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Elm City Kallah  - April 2019

We enjoyed an incredible weekend of learning, singing, and, prayer with Raba Tamar Elad Appelbaum, our scholar in residence. Tamar is a fount of hope and love — to be in her presence is to be lifted up by her light, to feel yourself striving to be better, and to know that the world can be better. Tamar spoke to us about our connections to one another and how we have the possibility of returning to one another that which we have lost — our hope, our joy, our faith. Learning with her, I think we all saw our community through new eyes — not just the same old place we know with all its faults, but something magical and special.

Our Elm City Kallah is particularly special because we come together as three synagogues to make it happen: Congregation B’nai Jacob, BEKI, and Westville Shul. I love that we get to experience ourselves as a larger Jewish community than we otherwise would, and that we get to stretch ourselves — praying, sometimes, in ways that are unfamiliar, respecting traditions that may be foreign to us, discovering that despite our differences, we are one community.

If you missed this incredible event, I hope you will join us for next year’s Elm City Kallah.

Watch Livestreamed Video of Sunday's Event at CBJ
Click on Chapel, archived video, and scroll back to Sunday, April 7

Purchase Book Pirket Avot

Purchase Zion CDs

View source material from the Kallah weekend:
Friday Night - Westville
Shabbat Morning - BEKI
Sunday Morning - CBJ


Adult Learning




B'nai Jacob offers a rich array
of classes and guest lectures
every season. 

Join us! 






Speaker Series Winter/Spring 2019

Sunday, February 3, 10:00am
Cormac Levenson
Exec. Director and Lead Meditation Instructor,  Elm Village, New Haven
The S’hma and Mindfulness: How the practice of meditation can deepen our relationship with God”
Mr. Levenson, graduate of Harvard Divinity School, former Griffin Hospital Chaplain, student of eastern religions, and respected teacher of meditation, will lead this BJ program about Judaism, mindfulness, and relating to G-d. This is so important for our troubling times.


Saturday, February 23, after kiddush (12:30pm)
Christine Hayes, PhD
Weis Professor of Religious Studies, Yale; 2015 winner of the National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship.
“’We’re No Angels’: Perfectionism in Rabbinic Judaism”
What is the nature of the perfection to which humans should aspire? Beginning with the Talmudic phrase “The Torah was not given to Ministering Angels,” this lecture explores radically diverse ancient Jewish conceptions of the nature of human perfection and whether or not humans can be, or should aspire to be, like angels.


Saturday, March 23, after kiddush (12:30pm)
Elizabeth Edelglass
Acclaimed short story author, most recently published in “New Haven Review”, “Tablet” and Jewish”
Writing Jewish American Fiction in 2019
CBJ member and past Director of the Jewish Community Library at the JCC, Elizabeth Edelglass, will discuss her writing practice in today’s climate of rising anti-Semitism, hate speech and political unrest. What has changed for her, as a fiction writer, and how does her sense of social responsibility find its way into her work.


Saturday, May 4, after kiddush (12:30pm)
Mark Gottdiener
Professor of Sociology Emeritus, U. at Buffalo, Winner of the Lynd Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Sociological Association
“The Culture of Lying”
Dr. Gottdiener’s book, The Culture of Lying, demonstrates how our “post-fact” culture is coming apart through the saturation of lying in all our social institutions. Truth is no longer relevant, and negative sanctions no longer follow damaging acts of falsehood. Rather, present socialization norms encourage deception with impunity. Please join us to hear Professor Gottdiener’s explanation, grounded in the social sciences, of this pressing societal problem.




New Book Group

All B’nai Jacob Members Welcome

First meeting Wednesday, February 20 in B’nai Jacob Library at 7:30pm

Join in a discussion of “If All the Seas Were Ink,” by Ilana Kurshan.
This memoir about a young woman’s study of Talmud ties in nicely with the Rabbi’s class, Reading the Talmud. “In this deeply personal and often hilarious story, Kurshan shows us how the Talmud’s thousands of strange and demanding pages…become a conversation about how best to live one’s life.” Dara Horn

Future books and dates will be decided by the group.
RSVP to 203-389-2111 or


Rabbi Shapiro's Classes

Mondays evenings 7:30pm  •   Feb 25,  Mar 4, 11, 18, 25, Apr 1, 8, 15
Reading the Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud, in many ways more so than the Bible, is the core text of the Jewish people and yet it is unknown to many of us. We will explore some of its breadth and depth, looking at both stories (aggadah) and law (halacha) as we work to gain insight into the rabbinic project and its meaning for us. No knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic is required.

Saturdays 1:00pm •  Jan 26, Mar 2, Apr 13
The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai
Amichai is Israel’s poet laureate. He, more than any other poet, captures the paradoxes of faith and love and “Israeliness” in familiar language and bold simile. We will take two Shabbat afternoons to explore a poem or two each time. Poems will be sent out to participants ahead of time, so registration is necessary.



Bread & Torah

EVERY Shabbat Morning Before Services, 9:00 - 9:45am

Rabbi Shapiro explores the weekly Torah portion and how its story relates to our own. Lively discussion over bagels and coffee. No experience necessary

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781