Chabad House To Give Dinner Proceeds to Victims of Terror

by Susan Tawil - WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI

March 6, 2003

By Susan Tawil

From the Detroit Jewish News

WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI--As a demonstration of its steadfast support, the Sara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center will donate 20 percent of the proceeds of its annual dinner to victims of terror in Israel and to members of the Israel Defense Forces.

“We feel it is important, especially now, to express our solidarity with Israel,” said Elimelech Silberberg, rabbi of the West Bloomfield synagogue.

Slated for Sunday, March 9, at the Ramada Inn in Southfield, the dinner will feature a program heavy with support for Israel. Guest speakers will be Daniel Pipes, the national columnist and director of the Middle East Forum, and Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America.

The Torah Center also will honor congregants Dr. Lawrence and Natalie Lipnik of West Bloomfield and Dr. Jerome and Mindy Kaufman of Bloomfield Hills.

The Lipniks, who will receive the Eitz Chaim (Tree of Life) Award, actually met at a Bais Chabad-sponsored Shabbaton. They are both active members of the synagogue.

Natalie Lipnik, an interior designer, headed the synagogue’s design committee. She created the sanctuary’s ner tamid (eternal light) and designed the stained glass windows and parochet (Holy Ark curtain). She also runs Bais Chabad’s biennial Judaica Art Fair, which raises tens of thousands of dollars to help not only the synagogue, but also the Israeli artists whose works are sold.

Dr. Lipnik, an internist, learns regularly with Rabbi Silberberg and coached the Bais Chabad baseball team. He also coaches Yeshivat Akiva’s basketball team, where Elie, the youngest of the Lipnik’s four children, attends school.

The Kaufmans will receive the Community Service Award at the dinner. Dr. Kaufman says his family was “adopted” by Bais Chabad. “It’s like a big family there. We share simchahs [joyous occasions] and are there for each other in bad times, too.”

A retired ophthalmologist, Dr. Kaufman is national secretary of the Zionist Organization of America and is active in many pro-Israel organizations including the One Israel Fund, the Yesha Heartland Campaign and the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting. His letters and opinion pieces appear frequently in the Jewish News and other newspapers.

Mindy Kaufman is what her husband calls “a social agency dream girl.” She is on the board of the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, Children of Chernobyl and others. She is an Emmy Award-winning television producer, and created two nationally syndicated children’s series.

The Kaufmans have four children and eight grandchildren and live in Bloomfield Hills. They have been involved in Bais Chabad for the past two years.

“I love the Orthodoxy,” he says. “I feel like I’m going back to my roots.”

The Sara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center is a full-service synagogue, offering not only prayer services and social programming, but also a full array of classes, Shabbatonim and the largest Torah tape library in Michigan, which is part of their community Judaica library.

The Torah Center also sponsors weekly classes at the Bais Chabad at the University of Michigan, and runs the Torah Super Phone, (248) 557-8545, which offers talks on the weekly Torah portion and Jewish law.

Rabbi Silberberg also runs an online matchmaking service. A Bais Chabad trip to Israel in December brought presents for children and $18,000 in donations for various social programs there.

“We hope the dinner will be successful in raising money for Israel,” the rabbi says. “We hope other organizations will follow suit.”

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