Hannukah Shabbat

December 20 – 22 at Congregation B’nai Jacob

‘Tis the Season! It’s REUNION SHABBAT: THE MIRACLE OF LIGHTS (The weekend of December 20-22nd). If you grew up at Bnai Jacob, this will be a Hannukah-themed Shabbat and partay to reunite with old friends, and for new Bnai Jacobians and ol’ Bnai Jacobians to celebrate together 🙂 also on December 22nd, the first night of Hannukah, Bnai Jacob will be lighting up the night, across Jersey City and beyond! If you are lighting a menorah, take a pic and post it to the Bnai Jacob Facebook group so we can all share in each others’ light. 

And more to light up your December (and beyond!):

*Upcoming Yoga Classes to begin at Bnai Jacob Thursday Nights from 7-8pm followed by Kirtan-Inspired Chanting Maariv (evening prayer), free to the community!

*More Lunch & Learns, last one of the year is next December 19 from 12-1:30pm

*Exciting new programs for 2020 including Purim Baking, Social Justice Initiatives including New Sanctuary, Family Promise, and more; and Introduction to Judaism classes (for those planning for conversion or who just want to know a little more, more solidly 🙂 

Looking forward to being with everyone!

​​​​​​​Blessings 🙂 R’B 

Added on December 13:

Shalom dear chevre,

This has been an incredibly challenging week. Many of us have felt overwhelmed by fear, anger, and confusion, and many of us have felt inspired by the power of community and connection here in Jersey City and with our sisters and brothers around the country. Next Friday which is our Reunion Shabbat is reality a Shabbat about Uniting– not only will this Shabbos be a time for reuniting old friends and family of Bnai Jacob and new, this will be a time in which we will unite with our local community. Several guests among our Christian neighbors in Greenville will be joining us in community solidarity. I am so looking forward to being all together in our sanctuary. May it always be a gathering place for brothers and sisters to dwell in peace.

There are many updates with regards to actions we can take to support the grieving families of those whose lives were taken, including Moshe Deutsch, Mindy Ferencz, Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and Detective Joseph Seals. An expanded update will be sent out on Sunday, please keep your eyes out.

In the meantime, please keep your hearts and prayers open for our fellow Jews whose lives were lost, for our human siblings whose lives were lost, and for the hope that this wonderful diverse community that is Jersey City can continue to strive for the common good. I will miss you all this Shabbos and am greatly looking forward to being together next week. Below is a beautiful and inspiring essay written by fellow Bnai Jacobian (works right?), by Carla Main. May her words usher you into a Shabbos of compassion, hope, and connection.

Blessings R’B

As Jews, Jersey City residents, Congregation B’nai Jacob congregants and Americans, our hearts are broken by this week’s events in our city. The senseless slaughter of Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals, followed by the deliberate attack on a Jewish business resulting in the death of Moshe Deutsch, Leah Ferencz and Miguel Douglas Rodriguez, are tragedies none of us will ever forget. We join other communities and houses of worship in prayer for the families who have lost their precious loved ones in this terrible week.

Trying to make sense of this, my thoughts turn to my grandfather, Chaim (“Hymie”) Siegel. Though he died before I was born, he animated my life through family stories. Chaim came to this country as an immigrant and suffered great poverty. He left school at 14 to work full time at a printing and engraving shop called Turner Brothers; he would work there for the rest of his life

When he was 45 years old, the Turners wanted to sell the business. Chaim, an ambitious and frugal businessman, managed to raise the munificent sum of $800 to buy it. But he feared their many elite clients would not want to do business with a proprietor named Chaim Siegel. So, he went to court to change his name to Herbert Turner. Grandfather was formidable. He made his adult children, who sometimes helped him in the shop, change their names too; thus, the concealment of Jewish identity was completed. 
Among our family records are legal papers that show the name-changes and the Turner Brothers bill of sale. Grandfather ran Turner Brothers successfully until the day he died on the shop floor. Was the name-change necessary? I don’t know. I do know Grandfather’s documents convey a fundamental tension in the Jewish-American story: we have great success, and yet we are the “other”: sometimes respected, sometimes a curiosity, sometimes despised. 

For the most part, we have long enjoyed our American success in safety. Then came Pittsburgh. Then Poway. And now this week in Jersey City we have been reminded in the most violent way of our “otherness.” Of course, Jews are not the only “other” in American life; African Americans have long suffered violence as the “other”; the terrible shooting in El Paso had a “goal” of killing Hispanics. 

E Pluribus Unum: From the many, one. The Founders anticipated that our nation would be a hodgepodge of “others” who would have to come together as one. Together we are stronger. Together we are safer. Together we can move dialog and understanding forward. 

We can take heart and strength in knowing that local and state government stand with the Jewish community. Love, tolerance, community, action, teshuvah,tefillah and tzedakah: these are ways forward in this difficult time. 

                                                                                         Carla Main, CBJ Member
                                                                                                Jersey City, NJ