June 2, 2019: A Day To Honor Congregation Ahavas Israel

WHEREAS, for 125 years, Congregation Ahavas Israel has served as a kehillah kedoshah (holy community) in Grand Rapids, providing traditional Jewish practice in a modern, egalitarian setting; and,


WHEREAS, Congregation Ahavas Israel has been led by Rabbi David J.B. Krishef for 25 years. As the longest serving Rabbi in the congregation’s history, he has faithfully led worship, taught Torah and Judaism, and guided the community in traditional Jewish practice in a modern, inclusive, egalitarian setting; and,


WHEREAS, the Jewish community, with its long history in Grand Rapids, has served the broader community, including providing fresh vegetables to local food banks through the Corners of the Field Garden; and,


WHEREAS, Congregation Ahavas Israel’s inclusive, egalitarian congregation enriches the diversity of our city and state; and,


WHEREAS, in the late 1880’s, the roots of Congregation Ahavas Israel grew from a cemetery association; and,


WHEREAS, in the early 1890’s, fifteen families joined together to form Temple Beth Israel, after informally holding services in homes and stores. Over the next two decades, it grew quickly, and in 1911 a small group of congregants formed another synagogue, Ahavas Achim, located on the west side of Grand Rapids; and,


WHEREAS, over the next sixteen years, both congregations continued to grow, and they united in 1937 as Congregation Ahavas Israel; and,


WHEREAS, in 1971, Congregation Ahavas Israel moved into its current home at 2727 Michigan St., after residing in many different buildings over the years; and,


WHEREAS, now in the year 2019, after more than 125 years of organized Jewish presence in Grand Rapids, we join in celebrating the anniversary of the founding of our synagogue and its leader Rabbi David J.B. Krishef;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 2, 2019, as a day for all Michigan to honor and celebrate Grand Rapids’ Congregation Ahavas Israel.