Can people really live happily ever after?  Is happiness a Jewish value? Can you find happiness at a book fair? On Sunday, November 11, 2012, hundreds of Detroiters will come together in pursuit of happiness in the simple pleasures of bagels, books and blessings.

Conceived as a community Day of Learning to explore the themes of Jewish spirituality and gratitude, “Count Your Blessings” is a program of Sh’ma! Detroit, organized by Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education in partnership with the Jewish Community Center.

A Book Fair and a Feast of Ideas

Affiliated with the Global Day of Jewish Learning, the program is presented in conjunction with the Annual Jewish Book Fair, offering participants a wealth of choices.  “Talk about blessings, we are truly fortunate to be Jewish in Detroit,” observes event co-chair Norrine Freeman,“Not only do we host a thriving Jewish Book Fair which draws preeminent writers from around the nation, we also have our own resources in a robust community of educators and spiritual leaders.”   As the “centerpiece” of Sunday’s programming at the Book Fair, “Count Your Blessings” offers a full menu of speakers, workshops and family activities to be held throughout the day at the JCC in both the West Bloomfield and Oak Park locations.

Starting with a Sunday “Brunch and Learn”

Andrea Lieber

Professor Andrea Lieber, author “One Hundred Blessings a Day”

New this year, a Scholar’s Brunch opens the program at the West Bloomfield JCC where Dr. Andrea Lieber is to speak on the topic of her most recent book, One Hundred Blessings a Day: Why Jewish Spirituality Begins with Gratitude. Lieber is an Associate Professor of Religion at Dickinson College, and oversees the university grant program on the study of secular Jewish history and culture.

Keynote: In Pursuit of Happiness

Noting the quality of speakers at the event, Judy Loebl, Associate Director of Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education (Lifelong Learning) commented, “We’re thrilled to host Rabbi David Fohrman as our keynote speaker this year. Many of us know him as an engaging and inspiring Jewish scholar who lectures internationally on a wide range of biblical themes.” Rabbi Fohrman will address What the Garden of Eden Teaches Us about The Pursuit of Happiness on Sunday, at 12:45 p.m, at the JCC in West Bloomfield.

Rabbi David Fohrman

Rabbi David Fohrman

Delivering the endnote address at 8 p.m. at the JCC in Oak Park, Rabbi Fohrman will speak on the topic of “Bittersweet Blessings: A Foray into the Secret Depths of Hallel.

Founder of the Aleph Beta Academy, Rabbi Fohrman has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University and as a lead writer and editor for ArtScroll’s Talmud translation project. He is author of The Beast that Crouches at the Door, finalist for the 2007 National Jewish Book Award, and The Queen You Thought You Knew.

So Much to Learn, So Little Time

Can a “Day of Learning” lead to lifetime learning? Ask Norrine, a “serial student” of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. Her answer: “I find that our history, our tradition, our culture are infinitely fascinating. That’s what brings me back to Melton classes year after year —  for eight years now. You can never get enough. The wonderful thing about a “Community Day of Learning” is the opportunity it gives you to taste what our community has to offer.  It is our hope that everyone who joins us leaves satisfied, happy for the new discoveries and connections made, and ready to come back for more.”

Count Your Blessings: How Many Ways?

For the full listing of workshops and speakers, go to

Workshop leaders include:

Rabbi Keren Alpert, Temple Beth El

Rabbi Jonathan Berger, Hillel Day School

Rabbi Aaron Bergman, Adat Shalom Synagogue

Ruth Bergman, Melton and FedEd Instructor

Rabbi Leiby Burnham, Partners in Torah

Wendy Gamer, Community Educator

Rabbi Robert Morais, Director, Shalom Street

Rabbi Yechiel Morris, Young Israel of Southfield

Rabbi Tzvi Muller, Partners in Torah

Dr. Mitch Parker, Melton and FedEd Instructor

Rabbi Steven Rubenstein, Congregation Beth Ahm

Rabbi Shneur Silberberg, Bais Chabad Torah Center

Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg, Congregation Shir Tikvah

Rabbi Aaron Starr, Congregation Shaarey Zedek

Rabbi Herbert Yoskowitz, Adat Shalom Synagogue

To register or for information:

or call 248-502-2850

Program Sponsors: 

Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education, FedEd,  the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment) and the 61st Annual Jewish Book Fair.





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