Shir Tikvah Honors Rabbi On 25th Anniversary


Congregation Shir Tikvah will honor Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg on his 25th anniversary as spiritual leader of the synagogue at 6 p.m. on March 2, at the Michigan State University Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road in Troy.

The gala dinner will pay tribute for the rabbi's service to the congregation, the Jewish community and the community at large. As part of his community involvement, Rabbi Arnie, as he is affectionately known by his congregants, supports many causes and has served on the boards of JARC, AIDS Interfaith Network, Triangle Foundation, Jewish Community Relations Council, Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition and Jewish Gay Network.

He also served as Rabbinic Dean of the National Federation of Temple Youth-Michigan Region and on the staff of Albion College, where he earned his bachelor's degree. He is actively involved in bridge-building among different religious, ethnic and racial groups, and helps to foster understanding with Muslims, African Americans and Christians. He is a long-time supporter of the Troy Area Interfaith Group.

Rabbi Arnie received his master's degree and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in New York. He chose the rabbinate as his profession because it combined his love for Judaism with teaching, counseling and community development.

During his sabbaticals, he studied Hinduism and Buddhism, with special emphasis on meditation techniques and chanting. He has deepened his own Jewish spirituality by witnessing other traditional faith practices. He often connects with indigenous tribes and their spiritual elders in various countries in addition to bringing support for "lost" Jewish tribes in Africa and India.

On March 1, the congregation and its sisterhood will join for a special Music Sabbath, led by Rabbi Arnie's long-time friend Reb Eli Cohen of Santa Cruz, Calif. The Sabbath service also will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Women of Reform Judaism, in which the Shir Tikvah Sisterhood holds membership.

Rabbi Arnie will also be honored March 10 at a special tikkun olam (repairing the world) project entitled, "From Slavery to Freedom: Two Journeys, One Destiny," in collaboration with the Brightmoor community in Northwest Detroit. Brightmoor's City Mission and City Covenant Church will join members of Congregation Shir Tikvah for a Passover seder (traditional meal recounting the ancient Jews' deliverance from slavery), which will feature the blending of the food and traditions of two peoples who share the experience of slavery and freedom.

The March 2 gala is open to the public. Admission is $65 per person. The evening will include dinner, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and dessert. Checks should be made payable and mailed to Congregation Shir Tikvah, 3900 Northfield Parkway, Troy, MI 48084.

For questions or further information, call the synagogue's administrator Lorelei Berg at 248-649-4418.

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