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KBI Happenings

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Rabbi Dovid Asher spoke to residents at the Avery Point Senior Living Community recently on The Religious Perspectives on the Israel-Hamas War.

The year of 2024 has kicked off at Keneseth Beth Israel (KBI) with a flurry of activities!

On New Year’s Day, KBI and the Richmond Jewish Learning Experience (RJLE – led by Rabbi Don Cantor – partnered to present a class entitled The Book of Exodus: Eponym or Epilogue? Breakfast accompanied the class.

A Taste of Israel, co-sponsored by KBI, took place on Jan. 14 at the Weinstein JCC. All proceeds supported the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond’s Israel Emergency Campaign. Highlights included Israeli cuisine and bakery, Israeli goods, art, jewelry, and Judaica, activities like writing letters of support to Israeli families and the IDF, and more!

The same week, Rabbi Dovid Asher spoke about the Seven Noahide Laws hosted by the speaker of the house at the General Assembly building where Governor Glenn Youngkin was in attendance.

At the invitation of the Virginia House of Delegates, Rabbi Asher gave the invocation (prayer) at a session in mid-January. Delegate C. Todd Gilbert presented a moving introduction to Rabbi Asher, which was followed by Rabbi Asher’s invocation. Visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaZFg9xSOYc  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4zN0ZlQnhE

On Shabbat evening of Jan. 19, KBI held its second monthly Winter Friday Night Oneg (get together). Many thanks to Elliot, Elizabeth, and Avi Fitzgerald for hosting the event. The group was treated to insightful conversation, learning, and a variety of tasty treats!

The next morning, Shabbat day, KBI and the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond partnered to host “A Taste of Israel” Shabbat lunch. The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond delegation then shared their recent experiences during a mission in Israel that included how the Israel Emergency Fund is being utilized to aid Israelis.

At the end of January, KBI hosted a special guest speaker from the Orthodox Union (OU) for Shabbat. Rabbi Ross, the Managing Director of the OU’s collegiate and young professionals’ division, and the executive director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on campus (JLIC) spoke about Gen Z and the current state of Judaism on secular college campuses.

After Shabbat, KBI’s president and his wife–Chuck and Judy Lessin–along with Rabbi Don Cantor, head of the Richmond Jewish Learning Experience,  hosted a Torah & Tasting event where Rabbi Ross gave a lecture concerning laws surrounding wine.

That same week, Rabbi Asher gave a class at the Avery Point Senior Living community, hosted by Beverley Soble and Hedy Lapkin. Rabbi Asher’s lecture, entitled Religious Perspectives on the Israel-Hamas War, can be viewed on YouTube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mMIfC7Hzig

Also in January, The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond kindly allocated $5000 to KBI * to offset security expenses. This gift was the result of a generous donation that was earmarked for immediate allocation toward enhancing community security.

As always, the entire Richmond Jewish community is invited to attend KBI’s free monthly gourmet Gold Kiddush after Shabbat day services (approximately 10:45 a.m.).

Come eat, talk, and enjoy! A huge shout-out to caterer Amy Beth Lehman.

To learn of upcoming Gold Kiddush dates, please contact the KBI office at 804-288-7953.

In January, the Gold kiddush was held in honor of the KBI merger with Young Israel of Richmond (approx. one-year ago), in memory of David Peck z”l (who helped oversee the merger), and to welcome a “new-to-us” high-quality Sefer Torah (donated originally by the Grandis family) into the KBI synagogue.

In early February, the Gold Kiddush honored the many women who–in the past and/or currently–have volunteered their time to ensure that the vital service of mikvah is available to the KBI community.

As part of this event, the KBI Tish Marmorstein Mikvah presented a workshop entitled Dignity from the Inside Out on Sunday, Feb. 4, at the home of Arielle Sherman.

Bracha Poliakoff, who resided in Richmond with her family in prior years and is the author of Reclaiming Dignity: A Guide to Tzniut for Men and Women, spoke to close to 50 attendees of various affiliations and backgrounds. Through active discussion and a review of Torah sources, the main takeaway was that tzinut (modesty), is a character trait that extends well beyond just a way of dress.

Rather, it instills compassion toward others and a selfless way of living. Raffle tickets were sold as part of the fundraising effort and prizes included a body massage, free housecleaning, and autographed book copies.

At the time of this writing, KBI is preparing to host the traditional Purim seudah (meal) with a masquerade theme on Sunday, March 24.

KBI has also continued to encourage community members to contact elected officials to push for the support of Israel, including efforts to help secure the release of Israeli hostages.

This includes Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who grew up in the Richmond community before making aliyah (moving to Israel) with his family. Hersh’s parents have directly requested that the community contact elected officials to push for the release of all hostages. May peace within Israel be swiftly secured.

* Keneseth Beth Israel is supported, in part, by a generous contribution from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.