||BETH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE Centennial 1899
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
It is the return address on the envelope of your prayer.
||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
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
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.
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.
PRISON OFFICIALS ARE ABSOLVED FROM BLAME IN LEO
FRANK CASE; ONLY FIVE MEN WERE ON GUA
MOB WHICH LYNCHED LEO FRANK HAD MADE CAREFUL PREPARATIONS FOR DEED
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
...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.
||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.
REAPER CLAIMS MORE
TOLL OF SUNDAY'S GREAT FLOOD IS TWENTY-NINE AT EARLY HOUR THIS MORNING AND
MAY BE INCREASED
ASHEVILLE BATTLING TO RETURN TO NORMAL WHILE FLOODS SLOWLY RECEDE
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
FLAMES DESTROY LIBERTY STREET JEWISH TEMPLE
Orthodox House of Worship Loss of Approximately $10,000
ORIGIN OF BLAZE REMAINS MYSTERY
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.
||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
4 whole chicken Breasts
1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery
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.
||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
MANY SYNAGOGUES REPORTED BURNED
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
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.
UNITED STATES RECOGNIZES NEW JEWISH STATE: ARAB
WORLD IS MOBILIZING TO WAGE 'HOLY WAR'
Egypt Orders Armed Invasion: Israel Is Girded For Battle; Truman Announces
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."
||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.
MISS ROBERTA SCHANDLER
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
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
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.
||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
"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.
||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
||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
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
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
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
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
||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?
Jewish extremist kills Israeli leader
AP AND STAFF REPORTS
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
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
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
||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.
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.
Rabbi Shmuel Birnham 1999/5759.
||ABRAMSON, Bill & Doris
ADAMS, Anthony & Deborah Scott, Stacey
ALTERMAN, Wolff & Frederica Lashley
ANZAHA, Susan Rebecca
BARKOWITZ, Joe & Gretchen Maggie
BARTON, Alan & Reba
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
||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
COTLER, Edward & Arlene Jake
DAVIS, Barbara Larel Willoughby
DEUTSCH, Bob & Carol Robin, Andy
FEINBERG, Hugh & Lara
||FEINGOLD, Jack & Norma
FEINGOLD, Cliff & Carol Jamie
FEIRSTEIN, Robert & Janet Brown Sean
FELDMAN, Sid & Terry
FOX, Morris & Ruth
FREEDMAN, Abe & Roslyn
FRIEDLANDER, Ilse & Egon
FRIEDMAN, Alan & Marilyn
GABAI, David & Lynne Daniel, Tamara
GELBERT, Sim & Muriel
GILREATH, Frank & Alison Berkey-Gilreath
GOLDSMITH, Frank & Dee Cash
GOLDSTEIN, Eugene & Arleene
GREEN, Arthur & Alice
||GREENBERG, Al & Sally
GREENBERG, Stan & Sue
GREENE, Edward & Joyce
GRETZ, Pete & Pam
GULLOTA, Joe & B.
GUREVICH, Dr. Robert & Adele Landsman
HEDGEPETH, Shulamit Jessica
HELLER, Michael & Michele Amy, Russell
HOROWITZ, Beth Jacob
IVLER, Laurie Ian Urquhart
KAPLAN, Ken & Ellen Matt, Laura
KAREL, Harry & Judith
KATZ, Edward & Miriam Schwarz Jacob, Joshua, Hannah
KAUFER, Dick & Mimi
KAYNE, David & Catherine
KESSLER, Caren Julia Kessler-Hollar
KIMBLE, Forrest & Marlene
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
||LEVY, Eric & Susan
LEWIN, William & Barbara Many, Rachel
LIEB, Diana Allison Costello, Sam (dog)
LILENFELD, Don & Barbara
MAGER, Claire (Cookie)
MANHEIMER, Ron & Caroline
MC DONALD GROH, Sharyn
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
||NEURINGER, Sheldon & Rochelle
PALY, Scott & Karen Erin, Brooke
PEARLMAN, Jonathan & Aileen Jaron
PHINNEY, Robert & Alyce
POHL-ZARETSKY, Aaron & Judith Gabe
ROSENTHAL, Ben & Betty
RUBINSTEIN, Herb & Freda
RUDOW, Ben & Miriam
RUDOW, Marc & Debi Miles Josh, Caleb, Duvey
SANDLER, Adrian & Shirley Nick, Dylan
SCHANDLER, Joseph & Arlene
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
||TABASHNECK, Micky & Mary
TEICH, Henry & Kim Alice, Margaret
TELL, M. Barrie & Charlotte
TENENBAUM, Pauline G.
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
||Original artwork by Nancy Kowolski
"Return Address" by Dr. Richard Chess
Historical Narrative by M. Alan Silverman