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Brith Achim Happenings

Rabbi Dennis Beck-Berman with Grahm Brightly-Goldstein, and Janice and Phil Sussman celebrating Simchat Torah.

Things are “looking up” down South here at Congregation Brith Achim. Services go on as normal, plus a few noteworthy activities are happening as we move from Fall to Winter.

October brought the new year with several holiday celebrations. Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur services were held both in-person and over Zoom. We built and decorated the Rabbi’s sukkah at the shul for a marvelous Sukkot celebration:

  • the children helped make and hang decorations for the Sukkah,
  • congregational members performed Klezmer music, and
  • food with a dessert buffet were provided by several groups.

Simchat Torah was held in the gymnasium, including a service with the customary Torah procession and reading.

David Goldstein on clarinet and Mike Packer on keyboard playing Klezmer music at Sukkot celebration.

A video dance party and congregational buffet followed the service. A great time was had by all!

Our normal services are ongoing:

Friday nights at 7:30 (in-person and Zoom), collaborative lay-led services at 10 a.m. on select Saturdays (on Zoom and in-person, circumstances permitting) and children’s services (for 5-10- year old’s) on the same select Saturdays.

Services are complimented by several educational programs. Rabbi Dennis Beck-Berman’s Thursday night study has a new topic “Judaism and Sexuality.” Discussions draw from a reading list including:

  • Daniel Boyarin’s “Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture,”
  • David M. Carr’s “The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Bible” and
  • Naomi Seidman’s A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish.

We are also holding novel Hebrew classes at area businesses. The classes, sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, include Hebrew study, exercises and games along with socializing.

Each session includes an elementary track (e.g., the alphabet learning, reading, minimal vocabulary) and an intermediate track (i.e., vocabulary and grammar). If we find sufficient interest, we will start a third track on conversational Hebrew.

We also are beginning our work on Chanukah displays for community out-reach. Last year we had displays at several museums and at a half-dozen libraries.

We hope to expand our efforts this year to improve community relations with more people “South of the James.”

For more information on any of these contact David Goldstein at drdaveg@gmail.com.