Congregation Bnai Israel open for 95th season

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Fleischmanns — The beginning of the 95th season of Congregation Bnai Israel brings with it the arrival of a new spiritual leader, Rabbi Gerald Friedman, who will conduct services throughout the summer and during the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Opening services will begin on Friday evening, June 21 at 6 p.m. with a welcoming pot-luck supper and Sabbath morning, June 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Welcome addition
Rabbi Friedman will bring rich tradition combined with innovation and new insights.  His background includes extensive experience with young adult groups as well as senior citizens.  He was rabbi and director of the Hillel Foundation at the University of Florida for 21 years and served as a congregational rabbi in Northern New Jersey for 14 years.  In addition to his rabbinic education, Rabbi Friedman earned a Master’s Degree in Social Group Work and Community Organization at New York University. 

In a personal statement, Rabbi Friedman wrote, “Judaism is the art of focusing and enriching our lives, of investing transitory moments with lasting meaning and relevance.
Our services will blend traditional and innovative elements, Hebrew and English prayers and readings, classical, Chassidic and modern American musical modes, and thought provoking teachings from Jewish and general sources.”

Reception planned
A reception to welcome Rabbi Friedman will be held on Sunday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The annual meeting of the congregation will be on June 30 at 1 p.m.  The agenda will include the election of officers and board of directors.

Congregation Bnai Israel is an egalitarian synagogue community welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds.  The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located on Wagner Avenue in the village of Fleischmanns.