Tikkun Olam

The Tikkun Olam committee will be meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, July 7 at 5:30 pm to discuss priorities and planning for the current year.   There has been a lot of change to our world since we last met, and we welcome anyone who is interested in talking about the kinds of programming and actions we can take in response to those changes.

Zoom information will be made available the week of the meeting by RSVPing to fermagli@msu.edu

10 Yiddish Words to Get You Through This Quarantine

Mitch Perliss
Visual Storyteller · 2 hrs
10 Yiddish Words to Get You Through This Quarantine

1We’ve been self-quarantining for 40-plus days and, quite frankly, we’re running out of steam. Here’s some helpful Yiddish vocabulary to help describe our current situation….
1. Tsedrayte
adj. (tsuh-DRATE) All mixed up, confused.
Before the Covid-19 virus, tsedrayte meant we couldn’t remember if we promised to meet a friend for lunch on Thursday or Friday. Now we don’t know what day of the week it is. These days, just getting the mail makes us tsedrayte. Do we leave the letters on the floor for 24 hours? Do we wipe the package before we put it on the floor or wash our hands and then wipe the package? And what do we do after we open it?
2. Shpilkes
(SHPILL-kiss) Impatience, restlessness.
Before Covid-19, when our young kids had “ants in their pants,” we’d tell them to go outside and play. Now, however, we have to mask them up first, and watch them carefully so they stay six feet away from all the other kids who are also trying to get their shpilkes out. We used to go out to a yoga class; now when our little ones have shpilkes, we watch Cosmic Kids Yoga and do downward facing dogs right along with them.
3. Shlub
n. (SHLUB) A slob; some who dresses sloppily.
All this self-quarantining has made shlubs even shlubbier. Sweatpants and torn T-shirts have gone from weekend wear to all day, everyday wear — unless you’re one of those people who dons business casual from the waist up for your Zoom conference calls. If we’ve learned any fashion sense while being self-quarantined, it’s that a bra is optional.
4. Pulkes
pl. n. (PULL-keys) Thighs.
The word usually refers to cute, chubby baby thighs, but it can also mean those belonging to poultry. And with all the freezer diving we’re doing, we’ve discovered and eaten our fair share of pulkes in the last month. We’re counting the days till we can swap out our sweatpants for shorts and attend a summer barbecue, but we’re not certain our pulkes will be ready for public viewing after all we’ve eaten.
5. Sekhel
n. (SEH-khul) Common sense; good judgment.
Advice used to flow downstream. Our parents would nag us: “Have a little sekhel; do you really have to fly when you’re pregnant?” Now the tables have turned and we nag our parents: “Wash your hands. Wear a mask. You’re going to the supermarket? You’re old. Stay home!” And our kids? They have the computer sekhel we need: They’ve taught us how to complete the online school attendance form and how to limit our Facebook posts to “friends only” so we don’t embarrass them in front of “the whole world!” They’ve also taught us that there’s nothing wrong with eating ice cream twice a day.
6. Eyngeshparter
n. (AYN-guh-shpar-ter) A stubborn person; someone who cannot be convinced with logic.
These are the people who are protesting to end the shutdown before it’s safe, ordering “cures” on the Internet, and claiming the pandemic is all a hoax.
7. Bubkes
n. (BUP-kiss) Literally beans, nothing.
Something that’s worthless or that falls short of expectations. In this new normal, we’re getting used to bubkes in the toilet paper aisle, bubkes in our fresh vegetable drawer, and bubkes in our checking account.
8. Ongeblozen
adj. (un-geh-BLUH-zin) Sulky, pouty; a sourpuss.
Our kids used to get ongeblozzen when we said we couldn’t go out for pizza. Now everyone’s ongeblozzen because we spent all afternoon making dough from scratch… and we didn’t have the right kind of cheese. “It tastes funny. It doesn’t taste like Panzone’s pizza. Why can’t we go to Panzone’s?”
9. Tsuris
n. (TSORE-iss) troubles and worries; problems.
We can’t help worrying when our sister tells us she had a suspicious mammogram or our son hints that someone bullied him in school. But these days, instead of worrying about illness or money or school or our family or the future — we’re worried about all of it. Tsuris has gone from personal to universal.
10. Oy
int. (OY)
Perhaps the most popular Yiddish expression, oy conveys dozens of emotions, from surprise, joy, and relief to pain, fear and grief. Bubbe Mitzi used to say that just groaning “a good oy” could make you feel better. So give a good oy, tie the shmata on your face — be sure to cover your mouth and your nose!

Statement from the Board of Directors and Rabbi Zimmerman on George Floyd, Policing, and Public Protests

.לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ
.לֹא תִשְׂנָא אֶת-אָחִיךָ בִּלְבָבֶךָ
Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.
Do not hate your brother in your heart. (Lev. 19:16-17)

At Congregation Kehillat Israel, we are pained and disturbed by the events unfolding across our country, including in our hometown of Lansing. The killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department has once again laid bare the fact that too often our current policing system does not value Black lives. Our hearts break for his young daughter, who now will have to grow up without her dad. Our hearts break for his community, who lovingly knew him as Big Floyd. In the short span of eight minutes and 46 seconds, Mr. Floyd lost his life and the lives of those who loved him were irrevocably changed. In less than 10 minutes, George Floyd became yet another Black man killed by American police.

Our hearts also break for the thousands of people all over the country taking to the streets to peacefully protest this violence, only to be met with yet more violence. Whether it is a video of tear gas being used against non-violent demonstrators or an account of police attacking protestors without provocation, the information flooding our news feeds raises many urgent questions about how our law enforcement handles protests.

Jewish tradition teaches that every human being is born carrying a spark of the Divine. We are all awesomely and wondrously made betzelem elokim, in the image of G-d. It is our duty as Jews to stand up for those whose inherent holiness is being demeaned and disrespected. Thus, we cannot be silent when we see racist violence and prejudice on full display as we have over the past week, for we are commanded, “Tzedek! Tzedek tirdof! Justice! Justice shall you pursue!” (Deut. 16:20).

The Prophet Isaiah says in the haftarah we read every Yom Kipur, that “thoughts and prayers” in difficult times are not enough. We must “unlock the fetters of wickedness… and break off every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6). Jewish communities the world over must take hard looks at ourselves, evaluate how we can best be allies to Black people and other people of color inside and outside of our communities, and spring into action to “untie the bonds” of structural racism wherever we find it.

We stand in full support of our Black friends, neighbors, and family members. Congregation Kehillat Israel says, without hesitation: Black lives matter.

In addition to this statement, we sign onto the Reconstructing Judaism and Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association’s June 2nd statement “Standing up for Racial Justice and Against Racial Violence.”  We echo their demands for reform, accountability, and justice.


Kehillat Israel Board of Directors

Rabbi Michael Zimmerman

Rabbi Zimmerman’s Retirement Weekend Celebration!

Rabbi’s retirement events:

Kudo Board – You can still add your thoughts, poems, pictures, videos.  Please contact Judy Shulman for a link or assistance. jbshulman@comcast.net or 517-290-4679 text or call

 Saturday, June 6th  6:30 to 8:30  (zoom link below)
We hope  you will join us even if you have not sent an RSVP

6:30 to 7:30  Schmoozing – each attendee will join a small group in a Breakout room, and Michael will be dropping in on each group for a while.

7:30   Presentations will begin. There will be an opportunity for everyone to share memories as a large group after the presentations.

Sunday, June 7th  3:00 to 4:30 Farewell Parade around KI parking lot

Michael and Elischa will be near the stairs at the North end of the lower lot.

Please drive by to wave.  Follow the signs and please do not block the parade and traffic loop.

There will be a bin for cards. If you wish to stop and chat, we will guide you to parking  outside of the traffic flow. Please wear a mask and keep a respectful distance from others.

Congregation Kehillat Israel is inviting you to the Rabbi’s Retirement Party on Zoom.

Time: Jun 6, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 875 2498 7967

Password: 679250

By Phone:

Meeting ID: 875 2498 7967

Password: 679250

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcS2iCqlKK



D’var Torah Marjan Helms May 2020

“I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel.
I am the Lord who sanctifies you.”
Leviticus 22:32

“I will be made holy among the children of Israel.
I am the Lord who makes you holy.”

What do we mean when we speak of holiness? What is holiness? Really?
If you could close your eyes for a moment—or let them drift unfocused into the inner spaces of your mind, with no hurry—and no forced attention… If you could simply rest …quietly…and listen to your own unique truth, what answer would come to your question, “What do I mean when I say, “holy?”
Before you reach too quickly for words or labels, try to sense your answer outside of words. When have you experienced holiness? Where? What did it feel like? What does it feel like now? Whatever you know or remember or imagine as holy, stay with that awareness. Rest in it. Savor it.

“I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel. I am Adonai who sanctifies you.” When we consider this glimpse of holiness, how do we respond? Is there a change in energy, an emotion, an inclination to do something or act in any particular way? The holiness code established in Leviticus calls for recognizing boundaries between what is sacred and what is profane. Both priests and the people at large are called to maintain a
purity that allows the Presence of God to be known.

What do we do to act on our experience of holiness? Or, to put that another way, What rituals do we observe to allow the Presence of God to be known?
We live now in troubled and frightening times, and there is no escape from the tragedy and madness that surround us. But I think escape is not what we want anyway, not really. I find myself drawn instead to an old-fashioned word—Redemption. It is redemption that we long for, not escape—not easy answers, not quick-fixes, not hiding our heads in the sand nor hoping in vain—but Redemption. And how can that happen? How do we reclaim the sanctity of our lives and our world?

Every day for two months I have marked on my calendar the latest numbers of Covid cases and deaths. I write the numbers, reaching out for some sense of connection, but I cannot comprehend their meaning. To reduce human suffering and lives lost to a series of digits is obscene. Like you, I read and listen to news and commentaries until my mind is saturated. I whipsaw from sadness to anger, outrage to despair. It’s far too easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed. So where is holiness in this moment? How do we find it?
How do we recognize it? How can we make ourselves available to receive it?
If we are to sense a boundary between sacred and profane, maybe we have to start by purifying our own minds.

When I first read through this Parshah, the thing that caught my attention was the repeated command to rest—to do no labor. It’s as if the glorious ideal of Shabbat is meant to infuse each festival throughout the year. I wonder if it is not also possible that Shabbat can breathe its grace into the smaller moments of day-to-day life. We need rest. And nourishment. We need moments to remember who we are—to know that we are not the news feed or the bickering, to know that we are separate from the anger and hatred and fear. We need boundaries—even the briefest of moments—to remember the Presence of God and to rest beside still waters. Surely this is the place where Redemption is born.

From the refuge that is Shabbat, I offer a suggestion:
Sometime soon, give yourself a few minutes to rest and lean back into your own heart.

Listen there for holiness—your own holiness, with your own  understanding. And then see if there is anything at all that you would like to do in response. Whatever that might be, no matter how small or simple, consider making it your own private ritual for a day or a week or for as long as you like. Let this gesture be for you as the fire offerings and purifications from so long ago. Let it mark a sacred boundary in time, a moment to
recognize what is holy, a moment to offer yourself to the work of Redemption.

I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel.
I am the Lord who sanctifies you.”

Kroger Fundraising for KI – link your card to our account and we will receive free money!

KI’s organizations NPO number is NV535.

The Kroger Family of Companies is committed to community engagement, positive social impact and charitable giving at the national and local levels. Every community is unique, but our common goal is to partner with the neighborhoods we serve and help the people there live healthier lives.

One of the ways in which we do this is through our Kroger Community Rewards program. This program makes fundraising easy by donating to local organizations based on the shopping you do every day. Once you link your Card to an organization, all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Shopper’s Card. Here’s how it works:

1. Create a digital account.

A digital account is needed to participate in Kroger Community Rewards. If you already have a digital account, simply link your Shopper’s Card to your account so that all transactions apply toward the organization you choose.

2. Link your Card to an organization.

Selecting the organization that you wish to support is as simple as updating the Kroger Community Rewards selection on your digital account.

1. Sign in to your digital account.

2. Search for your organization here.

3. Enter the name or NPO number of the organization you wish to support.

4. Select the appropriate organization from the list and click “Save”.

Your selected organization will also display in the Kroger Community Rewards section of your account. If you need to review or revisit your organization, you can always do so under your Account details.

3. Your organization earns.

Any transactions moving forward using the Shopper’s Card number associated with your digital account will be applied to the program, at no added cost to you. Kroger donates annually to participating organizations based on your percentage of spending as it relates to the total spending associated with all participating Kroger Community Rewards organizations.

If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Center.

Whether you’re a customer or an organization, get started today!

Note: If you are a customer, make sure you have a preferred store selected to view participating organizations. If you are applying on behalf of an organization, please select a store in the same area as your organization.