Decorative image with the title of the page on it which reads Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

Contact Us:

Michael Pytlik
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Director of the Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement
Director of Judaic Studies

Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement

Oakland University’s Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement serves as a hub for education and community outreach on the rich tradition of Judaism and Jewish culture.

The Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement was created through a generous gift by Cis Maisel, a community leader in southeastern Michigan and a staunch advocate for education. The newly created center will focus on the study of Judaism from an academic standpoint as well as provide an important space for research that enhances the understanding of the rich traditions of Judaism from around the world. It is the donor’s hope that the center will create new collaborations and build a new level of understanding about Judaism in southeast Michigan and beyond.

Upcoming Events

The Cis Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement is proud to sponsor the event:

A virtual event with host Dr. Michael Pytlik, Director of the Cis Maisel Center at Oakland University 

Despair is Not Jewish

With Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg

January 13, 2021 at 7:00 P.M.

Even though Jews have suffered horrific exiles, persecutions, the Holocaust, and discrimination, despair has never been a Jewish option.  It has been said that Jews have given the world hope; hope for times of chaos.  In our current time we face another set of monumental challenges and opportunities, and Judaism has lessons for us to learn as we make our way to a better future.  Join Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg, Rabbi Emeritus of Shir Tikvah in Troy, for an engaging discussion on why despair is not Jewish, and how Jews have coped over time.  Arnie's talk will be followed by questions from the audience.

Free and open to the public, but registration is required


Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg:  

Rabbi Arnie was spiritual leader of Congregation Shir Tikvah for 29 years until his retirement in 2016.  While serving as rabbi emeritus at Shir Tikvah, he is serving Congregation Beth Shalom of Traverse City part time.

After earning his Bachelor's degree from Albion College.  He received his Master's degree and rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in New York, as well as his Doctor of Divinity honorus causa

Rabbi Arnie 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. 

Rabbi Arnie studied Hinduism and Buddhism with special emphasis on meditation techniques and chant.  Rabbi Arnie has deepened his own Jewish spirituality by witnessing other traditional faith practices. 

Rabbi Arnie lives in Lake Orion with his husband, Robert, and their Italian Waterdog, Kobi.

Click here to be taken to the event flyer.



The Maisel Center will allow OU to develop ongoing programs and conversation series, host lectures, display important cultural artifacts and collaborate with other local institutions and community groups in new and exciting ways.


The board members will serve to guide the CIS Maisel Center for Judaic Studies and Community Engagement at Oakland University.  We welcome all of these members and look forward to their valued input on our programs and future events.

Ruth Bergman, Education Director at the Holocaust Memorial Center
Rabbi Joseph Klein, retired rabbi and faculty at Oakland University and Rochester College, Federation, and community synagogues
Mr. Dan Medow, community leader and member of the Judiac Studies Committee for Oakland Michael Silverstein, community leader and Director of Development at Oakland's Business School