Category: 2018

Detroit Jewish Community Applauds Michigan Senate and House Resolutions on Israel’s 70th Anniversary

April 19, 2018 – The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit praise the Michigan State Legislature for its passage today of resolutions celebrating 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel.

Senate Resolution 154, sponsored by Senator Arlan Meekhof, and House Resolution 308, sponsored by Representative Robert Wittenberg, passed today with bipartisan support. The resolutions celebrate Israel’s landmark anniversary and reaffirm the many vibrant ties that link Michigan and Israel.

“On behalf of the Detroit Jewish Federation, I would like to express our gratitude to Sen. Meekhof and Rep. Wittenberg, and all of the co-sponsors from the Michigan Senate and House, for their recognition of this historic occasion,” said Beverly Liss, President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. “We’re extremely proud of the strong, supportive bond between Israel and the state of Michigan, and we deeply appreciate our lawmakers’ ongoing commitment to this relationship.”

Alicia Chandler, President of Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, remarked, “Israel’s 70th anniversary is a time to pause and reflect on the miracle that is the modern state of Israel. What was just a dream for millennia is now a complex, vibrant, thriving democracy which brings innovation and technology to the world. Each year is an opportunity to celebrate pluralistic and democratic values towards which Israel continues to strive.”

The metro Detroit Jewish community will honor this milestone anniversary for the Israel through a year-long Israel@70 campaign. In the coming months, there will be at least 70 programs honoring the occasion, ranging from small gatherings to major community-wide events.

Senate Resolution 154
House Resolution 308

JCRC/AJC Gun Violence Prevention Policy Statement

March 21, 2018 – Approximately 38,000 people are killed by firearms in the United States each year. These deaths are caused by suicide and homicide, as well as by accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, the firearm death rate was approximately 12 deaths per 100,000. That statistic exceeds many other nations and represents a national tragedy and serious public health issue. The Jewish value of pikuach nefesh teaches Jews that the preservation of human life is of supreme importance and overrides almost every other commandment in the Torah. Because of this, JCRC/AJC feels compelled to call on our leaders to take the necessary steps to reduce gun violence in the United States.

Specifically, JCRC/AJC calls on our legislative leaders to:

  • Support universal background checks for all gun transactions, including person-to-person
  • Oppose concealed carry reciprocity
  • Support extreme risk protection orders
  • End the prohibition of government funding of gun violence research because gun violence is a grave public health epidemic
  • Oppose permitless carry
  • Support the abolition of open carry
  • Oppose the sale of semi-automatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition designed and configured for rapid fire and combat useMoreover, JCRC/AJC calls on our legislative and community leaders to engage in open and productive dialogue on this issue in order to craft a multi-faceted approach to eliminate gun violence in our nation.

Jews and Muslims Explore The Once and Future Jerusalem

The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC has joined with the Michigan Muslim Community Council to present, “A Shared Future: The Once and Future Jerusalem,” a special dialogue between Wayne State University Professors Howard Lupovitch and Saeed Khan.  There will be three opportunities to attend the program:  March 7 at the Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield, March 28 at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills and April 11 at the Wayne State University David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Bernath Auditorium in Detroit.  All programs will take place at 7 p.m.


Launched in 2014, A Shared Future is an interfaith dialogue series which unites members of the Jewish and Muslim communities to learn together and build relationships. During each program, Professors Lupovitch and Khan will explore why Jerusalem holds a central place in the faith and imagination of Islam and Judaism alike. They will shed light on how Jews and Muslims view the city theologically, historically and now, politically. Each program will be followed by a dessert reception. There is no charge to attend.


Howard Lupovitch is Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. He received a Ph.D. in Jewish History from Columbia University. He has taught at Cornell University, Colby College, the University of Western Ontario and University of Michigan where he was also a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies. Professor Lupovitch has published two books and is completing a history of the Jews of Budapest and writing a history of the Neolog Movement. Professor Lupovitch is the 2009 winner of the Benard L. Maas Prize for Achievement in Jewish Culture and Continuity in the Area of Humanities.


Saeed A. Khan is in the Department of History and is a Lecturer in the Department of Near East & Asian Studies at Wayne State University, where he teaches Islamic and Middle East History, Islamic Civilizations and History of Islamic Political Thought. Mr. Khan is a Research Fellow at Wayne State University’s Center for the Study of Citizenship and is also an Adjunct Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy and at Rochester College, where he co-teaches a course on Muslim-Christian Diversity.  He is a Ph.D. Candidate at Wayne State University; Thomas M. Cooley Law School, JD.  Mr. Khan has served as a consultant to the US-Arab Economic Forum, and has founded the Center for the Study of Trans-Atlantic Diasporas, a think tank and policy center examining and comparing the condition of ethnic immigrant groups in North America and Europe, consulting the US and UK governments on their respective Muslim communities.


Advance registration is required for each program. To register, visit:  For additional information, contact Corey Young,  A Shared Future is generously sponsored by the Ravitz Foundation.

Historic Black Jewish Coalition Marks Black History Month with Inaugural Event

The Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity, a historic new partnership between the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, will mark Black History Month by hosting an exclusive kickoff and leadership forum on Tuesday, February 20 at 5:00 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.


Inspired by the African proverb, “If you want to go far, go together,” the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity is dedicated to promoting solidarity between the Black and Jewish communities, by jointly speaking  out against racism and anti-Semitism, and working to identify future leaders who are committed to promoting unity, education and good relations between the two communities.


The program will bring 150 leaders from both communities together to forge new bonds and advance the vision for this important relationship. The effort is particularly significant during a time of partisanship and division in our country, when voices of hatred and intolerance have been amplified.   An excerpt from the documentary film, Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Alliance, which focuses on Dr. King’s relationship with the Jewish community and the vital alliance between the Black and Jewish communities during the critical days of the civil rights era will be shown during the program. During the evening, the Coalition will preview perspective plans for future programs, including a Black-Jewish Seder, a joint lecture series, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations and efforts to engage students in future leadership development.


The Coalition is chaired by Rev. DeeDee M. Coleman, President of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and pastor of Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church, and David Kurzmann, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC. Rabbi Marla Hornsten of Temple Israel and President of the Michigan Board of Rabbis, and Rev. Kenneth J. Flowers, pastor of Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church are members of the Coalition’s Executive Committee.


The invitation only inaugural event will begin with a 5:00 p.m. reception, followed at 6:00 p.m. by a strolling dinner and the program.  The program has been made possible by a grant from the Ravitz Foundation. Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Alliance documentary film was developed by Dr. Shari Rogers, Ph.D. of “Spill the Honey,” a non-profit organization committed to advancing public knowledge of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement and promoting human dignity.


Doing the Impossible – A Look Inside Israel Disaster Relief

“Doing the Impossible – Israel Disaster Relief,” will be the focus of a special evening featuring Dr. Ariel Bar, Former Chief Medical Officer, Home Front Command of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The event will be held on Tuesday, February 13, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Hills.

During the program, Dr. Bar will discuss his work in the IDF’s search and rescue forces, which sends its corps around the world in times of need, leaping into the unknown to save as many lives as possible. Dr. Bar will share his personal stories and experiences from his service in the IDF’s field hospitals in India (2001), Haiti (2010) and Japan (2011). Presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the event is supported in part by contributions to the Allan Gale Israel Education Initiative, created to honor Gale’s dedication to promoting Israel advocacy and his nearly four decades of service to the community.

Colonel (res.) Dr. Ariel Bar is an eye surgeon. In addition to his work with the IDF, he was a member of the ethical committee of the medical corps and Israel Medical Association. Dr. Bar initiated the first IPRED (International Preparedness and Response to Emergencies and Disasters) Conference and still runs it today. He is also the author of three novels and was the host of a radio program in Galei Zahal, the official radio station of Israel’s Army.

The event, which is open to the community, will be followed by a dessert reception. There is no charge to attend the program, but limited seating is available. Kindly register by February 9 at For additional information, email

JCRC/AJC Denounces Reported Comments Made by President Trump

January 12, 2018 – We denounce the comments reportedly made by President Trump yesterday regarding immigrants from Haiti and some African countries. Throughout history, people have come to the United States in search of freedom and opportunity. America is a nation of immigrants, and there is no place for the nativist language that came out of the White House yesterday. JCRC/AJC will continue to stand up in defense of pluralism and in support of immigration policies that reflect our values.

Black and Jewish Congregations Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 2018 – Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church and Adat Shalom Synagogue, together will celebrate the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Where do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 14 at Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.


Presented in partnership with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC, the program will feature the Adat Shalom, Greater New Mt. Moriah and Russell Street choirs under the leadership of Hazzan Daniel Gross, Elder Herman Harris and Reverend Michael Kennedy. Other presenters will include Rabbi Aaron Bergman, Reverend Dr. Deedee M. Coleman, Reverend Kenneth James Flowers, and the youth choirs of Greater New Mt. Moriah and Hillel Day School.


The theme of the program – “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” – is taken from the name of Dr. King’s final book before his assassination. The book, written in 1967, analyzed the state of race relations in America in light of recent federal protections and posed the question of whether or not the new protections would usher in a new era of racial equality.


“Dr. King’s last book was actually a call for love and unity in the face of what he felt was an increase in racism across America,” says Reverend Kenneth Flowers of Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. “It is profound and sad that these words ring so true today, which is why we must keep his message alive and never cease in our commitment to overcome injustice wherever and whenever we can.”


The program will be followed by a dessert reception sponsored by AIPAC. It is open to the community at no charge and reservations are not required.  For more information, contact Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church 313-871-8025; Adat Shalom Synagogue, 248-851-5100; or Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church 313-875-2458.

Former Middle East Peace Negotiator Aaron David Miller to Address Detroit Jewish Community

Temple Beth El proudly welcomes Aaron David Miller, Vice-President for New Initiatives and a Distinguished Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 9 at 7 p.m. Miller will present “Gullivers Troubles: America, Israel and the Middle East.”

The program, which is free and open to the community, is sponsored by Temple Beth El with support from the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC.

For two decades, Miller, served in the Department of State as an analyst, negotiator and adviser on Middle Eastern issues to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. Between 2003 and 2006, he also served as president of Seeds of Peace, an internationally recognized program in conflict resolution and coexistence.   Miller has written five books, including his most recent, “The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President” (Palgrave, 2014). His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times; and his column “Reality Check” appears in Foreign Policy Magazine. He is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and a frequent commentator on NPR, BBC and Sirius XM radio.

For more information, contact Temple Beth El Program Director Danielle Gordon, 248-851-1100, or Temple Beth El is located at 7400 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Hills.