Congregation T’chiyah — Oak Park, MI

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Name: Congregation T’chiyah
Address: 15000 W 10 Mile Rd Oak Park, MI 48327-1427
Denominational affiliation: Reconstructionist
Member units (households): 0-100
What percentage of members are older than 50? 60%
How many people attend a regular Shabbat service? Services occur every Shabbat, with timing and location determined by an alternating schedule. The first Shabbat of the month is held on Saturday mornings in downtown Detroit with the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit, the second Shabbat of the month is our Friday night Musical Potluck at our Oak Park location, the third is our Saturday morning Brunch & Learn in Oak Park, and the fourth is celebrated by Havdalah at the rabbi’s home in Detroit. There is usually a crowd of about 10-25 people at any given Shabbat, with numbers reaching up to 40 for our Musical Potluck.

Length of typical Shabbat morning service? Services tend to last around two hours. Saturday morning services run approximately two hours, with Kiddush and/or Brunch & Learn to follow. Our Second Shabbat musical potluck service is an hour and a half of davening with roughly an hour of potluck, Torah discussion and conversation to follow.
Shabbat dress code: Casual and comfortable. Some prefer to dress up, but there is no expectation to do so. Tallitot and kippot are available and optional for people of any gender.
Daily services? No.
Does your synagogue have its own building? If not, where do you meet for services? T’chiyah does not have its own building. Regular services are held at the Mondry Building in the Jewish Community Center of Oak Park, Christ Church in Downtown Detroit, and, in the case of Havdalah, Rabbi Alana Alpert’s home in Detroit. Holiday programming typically occurs in rented spaces in Detroit, including Plymouth UCC and Bethel Community Transformation Center, home of the historic Temple Beth-El.
Is there an opportunity to socialize after services? Friday nights offer socializing before services, during which l’chaims of whiskey and kombucha are distributed as people schmooze, sing and light Shabbat candles. Services are followed by potluck dinner, where attendees can choose between participatory Torah discussion facilitated by Rabbi Alana Alpert/lay leaders, or the “Torah of our Lives” table, where folks may engage in the treasured pastime of holy schmoozing. Saturday morning services feature social time during the post-service Kiddush and/or Brunch & Learn.

Language of service: The liturgy itself is largely in Hebrew (transliteration available in the siddur) though kavanot (intentions) and guiding directions are always given in English. Some prayers and poetry are in English only.
Is another language offered in the prayer book? English
Children’s programming: Recently, the Fifth Shabbat of the month has been designated as a time for a children’s program led by our Community Engagement Associate with assistance from our community’s youth. The service is envisioned as an accessible, hour-long Saturday morning service that is songful, silly and stimulating for children, families and the community in general. The service is followed by a light snack, and wraps up in time for afternoon nap.
Accessibility for people with disabilities: T’chiyah’s main meeting place - the Mondry Building in Oak Park, MI - is a single-story, ADA-accessible building. Care is taken to avoid ableist language in our communications, and service attendees are encouraged to prioritize their personal needs and preferences over ritual prescriptions for standing or sitting. We have successfully accommodated guests with extreme chemical sensitivities by holding fragrance-free events in the past, and are interested in working to make our space more accessible to a diversity of needs.
Are services streamed online? Services are not streamed online currently. As a community, we value the practice of untethering ourselves a bit from electronic devices when we are gathered together for Shabbat or holidays, but this practice may change depending on the access needs of our congregants.
Are the rabbi’s sermons available online? Some of the rabbi’s sermons are available online on the Detroit Jews for Justice website.
Percentage of members in interfaith marriages? Approximately 5% of our members are intermarried or involved in partnerships with people who do not identify as Jewish. A similar number of our congregants hail from interfaith families, as well.
Will the rabbi officiate at an interfaith wedding? Will he/she attend one? Yes and yes, with pleasure.
Are there distinct roles for men and women in your synagogue? Our community strives to practice egalitarianism that extends beyond the gender binary. People of all genders are welcomed and encouraged to participate in all the rituals and activities that so move them.

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Congregation T’chiyah — Oak Park, MI

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