A Message from our President about Reopening:

We are monitoring the governmental directives about potential reopening of businesses and other establishments like our temple facilities. At this time, we are unable to set a date for a phased reopening. We do know that we cannot plan any gatherings at the temple before July 10. We will provide updates on plans as they change in the coming weeks. Please email or call me if you have and questions or concerns.

Tikkun Gottschalk, President

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Lifelong Service Award Received by Jackie & Chuck Itzkovitz

Jackie and Chuck Itzkovitz received the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Lifelong Service Award. Well deserved!

Mazol Tov to Jackie and Chuck!

As a way of learning more about the Itzkovitzs’ and their trailblazing involvement and contribution to CBHT and the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee, here is background of this dynamic couple for your interest and reading pleasure.

As a young person, Jackie went to a social justice camp for several years where she met her ‘future’ husband, Chuck. After their marriage and having children of their own, Jackie and Chuck went back to work at the camp during the summer. Jackie attributes those experiences for earning her Masters of Social Work degree. Jackie started the PFLAG chapter in Savannah 22 years ago, which is still going strong. What gives her the most pleasure is that she and Chuck instilled those values learned and lived by, in their children.

So many current temple practices and events can be attributed to the love and good work of Jackie including: starting Shiva practices after funeral (now tended to with love by the CBHT Caring Community), creating and nurturing the beginning of the Hard Lox Jewish Food Festival, writing a Women’s Haggadah, led Women’s seders and writing the Sisterhood Shabbat service, still in use. Jackie was the President of Hadassah for 2 terms sitting on the Southeastern board of Hadassah, and served on the JCC Board for several years. She went to the first community immigration meeting where 17 faith communities came together to investigate possibilities for sanctuaries.

Chuck grew up in Savannah,Georgia. In his professional life he worked with intellectually-challenged teenagers in a state institution to help them move into the community through a Vocational Rehab grant, directed a community based residential treatment program for seriously emotionally disturbed teens in state custody, and ended his professional career working for the US Army in their child and spouse abuse program.

After retiring with Jackie to Asheville and joining CBHT, Chuck became involved through the Tikkun Olam infrastructure, to pursue his social work professional values and Jewish values of social change, social activism and Tzedakah. For several years Brotherhood had sponsored an annual clergy seminar, as part of an active interfaith program, inviting well known Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars to come for a weekend and the local faith communities were invited to attend. At its height this program drew over a hundred clergy and laypersons. This gave rise to Brotherhood efforts, to which Chuck contributed, to form an interfaith clergy and lay action group. This group continued for several years and created important relationships and actions.

Now in Asheville close to 19 years, Jackie and Chuck Itzkovitz have always been connected in some way to helping others. CBHT is honored to have had so many of the temple practices, programs and events attributed to their early nurturing, participation and support.

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee May, 2020


1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team. Contact Wendy Capelouto to help.  (currently suspended)

3rd Friday each month @ noon – CBHT Vets shelter meal serving. Contact Hilary Paradise to help.  (currently postponed)

Sunday, May 10thTop Your Dog – LMTO Fundraiser Picnic (Postponed, Date TBA)

June 7th –13th Room in the Inn; CBHT hosts.  Contact Sherrill Zoller to help.

Monday, August 24th – 4:30 PM, Next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

Tikkun Olam Shabbat Cancelled – but we honor:

Amelia (Mia) Seligman, given the LMTO Teen of the Year Award./h3>

Mia wrote:

Receiving this award is truly a privilege, and I’m honored.  Thank you.  I come from a military family.  I’ve never lived in a place that has such a dedicated and tightly woven congregation, so to be able to give back to that community is a blessing.  I’ve made close friends here and met some truly wonderful people.  Every Sunday, I look forward to playing bass with Seth, and I enjoy learning about our spot in the world in Confirmation after working with the kesher class.  I’m truly thankful for the opportunities and lessons I’ve learned through, and at, temple.

At school, I’m a part of the beta club, the National art honor society, creative writing club, pep tutoring, and the TC Roberson theater program.  Through beta club, we learn and focus on how to better serve our community through volunteer-based activities, and in national art honor society, we volunteer to provide art-based services to public and school events.  PEP tutoring is a very important program to me, as I am allowed to work with students with special needs.  By working with that program, I have learned about different disabilities, removing stigmas, and choosing to see people as differently abled, instead of disabled.  I have decided to pursue a career in helping people with special needs through art therapy.

Tikkun Olam, in my opinion, is exhibited through these by providing a creative, safe, and engaging environment for me and others to truly enjoy putting good and creativity out into the world and pushing our voices into the world to invoke change.

In addition to school related services and activities, I also informed and got people my age to attend the 2019 “Women’s March on Asheville”, and I attended the “March for Our Lives” in 2018.  In both of those marches, I learned about freedom of protest and speech, and how citizens have the ability to exercise that right.  After completing my Bat Mitzvah project, I continued volunteering with the MS society, where I cleaned homes of people with MS, and helped organize social events to spread awareness and remove stigmas about MS.

As a young, Jewish woman, I have learned about using my voice, and how important it is that I learn how to use it.

The LMTO Committee also honors the B’nai Mitzvah students for their mitzvah projects.

The following students were to be honored this year:

Isaac Fertel, Gabe Glasser, Quinn Love, Gabriella Bluestone, Elizabeth Jones-Ayers, Isabella Stafford, Ari Cohen, Abigail Huter, The’o Margaritov, Gabrielle Vautrin, Jonah Childs, Asher Ring, Asa Harris, Molly Green, Jackson Klibanoff, Max Schantz, and Sophie Gottschalk.


Our temple’s annual hosting for our RITI ladies is still on the calendar for the week of June 7th – 14th.  But due to the uncertainty of where we’ll be with the Covid-19 epidemic a month from now, we need to be flexible in our planning.  Hopefully by mid-May, we should have a better idea whether or not the women (currently being sheltered in a single location) will once again resume going to faith groups for nightly visits and meals, and as importantly, if our temple will be reopened in any capacity.  At that time, I’ll advise our community of the status of the RITI program and any volunteer needs.

Sherrill Zoller, Tikkun Olam Committee coordinator for RITI

Religious School News May, 2020

As you may know, the word Seder, the same word we use to describe our retelling of the story of Pesach, means “order.”  In addition to Passover, we also have a Tu Bishvat Seder.  As Jews, order and routine are very important to us.  We follow a calendar that directly connects us to our yearly observance order.  As part of the order of our day, we are invited to pray three times—morning, afternoon and evening.  And when celebrating our Shloshim Rigalim, our three major festivals—Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, we have certain routine practices that we follow, as well.  We even include the counting of days between observances, such as the counting of the Omer that we are currently participating in, as part of our routine.

Recently (maybe it does not feel quite so recent) we have been stripped of much of our order and routine.  School and education, including Religious School and Midweek Hebrew, have been rendered almost unrecognizable.  Our roles at home have changed.  We not only need to be parents now, but also preschool teachers, elementary school teachers, and so on.  Our families are looking to us for added activities and in our house, at least, a lot more food!

Part of what we try to do, even though sometimes it seems futile, is to create a Seder for our days and for our lives.  We are struggling to maintain some type of structure that serves the needs of our little ones and allows us to meet the needs of our home and/or work.  It’s so hard!  I hope I am not the first to say this, but we are doing it!  Even when we meet with resistance or tears, we are seizing an opportunity that our modern reality often does not afford us: time with our children.  You may end a day saying, “That was awful!”  But your children will remember this time very differently.  I honor the work that everyone is doing and believe that, in the end, our families will grow closer.

You are not alone.  We are all feeling the daily aches and pains of trying to be more than we signed on for.  In efforts to connect us and remind us that we are all in this together, we have been creating some fun, family-friendly live opportunities on Facebook.  If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to request admission to our Religious School Facebook group, so you can join in as we come together on Wednesday nights for our Laila Tov Service, Saturday nights for Havdalah, and Sunday mornings for Kehila Tephila.

Our faith reminds us that order and community are our history and our future.  Thank you for continuing to co-create this beautiful community of ours.  I, for one, look very much forward to continuing to serve you and your families.

Seth Kellam,

Director of Religious Education & Sacred Music

Presidents Message May, 2020

By the time the first night of Passover arrived, I was a near expert zoomer.  I knew how to touch up my appearance, insert a cool background, and mute and unmute people in seconds.  So, there we were, the four of us semi-quarantined, all lined up in front of my IPad, being “together” with others for a first night Seder.  I know this is a bizarre reference point for the occasion, but here it is: I could not help recalling DaVinci’s the Last Supper, where they are all eating at a table facing the same direction, some leaning to the side.  I could never suspend my disbelief at that painting because I always thought, “Who eats like that, all in a row facing no one?”  Well, now I know, you eat like that at a Zoom Seder, when you have to all face the same direction to be seen by the digital camera.

Our Haggadah this year (from “Haggadah.com” of course) highlighted the contrasts in the Passover story, the contrasts of freedom and slavery, joy and pain, power and helplessness.  I appreciated this theme because this year the contrasts of Passover seemed especially stark.  Most of us here in WNC are really no less free than we were last year, yet our freedom is limited to our own socially distant households.  Our technology empowers us to stay connected, to retain our traditions—however modified they must be—of gathering in community to celebrate holidays and Shabbat.  We are physically distant by necessity, yet still try to draw close to each other by different means.

We celebrate our freedom on Passover, while remembering the slavery of our ancestors; at the same time, I cannot help but think of those people whose freedoms have been severely impacted by the pandemic, of those who live in small apartments, who may be self-isolating to protect their loved ones.

It is our tradition at Passover to recall the many generations that have come before us, each with their own retelling of the Passover story.  Each generation has its own ideas, its own version of the Passover story.  As a kid, in my house each year’s Seder seemed to have something new that wasn’t in the Haggadah the year before, often social justice-themed.  I never imagined that I would ever be part of a fully virtual Seder.

As we have over many generations, we continue our traditions despite adversity.  We still celebrated life and freedom at Passover, though that freedom may seem limited right now.  We are used to gathering around a table to tell stories, old and new at Passover, finding new meanings in our shared history.  We added our own special chapter for this year, more fraught and intense than any Passover in recent memory.  But as I recalled our people’s story of Passover, I was reminded that the trials of this year will too become part of our shared past, that we will endure and continue our traditions, however they need to change with the times.  We dream of the future, and say “next year, Jerusalem”; we also say, “next year, health, and hugs, and no more social distancing!”

Tikkun Gottschalk,

CBHT President

You're at Home Here! An Engaging, Inclusive, Reform Congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains