Our Rabbi: Rabbi Aura Ahuvia
Rabbi Aura Bartfeld Ahuvia is enjoying her second year with Congregation Shir Tikvah as its rabbi. Ordained as both rabbi and Mashpiah (spiritual guide), she brings a passion for community-building and experimentation, alongside an abiding respect for the deep wisdom embedded within Judaism. She is an accomplished guitarist and singer, and loves singing in harmony with others. She is also an enthusiastic teacher, and feels passionate about opening people’s eyes to the beauty and freshness of ancient tradition.
Originally from Milwaukee, Rabbi Ahuvia lived in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Woodstock, NY—her first pulpit—before moving to Royal Oak. She entered rabbinic school while her boys were still young, and as a student, served as spiritual leader for the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, a group that she and her husband helped co-found. Before that, she served on the board of Ann Arbor’s Hebrew Day School, and spent a few years as the program director for Beth Israel Congregation. Rabbi Aura holds two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, one in journalism and the second in Judaic Studies. Her master’s thesis focused on the childhood antecedents of synagogue affiliation.
Excited about innovation within worship, she is currently participating in the Clergy Leadership Incubator, a national initiative supporting newer rabbis who seek to be spiritually inventive. She sits on the board of ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and created “Clergy Camp,” a week-long, continuing professional development intensive for Renewal rabbis, cantors and rabbinic pastors, which debuted summer, 2016. She is a member of OHALAH Rabbinical Association.
Rabbi Aura enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee, cooking and baking. She and husband Aaron, a marketing professor who studies materialism and happiness, just celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have two grown sons, Isaac and Jonah.
Rabbi Emeritus: Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg
Rabbi Arnie, as he is known to all, retired as spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Tikvah in June 2016 after 28 years with the congregation. His depth of compassion has earned him devotion from members of Congregation Shir Tikvah and those in the greater Detroit area.
After earning his Bachelor's degree from Albion College, Rabbi Arnie received his Master's degree and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in New York. He sought a profession that combined a love for Judaism with teaching, counseling and community development.
As a part of his community involvement, Rabbi Arnie supports many causes and has served on the boards of JARC, AIDS Interfaith Network, Triangle Foundation, Jewish Community Relations Council, Michigan Jewish AIDS Coalition, Jewish Gay Network, and has served as Rabbinic Dean of the National Federation of Temple Youth - Michigan Region, and been on the staff of Albion College. He is dedicated to making a difference in the Jewish community and beyond.
Bridge-building between the Jewish community and other religions, ethnicities and races has also been among his passions. Helping foster understanding with Muslims, African Americans, and Christians is a focus of his rabbinate.
In his sabbatical travels, Rabbi Arnie studied Hinduism and Budhism with special emphasis on meditation techniques and chant. These, too, have been part of Jewish practice for thousands of years. Rabbi Arnie has deepened his own Jewish spirituality by witnessing other traditional faith practices. He often connects with indigenous tribes and their spiritual elders in various countries in addition to bringing support for “lost” Jewish tribes in Africa and India.
Rabbi Arnie lives in Lake Orion with his husband, Robert, and their Italian Waterdog, Kobi.