Rabbi's Letter

January 24, 2018
8 Shevat 5778
Dear Friends,

Seeing as I will be out of town during Tu B’Shevat on January 31 st , we held our yearly Tu B’Shevat Seder this past Sunday at the One Room Shul House. And what a beautiful day it was.

We have been charged as Stewarts of the earth, some think that means that it all exists for our tastes or utility, to use at whim, but that is not what it means to be a Stewart of mother nature. We are it’s caretakers and to do our job we must be sensitive to the needs of every aspect of the natural world. Its about the air and the animals, the water and the mountains, the ice caps, birds, and more. It is up to us to take care of their needs. This world belongs to them as well. Our Tu B’Shevat seder is filled with poetry and gratitude for all that we are blessed to enjoy from mother nature. Thank you to all of the parents and Morah Charlotte whose participation helped to make it so special.

Enjoy the Pictures.
The tree is a metaphor in Judaism for Torah, it is a tree of life to those who hold it near. We finish our seder each year in the sanctuary in front of our beautiful windows that make you feel like you have been dropped into the middle of the most exquisite garden. One of the children said, it feels like we were standing in the MIDDLE of a tree. How beautiful is that?
And as life would have it, we lost two beloved congregants this week. Helen Solomon, the beloved mother of Susan Mintzes and Abe Moskow, our Whiteville congregant who has belonged to B’nai Israel for over fifty years. Both of these cherished people were deeply loved by so many. They themselves nourished those they loved throughout their long lives and like the roots of a tree will continue to feed the souls of those who knew them and shared life together long after they have left the stage of life.

The funeral for Abe Moskow will be held at B’nai Israel Congregation at 2PM on Wednesday the 24 th followed by interment at the B’nai Israel Cemetery.

There will be a Shivah minyan for Helen Solomon on Thursday the 25 th at 6PM at the Mintze’s Club House in Wrightsville Beach at 6PM.

And then on Sunday the 28 th of January, Rabbi Waxman will be leading a memorial service for Helen Solomon at 11AM, unfortunately I will be out of town that morning.

I often feel that death Is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the knowledge that our years are limited that makes them so precious.      
                                                               Joshua Loth Liebman
Please join us as we celebrate the B’nai Israel Sisterhood this coming Shabbat on Friday night the 26 th . It is Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of song. How lucky for us to be able to enjoy the Kavanotes as they fill our sanctuary with song.  
Our trip to Israel in May is being postponed. We have plenty of people interested in taking the trip but we cant seem to find the right dates. And since we have a great trip planned, I am going to offer up two possible dates and you will let me know if you are interested. When we have 15 to 20 people willing to go, we will book the trip.

Date one- October 10- 21 2018
Date two- June 13-23 2019
I will wait to hear from you.
Its that time again, Purim is just around the corner, on February 28 th at 6PM we will gather for the reading of the Megillah and have the intense kind of fun that the celebration demands. FUN!!!!!!

Our Hamantashen Queen, Rena Goldwasser will be organizing the Shalach Manot gifts bags again this year and overseeing all of the baking. The Sisterhood has generously offered to pay this year for all of the ingredients. THANK YOU!

Rena is planning to have baking sessions on February 19,20,21,22 , Monday through Thursday. She is looking for 5 bakers per session and all shifts must be confirmed by Rena herself . Her number is 860-490-0916. This is a very fun experience, in her words, “We have fun, we laugh, we kibbutz and we eat "not for prime time" cookies.” Please join the fun!
The giving of delicious Shalach Manot gift bags are a beautiful way to tell your fellow congregants how much you love and appreciate them. For those who wish to participate, each bag costs $36 and that gets your name on the gift card attached to the Shalach Manot bags to be given to all of our families. My dream is that every single B’nai Israel family participates and we have 100% participation in this act of giving that is one of the commandments of Purim. Nothing could be better than homemade hamantashan, except knowing it has come with love from your fellow congregants. 
I would like to share a few words by Rabbi Micha Greenstein about Tu B’Shevat,

Tu B’Shevat is a holiday for skeptics and mystics alike. You don’t have to be a mystic to be enthralled by trees. In the presence of nature’s greatest wonders, even a skeptic would concur that behind all the brokenness we witness in our lives, there is an awesome beauty and unity.
As a giant metaphor for the interconnectedness of all things-people, nature and time itself, Tu B’Shevat speaks to the world. And for the wondering Jew, the message is even more direct. How ever one chooses to plant the precious seed of Judaism, with love and care, it will reap a lifetime of meaning and blessing, even beyond one’s lifetime.
To conclude, I would like to share with you my words as spoken by Jane Birnbach last Shabbat on my behalf at the Woman’s March here in Wilmington.
Good afternoon friends,

I wish I could be with you as my memory of last year’s March in Washington DC remains one of the beautiful highlights of my life.

I am a Rabbi because of the spiritual call that has pursued me for the full 61 years of my life and in my Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is a central spiritual idea which runs the very engine of life.

When the sun descends every Friday evening, it ushers in the holy and sacred Sabbath for 24 hours. And during those hours we experience time, of different sort. We are in God’s presence and our attention is paid to the most meaningful aspects of our lives.
I spend my Sabbath by leading spiritually uplifting services for my congregation and then retreating from the rat race of life to engage and nourish the soul.

The Sabbath is the day outside of time, it is a day of the Soul.

This is the reason that I am unable to attend the rally, though my dear friend, Jane Birnbach will share my thoughts, I am both grateful and with you in spirit.

The Sabbath is a day to peel away the false proclamations of life so that we are ever reaching for higher truths. And gathering as women to draw the line in the sand is indeed, our privileged higher truth.

How long have we waited? How long have we been relegated to that seat in the back, where our worth was defined by our perceived utility to others?

On this blessed Sabbath, the higher truth emerges, we are living at a time when we can finally insist that our worth will be judged by God alone. We can talk back and remind the world what God spoke on the very first page of the Bible, in Genesis….

“On the sixth day God created humanity, male and female God created them.”

“I, God have made you all in My image.”

We are each other, we are the same.

We live at a time when our cries for equality are louder than our fears of retribution. Gathering as sisters and supportive brothers we envision together a world where all divisions amidst the human race will be seen as nothing more than God’s magnificent paintbrush strokes, rather than excuses for dividing humanity and limiting the ways in which each human soul may manifest his or her sacred identity.

We have always been equal, we just didn’t know it. Today we do, today we know. And today we stand for a better future, for freedoms of conscience, for just confidences, for our voices to be heard with respect.

There is a long road that stretches out before us. The lag time that exists between the birth of an idea and the real changes that reflect that idea are never short and never easy. So we gather together to muster strength. To map out a plan and to infuse that plan with courage.

The world is NOT fair and our freedom will only come when we refuse to back down from those who wish to keep us chained to their ideas of what a woman should be.

A woman should be whatever her soul calls her to be.

False limitations based on gender are nothing more than ignorance and utility. Our bodies, the bodies of the entire human race, are mere vehicles in order to bring the work, the vison and the calling of the soul into real time. There is no limit of potential that can be determined by the shape of a body.

But more than anything, we need each other. We need to stay clear and strong about our swift and decisive responses to all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, injustice and hatred.

WE MUST BE THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS FOR ALL OF GOD’S VULNERALE SOULS. For we have always been and still are, on the front lines of the misplaced truth of our true equality.

My prayers are with you today as is my commitment to being unafraid to speak up, for you and for me and for all of the women who have been denied their voice since the beginning of time. We are blessed to live at such an age where the walls that kept us out are just beginning to crumble.
It is a time of great responsibility for the wall keepers will not relinquish our fate easily.

On this sacred Sabbath, the day of the soul, feel your mighty strength within you and be not afraid. We are here to take a stand for right!

May strength find you, may support surround, and may a future, more fair for all, be within reach.

Thank you,

Rabbi Julie Kozlow

Again our hearts and prayers go out to the MIntzes’ and the Moskows’ for the loss of their loved ones. Helen Solomon and Abe Moskow, both lived their lives as blessings and will continue to impact our world with their goodness even though they have left us.

באהבה ושלום

Shabbat Shalom to all!
הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה
Rabbi Julie Kozlow
(910) 762-1117 ~ B'nai Israel phone