Bnai Israel Congregation News 
January 24, 2020
27 Tevet 5780

We are committed to serving the Jewish Communities of Wilmington
and the surrounding areas  and providing for the study of Torah, education,
Tikkun Olam,  and a sense of community, egalitarianism and spiritual growth
all in accordance  with the principles, values and traditions of Conservative Judaism.

Shabbat Shalom
Friday, January 24, 2020  ~ 27 Tevet 5780
Candle L ighting  ~ 5:09   pm



***Friday Evening, January 24***

Service at 7:30 pm with the KavaNotes
Oneg to follow sponsored by
Sue & Joel Mintzes

***Saturday Morning, January 25***
Service ~ 9:30 am
Kiddush to follow service   

Sedrah:   Va'era
From the President ...

Think it's scary to lead a Friday night service? I do, but I'm willing to learn. Maybe you are too. Tomorrow, Sue Mintzes and Anita Liebeskind, two long-time members of Bnai Israel, will lead our Friday Shabbat service, and it's not the first time they have done so. They are part of a group of our members that have 'stepped up to the plate' since we have been without a permanent rabbi. Steve Stein, Alan Gerberg, Ira Padva, Barry Weiss and Rabbi Waxman have all helped to keep our Friday evening services on time and on track. It's time we offered them some help. Steve Stein is offering a session on the basics of leading the service. What qualifications are needed? If you can read English, you can lead a Friday night service. There's no need to read Hebrew or to have a professional singing voice. Nervous about standing on the bimah alone? You can lead the service with a friend or one of our regulars. Please call or email me, if you want to be part of this brief training. (

In two weeks, we will celebrate Tu b'Shevat, a holiday I honestly have not thought much about. Actually, this minor holiday holds much significance for us today. At a time of climate change, deforestation due to excessive harvesting of trees and widespread fires in California and Australia, it's important to think about how we respect and conserve our planet since our very lives depend on it. Tu b'Shevat celebrates the fruits which we are blessed to have and are reminded that, at a time of drought or severe weather, we may lose the opportunity to taste the sweetness of these gifts. This year at Bnai Israel, we are celebrating a Tu b'Shevat seder on Saturday, February 8th immediately after services. It is a unique and interesting way to mark this holiday. Plus, there will be delicious fruit and wines to sample! There is no charge, but please RSVP. See the article below for more information.

Did you know that you are eligible to vote? I'm referring to the election for the World Zionist Congress, which began on January 21 and continues until March 11th. The Conservative movement is recommending that American Jews vote for Mercaz, which supports democracy, pluralism and equality in Israel. The decisions of the Congress influence funding critical to the existence of Conservative/Masorti Judaism in Israel. For more information and to vote, please go to

On a sad note, this week we lost a much-loved member of Bnai Israel: Howard Neuwirth. Howard was a lifelong member of Wilmington and our congregation. He was an active member for many years, serving on the Board of Directors, as Vice President and then as President of the congregation for two years. He was a successful businessman and well liked by all who knew him. Our condolences to his children Debbie and Ryan, his sister Lisa, brother Larry and the rest of his extended family. May his memory be a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom,
Tu b'Shevat at Congregation Bnai Israel 5780/2020
  The 15th day of the 11th month of Hebrew calendar year is Tu b'Shevat. Most of us know Tu b'Shevat as the New Year for Trees. Many of us planted trees in Israel as a way of connecting to the natural world and to Israel. You may have heard of a Passover Seder but did you know that many people celebrate Tu b'Shevat with seders also?
Jewish kabbalists (mystics) in the 16th and 17th centuries created a special ritual, modeled after the Passover seder, which celebrated God's presence in the natural world. As the rituals and readings for the Tu b'Shevat seder developed, they were eventually collected into a book, Pri Eitz Hadar, (The Fruit of the Goodly Tree), which was published in 1753.
A Tu b'Shevat seder, full of imagery and symbolism, is often divided into four sections that represent the four seasons. As with the Passover seder, the Tu b'Shevat seder evolved to include four cups of wine or grape juice, but in varying shades of red, which represent the seasons: white for the bleak time of winter, white with a bit of red to represent the earth's awakening in early spring, red with a bit of white representing the blossoming of late spring, and dark red to represent the fullness of all the growing plants and vegetation along with the heat of summer.
We will be celebrating Tu b'Shevat at Bnai Israel on February 8 after Shabbat morning services, during kiddush. 
Dear Congregants,
I am privileged to begin my fourth year as your treasurer. On behalf of the board, I sincerely thank each one of you for your support of Bnai Israel.
As we begin a new fiscal year, you either have already received, or will shortly be receiving, your 2020 dues statements. You will see that the dues and related fees for 2020 remain unchanged from 2019.
As was the case in 2019, your dues statement will reflect your base dues, the amount depending on whether you are a family member, a single member, an out of town member (family or single), or a young family member. In addition, no matter which dues category you fall into, your bill will also reflect the same $50 "Love Your Building" fee and $25 Security Fee as in 2019.
In addition, if you were a member of the Circle of Honor in 2019, we have also noted, without being presumptuous, the 2020 circle of honor charge on your bill, above your base dues: $1000 for the Sponsor level, $2000 for the Patron level, and $3500 for the Benefactor level.   By joining the Circle of Honor, your generosity helps the synagogue accept all members, regardless of financial condition. If you were not a member of the circle of honor in 2019, we welcome your joining it in 2020. And we are certainly grateful to those returning members.
We appreciate the prompt payment, in full, of your dues. If you want to pay on a monthly or quarterly installment plan, then simply indicate that on your first check. For those who have already paid their 2020 dues, we sincerely thank you!
If you are financially unable to pay your full dues and you wish some form of dues relief, please contact, in the strictest of confidence, either Michelle Bannon, BI's president, or me. Michelle can be reached at 706.832.3048, and you can reach me, either by email,, or on my cell, 702.612.1200.
Again, thank you for your support of Bnai Israel.
Jerry Smith, Treasurer

Beginning January 29, our Bookkeeper,Tina Sacramone, will be out of the office for two weeks for wrist surgery.  There will be some delay in payment processing and acknowledgements during this time.  We will appreciate your understanding.
Coming Events


January 26
11:30 am
Dairy Potluck  lunch
Debbie Smith's home
B'nai Baggers
to Meet
next Monday - working for the homeless

January 27
10:30 am
Help us turn bags into sleeping mats
The Sisterhood 
Book Club
to  meet
January 29
2:15 pm
place to be announced

Rabbi Kenter 

February 6-11

Save the Date!
Celebrate a New Year for the Trees a t our 1st  Tu b'Shevat Seder

Saturday, February 8 
11:30am after Shabbat morning services

Cooking at
Good Shepherd
Please volunteer:
alanrit or kate.bnaiisraelilm@

 February 12
4:30 pm

February 21
dinner at 6:00
service to follow

  ** Please make a reservation by calling or emailing the Shul office.
910.762.1117 ~

             Cooking  at
Good Shepherd

Our next date to cook is scheduled for February 12th at 4:30 pm.  Please contact Kate in the Shul office if you would like to join us.  No special skills required and aprons and gloves will be provided.  Bring your smile and sense of humor!   Looking forward to cooking with you!

Shul office:  910-762-1117 or

We need your photograph!

Many of you have not sent us your photograph which we
really need for security purposes
so we can recognize those who wish to enter B'nai Israel.
Kate especially needs this because she
never sees many of you.

If your name is listed below, please send us your photo and you will be eligible
for a drawing for a $25 gift card.

Teasa Abrams
Alexandra Blanton
Mimi Bloch
Victor & Flora Cohen
Lenny D'Lugin
Buddy & Caroline Eisenstein
Joan Feinstein
Neal & Tracy Fleishman
Harrison & Elizabeth Freedland
Robert Freedland
Howard & Gail Grotsky
Robert & Judy Hamelburg
Melissa & Greg Hilgert
Ronald & Susan Hoffman
Jane Hyman
Steve & Elaine Janz
Efraid & Lola Jaronowski
Jewel Johnson
Charles & Patricia Josephson
Ninette Kartchner
Terry Kramer
Ronald & Edna Kurtzman
Judith Kurzer
Robert & Linda Leder
Michael & Sharon Leinwand
Richard & Eileen Leinwand
Shirley Leinwand
Steve Levine

Judith Malman
Jack Markowitz
Steve & Sharon Mechum
Morgan & Erica Mehler
Kathleen Meyerson
Andrew Mitwol
Brenda Mitwol
Marilyn Moskow
Robin Neuwirth
Fred Opper
Diane Popkin
Greg Popkin
Keith Popkin
Lance Popkin
Matthew Popkin
Patricia Reilly
Dan & Pearl Retchin
Alane Savod
Andrew & Jessica Schreiber
Ronnie & Arlene Schreiber
David & Carol Siegel
Arnold & Faye Sobol
Grace Stein
Howard Stein
Lauren Tucker
Herbert & Ronna Zimmer
Jeffrey Zimmer
The Sisterhood of B'nai Israel Congregation
2020 Membership Meeting

*Renew your membership ~ Connect with old and new friends
*Explore Sisterhood programs and committees
*Participate in Sisterhood Shabbat

Sunday, January 26, 2020, 11:30 am
Dairy Potluck Brunch
Hosted by: Debbie Smith
816 Wild Turkey Place
Wilmington , NC 28404

RSVP to:; 201-317-5071
Please include the type of dish you are contributing with your response.

The B'nai Israel Sis terhood has purchased for the Bnai Israel Library  Magical, Meaningful, Memorable: Recipes, How-To's, and Inspiration , by Andy Goldfarb, in memory of Roland Specter, beloved brother of Janice Kingoff.   A lso now in the library is American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy , by Bob Welch, donated by Sisterhood in memory of Nettie Birnbach, beloved mother of Jane Birnbach. 


Sisterhood's Book Club will meet Wednesday, January 29th at 2:15 PM (please note time change).  Our gracious hostess is Elaine Lathrop, 4320 Aftonshire Drive. Please let her know if you plan to attend via email at or by phone 910 799-5478.

We will discuss the biography of Golda Meir, Lioness, Parts 2 & 3.  Please select 1 or 2 passages to share. This is our final discussion of the book, so if you've finished it, we'd love to hear your overall impressions.

Please consider proposing one new book during our meeting, such as American Nightingale or The 100 Most Jewish Foods.

Sisterhood Book Club is open to all BI Sisterhood members. If you'd like to be put on our email list, please contact

Thank you Caroline Eisenstein, Lyne Glaser, Barbara Waxman, Marge Jordan, Dee Sherman, Alane Savod, and Heather Harris for the wonderful Hospice meal for January. Our next meal will be March 10 and Laurel Westreich will be handling it.   Please email Laurel at to volun-teer at

Birthdays and Anniversaries
January 2020

Celebrant                 Birthday

Birthdays and Anniversaries come from your ShulCloud Member Profile.
If your special day is NOT included here, please check your profile and add the dates.  If you are not sure how to do that, contact Kate Maclay in the office for help at

We offer prayers of healing for the following:**
Steve Glaser
Walter Pancoe
Sydel Gluck 
Jerry Smith
Bucky Stein
Joan Feinstein

Faye Sobol
Fran Strauss* 
Roberta Eichenholz
Scott Prushik
Henry Westreich

*Fran Strauss is in rehab at Bradley Creek and would love to have some brief visits.

**Each week we will show our  members and their families  who wish to be on the Misheberach list.  Names will remain on the list for 3 months unless you ask us to remove them earlier.  
Contact our office to add or remove names.

The names of those who are not members but whom you wish to 
receive prayers  will be read at Shabbat services.
21 - 27 Tevet 5780  ~  January 18 - 24, 2020

Bella Kalichman Glat
Mother of Rena Goldwasser
Bessie Green Mother of Zita Reitblatt
Doris Schweriner Silvers Mother of Jackie Neuwirth
Emanuel Sugar Respectfully remembered
Harold Brandeis Abrams Respectfully remembered
Herbert Smith Father of Jerry Smith
James Orio Father of Diane Gerberg
Jean Rubenstein Green Respectfully remembered
Jesse Drogin Father of Carol Atwood
Mary Axler Respectfully remembered
Nora Owens Mother of Linda Leder
Pearl Bluestein Mother of Elane Janz
Samuel Bluestein Father of Elane Janz
Rose Alper Respectfully remembered

If you would like to make a donation to B'nai Israel, please click below
and use the Pay On Line tab on our website.

Robert & Judy Hamelburg
General Fund
In memory of 
Roland Specter
brother of Janice Kingoff
Stein Family Charitable Foundation
General Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter
Jeanne & Irwin Lecker
General Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter
Walter & Leigh Winter
General Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter
Jon & Reba Alper
General Fund
Thanks to Barry Weiss for his years
of service to B'nai Israel, and
to Pam for allowing him to serve.
Jon & Reba Alper
General Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter
John & Reba Alper
General Fund
In memory of
Nettie Birnbach
Jerry & Debbie smith
General Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter
Scott Diamond
General Fund
In honor of and with gratitude to
Rabbi Barry & Judy Kenter
for blessing my new home.
Nancy Kraselsky
General Fund
Fab 54 B'nai Mitzvah
Pam & Barry Weiss
Cemetery Fund
In memory of
Roland Specter 
Barry & Pam Weiss
Cemetery Fund
In memory of Pam's mother,
Pat Packard.  She is always in our thoughts.
Cindy & Harold Throne
General Fund
In honor of
Michelle Bannon our new President
Diane & Alan Gerberg
Sisterhood Fund
In memory of James Orio,
Diane's father
Sue & Joel Mintzes
General Fund
Hanukkah Auction donation

Please help us to correctly direct your gift by including what fund you
would like your donation to support:  dues, event, benevolent fund, etc.  If you 
are making a donation in honor or memory of someone, please
include their name.

Circle of Honor

Beneficiary: Carol & Scott Johnston
Patron: Ronna & Herb Zimmer,  Anonymous

M ark Alper
Sharon & Terry Dresbach
Judith Malman
Joanna Puritz
Debbie & Jerry Smith
Rose & Alan Zimmer
Barbara & Stanley Prushik
Martha & Steve Stein
Michelle Bannon & Rich Weisman
Roberta & Harold Eichenholz
Sharon & Stephen Mechum
Deb and Martin Meyerson
Dee & Murray Sherman
Leigh & Walter Winter
Dottie & Irv Freedland
Pam & Barry Weiss

For more information or to sign up for the Circle of Honor
Rabbi Kenter's email address is

Rabbi's Musings 
will be found if you  CLICK HERE

B 'nai Israel Congregation

Website & ShulCloud Directory

Office Hours Monday thru Friday - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Administrative Secretary,  Kate Maclay

shabbat shalom