By Francesca Norsen
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Religion Newsbriefs for January 21-25
By Francesca Norsen Tate
Lecture Series Examines Mitzvot
Through Mysticism & Kabbalah
Congregation B’nai Avraham, Brooklyn Heights’ Modern Orthodox synagogue, begins a new lecture series on Monday, January 21.
The David Berg Lecture Series presents Maimonides 613. Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin will lead each class in exploring Rambam’s mitzvah on the parsha, and in using Kabbalistic and mystical insights to find relevance to living in modern times.
The opening class focuses on “Bishalach: Cooking from Yom Tov to Shabbos.” (Yom Tov is a festival or holiday). Next segments are “Yisro: Why We Make Havdala”; “Mishpatim: The Four Bailees”; and “Truma: The Half Dollar of Fire.” Each class convenes at 8 p.m. on Mondays for 4 weeks. Class is also available by phone. Contact Congregation B’nai Avraham at (718) 596-4840 for more information on this option. The synagogue is at 117 Remsen St.
Prayer Honors Partnership Between
Jews and Martin Luther King’s Legacy
The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, in cooperation with UJA Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, has authored a prayer that was read in synagogues across the country on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend, Saturday, January 19. The prayer recognizes Dr. King's partnership with the American Jewish community in achieving equality for all Americans.
Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and author of Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Jewish Community, said, “this prayer captures the essence of Dr. King and his relationship with the Jewish people. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as a tireless advocate both for the State of Israel and for the freedom of Soviet Jewry. Foremost, he was unequivocal in his denunciation of antisemitism.”
The four-paragraph prayer begins using the words of the prophet Micah (from the Hebrew scriptures to “love justice, do mercy, and walk humbly” with God. A portion reads, “Grant us the wisdom to truly understand that all of humanity is created equally in Your image, so that ‘an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Open our hearts to stand with the oppressed and persecuted around the world…We honor the legacy of a Jewish community that ‘prayed with its feet’ as it walked with Dr. King, an African-American, in pursuit of civil rights. Help us to feel the reassurance of Your presence as we continue forward in pursuit of civil rights and justice for all humankind.”
The prayer was distributed by UJA Federation of New York through national rabbinic organizations including the Central Conference on American Rabbis (CCAR), Rabbinical Assembly (RA), Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), and Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) and to the national religious movements: Union of Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Orthodox Union, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and locally to the New York Board of Rabbis (NYBR).
‘Million Moms’ Campaign
For Sensible Gun Control
Members of Congregation Beth Elohim and other area congregations joined the One Million Moms for Gun Control NYC rally on Monday morning, the observed holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday.
The theme drew its inspiration from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolence and vision of a better future for America’s children. Participants planned show local, state and federal leaders that we are demanding immediate, meaningful action on common-sense gun control legislation. The march began at Cadman Plaza Park at 9:15 am., and proceeded over Brooklyn Bridge at 9:35 a.m. to City Hall Park for speakers at 10:30 a.m.
Another march is scheduled for Saturday, January 26 in Washington, DC.
Keeping Good Time
Brief Series Geared
For the Busy Christian
The Rev. Nadine Hundertmark, interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church, leads a brief Adult Education Series, “God’s Gift of Time.”
Two Wednesday evenings will be devoted to how on how we spend, make, waste, organize, cherish and honor time. The program takes place on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Don’t miss a minute of it!
East Brooklyn Congregations and the Daily News are co-sponsoring a Mayoral Candidates Forum this Thursday, Jan. 24. As of press time for this column, only a limited number of tickets were still available for the forum, taking place at St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York. According to event organizers, EBC leaders are expected to carefully question the candidates based on the organization’s experience with the issues of education, housing and security, and use each candidate’s responses to frame those issues during the next mayoral term.
East Brooklyn Congregations is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1980, whose members are religious congregations, schools, and home and voluntary associations. In turn, EBC is an affiliate of the wider Industrial Areas Foundation. Member organizations represent more than 15,000 active families in the neighborhoods of East New York, Bushwick, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill. One of EBC’S member congregations is in western Brooklyn, though: Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights has been active for about 20 years.
HaZamir Chorale and Brooklyn Sons
Perform at Shabbat Shirah Concert
America’s foremost Jewish choir debuts in Brooklyn’s celebrated sanctuary with two of the borough’s native sons.
Maestro Matthew Lazar and Cantor Jacob Ben-Zion Mendelson perform in an evening of classical and contemporary music in honor of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Shabbat Shirah (Sabbath of Song) at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope.
Making special appearances will be Cantor Josh Breitzer and members of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. This Shabbat Shirah concert takes place on Thursday (instead of Friday), January 24 at 7:30 p.m., in the sanctuary of Congregation Beth Elohim.
Ticket prices are: $36 for general admission; $25 for CBE members; free for all those under age 18 and under. Purchase tickets online through Congregation Beth Elohim’s website, http://congregationbethelohim.org, or at the door.
The next evening, Congregation Beth Elohim will formally install Rabbi Marc Katz as its Assistant Rabbi.
The investiture liturgy will take place at the Shabbat Evening services, starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will offer remarks and blessings.
Congregation Beth Elohim is joining the New York Methodist Hospital Blood program once again to help those in need. The blood drive will take place in the Temple’s Social Hall on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Kane Street Synagogue, whose popular Brooklyn Israel Film Festival takes place this weekend, celebrates some milestones during January. Chronologically by year, Congregation Baith Israel (now known as the Kane Street Synagogue) was founded on January 22nd, 1856.
The cornerstone for Congregation Baith Israel’s sanctuary was laid Jan. 12, 1862. This synagogue was a precursor of the congregation now known as the Kane Street Synagogue. According to the congregation’s extensive online history archives, “This was the first building in Brooklyn to be built as a synagogue.”
Later, when the building was dedicated, the archives show that “the Rev. Rabbis Morris Raphall (from B’nai Jeshurun) and Samuel Myer Isaacs (from Sharey Tefilah) officiated with Rev. Alexander at the dedication. Accounts of the ceremony in the Brooklyn Eagle describe the interior of the sanctuary as having a traditional Orthodox layout with pews for men arranged around a central reading table and separate gallery seating for women.”