Category Archives: FrontPagePost

Two Congregations – One Building – Creates Multiple Opportunities to Learn and Grow


“I know that CBI would make the same offer to us. And I’m so pleased we are in the position of doing such a mitzvah.”
                                                            Rabbi Batsheva Meiri

Rabbis and PresidentsFounded in 1899, Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) is transforming their space with a Capital Campaign “Giving and Growing Together.” After 50 years in the same building, an aggressive 11-month renovation is underway including changes to the sanctuary, learning spaces, social hall and common spaces. Della Simon, President of CBI notes, “We knew that during the construction phase of our project we would need to be in an alternate space. Our leadership considered multiple venues – primarily houses of worship. While CBI looked at renting space from several area churches, in the end it made the most sense for us to reach out to our friends at Congregational Beth HaTephila (CBHT) in leveraging our strong, long-standing relationship in hopes that they would be open to supporting our congregation during this year.

Rabbis Meiri and Goldstein were discussing at a morning coffee the plans for CBI’s renovation and temporary relocation. Rabbi Meiri noted, “I asked, what they were doing and why hadn’t they contacted us because we certainly had the space available.” Rabbi Goldstein added, “Yes, she said quite clearly and matter of factly that it only made sense for CBHT to host us during our year of renovation.  And she was and remains to be correct – it only makes sense!”

When CBHT President Karen Hyman heard that CBI needed a temporary home, she asked them to stop looking elsewhere and assured them that CBHT wanted to make it work for them to share their space. Karen said, “We had just recently built out the remaining space on our lower level, so it was perfect timing. Della and I met to work out the basic framework of the arrangement and then we were off and running. This is just the right thing to do for our friends at CBI, and it has been working out great.

Cohabitation of congregations began in the fall of this year. CBI calls Unger Hall the downstairs ‘home’ until the renovations are completed in time for the 2018 High Holidays.

“CBHT has been so generous with sharing space for us to be able to learn, pray, celebrate, and gather; the JCC has been so accommodating for our Sunday School needs, JFS has offered us use of their kosher kitchen to prepare our communal meals – all around and in every way the Jewish community of Asheville continues to show its true spirit of support and togetherness.”                 Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Continue reading Two Congregations – One Building – Creates Multiple Opportunities to Learn and Grow

Lifelong Commitment to Tikkun Olam Inspires a Bat Mitzvah Journey

Judy Leavitt grew up in a time when Reform Judaism was going through a major transformation and women in Reform Judaism were not yet able to be a Bat Mitzvah. Her story reflects a larger story of our movement as well as the changing role of women in the movement.

Growing up in New Jersey, in a family of Jews whose lives were focused on social justice, Judy became committed to Tikkun Olam, helping to ‘repair the world’.

At the beginning of her career Continue reading Lifelong Commitment to Tikkun Olam Inspires a Bat Mitzvah Journey

Rabbi Response to Charlottesville

It is vital when acts of violence pierce the collective peace and well-being that are the promise of American society, that we never stand by and be silent. Of late, hate groups have become emboldened and their xenophobia disguised as the pursuit of equality.

What was uniquely frightening about the gathering in Charlottesville was that it united factions of haters together. Their ideology cannot be allowed to be legitimized or their actions condoned, tacitly or otherwise. We can and should expect our lawmakers to be leaders on this issue and it is up to us to hold them accountable for speaking out against hatred on our behalf.

Consider asking your representatives to condemn the bigotry and hate that reared its head in Charlottesville and threatens the core values of our tradition and our country’s tradition-that all are created equal under God and we should love our neighbor and the stranger as ourselves.

I believe that what we saw over the weekend isn’t the sentiment of the majority. Moving forward it will take every single person’s vigilance to keep fear from becoming the currency we, as Americans, choose in the future.

To make your concerns known to your Congressional representatives, you may use the link below from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

L’Shalom, in peace,

Rabbi Batsheva H. Meiri