D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Beth Israel Synagogue Centennial
M2008.03.06.3 in the Congregation Beth Israel Papers

Beth Israel Synagogue Centennial,
D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA 28804

Title Beth Israel Synagogue Centennial 1899 1999
Creator Congregation Beth Israel
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/booklets/beth_israel_silverman/default_beth_israel_silverman.htm
Subject Keyword Jewish community in Asheville ; Congregation Beth Israel ; Beth Israel Synagogue ; Sisterhood ; Men's Club ; Hebrew Auxiliary Society ; Jewish Community Center ; Conservative Judaism ; Jewish congregation ; synagogue ; anniversaries ; centennial ;
Subject LCSH Beth Israel (Asheville, N.C.) -- Sources
Bloom, Bernard
Jews -- North Carolina -- Asheville -- Sources
Jews -- Southern states -- History
Southern states -- Ethnic relations
Description Part of the Congregation Beth Israel collection at UNCA and one of two booklets with the same title. This 28 page [un-paginated] booklet was prepared for the hundredth anniversary of the Beth Israel Congregation in Asheville in 1999 and contains prose written by Dr. Richard Chess, historical narrative written by M. Alan Silverman, a message from the Rabbi, color portraits of members, and 1999 member directory.
Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Contributor Congregation and Board of Trustees, Beth Israel Synagogue, Asheville, NC ; Jay Jacoby
Date 1999
Type Image ; Text ; Physical Object
Format image/jpeg/text
Source M2008.03.06.3 in the Congregation Beth Israel Papers
Language English ; Hebrew
Relation Is part of Congregation Beth Israel Papers (Asheville, NC), D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ;

Leah and Morris Karpen Oral History in Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Schandler Family Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Leo Finkelstein Oral History in Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Leo Finkelstein Papers, 1903-1998, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Belk Library Special Collections, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC ; Sol Schulman Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Ada and Lou Pollock Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Jacob Rosen Family Papers, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Sidney Schochet Family Papers, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; "Jewish Roots in the Carolinas: A Pattern of American Philo-Semitism," Charlotte, N.C.: The Carolina Israelite, 1955, in the D. Hiden Ramsey Collection printed material - various publications (M80.5.2.6), D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA ; Choosing to Remember - From the Shoah to the Mountains, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA and the Center for Diversity Education ; Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, UNC Chapel Hill ; American Jewish Historical Society ; "A Portion of the People: Three Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life," Documenting the American South, UNC Chapel Hill ;
Coverage Temporal 1899-1999
Coveral Spatial Asheville, N.C.
Rights No restrictions. Any display, public use, or publication must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor Donor number
Citation D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 2012, JF
Last update 2012-03-29
Page Number Item Number Description Thumbnail
Cover biscs_001 BETH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE Centennial 1899 1999 biscs_001.jpg (584363 bytes)
Page 1 biscs_002 Return Address
House of Israel, where the milk is
a high-holiday veil cascading
in front of the ark and the honey is hard
candy scooped up from the bema by children.
Where a still voice stirs
the sanctuary illuminated
by etrog-light of late afternoon.
Pick it up, the prayerbook, cup it to your car,
and you might hear the silver
tongue of Germany, the golden lip
of Spain, the green heart of America
may beat inside you, inside the house of Israel.

And our dues speak to the clerk
at the power and light company,
telling her about the revelation.

House of Israel: Abraham's tent
is the men's club, the table of periodical
advice for keeping the heart
strong, while the kitchen is stainless
Sarah and Hagar's sorrow lies
along the dim wall near the water fountain.

And our parking lot listens to the wheels
of a skater, going over and over again
the story of the nose-ring.

This is the house, the house of Israel in Asheville.
Because you are a member,
when you answer the phone at home
the eternal flame says hello.
Because you are a member, when you mourn
your countenance is
blue velour, your lying down
is oil poured on stone, your rising up is God's abode.

And our answering machine speaks in a small voice
its compact message, the hours of worship,
as if it were a sonnet of unrequited love.

The door to the House of Israel is not always open.
The light of the House of Israel does not eternally burn.
The water of the House of Israel does not ceaselessly flow.
The prayers of the House of Israel are not continuously sung.

And our roof is the wing of a jet,
our floor the dry floor between walls of sea.

Like Jerusalem, the synagogue is your burden, your privilege.
It is the return address on the envelope of your prayer.

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Page 2 biscs_003 May 12, 1897
Papa used to say beginnings are always hard. We came to America and Trenton was cold. I cried for my friends in Riga. But Papa said this was best. Then he died and Mama and me did not want to begin again. But we have made a brave go. And now Mama is ill and we begin again. Asheville is such a strange place. When the sky is clear, I climb the hills and hug the sun. Mama's doctors say this air will do her good. Already she is feeling better.

July 2, 1897
The Jewish community has helped us feel much at home. Maybe 20 families in all. Most have come as we have, in the last few years. They are dry good merchants and grocers. Rabbi Londow has a small store with the most delicious barrel of herring right in the middle. Five cents a fish. There is no synagogue. We pray wherever the men can find a building. ...Me and Mama have taken a room on East College Street. We get along good with the gentiles.

October 13, 1898
Doctor Schulze has moved Mama to the Quisisana Nature Cure Sanitarium. The Blombergs have taken me in while she heals. Such a big family. I take long walks in the mountains when I can. Sometimes Dora, the middle daughter comes along. Mama thinks she is pretty.

Rev. Louis Londow

Articles of Incorporation Filed in Clerk Erwin's Office.
Articles of incorporation of the "Congregation Biker Chilon and Kodoishy" have been filed in Superior Court Clerk Erwin's office. The congregation is a benevolent, charitable and religious association, its purpose being to promote and conduct orthodox religious services in the Jewish faith in Asheville or elsewhere in Buncombe. The incorporators of the congregation are J. B. Swartzberg, A. Blomberg, Sam Finestein, H. Friedenberg, A. Shenbaum, S. H. Michalove, M. Zageir, R. B. Zageir.

Mr. Blomberg

February 17, 1899
I arrived at Rev. Londow's house for my lesson. I found him in the living room...dancing! arm in arm with Mr. Michalove and Mr. Blomberg. Mr. Schas and his brother were there, along with Mr. Zagier and others. Mr. Blomberg grabbed my arm and pulled me in. When I asked what the hullabaloo was, Rev. Londow said: "A Shul, a Shul, my boy! We're a Shul.!

August 26, 1911
The workers are set to break ground as soon as the weather clears. Considering the financial burden - the land itself costing $1,000 - we shall all be relieved to see it underway. If it is finished by March, I should very much like to observe Mama's yarzheit there.. Mr. Pearlman has given me tomorrow off for my birthday. I think some of the fellas are planning a hooha.

Noted Georgia Convict Brought 100 Miles and Hung in Tree Within Two Miles of the Home of His Alleged Victim. Mob Under Strict System of Discipline Throughout.

...A Jew convicted of killing a little girl in Atlanta. The governor wanted to pardon him. The mob, obviously did not. Surely this could never happen here. Dear God, tell me it could not.

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Page 3 biscs_004 July 18, 1916
...all around the cries of friends, people who lost everything. Fortunately my apartment is on a knoll just north of the Battery Park hotel. The new Shul, mostly finished except for a few adornments, was spared as well. All will be ready for Rosh Hashannah next month.


September 27, 1916 2am
When I arrived, Mrs. Sheinboum was sitting on the curb, still in her bed clothes. Mr. Michalove was running back and forth trying to direct the firemen. No one knows how it began, but already suspicions are flying. Rosh Hashannah begins tomorrow. My heart is filled with anger. I told Rabbi Londow as much. He directed me to Isaiah.

"For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great compassion will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."

Isaiah was a fool!

Mr. S. H. Michalove

Orthodox House of Worship Loss of Approximately $10,000
Firemen Have Hard Fight to Get Flames Under Control
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Synagogue Bicker Cholim, on South Liberty street above Woodfin street, was gutted by flames that practically destroyed the house of worship and left only the brick walls

September 27 1916 6pm
This morning, offers from four different churches inviting us to their sanctuaries for Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. Unsolicited donations from Jew and gentile, rich and poor, black and white...This afternoon, D.L. and I will take the trolley to Weaverville and climb Hamburg Mountain.

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Page 4 biscs_005 June 12, 1919
Papa's yarzheit tomorrow. I have asked D.L. to be with me. Mr. Pearlman offered to lend me his ear. Shabbat dinner a the Blomberg's last week. D.L. is a wonderful conversationalist. After a while, talk turned to the small faction of members who have broken off to start Anshei Yeshuran. Mr. Blomberg predicted they would eventually return. We all agreed that, divided, either congregation had little chance ....construction on the new Shul continues upon the ashes of the old one. Meanwhile services are held at the Sondley Building over at the YMHA.

November 1, 1922
D.L. has taken up the cause of the Ladies Auxiliary. She says it's a kind of synagogue sisterhood. One of their first programs is to prepare a quantity of chicken soup for the Jewish patients at the various sanitoria. I dug through an old shoebox and found Mama's favorite recipe which I gave to D.L.

Chicken Soup
1 hen
4 whole chicken Breasts
1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery
tomatoes (optional)
Cook in a large pot. Cover the chicken with water. Boil until hen is done. Strain broth. Serve chicken on side or use in chicken salad.

February 14, 1924
We finally have a home, a fine building. We still owe a considerable sum on the note. If we could collect dues and other charges on time, we could retire the final note in half the time. Rabbi Fox dedicated the new Shul in memory of those men and women who suffered through so much only to be taken away before they could see their dream fulfilled ..D.L. leaves for Philadelphia next week to assume her new duties. I shall miss her.

A fine new Shul on South Liberty!

October 1, 1932
Sunday last, Siegfried Sternberg organized a poker game and invited a few of the fellas. Somebody got hold of the information, I guess, and tipped off the police. They raided the game. Everybody got away except Siegfried. The boys in blue asked him who else was there, he said, "Mr. Aleph, Mr. Bet, Mr. Gimmel, Mr. Daled, and Mr. Hay." The police spent all night looking for them.

September 22, 1934
Last night (Kol Nidre) the last of the original notes for the Shul was finally retired. Had the holiday not called for such a somber mood, we'd all have celebrated with a little of Harry Finklestein's corn whiskey. It took a fervent appeal from Lou (Pollock) and Leo Cadison to come up with the $1,800. But the thing is done and, by the looks of things around town, not a day too soon. Everyday, more and more people are in a bad way.

March 18, 1936
Hard times. Everywhere folks are out of work. Those of us fortunate to have jobs are doing what we can to help out. The Finklesteins have lost thousands in bad loans. But none of the banks are open. The women in the congregation have formed the Jewish Aide Society and are doing what they can, passing out 50 cent meal tickets to Petersen's Grill.

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Page 5 biscs_006 November 14, 1938
A letter from D.L. today. She's in New York working for B'nai Brith. She writes of conditions in Germany. Jewish shops burned, cheders closed. B'nai Brith is trying to get as many Jews out as possible. Their plan is to find them work here in America, in Jewish-owned shops. I wonder what's happening back home in Riga.

Nazi Mobs Ignore Orders To Halt Anti-Jew Drive
Wild Orgy of Looting, Burning Continues Over Germany
Despairing Jews Resort To Suicide As Reign Of Terror Continues

July 14, 1944
A few of the men got together at the Shul this afternoon under the pretense of forming a Bikur Cholim Brotherhood Group. As the idea was chiefly that of George Cooley, he was elected the group's first president. It is still unclear exactly what the brotherhood's mission is. But we all had a grand time talking and eating the sandwiches sent over from Petersen's Grill.

February 23, 1947
Another letter from D.L. She leaves for Palestine next month. I admire her strength. Still, that is no place for her. It is for the young and strong. Those eager to build and fight. God keep her.

May 15, 1948
Responses have ranged from elation to trepidation. Tears from many who recently arrived from Europe. Surely this gift comes at a price.

Egypt Orders Armed Invasion: Israel Is Girded For Battle; Truman Announces New Policy
Army Already On The Move Into Country
Bath of Blood Looms Britain Surrenders Holy Land Mandate
Surprise Move Elates Jews, Stuns Arabs

October 17, 1948
Our new Rabbi arrived yesterday - the 14th in the last 49 years. Word has it that the Jewish Theological Seminary is giving us our next one free. Then again, who can blame the poor fellas? We are isolated, over a hundred miles from the next closest Jewish community of any consequence. So we will see how long this one lasts... D.L. returned for a visit last week. We took a long walk up to Mount Pisgah. It was wonderful seeing her again.

Congregation Bikur Cholim Was Founded 50 Years Ago

February 12, 1949
50 years old. Ten years more than the Israelites wandered in the desert. At times, I feel we are wandering still. Adolsecents trying to find our own way. Just about all the original members are gone now, except for Mr. Michalove. He was the guest of honor tonight, and deservedly so. Mr. Blomberg and Mr. Schas would both bristle to see what their orthodox congregation has become. Rabbi Londow would simply nod slowly and very calmly say "Cain y'he r'tzon."

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Page 6 biscs_007 March 30, 1950
Dear Uncle T.R.
I found your journal as mom and I were going through your closet. She wanted to donate it to the Shul. I begged her to let me continue it. I remember sitting up nights, listening to you and Dad talk about everything and anything, your voices filtering through the paper thin walls of our apartment on Charlotte Street. You taught me more during those nights than you ever knew.

July 12, 1951
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Mr. Michalove died last month, and next month we officially join the Conservative movement. Those left from your generation participate little anymore. Little by little, covenants give way to convenience. We follow the Dodgers and spend Friday nights cruising Tunnel Road. We pretend not to understand our grandparents' yiddush, and toss our matzah into the garbage before we get to school. We are trying hard to forget.

Hammin' it up during Purim.
- March 1954

March 17, 1956
Dear Uncle T.R.,
What would Mr. Michalove and Shas have to say about this, I wonder. How the times do change.

Bas Mitzvah Plans Made
Final plans for the first Bas Mitzvah services ever to be held in Asheville have been announced. The service will be held for Roberta Schandler at Beth Israel Synagogue at 8 p.m. Friday, with a reception following, and at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, with a luncheon to follow.

December 2, 1959
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Rumors are flying about the city wanting to reclaim the land on South Liberty. We've purchased a lot on the corner of Norwood and Murdock. Nobody walks to Shul anymore so the location doesn't much matter.

October 1, 1964
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Thank God for Milton. He has single-handedly kept us afloat with his financial guidance.
We are again without a rabbi. Rabbi Gelberman, has recovered. But ever since his wife died, there hasn't been anything here for him. He left us in March to take a pulpit in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

From The Layman's Angle
Who's Who In The Churches
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is another in a series of articles on outstanding laymen in churches of this area.)
Milton Lurey is considered a "pillar of the temple" by the congregation of Beth Israel.
Lurey lives at 71 Lynwood Road and is vice president of the Vanderbilt Shirt Company. He has been active in the congregation of Beth Israel for more than 12 years, and is noted for his zeal and energy which keeps the goal of the organization moving forward.
He served for many terms as president of the congregation, and has only recently resigned the office. His work, however, continues. He was chairman of the committee to find a rabbi for the church, and recently succeeded in bringing Rabbi Bert A. Klein, who arrived last week.
Lurey also is on the committee for the Sunday School and the Hebrew School, and is usually named to a committee for any special event.
In addition to his work at the Synagogue he is an active member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community Center, and is a member of the committee of the Jewish Federated Charities of Asheville.
During the periods the congregation have been without a leader, Lurey has worked faithfully to keep the Synagogue an active organization, and kept the tradition and principles handed down by the founders of Judaism while seeking to keep abreast with modern conditions in the United States.

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Page 7 biscs_008 August 2, 1965
Dear Uncle T.R.,
The Temple has proposed a merger, which most of us believe to be one-sided at best. They would get the revenue of our membership and we, in return, would be allowed to watch High Holiday services on closed circuit tv from their basement. The whole idea has incited Ben (Slosman) to the point where he has vowed to remain president until we are once again in our own sanctuary. Meantime, he has secured the services of another Rabbi - Friedman I think. We'll see how long this one lasts.

June 5-10: 'Week That Was' For The Israel Nation
Arab-Israeli War Recap
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - In six short days, a little nation of 3.5 million has humbled 100 million Arabs, jolted their topmost leader into an emotional offer to step down, and amazed the watching world with military efficiency.
"For Israel and the Middle East it really was the week that was -- the most momentous since the Jewish state was hammered into existence over the bitter anvil of Arab resistance 19 years ago.

July 18, 1967
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Jerry (Sternberg) has jumped in with both feet as fundraising chairman for the new building. He and Dodi have raised enough money to break ground on the new building. The sanctuary will hold 180 and the adjoining social hall and classrooms make the building well-suited for simchas and Bet Sefer. All of this has not gone un-noticed by those at the Temple, many of whom are changing allegiances from Spruce street over to Murdock...Rabbi Friedman is still here. If you knew his wife, Zehava, you'd understand why. Her energy is something to behold. Besides, everybody here simply adores the both of them.

Congregation Beth Israel To Launch Drive Wednesday For Funds To Build Synagogue
By ROGER WICKER Citizen-Times Staff Writer
Congregation Beth Israel Wednesday begins a fund raising drive for a new synagogue to replace the 51-year-old building now located in the urban renwal area north of City-County Plaza.

February 21, 1969,
Dear Uncle T.R.
Things are beginning to settle down here a bit. The new building is on schedule to be completed next month. Already, some of the older members are lining up for momentos from the old building - pews, doorknobs, even the bricks...You'd be shocked to learn that Rabbi Friedman is still here after four years.

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Page 8 biscs_009 Final Service Held In Old Synagogue
By JACK WILLIS Citizen Staff Writer
A Jewish prayer describes a synagogue as "our bonds with the past; our hopes for the future."
It was the last prayer recited Friday night as Asheville's orthodox Congregation Beth Israel held its last Sabbath evening services in its 70-year-old synagogue on South Liberty Street.
Sunday the Congregation will take its Torah and prayer books to the new synagogue on the corner of Murdock and Norwood Streets.

March 28, 1969
Like the passing of an old friend. It was so small. Nothing compared to the new building. And yet, at times, it stood tall as any mountain. When our little schtetle trembled in the wake of Leo Frank's lynching, and again when the full terror of the Holocaust was realized, we took refuge inside these walls. Drafty in the winter, stifling in the summer. Uncle T.R., I used to listen to you and Dad talk about the old coal stove in the basement. And how one day in the middle of Hebrew lessons, Rabbi Fox told Leo Finklestein to go down and stoke the stove. Leo came back to announce that the old stove was about to blow. The Rabbi dismissed class in a hurry and rushed downstairs to do what he could. Leo had lied about the stove, of course. So cold they were back then. The class left and didn't return until spring. Like the passing of a dear friend. We laugh and live, love and learn. Then we leave and move on.

Arab-Israel War Breaks Out
Egyptians Cross Suez; Golan Heights Attacked.

October 6, 1973
Never before have I felt so proudto be Jewish. So strong.

May 1, 1978
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Mother passed away last night. Unlike Dad, this was somewhat expected. The Chevra Kadisha called an hour after I got off the phone with Rabbi Friedman. The hardest part was telling the girls when they woke up this morning, Hannah especially...It was nearly sun up by the time the Rabbi left our house. I walked him out to his car and as I was going back into the house I paused to half-contemplate the view from Town Mountain. The city slept beneath me. I thought of Dad, and you, and the names that float from these pages like pleasant odors. And how different was this view from the one you and D.L. shared together. Do we grow, Uncle T.R.? Do we really grow or simply make a little space for ourselves each day? As I turned to go back inside, I had the strangest feeling that someone was singing. Not that I was conscious of hearing a voice, it was more like I felt the song. Like the first warm breeze after a long winter. How I do need these mountains.

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Page 9 biscs_010 August 29, 1981
Dear Uncle T.R.,
Suzanne and I drove down to Chapel Hill to drop Hannah off. Suzanne cried the whole way home. With Judy and Carol both in Atlanta, we have the house to ourselves for the first time in 27 years. Time to re-discover each other. When we got home, I called Norma and Mildred and asked if they could get Suzanne involved in the Sisterhood again. It would help take her mind off that empty house. So few of the girls' friends, it seems, are still here. Not that I would expect them to stay. There is little here for a young woman when compared to places like Atlanta.

October 10, 1983

Dear Uncle T.R.,
The Shul paid off the mortgage yesterday. I wonder how it feels to be debt free.

Culmination Of Fund Drive
Beth Israel Celebrates Mortgage Burning
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life sculpture in the lobby of Beth Israel Synagogue is a symbolic background for planners of a special banquet which will be climaxed with a burning of the mortgage on the building. Abe Freedman, president of the synagogue, holds a copy of the mortgage as (L-R) former president Jack Feingold, Sisterhood president Marion Okon and synagogue vice president Charlotte Tell look on.

December 13, 1983

Two months since dad passed [...] with Mom. There's a lot going on at the Shul this time of year, so that helps keep her busy which, we all agree, is what she needs. The ladies in Sisterhood have been a Godsend. Steven and I have spent so much time up here. We've taken an apartment off Hendersonville Highway near Mom's. It used to be such a shlep to go out to Arden, now folks think nothing of it. We take Mom on long walks around Bent Creek when we can. A part of me yearns to be back.
March 1, 1985

Ten years ago I couldn't wait to get out of this place. I'm just now beginning to understand what I left. Hannah and Judy and their families and me and Steven are all coming in town to be with Mom for Pesach.
Sept. 9, 1989

Birnham Named Rabbi Of Beth Israel Synagogue
From Staff Reports
Shmuel Birnham has been named rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue at 229 Murdock Ave. in Asheville, replacing Rabbi Elliot Pearlson, who recently moved.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., the 35-year-old Birnham is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and was recently ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
A former businessman, Birnham said he was raised in a Jewish family, but never entered a synagogue until he moved to Israel for a year when he was 27.
He decided to become a rabbi and has spent the last six years studying at the seminary, he said.
As rabbi at Beth Israel in Asheville, Birnham said he will emphasize education, helping people to continue their religious education as they grow older and to understand the "richness of tradition."
He said he will also stress to the congregation the concept of ethical monotheism - that because belief in God is not enough, people need to live an ethical life to make the world a better place.
"I also want to emphasize that Judaism is really a way of life," Birnham said. "It's not just for the Sabbath, it's a way of making all aspects of life holy and sanctified."

I feel like I'm starting over. So much has changed. Suddenly, Asheville is the place to be. Transplants from Miami and New York, folks who have re-discovered their Jewishness, and converts who have actively sought to create theirs. This little town which lay drunken with sleep for so many years is beginning to stir like an emerging butterfly...we've switched rabbis again. Imagine that. Rabbi Pearlson went back to Miami. We all hated to see him go. But who can blame him, he got a great offer down there.
March 13, 1993

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Page 10 biscs_011 Outside the snow has just started falling. They say it could get bad, but I don't mind. Steven's got a fire going and from the window I can see the mountains along either side of the Reems Creek Valley. They're starting to take on that frosted look that portends a great silence. The sky is filled with the snow and yet it is strangely quiet, like the eye of a storm...this city continues to amaze me. I am just now beginning to see its beauty. Not so much in the mountains (though I dearly love them), but in its people. Farmers and homeopaths, doctors and ditch diggers. Some are rooted deep in this soil. The rest have sought it out, leaving behind the rocky deserts of their pasts. Our own circle of friends, most who belong to the Shul, has continued to grow as well. They, like Steven and me, have come looking...for something. Each other perhaps?

Rabin assassinated
Jewish extremist kills Israeli leader
TEL AVIV, Israel - A right-wing Israeli gunned down Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Saturday night, minutes after the premier had confidently told cheering thousands that "people really want peace." Rabin, a war hero who became a leading architect of Israeli-Arab reconciliation, died on the operating table.
The assassination - the first of an Israeli leader since the founding of the state in 1948 - stunned the nation. World and Mideast leaders from President Clinton to Yasser Arafat declared the process of peace would continue.
Rabin, 78, had descended from a city hall balcony and was about to get into his black Cadillac limousine when the gunman fired three bullets from close range, hitting him in the back and stomach. As crowd members surged toward the shooting scene, Rabin's car raced to Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital. Rabin arrived unconscious, without pulse or blood pressure.
Israel TV showed the gunman, identified by police sources as Yigal Amir, 27, pinned against a wall by dozens of police. The sources said Amir was seized with pistol in hand, had confessed to shooting Rabin and told investigators that he didn't regret it.

November 4, 1995

It has come to this. Jews killing Jews. Are we not small enough? Do we not have enemies enough? Every once in a while, I suppose, we have to remind ourselves that ours' is a destiny of hardship. But why now? Why him?
February 2, 1997

A season of soul searching
Jewish community prepares for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur

We are nearly 200 member families strong now. When I look back over these early entries, I can't believe how far we've come. Not only physically, but politically. We have our second woman president and women are consistently called to the Torah. And everyone - woman and man, Jews by birth and Jews by choice - everyone takes part, a reflection of what this city has become. And as we have been for over 4,000 years, we are eager to learn. Talmud classes, Hebrew classes. Classes for adults and teens.

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Page 11 biscs_012 February 10, 1999
I met Steven at the Shul for a Centennial Committee meeting. Last night, I went back and read through these pages. Friends and parents, lovers and children have come and gone. Wars have been lost and freedoms won. Thousands have kissed the mezuzah that binds me to all those who have come before me. Thousands more have cursed it. And still, here we are...I made Steven drive me to Mount Pisgah. He said I really shouldn't. But I told him I had no intention of hiking. I only wanted to get away to somewhere quiet. It was dusk when we arrived. A crisp breeze was blowing. I remembered that the Cherokee Indians used to call this mountain their spiritual center. I remembered an old song my Bubbe used to sing to me at night. The words came flowing back:
Esa einai, el heharim, mei'ayin yavo ezri.
Ezri mei'im Hashem, oseh shamayim va-aretz.
I will lift my eyes to the hills. From where comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

Steven put his arms around my stomach and I felt the baby move. Suddenly, I was scared. There was so much to be done. So much we didn't know. Would we be okay financially on one income? What if we fought? What if, God forbid, something happened to either one of us? Would our baby be okay? Were we making a huge mistake? Everyday is a little beginning. Every morning we have to remind ourselves why we are here together. And then everything is alright. Everyday is another beginning. And beginnings are always hard.

Editor's Note: The narrators of this history are fictional. However, all accounts pertaining to the history of Congregation Beth Israel are accurate.

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Page 12 biscs_013 Zakhor! (Remember)

100 years. We are perched on the precipice of a new century, struggling to look back and remember, longing to look forward and see. We pause, posed between the ghosts of the past and the unborn souls of the future, links in the chain of history, the chain of tradition,. It is a holy place to stand.


"Moses received Torah from Sinai and delivered it to Joshua and Joshua to the Elders, and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets delivered it to the People of the Great Assembly." (Mishna Avot 1:1) L'dor vaDor, from generation to generation.


"Israel is not a people of definers but a people of witnesses... Reminders of what has been disclosed to us are hanging over our souls like stars... They shine through dark and dangerous ages, and their reflection can be seen in the lives of those who guard the path of conscience and memory in the wilderness of careless living." (God in Search of Man, Abraham Joshua Heschel)


Our Congregation has been blessed by so many wonderful souls. We are a Congregation of seekers. May the future bring with it many blessings of memory, meaning, and much nachas.

Zakhor. Remember.

Rabbi Shmuel Birnham 1999/5759.

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Page 13 biscs_014 ABRAMSON, Bill & Doris
ADAMS, Anthony & Deborah Scott, Stacey
ALTERMAN, Wolff & Frederica Lashley
ANZAHA, Susan Rebecca
BARKOWITZ, Joe & Gretchen Maggie
BARTON, Alan & Reba
BEHN, Sharon
BENJAMIN, Derrick & Monica
BERGER, Tom & Beth Reiser Polly Berger & Rocky Reiser
BIRNHAM, Rabbi Shmuel & Sara David Shalom
BLACKSTOCK, Dan & Marci Rachel, Gabrielle
BLUM, Julius & Phyllis
BRANDT, Barry & Linda Alex, Eric
BREGER-JOYCE, Marlene Amy & Annie Joyce
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Page 14 biscs_015 BRONSTEIN, Bert & Elaine
CARR, Bob & Ellen
CASPER, Larry & Beverly MacDowell Jacob, Mimi
CHESS, Rick & Laurie Gabriel; Alice & Margaret Teich
COHEN, Ron & Toby
COHEN, Philip & Carol
COOLEY, Harry & Ruth
COOPER, Phyllis
COTLER, Edward & Arlene Jake
DAVIS, Barbara Larel Willoughby
DENIO, Jacqueline
DEUTSCH, Bob & Carol Robin, Andy
EIDUS, Robert
FEINBERG, Hugh & Lara
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Page 15 biscs_016 FEINGOLD, Jack & Norma
FEINGOLD, Cliff & Carol Jamie
FEIRSTEIN, Robert & Janet Brown Sean
FELDMAN, Sid & Terry
FOWLER, Jeanne
FOX, Morris & Ruth
FREEDMAN, Abe & Roslyn
FRIEDMAN, Alan & Marilyn
GABAI, David & Lynne Daniel, Tamara
GELBERT, Sim & Muriel
GILBERT, Jonathan
GILREATH, Frank & Alison Berkey-Gilreath
GOLDSMITH, Frank & Dee Cash
GOLDSTEIN, Eugene & Arleene
GREEN, Arthur & Alice
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Page 16 biscs_017 GREENBERG, Al & Sally
GREENE, Edward & Joyce
GRETZ, Pete & Pam
GUREVICH, Dr. Robert & Adele Landsman
HEDGEPETH, Shulamit Jessica
HELLER, Michael & Michele Amy, Russell
HOROWITZ, Beth Jacob
IVLER, Laurie Ian Urquhart
JAFFE, Mildred
KAPLAN, Ken & Ellen Matt, Laura
KAREL, Harry & Judith
KATZ, Edward & Miriam Schwarz Jacob, Joshua, Hannah
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Page 17 biscs_018 KATZ, Ruth
KAUFER, Dick & Mimi
KAYNE, David & Catherine
KAYNE, Shirley
KESSLER, Caren Julia Kessler-Hollar
KIMBLE, Forrest & Marlene
KORT, Richard
KRAMER, Martin & Barbara
LAIBSON, Alan & Susie
LAIBSON, Richard & Barbara
LANDSBERG, Barry & Evelyn
LANDSMAN, Robin Elias, Liliana
LEBENSBURGER, Scott & Brenda Joel, Chad, Sara
LEE, Martin & Jo Ann Marissa
LEVINSON, Uta Jackie, Sarah
LEVY, Alan & Barbara Ariel
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Page 18 biscs_019 LEVY, Eric & Susan
LEWIN, William & Barbara Many, Rachel
LIEB, Diana Allison Costello, Sam (dog)
LILENFELD, Don & Barbara
LUREY, Milton
MAGER, Claire (Cookie)
MANHEIMER, Ron & Caroline
MICHALOVE, Dr. Paul & Barbara Jennifer
MILLER, Mel & Ellie
MILLER, Stephen & Barbara Lauren, Abby, Cassie
MOOG, Dr. Robert & Dr. Ileana Grams Miranda Richmond
MEIMKIN, Ron & Deborah Bobby Davis; Matthew
NESTLER, Bert & Helen
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Page 19 biscs_020 NEURINGER, Sheldon & Rochelle
NIELSEN, Richard
PALY, Scott & Karen Erin, Brooke
PEARLMAN, Jonathan & Aileen Jaron
PHINNEY, Robert & Alyce
POHL-ZARETSKY, Aaron & Judith Gabe
REIZ, Laurie
ROSE, Adele
ROSENTHAL, Ben & Betty
RUBINSTEIN, Herb & Freda
RUDOW, Ben & Miriam
RUDOW, Marc & Debi Miles Josh, Caleb, Duvey
SANDLER, Adrian & Shirley Nick, Dylan
SCHANDLER, Joseph & Arlene
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Page 20 biscs_021 SCHANZER, Ida
SCHAPIRA, Kenneth & Elizabeth
SCHULMAN, Dick R. & Elaine
SEIDENBERG, David & Sue Hagedorn Noah, Hannah
SHERMAN, Malcolm & Jill
SHUMAN, Mark & Carmina Jonathan
SIEGEL, Greg & Teri Nicole, Michael
SILVERBERG, Alan & Patricia
SILVERMAN, Alan & Lorraine Elliot, Tori
SLOSMAN, Benson & Sandy
SLOSMAN, Fred & Ellen
STERN, Leona
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Page 21 biscs_022 TABASHNECK, Micky & Mary
TEICH, Henry & Kim Alice, Margaret
TELL, M. Barrie & Charlotte
TRANTHAM, Carroll & Golda R.J., Fred, Sam
UHLER, Gerard & Thelma
WEISBERG, Dr. Burton & Carol
WELLISCH, Dr. Eric & Lillian
WIESELMAN, Bob & Laurel Mamet Alima
ZIFFER, Walter & Gail Rosenthal
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Back Cover biscs_023 Original artwork by Nancy Kowolski
"Return Address" by Dr. Richard Chess
Historical Narrative by M. Alan Silverman
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