Synagogue Spotlight: Keter Torah Currently Has Members From About 20 Countries Among Their 100 or so Families – The Jewish News

Posted By on April 29, 2022

West Bloomfields Keter Torah Synagogue is Michigans only Sephardic synagogue. That, in and of itself, lends itself to the uniqueness of what we are, said third-generation president Rick Behar, whose grandparents Jacob and Judith Chicorel founded Keter Torah in 1917 after arriving in Detroit from Turkey.

Behars grandfather, Jacob Chicorel, was a president, the chazzan and spiritual leader for 46 years. Behars mother, Shirley Chicorel Behar, was an influential president who developed an affiliation with Rabbi Solomon Maimon (direct descendent of Maimonides) from Seattle.

Together, they inspired us to finally get the land and prepare the thoughts of a synagogue in the future, Behar said.

In one fundraising evening at Behars cousin Joel and Shelley Taubers home, they raised enough money to build after renting small sanctuaries, schools and social halls for 85 years.

With great energy and coordination by the Ben Ezra brothers, Albert, David and Isaac, along with many others, our synagogue was built, Behar said. We finally opened our first kehila as The Jacob and Judith Chicorel Building in 2002. Behar has been president since 2009.

Behar says Keter Torahs diversity goes hand-in-hand with its uniqueness as well, currently having members from about 20 countries among their 100 or so families. We are as ethnically and culturally diverse as possible yet unified in our beliefs and halachah, Behar said.

Keter Torah has seen a recent influx of Azerbaijani families, which Behar says has been a great benefit and addition to the community and congregation.

Keter Torah has programming later this year in association with the government of Azerbaijan with the ambassador and consul general coming to Detroit for a cultural event after the High Holidays.

Keter Torahs Rabbi Sasson Natan, along with Barbara Moretsky from Stand With Us, envisioned the Different Cultures Different Foods series of events, allowing the synagogue to showcase the diversity of their community. Rabbi Sasson expanded it to include Keter Torah members displaced from various countries throughout the Middle East and Europe.

They were able to share their stories from their countries of origin while a meal indigenous to that country was served and live music from that country was also performed, Behar said. To date, we have covered about 12-15 countries.

The last event before the pandemic was held at Congregation Beth Shalom and around 400500 people attended.

Keter Torahs services are in Hebrew and their prayer books are in Hebrew, English, Russian and Azerbaijani with transliterations. Services are held every day. Members speak many languages including French, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Greek, Russian and Azerbaijani.

Were known for the tremendous ethnic flavor and uniqueness of our daily minyan and Shabbat services, Behar said. If people are interested in the Sephardic melodies and a different sound, if theyre Sephardic and looking for a synagogue thats going to give them the feeling of what their childhood services were like or what it was like when they were in Israel, they should come and check us out.

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Synagogue Spotlight: Keter Torah Currently Has Members From About 20 Countries Among Their 100 or so Families - The Jewish News

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