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Spotlight  on Renowned Artist, Lynne Avadenka

05/26/2020 10:13:22 AM


Lynne Avadenka

I was looking forward to May 17 when the B'nai Moshe Sisterhood was planning to visit my studio. I’ve actually been working quite a bit in my studio since we’ve all been on lockdown, so instead of an actual visit which isn’t possible now, I’ve been invited to share some of my work with you here.  
But first a bit of background: I studied art, focusing on printmaking, at Wayne State University, where I received my BFA (1978) and MFA (1981). I’ve had an active studio career since then, supported by sales of my work, individual artist grants, residencies and teaching. Much, though not all, of my work is inspired by Jewish themes. If you’d like to get a larger look at my art and achievements, please check out my ​websites which can be found at and

 I’ll talk here about two recent projects: ​Living Under Water, ​ a collaborative project that took me to Venice and Jerusalem, and ​Sacred Craft: Jewish Women in Early Hebrew Printing , a project funded by a grant from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, that began with research last year in the Hebraic Division of the Library of Congress in Washington DC. 
In 2018 I spent three weeks in Venice, at the invitation of Beit Venezia (The Home for Jewish Culture) along with four other Jewish artists (all from Israel). ​Living Under Water ​ was a project designed by Jerusalem based artist Andi Arnovitz and Shaul Bassi, the founder of Beit Venezia. The idea behind this effort was to create a body of work about the climate crisis inspired and informed by Jewish sources. We spent the first week of our residency listening to scholars, scientists, rabbis and environmentalists speaking about climate change and what Judaism has to say about it. Topics included the notion of a universal Shabbat, a day of rest all over the world (no buying, no selling, no driving, giving the planet a rest) and discussion about shmita---what would it mean for an agricultural cycle to be embraced on a global scale, as an environmental policy. 
All the while, we were taking notes, keeping sketchbooks, and to be honest, enjoying getting to know a remarkable city and its Jewish history. We visited the ghetto numerous times, had special tours of the lagoon and MOSE project (the controversial project meant to protect Venice against rising tides), and because of kashrut considerations, spent a lot of time cooking as a group in the marvelous palazzo where we were housed. The last week of our residency we worked at Scuola di Grafica Internazionale di Grafica, a traditional print shop, creating a suite of prints as our visual responses to what we learned and experienced. Another  important component of the project was a 60 page magazine of essays, poetry and visual art from the participants in the project. Meant to be used in Jewish educational settings, it is available in print as well as a digital download. 

In 2019 our ​Living Under Water ​ project was chosen to be exhibited at the third Jerusalem Biennale. The exhibition was housed in the Wolfson Museum, inside the Hechal Shlomo synagogue. Although Marc and I were not able to attend the opening, we spent three weeks in 
Jerusalem while the show was on exhibit. I gave several impromptu tours of the show (including meeting up with Pearlena Bodzin and her husband Ephraim) and it was reviewed in the Jerusalem Post and ​Hadassah magazine​. It was our hope that the exhibition would travel to Jewish museums across the world, but like so many other events, this possibility is now on hold. I’ve included a few of my works here, Afterword (a mixed media piece that plays on the text of the Akdamut (Forward) prayer of Shavuot, and one of my journal pages. 
Sacred Craft: Jewish Women in Early Hebrew Printing ​ began when I was invited to contribute to an anthology of essays devoted to The Book of Exodus. I was taken with Verse 17:14, as this is the first time we see the word “book” in the Torah, as well as a commandment to write down and record events for the future. Since my work is all about the idea of the book, and since I’m a printmaker and I make artist’s books, I started reading about the history of Jewish books and the influence of the invention of printing on Jewish culture. And I started noticing in these sources the small entries about Jewish women’s  involvement in the printing of Hebrew books. My grant from the Hadassah Brandeis Institute supported direct research at the Hebraic Division of the Library of Congress last May.  
Marc and I were in Washington, DC for a week, and had separate itineraries the entire trip. Every day he would head out to any number of historic sights, monuments and museums after walking me to the Library where I spent hours looking at the most remarkable Hebrew books, printed in the 1500s. It is fascinating that Jewish women were involved in the creation of  these early books, taking over for husbands and fathers in the event of illness or death, running the business--from setting type, to printing, to selecting texts, to publishing and distribution. And how do we know this: we see these women’s names, set in type in these books.  
As a result of this trip and continuing research, I’m creating a project that will be exhibited in New York, I hope, in 2021 or 2022…..more to come! And I hope the Sisterhood will get a sneak peek when we’re all able to be out and about. 
To close, here are “quarantine” prints I’ve created, using wood type, stencils and color ink. 

Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my work with you! 


Times of Tragedy Bring out  our Very Best or Very Worst 

04/14/2020 10:29:17 AM


Steven Fine

As with so many national and international tragedies we have faced in recent years, there is one constant. Tragedies either bring out the very best in people, or the very worst.

Rick Wiles, a Florida pastor, said on March 26 that God is giving the Jews the coronavirus as a divine punishment. “That is why you have a plague in your synagogues, he said.

We have seen shoppers hoarding groceries and personal items to the extent that others don’t have any. Is it necessary to have 144 rolls of toilet paper while your neighbor has none? We find anti-Jew hatemongers zoom-bombing video prayer services to spew their vitriolic epithets. And, we see people using this current tragedy to prey on the most vulnerable to try and cheat them out of money and their economic stimulus checks.

Sometimes it is difficult to look past this abhorrent behavior and see the wonderful things that people do in the face of tragedy and how much good there is in the world. However it is right here in front of our eyes.

We’ve seen people (our own Rabbi Kantor and family for one) driving by a friend or family member’s house to wish them a happy birthday. We’ve seen athletes, celebrities, and non-celebrities alike donate tens of millions of dollars to the effort. Quarantined people in Italy, Spain, France, and Israel coordinated times to applaud healthcare workers from their homes. The sounds of clapping, cheering, and whistling filled the air in expressions of gratitude for doctors, nurses, and others who are tirelessly treating the sick.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in Columbus, Nebraska, made get well cards for people affected by the coronavirus. Their teacher then mailed the cards to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to be distributed to those in quarantine. Food trucks and restaurants are delivering free food to kids locked out of school lunch programs. There are so many similar stories.

Members of B’nai Moshe have stepped up, as we always do. We have collected over $1,500 in donations to provide food for medical heroes working tirelessly at Henry Ford Hospital WB. Michelle Seid and Jacqueline Goldstein have championed an effort wherein they have been providing food to many units at many hospitals with food from local restaurants, thus helping both the medical heroes and local food establishments.

People say that they can’t wait to get back to normal. I hope not. In “normal” times we don’t see nearly the generosity we see now. Let’s make these actions our ”new normal” when we don’t need a tragedy to fulfill our obligation of repairing the world. Remember, we’re not stuck at home. We’re safe at home. One word can make all the difference.

B'nai Moshe alum named  on Forward 50 list of influential American Jews

01/14/2020 12:13:50 PM


B'nai Moshe

B'nai Moshe is proud that one of our B'nai Moshe family has landed on the Forward50 list of influential American Jews.

Mikhl Yahsinsky, son of Debbie and Gary Yashinsky, has been named to this illustrious " machers and shakers list."

Some other prominent names who appear on the list are:  Congressman Adam Schiff, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, ADL Director Oren Segal, sports pundit Max Kellerman, Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman.

Fluent in seven languages, Yashinsky, 31, has directed opera, taught Spanish, written and directed plays, and performed rap in Yiddish. In 2019, he appeared as Mordkhe the Innkeeper in the Folksbiene’s smash-hit revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Yiddish, and now is starring in the Folksbiene’s revival of “The Sorceress.”

To read more about this "Yiddish Renaissance Man" CLICK HERE

01/14/2020 12:12:53 PM


"Welcome Home" is  not just a   slogan

10/30/2019 12:45:20 PM


Miranda Brooks

Congregation B'nai Moshe always greets those visiting with "welcome home."  Whether you have been a member for 50 years or may be visiting for the very first time you are welcomed home to B'nai Moshe.  It doesn't even matter if your are Jewish or not.  While there is a sign right above the entrance to the building that reads "Welcome Home" it is not just a slogan.  It's B'nai Moshe.

B'nai Moshe's Unique  Gabbai Makes Us Proud

10/02/2019 01:21:48 PM


B'nai Moshe

If you were at B'nai Moshe on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, you may have taken notice of something we believe to be unique and it happened at B'nai Moshe.  It is unique not only in metro-Detroit but we would not be going out on a limb to say in the nation. 

Quite possibly, because of the inclusive family atmosphere at B'nai Moshe, you may not have even given it a second thought.  And in many ways, not noticing might actually make this all the more special.

I am speaking of the gabbai on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.  The job of the gabbai is a difficult and important role.  The gabbai is sort of the quarterback of the torah service.  The gabbai calls up (in Hebrew) each person who is given the honor of an aliyah to the torah.   There are several prayers which must be said, adding the Hebrew name of the honoree and saying a mishabeirach (prayer of good health) for the previous honoree.  The words are quite different on the high holidays than they are on shabbat.  It's not easy, to say the least.

B'nai Moshe's lead gabbai on the second day of Rosh Hashanah was Yael Plotnick.  Yael is a 21-year old student at the University of Michigan and has grown up at B'nai Moshe.  Even more impressive was that Yael took on this same role last year when she was but 20.  Usually the role of the gabbai is given to a member of the clergy or a seasoned male ritual leader.  At B'nai Moshe this role was filled beautifully by a 21-year old female and we couldn't be prouder.

We'd love to hear from any other synagogue in the country or world who can boast such a claim.

These opportunities can only exist in a synagogue that is open to change and is blind to traditional gender roles.  Congratulations Yael on a job well done!

How Do You Embrace Your Jewish Identity?

09/17/2019 10:17:35 AM


B'nai Moshe

B'nai Moshe's theme for the High Holidays and throughout the year is "How do YOU embrace YOUR Jewish Identity?"  We sent out cards to our members asking them to finish the statement "I feel connected to my Judasim when I ... "

We'll have all the response cards posted for display on the High Holidays.  Here are some of those that have been turned in so far.   Please submit your responses by emailing I Feel Connected to My Judaism When I ... and let us know when you feel connected to your Judaism.   

"When I attend services and when I eat." - age 87

"When I participate in family traditions." - age 31

"When I learn of Israel's accomplishments - humanatarian, scientific or medical." - age 75

"When I host large holiday dinners with friends and family." - age 70 

"When I wake up in the morning and all through the day." - age 80

"Whe nI light candles on Friday night." - age 66

"When I hear people speaking Hebrew in places I wouldn't expect." - age 75

"When I volunteer at Yad Ezra each week." - Age 68


Wed, July 15 2020 23 Tammuz 5780