Rabbi's Letter

April 4, 2019
28 Adar II 5779
Dear Friends,

Wow wow wow! What an amazing day I had!

I was greatly honored to receive an invitation to the investiture at the Capitol in Raleigh, of Associate Justice Mark Davis, the very first Jew to be appointed to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court in its two-hundred-year history. This was such an inspiring event and to know that the family has age old ties to B’nai Israel was just as sweet as could be. Mark and Marsha Davis are cousins of Brenda Mitwol and they have very strong ties to Wilmington.

The ceremony was begun by words by Rabbi Pinchus Herman of Congregation Sha’arei and it was ended with a benediction by Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue. Every speaker in between, including, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, The Honorable Attorney General Josh H. Stein, and retired Honorable Chief Justice Burley B. Mitchell Jr and the Honorable Mark Davis. The pageantry, the history, the staunch commitment to the pursuit of Justice was palpable in the air. I felt as if I breathed in the oxygen of hope and admiration for those who still hold tight to living their lives in such an elevated fashion, lives imbued with a sense of dignity, respect and honor. It literally took my breath away. 

How long it has been since this Rabbi has felt swept away by such an inspiring sight. Just watching our great democracy at its best, by feeling the history come alive in the walls of the Capitol. I wish every Jew who lives in North Carolina could have been there. The pride, the strength, the joy, it was overwhelmingly touching. Justice Mark Davis represents all of us and we are so greatly blessed by his fine character. Every speaker mentioned the magnificence of welcoming the very first Jew to sit on the Court, what an honor, what history!!!!! Everyone spoke of his humanity and goodness.

At the reception there was a receiving line with hundreds of visitors waiting to shake hands with Justice Mark Davis and the other Justices of the NC Supreme Court. It was wonderful to meet Mark and Marsha Davis and to thank them for all that they have done not only for our State but for our people as well. He said that he would love to come to the Synagogue and speak and so I told him that I would get an invitation for him in the mail next week. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

When I shook hands with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, I shared how happy I was to see how diverse the Court was. Among the Justices there are two Justices of color, two women and a Jew!!!! She said to me that she was so excited to see the kippah on my head, as she hadn’t known a Rabbi who was a woman yet. We hugged each other and said, oh how we’ve come a long way. Imagine a woman of color as the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court! It’s as historical as having a Jewish Justice on the court. The whole day was tremendous.
And then to top it off, I turned around and there was our own Darren Janz, he has been clerking at the Capitol and is on his way to Harvard. When I was lobbying in Washington a few months back, I ran into Avra, Darren’s sister, just walking down the halls of congress. She was attending a conference on climate change. I feel so blessed to have the Janz family in our congregation. WOW! Steve and Elaine, you have done quite a job with your beautiful children. I felt inspired knowing that Darren will be one of our countries leaders one day, and heaven knows Avra will be on the front lines as well. 
Please Join us as we officially welcome our latest batch of new congregants.
April 12 th Shabbat evening at 5:30
Pre-neg with music by Galen on the guitar
Service at 6:30

Help us welcome our newest members

Alan and Glenda Dubs
Ellen and Jean-Paul Emard
Harrison and Elizabeth Freedland
Marsha and Paul Freedman
Bruce and Lori Gorman
Marc and Marilyn Greenfield

Melissa and Greg Hilgert
Mike Huckman and John Klekamp
Jane and Gerry Kane
Owen and Judy Kaplan
Donna and Mitch Ratner
Jeremy and Alexa Revell

Michael and Barbara Rovner
Terry and Leslie Jensen
Susan Turner
Joelle Serot 

We are so happy to have you in the family!
Let me ask you…have you joined us yet to feed the homeless at the Good Shepherd Center? Why not sign up to join us on Wednesday the 10 th ? If you haven’t tried it yet, you just don’t know how good it feels for your soul to do something selflessly for someone in a darker place than the place where you live. It will make you a better human soul, it will open your eyes and deepen your heart. Don’t put it off, Id love to share this good work with you. Call me! 
Please join us on Wednesday the 10 th of April for our next Lunch and Learn . Please RSVP with Kate in the office so that Nikki and Noa know how many folks to prepare lunch for. See you at Noon .
I hope that you are all checking your calendars because Israel 2020 is a go and we want you to join us! I already have 10 people showing interest. Another 10 and we are good to go. 

Please call me if you are interested in joining the trip.
Thank you to all who are helping Rena make the plastic yarn for mats for the homeless, Rena, Noa, Leigh, Kyla and Sylvie. You ROCK! 
We had the most wonderful Shabbat last week in the sanctuary as Rich Weisman was called up to the Torah and after months and months of study and preparation, he chanted from the Torah with perfect precision and inspiring dignity. What a treat for all of us to share. Rich was also surrounded by his beloved Michelle, sister and brother, son and family...what a sight it was to have them all together as the beautiful model of a loving family, sisters and brothers who remain strong, devoted and caring friends to each other throughout life’s complex meanderings. This was a model for all of us of how family life should be. For me, it is also a model of how Synagogue life should be. Anything less is an insult to God.

                             Don’t you know it, Love is all there is!

Rich, the worlds I spoke to you as I had the honor of blessing you this past Shabbat were that you show up in the world as a true mensch. I shared with everyone how you and I share the same passionate distaste for gossip and La Shon Hara. I have watched you get physically uncomfortable when someone started gossiping in front of us. This is because you see into the eyes of everyone without malice, without judgment and this characteristic makes you a stellar Jew. It is an honor to know you and a joy to be your Rabbi. Mazel Tov!
Thank you Rich also for that lead into this week's Torah portion of Tazria. Tazria seems to be all about skin disease, leprosy, and blotches of puss. It’s a yucky read!
Tazria tells the story of how our ancestors believed that if you sinned you would immediately break out with a skin rash. The simplicity of the cause and effect equation might have seemed logical to our ancestors but we know better. Physical ailments might tell us something about our physiology but whether or not we have sinned, no, it can’t tell us that. So the Rabbis wove a more meaningful connection for us and they say, if you gossip, if you La Shon Hara, if you let others be maligned, if you circle the wagons, and play the game, if you put in those phone calls to secure your hand, well, in time, you may not break out in skin disease but your soul will become sick. Not the soul of the person whom you may have maligned, no, God stays closer to those folks, no, it is only the soul of the gossiper that will find itself sick, diseased and isolated from God’s sheltering wings.

If you must slander someone don't speak it - but write it - write it in the sand, near the water's edge!  Napoleon Hill  

Yes, write it in a place that time and weather will quickly erode it's violence, let the sea melt away it’s judgments. For words of gossip spoken to others behind the back of the one being spoken about, will never stop impacting the world in a negative sense. Never! What a plague on the human experience. Say no, a simple no, refuse to listen to gossip, refuse to let anyone who is not present be spoken about in front of you. Be the guardian of goodness and truth, so many lives are destroyed by gossip. And the only cure is active love, the antidote to every ailment!
We would love to have you join our B’nai Israel family for our Passover Seder

April 19
Mincha, 6PM
Seder begins, 6:30
Children - $18 ~ Members - $36 ~ Non-members - $40 
Non-members may reserve space beginning April 5th.

Please RSVP with Kate in the office as soon as possible. 
We are working with the caterers as we speak.

Carole Fink, one of Wilmington’s leading Jewish scholars will be discussing her latest book,  West Germany and Israel , with Ben Steelman from the Star News. We are all invited to attend. 

The MC Erny Gallery
On Monday, April 8th, at NOON in the MC Erny Gallery ,
Ben Steelman of Wilmington's StarNews will sit down with author Carole Fink, a former UNCW history professor and professor emeritus at Ohio State. She'll discuss her latest book, "West Germany and Israel," a look at West German-Israeli relations in the era of Golda Meir and Willie Brandt. It might sound technical, but it's truly fascinating. 
באהבה ושלום

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