In 1982, a small group of people desired to establish a Jewish community for those residing east of Woodward. In time, we selected as our name Congregation Shir Tikvah (Song of Hope), reflecting the strong roles that music and prayer, learning and laughter, faith and healing play in our community. Today, the Shir Tikvah family consists of members from the western edge of Oakland County to the eastern edge of Macomb County, and to the northern-and southern-most points of I-75. We built our building in 1998 located only one mile north of Somerset Mall in Troy.
"Congregation Shir Tikvah is an innovative, yet traditional, friendly and inclusive congregation, valuing diversity, where all can seek G-d and strengthen spiritual, social, educational and cultural aspects of Jewish life. As a bridge between our membership, our community and the State of Israel, Shir Tikvah embraces our heritage, provides continuity and encourages the evolution of Judaism into the future."
We consider this a living document and it guides every decision we make. We believe everyone is made in G-d's image and we strive to respect the needs of all members.
Congregation Shir Tikvah is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism and is part of Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. “As a Reform-Renewal synagogue, Congregation Shir Tikvah is committed to the on-going study of the full range of mitzvot (Jewish sacred obligations) and the expression of those mitzvot as they are relevant to us as 21st century Jews. Moreover, the Shir Tikvah family is committed to welcoming all who desire to find a home with us: including intermarried couples, gays and lesbians, Jews-by-choice, Jews-by-birth, families, and singles.
Reform Judaism magazine chose us as one of four exemplary congregations in their Spring 1997 issue.
We hold Shabbat services every Friday night and Saturday morning. A mix of formats each month (spirited music, contemplative, earlier, later, tot-oriented) allows congregants to choose what best suits their interests and schedules. About once a month, we have a congregational Shabbat dinner before Friday night services prepared by our Dinner Divas. When the weather cooperates, we sometimes hold services in our outdoor sanctuary in the woods behind our main building.
The balance of Hebrew and English in our services varies, although the English content is always sufficient to make the service understandable and meaningful to all. Men and women participate equally in all services, and the wearing of kippot (traditional head coverings) and tallitot (prayer shawls) is left to the individual's discretion.
We come together as a congregation for High Holy Day services, with only one seating for all services. We observe the first day of Rosh Hashanah at the Shul and the second day at a local park for a family-friendly musical "Tashlich" service. Family services are offered on the afternoons of both the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. We conclude the closing service of Yom Kippur with a congregational potluck break fast. Of course, we also have services for other holidays and festivals.
Ecclesiastes tells us, "To everything there is a season." Because lifecycle events are an important part of Jewish family life, we strive to make each one memorable, meaningful and beautiful. Within the congregation, we have all the resources for lifecycle observances, including Brit Milah (the bris, or circumcision), baby-naming, bar and bat mitzvah, confirmation, marriage, burial, mourning and conversion.
Rabbi Arnie, as he is known to all, is beginning his 25th year as spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Tikvah. His depth of compassion has earned him devotion from members of Congregation Shir Tikvah and those in the greater Detroit area.
After earning his Bachelor's degree from Albion College, Rabbi Arnie received his Master's degree and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in New York. He sought a profession that combined a love for Judaism with teaching, counseling, community development.
As a part of his community involvement, Rabbi Arnie supports many causes and has served on the boards of JARC, AIDS Interfaith Network, Triangle Foundation, Jewish Community Relations Council, Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition, Jewish Gay Network, and has served as Rabbinic Dean of the National Federation of Temple Youth - Michigan Region, and been on the staff of Albion College. He is dedicated to making a difference in the Jewish community and beyond.
Bridge-building between the Jewish community and other religions, ethnicities and races has also been among his passions. Helping foster understanding with Muslims, African Americans, and Christians is a focus of his rabbinate.
In his sabbatical travels, Rabbi Arnie studied Hinduism and Buddhism with special emphasis on meditation techniques and chant. These, too, have been part of Jewish practice for thousands of years. Rabbi Arnie 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.
Rabbi Arnie lives in Lake Orion with his life-partner, Robert, and their Italian Waterdog, Kobi.
We offer a full range of programs and services for adults and children. These include traditional and modern observances of holidays and Shabbat, a professionally run Family Education Program, as well as adult education and social programs. Shir Tikvah also boasts other groups covering a wide array of interests such as a social action group, a Sisterhood, a book club, and a group for high school students that are affiliated with the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY). We also sponsor a Purim Carnival, Congregational Seder, Sukkot service at Rabbi Arnie’s home, Hanukkah festivities and a family oriented Labor Day weekend retreat.
Our Shabbat services are the focal point for our religious observances. We hold services every Friday night and Saturday morning. The structure of the service will vary to serve all needs. Once a month we have a congregational Shabbat dinner before services.
Our High Holiday services are deeply appreciated by our congregants. For these services we use The New Mahzor. We observe the first day of Rosh Hashanah at the Synagogue and the second day at a local park for a traditional "Tashlich" service. Family services are conducted on the afternoons of both the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. We conclude the Family service on Rosh Hashanah with apples and honey and the closing service of Yom Kippur with a Congregational Potluck break fast.
Recognizing that participation in life cycle events is an important part of Jewish family life; we have within Shir Tikvah all the resources for life cycle observances. Those include Brit Milah (bris), baby-naming, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, confirmation, marriage, burial, and shiva.
Congregation Shir Tikvah is deeply committed to lifelong Jewish learning. Our highly-regarded Sam and Jean Frankel Family Education Program is unique in the Detroit metropolitan area: it is a religious school focusing on family education. Students, teachers and parents are regularly involved in special activities throughout the school year, helping to strengthen the family's Jewish identity and create positive Jewish memories. Many of our teens serve as madrachim (teaching assistants) in the Family Education program, giving the younger students role models and connections with older students, and giving the teens leadership training and work experience.
The Family Education Program spans pre-kindergarten through high school. Pre-K through third grade meets on Sunday mornings; fourth through sixth grade meets on Sunday mornings and Tuesday afternoons. Seventh through ninth grade meets on Monday evenings at CST and tenth through twelfth grade meets on Wednesday evenings at the Birmingham office of their teacher. The Hebrew curriculum focuses on Hebrew through prayer, so that students are familiar with the Hebrew prayers in the service well before they begin formal bar or bat mitzvah preparation. For nine months prior to their bar or bat mitzvah, students also meet weekly with one of our talented private tutors for intensive assistance with Torah and Haftarah.
We also offer an adult component to our Family Education Program with a variety of classes in Hebrew, Judaic studies and contemporary issues affecting Jews. These classes are offered at various times during the year by various instructors (both from CST and outside) and are tailored to meet the changing interests of our members. Torah study meets every Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m.
Congregation Shir Tikvah is located at 3900 Northfield Parkway, just south of Wattles between Coolidge and Crooks in Troy. After being in several temporary locations, we moved into our own new building in April 1998. The building is very versatile and can accommodate up to 600 people in theatre seating or 240 for sit-down banquet-style. We also have an outdoor sanctuary in the woods behind the main building. It can accommodate up to 150 people for services, weddings or meditation as weather permits.
Our synagogue is open to all. Membership rights are never denied or restricted based on financial circumstances. If there is a need for assistance on dues, it is simply a matter of discussing this with our Administrator. We feel strongly that finances, while essential for us to continue, are secondary to fulfilling our Mission Statement. Also, our non-Jewish spouses or partners are welcome and enjoy all membership privileges.
A monthly newsletter called the "Town Schrier" is mailed or emailed to all current & prospective members. The newsletter includes a wide range of articles from the Rabbis’ message, calendar of services and events to Board of Trustee notes. We also maintain an e-mail notification service.