Rabbi's Letter

July 18, 2018
6 Av 5778
What is this day of darkest mourning?
The 9 th of AV
What is this day of fasting and tears, for what do we cry? For what do we mourn?

Dear Friends,

Here we are once again at this memory stop along the way of Jewish life. Tisha B’Av is the darkest day of the Jewish year. It is for traditional Jews, a fast day, a day to look back and remember the indescribable suffering of our ancestors. It is a day to drown in sorrow.

This year I am wondering about that intense look back into the pit of suffering and I am thinking about the ways in which our collective soul is impacted by that experience. Is there ever a time to let go of some memories, do they sometimes serve to reinjure? Does our tradition give us the freedom to make that determination. Is looking back into darkness ever a way towards light?

Please join us on  Saturday evening July 21 st , at 7PM for our Tisha B’Av services , when we will be considering these vital issues about this complex and demanding day in our Jewish calendar.  We will listen to the haunting words of Eicha and ponder the journey this tradition has taken throughout the history of time. Eicha means HOW? How can such a world be that contains so much pain and suffering? And I ask, HOW can we heal from that trauma if we refuse to let it go?

What can we illuminate about this dark day, what can we salvage from the sorrow?
I feel such pride in the good work of the  Carolina Jews For Justice who have decided to dedicate the three weeks of mourning that begin on Tisha B’Av to channeling their mourning to others in need rather than shine the focus on ourselves and the trauma of the past.
In 1938 two weeks after Kristallnacht, a Gallop poll asked Americans if America should resettle a large number of Jewish exiles from Germany. 72% of those polled said NO.

Carolina Jews for Justice wrote,

The Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the ancient synagogue and the generations of forced migration of the ancient Israelite people. It is a day of mourning for the plight of our refugee ancestors. Today, as American Jews, we use this commemoration to mourn and resist the policies of our current government that are endangering, abusing, incarcerating and deporting refugees and immigrants seeking safety. We invite our neighbors and friends of all faiths and backgrounds to join with us to grieve and resist.

They have my full support.

If we do not sustain Justice, Justice will not sustain us
                                                            Frances Bacon
Thank you to our last Good Shepherd crew, Marvin, Sarah and Robin Neuwirth, Scott Johnston, Jeff Roberts, Dodi Levy, Sharon Dresbach, and Kate. It is always such a light up to my soul to see people who never would have thought to show up and do this great mitzvah, show up and shine. Such a little thing expands the soul in so many beautiful directions. Thank you all who have joined us for this good work and please, if you haven’t, call and get yourself on the list. You will gain way more than you give.

Our next Good Shepherd date - August 8 th 2018
Last Sunday, Rich Weissman, Murray Sherman and I took off on our bicycles for a 30-mile trail ride from Independence and Oleander down to Wrightsville Beach and back. This was one of the Silent Auction bids last Hanukkah at our Festival of Lights celebration. We planned to ride to the ocean and stop at the Causeway Café for breakfast. There we met up with Michelle Bannon, Dee Sherman and Joanna Puritz who came to join us for a delicious breakfast and then, after pancakes, we left them behind to continue on our ride. 

The day was perfect, ocean breezes and light humidity. At one point of the ride we screeched to a halt because Marvin Neuwirth was walking his dogs along the same bike path and so we stopped to chat. And then once we made it to Wrightsville, we headed for the North end and there we ran into Joel Mintzes so we enjoyed a visit with him and then we headed to the south end of the island and passed by the Freedlands’ dock where the entire family was gathered and so we stopped by for a visit there as well. Can you imagine anything more fun than this?
I am busy planning for the High Holidays and I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like the honor of being called to the Bima during one of our services to read an English reading. This is your way of being a part of our community and sharing who you are with your fellow congregants. The more that you give of yourself to the community, the more our community becomes you. Participation is a way of investing your soul so please, hit the reply if you’d like a reading and let me put you on the list.   Hit reply :)
Mazel Tov Barry and Leah on their grandson Jack Samuel Laub born on May 29th!!! Nothing like being grandparents!
I am also meeting regularly with our Cantor Zach Golden, who is actually a Rabbinic student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, my old stomping ground. Rabbi Zach has a voice that rivals the best of any Cantor and his knowledge of liturgy is quite impressive. We are studying via skype as he is spending the summer in Europe teaching at a Jewish camp. His voice is captivating. I can’t wait for you to hear his davening.

If you would like to host Rabbi Zach for a meal during his stay in Wilmington for one of the ten days that he will be in town, please give me a call. Thank you!
I know this seems a bit early but last year we, HAD TO LEAVE A BUNCH OF OUR CONGREGANTS AT THE DOCK BECAUSE WE RAN OUT OF ROOM ON THE BOAT :( The boat can only hold 49 people. 

Therefore, we are starting to take reservations now. Tachlich will be on September 2 . The cost is $15 per person for the promise of fun, music and a tashlich prayer. This is the perfect way to start a new year. Please RSVP to Kate in the office as soon as possible.
The One Room Shul House is getting ready for the start of our third year! We will be registering for school at our congregational SHUL DAY! Sunday, August 26 th at 10 AM . We will then be heading over to DEFY GRAVITY for some jumping fun followed by a visit to Mellow Mushroom for pizza. That was my promise to the kids for being such amazing students all year long, and how great they were. We are going to have a wonderful time! 

Parents, please RSVP to Kate that you plan to attend registration and our day of fun. Rabbi is paying but you will need to accompany your children.

If you know of anyone looking for a wonderful Jewish school for their children, please contact Rabbi Julie for information on the One Room Shul House.


To the Parents of the One Room Shul House
August 22 nd , will be a gathering at Rabbi Kozlow’s home for our parents of the One Room Shul House, where we will share calendars, schedules, plans for the year, parental participation, vision and mission for the year to come. Wednesday the 22 nd of August at 6:30 PM , please RSVP to Rabbi Julie by hitting reply.

Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov has joined the Temple of Israel as their new Spiritual Leader. We have sent a letter of welcome to her along with our genuine hope that this new chapter in her life will be rewarding and joy filled. We truly look forward to working together with her and the Temple of Israel to build and strengthen our Wilmington Jewish Community. When you meet her please make her feel welcome.
And so a storm came and blew our roof away…. 

Life happens and storms of all sorts do their damage,  but our job is to step up, and jump in, ready to help and eager to rebuild. Life will happen, storms will come, there is no protection from the physics of life in motion. It is what it is.

I have asked and will reiterate here that the need to find fault has no place in the way we, at B’nai Israel collectively face life. 

There is nothing here, about who to blame and everything here, about who will fix. There are environments that thrive on fault finding, but NOT here. The zero tolerance here is for needless finger pointing. 

What pride I feel in our community that we would rather rally then blame. Be proud and call in to see what you can do to help out. Harold and his team along with Barry our president are all completely focused on the speedy and dignified restoration of our sanctuary. Thank you to all working so hard to undo the storm. 

With Tisha B’Av just a few days away please think about the amount of people in our world who are still suffering as we once did ourselves. I say, look towards them and find the thread that links us all together. What can you do to lighten the load of another who suffers? What can you do?

My prayer for all of us is that we find the answer to that question and than we find a way to heal our Jewish family’s long memory of pain by taking care of others in the same pain.  May God help us all find the strength to love that much.
באהבה ושלום

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