|What kind of organization is JCS? ::
|||| Who are JCS members?::
- JCS was founded in 1965 and is Ann Arbor's second oldest Jewish congregation (click here for more information).
- Formally, JCS is a tax-exempt 501(C)3 organization under the IRS rules.
- Informally, it is a quasi-coop. There are several salaried employees (teachers, principal, office manager, Madrikha), but most of the program activities are carried out by volunteers from the membership, and all members are expected to volunteer for some activities. Although the Board of Directors is elected by the membership, in practice any member can volunteer to serve on the Board.
- JCS is a congregation, and does what most congregations do: sponsoring life-cycle events (baby-naming, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, funerals), holiday observances, social actions, sponsorships of Jewish community events, adult education, K-8 Sunday School, social events, etc. But JCS is not religious; we do not have prayer services, worship services, Torah reading and the like.
- Special features of JCS programs include First Friday Shabbat (a catered dinner for families once/month), Third Friday Havurah (a potluck once-a-month dinner at members’ houses for empty nesters), Rosh Hodesh and adult schmoozes.
- JCS is an active participant in the larger Jewish community. Its members have served as President and Vice-President of the Jewish Community Center, have served on the Board of the Jewish Federation, and in other leadership positions.
|||| The best bar/bat mitzvahs I’ve ever seen! ::
- The Jewish Cultural Society's membership is currently about 60 families. It includes physicians, musicians, architects, carpenters, lawyers, nurses, teachers, social workers, artists, small business owners, retailers, physicists, librarians, engineers, software and information technology developers, bar owners, university professors and retirees.
- Membership is diverse: we come from orthodox, conservative, reform and secular backgrounds. There are mixed-ethnic and mixed religious marriages, inter-racial marriages, families with Asian-American and African-American children. What we have in common is a secular outlook, Jewish identity, a desire for our children to construct their own Jewish identities, and enjoyment of a Jewish community.
|||| What is secular Judaism? ::
- Students take part in a two year preparation under the guidance of the Madrikha, parallel to 6th and 7th Sunday School grades
- Requirements include 30 hours of individual community service and a group community service project, 4 projects on topics of the candidate’s choosing in the broad areas of family history, the group community service experience, Jewish identity, and Jewish culture.
- Ceremonies are individual or group, as the family chooses, and are designed by the participating families with the help of the Madrikha. They usually include a presentation of a project by the student, group singing, remarks by the parents, commemorative candle-lighting, and appreciations of each student by JCS staff members, ending in an oneg for guests and the congregation (click here for more information).
|||| The Sunday School kids love to go to... ::
- It is one of the several varieties of Jewish belief and practice, such as reform, orthodox, reconstruction, conservative, that have been developed throughout Jewish history.
- Secular Judaism grew out of the 18th century European Enlightenment and defines Judaism by its history, culture, and values.
- It assumes that human fate is in human hands. Divine intervention is neither expected nor asked for.
- Jewish identity is chosen by the individual. It is not automatically conferred by parentage, place or condition of birth, religious belief, religious ritual or authority, nor is it defined by others, whether Jewish or not.
- While canonical texts (Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, etc.) and Jewish history and traditions are cultural and historical resources, Secular Judaism is concerned with Tikun Olam - repairing the world as it is now through the use of human knowledge and talents (click here for more information).
|||| What is a Madrikha? ::
- We have classes for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and teen programs (click here for more information).
- We have a carefully planned curriculum covering holiday observances, ancient Jewish history, myths and their implied values, world Jewish experience from the middle ages through the Enlightenment, the Holocaust, Zionism, immigration, the American Jewish world, including political developments, social movements and organizations, Jewish families, communities and life cycles.
- Learning is through discussion, hands-on arts/crafts, music, dance, cooking, class projects and field trips.
- Our teen program for high school students inclues a community leadership program, assistance in Sunday School classes and social action projects (click here for more information).
Julie Gales is our Madrikha, which literally means leader in Hebrew. Functionally, a Madrikha is a community leader or guide, cermonial officiant, philosophic Jewish counsler, eduator and spokesperson for a Secular Humanistic community.
One of the prominent roles assumed by Madrikhim is that of officiants at life cycle events of community members, including baby namings, bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies, weddings, and funerals/memorials.
Julie became a Madrikha in 1993 and has worked for two Secular Jewish Communities: Jewish Parents Institute (JPI) in Detroit and our own Jewish Cultural Society. She has said that "I feel that my role as Madrikha is one way I can give back to the Secular Jewish communities that have had such a profound impact on my life and personal life philosophy."
|||| How do I join? ::
- Visit us some Sunday morning (click here for the calendar) and sit in on a Sunday School class
- Call us at 734-975-9872
- Come to an adult education event (click here for the calendar)
- Reserve a place at a first Friday Shabbat observance/dinner
- Attend and participate in one of our holiday or shabbat observances
It is JCS policy that no one is denied membership or Sunday School because of inability to pay full fees. If such costs are a problem, please contact us.
Registration information and form is available here.
Please note: email blasts for the summer will be sent out twice a month instead of weekly.
Have a wonderful summer and see you again in the Fall!
May 19, 2013
10:00am - 12:00am at County Farm Park
Please join us for the annual JCS Day Away at County Farm Park! We will be meeting at the children's play scape, which is the first area at County Farm Park. Click here for directions.
The community is invited to bring a food dish to share and hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers will be provided.
We will also gather for an open board meeting to update JCS members and discuss the bylaw amendments and new board members.
June First Friday Shabbat
June 7, 2013
6:30pm at the JCC
Registration is now open for June's First Friday Shabbat. Please click here to register.
NOTE: There will be no First Friday Shabbat for July as it conflicts with the 4th of July holiday.
Rosh Chodesh Tamuz: Shabbat Stroll
June 8, 2013
10:30am at Parker Mill County Park
JCS women are invited to join us for a Shabbat stroll in the park followed but lunch at a near-by restaurant.
An Evite has also been sent. Please contact Tamar if you did not receive it and would like to.
Please RSVP by June 7.
Please send us any updates about your mishpoke (family) to share with the JCS community. Things to celebrate and solace together. Graduation? Accepted to college? Weddings? Babies? New jobs? Condolences? Email Tamar!
The JCS office is looking to update! We are specifically in need of desks that can accommodate computers, hardware, printers etc.
If you have any furniture you would like to donate, please contact Tamar or Wendy to discuss the details. (We are all set with bookshelves for now.)
JCS is looking to update without incurring any additional costs, so all donations are appreciated.
A HUGE thank you to Wendy for a wonderful school year! You are a fantastic principal and we can't wait until next year!
These events are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Jewish Cultural Society.
- JCC Mom2Mom Sale: Sunday, June 2 at the JCC.
- Join the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor for a Mission to Israel in November! Click here for more information.
- Race: Are we so different? is a traveling exhibit and the inspiration for the entire Understanding Race Project. The exhibit will be on display at the UM Museum of Natural History from February 9 through May 27, 2013. Click here to find out more.