share, new ones made or old ones reinforced. I know why Micah is important to me, and participating in these conversations has made me better able to put it into words. But it is listening to others share their reasons why they’re tied to this community — their Micah story — that is most interesting. For someone who does not easily ask for favors or money, participating in these meetings has been surprisingly enjoyable. As a temple member I believe in the importance of Temple Micah and want to make sure it’s around for future members. As the temple administrator I know a donation to the endowment will be invested wisely and will not be wasted.

Liz and Nancy, with help from Jason Altshuler, Brian Silverman, Rabbi Mo and me, have managed to meet the requirements of this phase of Rose Community Foundation’s Live On IV: Build Your Jewish Legacy incentive grant. A $5,000 check from RCF was recently received and added to the $1,500 received in April 2014. Our goal was to meet with 25 people to talk about the Micah Tomorrow endowment and to receive signed donor forms from at least 13. We met with 25… and received signed forms from 20. Hal tells me that’s a batting average of .800, something Rockies fans can only dream of.

Thank you to the following families and individuals who have donated to Micah Tomorrow as of March 1, 2015:

Michael & Robin Aubrey

Hal & Brenda Bruno

Lawrence & Elizabeth Feldman

Charles Kessler, Chris Lynn

Elaine & Irv Levy

Nancy Litwack-Strong & Peter Strong

Sam Mamet & Judith Cassel-Mamet

Dan & Jackson Meyers

Rabbi Adam, Renee, Addison & Dakota Morris

Martin & Wendy Smith

Dena Sorokin

Helen Spiegel

Risa Tatarsky & Michael Clapman

David Teitelman

Jon & Sharon Thorson

Anonymous (4)

MICAH e-MAILBOX: March 2015

March 1st, 2015

Click here for Temple Micah’s March mentions!

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT – Merging Compassion and Justice

February 1st, 2015

by Elaine Lee, Membership & Communications Director

In many spiritual traditions, repairing the world and renewing selves are connected. What ideas underlie many Jews’ commitment to social action, and why? What Jewish tools can nourish souls to act? People of all political and spiritual persuasions are invited to an interactive, open-hearted conversation about compassion, spirituality and justice through a Jewish lens. Learn tools to enrich one’s connection to Judaism and capacity to “do justly.” Compassion and Justice: Jewish Spiritual Tools for Social Action will be taught by Caryn Aviv, PhD, associate director and rabbinic candidate, Judaism Your Way, with co-sponsor Temple Micah and others. The course meets 6:00-8:00 p.m. Mondays, March 16, 23 and 30, place tbd.

Meanwhile, thank you to the Rev. Dr. Eric Smith for his remarks on justice at Temple Micah’s Shabbat service, in the context of the holiday commemorating the life’s work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pastor Eric left me thinking about “the power of one” and how impactful one person can be. So, with that in mind, I prepared a prayer, my yearly custom on behalf of Temple Micah, for the King Holiday. In a big dining hall downtown while kitchen staff, scores of volunteer servers and pro bono entertainers congregated, as they do year after year, a live line stretched down the whole block and around the corner. About 1,500 people were arriving for the free feast. I’d like to share this prayer with you as well:

Shalom from my congregation, Temple Micah. Three Dreams came to mind, as I thought about my Jewish prayer for this 30th Dinner for Those Who Hunger. Three dreams, all of which our world still seems far from reaching, but we can’t stop believing these dreams are worth dreaming. Let us use our thoughts, words and actions to bring all three dreams to our table.

Dream #1 – the dream of “freedom” – for freedom from fear and hate based on who we are, our race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, creed, religion, appearance, illness, injury, disability or anything we just maybe don’t understand about one another.

Dream #2 – the dream of “plenty” – for plenty of food, shelter, dignity, truth, trust, fairness, humility, mercy and equal opportunity for all of us to share.

Dream #3 – the dream of “peace” – for peaceful courage to call a truce and cease hurting one another or ourselves; our world is overdue for mistreatment, disregard and callousness to be replaced by honoring life, tolerance and compassion.

As we dream on, let us remember one Martin Luther King Jr. and his one voice, still echoing…. Listen, do justly, do kindly and we shall overcome someday.

Let us bless G-d today for bringing us this meal, and thank you also to Volunteers of America:

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech ha’olam, hamotzi lehem min ha’oretz. – Amen.”

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MANY THANKS FROM TEMPLE MICAH (for donations received last month)

GENERAL FUND

  • Ariel Benjamin
  • Michael Clapman & Risa Tatarsky – in memory of Leon Groisser, father of Dena Sorokin
  • Judy Goldberg – in memory of Rabbi Joseph Goldman
  • Robin Kane & Mitch Wolberg – in remembrance of the yahrzeit of Larry Tell
  • Elaine & Irv Levy – yahrzeit donation in loving memory of her father, Warren Johnson
  • Mark & Patty Levy – in memory of Rabbi Joseph Goldman
  • Elyse Rosenthal – for High Holy Days
  • Dena Sorokin – with thanks to Rabbi Mo & the Temple Micah community for joining her in remembrance of her father, Leon Groisser
  • Rabbi Ted Stainman – with appreciation to the congregation “for your warm reception of my presence in the synagogue”

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TEMPLE MICAH MESSAGES…

  • Read a Novel — Michael Chabon’s “Telegraph Avenue” is the book of the month for Temple Micah Women’s Book Group. Review it together at 7:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23. For location and to RSVP, contact Nancy Weil via Micah’s directory or call the temple, 303-388-4239 x1.
  • Micah Boomers +/- — For those who like to plan ahead, note that Micah Boomers +/- is on break through February, but will resume with Rabbi Adam Morris at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at Temple Micah to discuss Judges. At other upcoming meetings Boomers will expound on “Exploring Meaning and Relevance in the Tanach and Something Different, Too!”
  • No Place for Hate – Anti-Defamation League’s 2015 “Positive Impact” multi-cultural calendars are available for free from the Temple Micah office. Tell Elaine Lee, 303-388-4239 x1, when you’d like to stop by to pick up yours, however many you’ll use.

ITEMS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST…

  • Celebrate TreesTu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday often referred to as the “Birthday of Trees” or the “New Year of Trees,” is Wednesday, Feb. 4. In this spirit of nature consciousness and to enhance your yard, plan to plant a tree! The Park People will accept applications till Sunday, Feb. 15 for the Denver Digs Trees planting project. Tree quantities are limited, so apply soon. Trees will be distributed on Saturday, April 18. Cost is $35 per tree generally, $10 in targeted areas or maybe free depending on an applicant’s finances. Find out more at 303-722-6262.
  • Denver Jewish Film Festival — More than two dozen films and related attractions will rivet attention during this 19th cinematic fest Wednesday, Feb. 4-Sunday, Feb. 15, to be presented by Mizel Arts and Culture Center at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver. For a schedule and to buy tickets for any or all of the films, call 303-316-6360.
  • Grief Support Group Forming – Jewish Family Service offers a bereavement group for people who have lost a loved one. The next such Rafael Spiritual Healing Services group meets 2:00-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 4-March 25. Rabbi Eliot Baskin, D.Min., Jewish community chaplain, and Arleen Gershen, LCSW, a psychotherapist, will help to cultivate connections with self, faith and community by integrating Jewish traditions and rituals. Cost is $100; arrangements can be made for those with financial difficulty. To inquire or register, call Arleen, 720-248-4598.
  • “Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes” Jewish Disabilities Advocates, a program of Jewish Family Service, is hosting disabilities sensitivity training from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at Hebrew Education Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St., Denver. This free event is meant to sensitize teachers, parents and high school students to learning challenges faced by students with disabilities. Interactive, hands-on activities will mirror various disabilities with discussion questions for each. RSVP by Sunday, Feb. 15 to Lynn Rubenstein, 303-623-0251.
  • You Only Live Once — A free conference and resource day, filled with Jewish Wisdom on Aging Well for seniors, their loved ones and caregivers, takes place from 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22 at Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St., Denver. Temple Micah is among sponsoring synagogues and other organizations collaborating on this community-wide event. Register at www.YouOnlyLiveOnceDenver.org or by mail by Tuesday, March 17. Questions on how to participate? Call 720-382-7841.

Bring on the Books and Take Some Home

February 1st, 2015

by Sarah Rovner, Temple Micah Member & HIA Liaison

Customers, book donors and volunteers are sought for the Habitat Interfaith Alliance Used Book Sale, open for business from Monday, Feb. 9-Monday, Feb. 16, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. at First Universalist Church, 4101 E. Hampden Ave., Denver. If you have books to donate, plan to drop them off there on Sunday, Feb. 8. If you want to join in prep or selling for this event, ask Sarah Rovner for details via Micah’s directory, leave her a message at Temple Micah, 303-388-4239 x1, or sign up for a shift with HIA, alongside others from the coalition of congregations including yours.

As for January’s HIA Soup Cook-off & Dinner just completed… WOW! On behalf of HIA, Mary Ann Strassner and I thank you so much for contributing to our annual soup cook-off! To those who cooked or helped from the Micah community – Bieber, Borgos/Bogen, Parson, Weiser-Rose/Rose, Teitelman, Young households — your soups were amazing…. Yep, I was able to sneak a taste of every one of them. I have always been proud of Micah’s participation in this event. We can party, cook, then eat, schmooze and totally enjoy being together — and not be arrested! You are awesome, and I thank you again!

The Geography of Faith

February 1st, 2015

by Brad Segal, Temple Micah Member

(This blog post is reprinted from the website of Progressive Urban Management Associates, a consulting firm where Brad is president.)

My wife Ruth and I are currently in Istanbul, after winding up a study tour of Israel – our first visit to both places.  The Israel study tour, coordinated by our Denver synagogue, included a variety of tours, speakers and experiences designed to provide a look at the country’s past, present and future.  In addition to getting a crash course on Israel’s complexities, I had several impressions that are relevant to those of us involved in downtown and community development.

In most places, we take boundaries for granted.  In the States, city boundaries are determined by a number of fairly innocuous factors – land forms, major roads, the occasional grab for a revenue-producing development.  Some boundaries have deeper meanings, such as the boundary limits placed on many cities (including Denver) during the school desegregation era to stop the expansion of forced busing.

In Israel, boundaries are about faith.  It starts in Jerusalem’s Old City, a square mile that houses some of the planet’s most sacred sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians.  The Old City has four quarters (Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian) with distinctly different characteristics.

This pattern of faith has been replicated within the West Bank, the disputed lands west of the Jordan River that Israel occupied after the 1967 war.  When we read about the challenges of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, this is where most of the action is.  Palestinians seek a self-governing Arab State, while Israel has added Jewish settlements in the area, an action receiving condemnation from much of the world.

An Israeli map of the West Bank does not reveal neat or concise boundaries, but rather a patchwork that is the result of a conflict management strategy that has been in place since the end of the Second Infatada about 15 years ago.  About one-fifth of the West Bank is under Palestinian rule in several disconnected clusters of cities and towns.  Another fifth offers a hybrid where Palestinians rule Arabs and Israelis rule Jews.  The remaining 60% of the West Bank is under Israel.   A Palestinian map would offer a different interpretation, providing emphasis on the 1967 boundaries or perhaps prior to the U.N. partition back in 1947.

Both sides are looking at faith to be the end game of political boundaries.  Just as we see Denver and Aurora on a map, Israelis and Palestinians see Jews and Arabs on a map of the West Bank; however, the context is very different.  In Israel, the boundaries are about centuries of heritage and destiny.  The whole boundary issue creates an ongoing tension that permeates everyday life.  This is visible in the several hundred miles of retaining walls that Israel has constructed to separate the Palestinian-controlled lands and the checkpoints that allow limited access between both sides.  But there is also a palpable tension in the air – the whole place seems to be on edge 24/7, and it left me wondering how much the geography of faith plays into this.

Our study group had a chance to experience the most extreme case of faith-based boundary separation in Israel – in the heart of the city of Hebron.  Home to a religious site revered by both Arabs and Jews, Hebron is a divided city populated by about 200,000 Arabs with the majority governed by the Palestinians.  However, the sacred site and several hundred Jewish settlers are located right in the city’s core.  This is different from most Israeli settlements which are found on open land or the periphery of cities, looking much like garden variety California suburbs.  But in Hebron, the geography of faith creates a gaping no-mans-land right in the core of the city.  The result is a peninsula of blight – where a vibrant Arab market with hundreds of businesses once operated, the real estate is now completely vacant.

Hebron, an extreme case of the Israeli separation policy, was fascinating to me.  It’s Israel’s Detroit by design.   It’s been purposely emptied to create a separation between Arab and Jew, and then enforced by a military infrastructure where Israeli soldiers nearly outnumber the settlers within.   Our tour of Hebron was led by Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli soldiers that once served in the area and are now aiming to educate the country on what they perceive to be a dysfunctional policy.

Ironically, there are similarities to American cities that endured decades of blight through another type of social separation – racial and now income segregation.  In the States, we have been working for decades to improve these areas and have developed a variety of reconstructive initiatives and tools.

In Hebron, urban blight is an acceptable by-product to enforce the geography of faith.

MICAH e-MAILBOX: February 2015

February 1st, 2015

Click here to get informed about “all things Micah” this February!

MICAH e-MAILBOX: January 2015

January 1st, 2015

Click here for a glimpse of January with Temple Micah!