Congregation B'nai Israel

2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604 | (203) 336-1858 | |

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Breathing the Air of Israel at B’nai Israel

In June I wrote about upping our IQ (Israel Quotient) at B’nai Israel. A task force is in formation to take on this project, and it is being led by Jill and Steve Elbaum. A task force is different from a committee because it has a specific job and a limited time to do it. Members of the task force will be from as many different areas of temple life as possible so that they can offer different ways for us to engage in this exploration form our own unique perspectives. Its purpose is to quickly establish goals, identify constituencies and develop opportunities to enable each of us to deepen our relationship with Israel, each other and the congregation. Over the next three years the task force will help us all explore our connections to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), Medinat Yisrael (the state of Israel) and Am Yisrael (the people of Israel).

Our goal is to reach parents of Nursery School AND Religious School Students, teenagers (both in BIFTY and not), Adult learners, regular Shabbat worshippers, adult learners, Jewish Journeyers, Rosh Chodesh celebrators, the Men and Women of Reform Judaism (Brotherhood and Sisterhood), religious school students and members who come only occasionally. We are hoping to reach YOU and invite you to actively explore and hopefully deepen your connections to Israel. If you have thoughts or ideas, please call me or send an e-mail

I am delighted to inform you that we have received a $16,000 grant from the Legacy Heritage Foundation (see page 10 for more on this) which will help us to do this work. The grant will enable us to send some of our teachers to learn how to bring Israel to America from master teachers and members of the Reform movement in Israel. It will also fund some of those master teachers to come to B’nai Israel to teach our teachers, meet with our task force and teach in our Adult Jewish Learning program.

Ahad Ha’am was one of the seminal Zionist thinkers of the late 19th century. He said that we needed to create a Jewish state to serve as a focal point for the Jewish people all over the world, as a center of Jewish culture. I believe that Israel is just waiting for us to connect and make that dream come alive. I believe we can live more Jewishly fulfilling lives in Connecticut by making that connection. I hope you are as excited about this work as I am, and if you are not, I am certain we can help you find the motivation. Please join us!


Ira J. Wise, R.J.E.
Director of Education