B'nai Sholom

Reform Congregation

Albany, NY

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 BSRC Exterior6 2 sign cWe are very glad to welcome you to B'nai Sholom, a place Reform Jews and their families -- of whatever backgrounds -- can truly call "home."

We are located at (click here for directions):
420 Whitehall Rd
Albany, NY 12208

Please join in our worship, our studying, our celebrations. We look forward to getting to know you.  Please call us at 518/482-5283, or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Or get in touch with our Membership Co-chairs, Hana Zima, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ron Royne, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office Hours:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9:15-3:00. The office is closed on Tuesdays (Wednesdays in January and February).

 Sincerely,

Rabbi Don Cashman, the officers, trustees, and members of B'nai Sholom

For tickets and service times, please contact Becky Marvin, Office Manager, at (518) 482-5283, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

at Devores1 r500We love our Rosh Hashanah luncheons, but we don't have many photos of congregants enjoIMG 1031 r150ying the food and fellowship that only happens once a year. Please take out your smart phone and snap some shots to share with the Communications Committee! Send them to Deb Adler, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , so we can post the best ones on the web site and on Facebook. Thanks!

SAM 1211 r200The September Bulletin is here! Special features this month include special home prayers for the Days of Awe; the complete Adult Education schedule; news from B'Yachad, and volunteer opportunities through the Social Action Committee. Read it here!

To ensure that children and families continue to receive a high-quality Jewish education and a reinforced sense of community, B'nai Sholom has joined B'Yachad, the collaborative Jewish religious school of Albany's Congregation Ohav Shalom and Temple Israel.

 At a special congregational meeting, B'nai Sholom congregants voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal to join B'Yachad.  B'nai Sholom has conducted its own religious school since the congregation's founding in 1971.  
 
B'Yachad, which means "together," was formed a few years ago when Ohav Shalom and Temple Israel combined their religious schools.  The school is dedicated to teaching Torah, tefillah, Hebrew language, holidays, history, Israeli studies, ethics, morals and mitzvot to students in kindergarten through 8th grades.  Through formal classroom instruction, family education and community-based programs, the school provides a rich and varied learning environment that is welcoming to all Jewish families.  While B'Yachad follows the teachings of Conservative Judaism, the school utilizes the same curricular materials that B'nai Sholom as a Reform congregation has used for years.
 
Students in grades K, 1 and 8 attend B'Yachad one day a week, while those in grades 2-7 attend two days a week.  Beyond 8th grade, B'Yachad encourages young adults who have become bar or bat mitzvah to continue their education by studying at Mifgash, Albany's Jewish community high school program, and/or by becoming madrichim ("guides") who work in the classrooms or assist in the office.  Other religious training, such as preparation for bar or bat mitzvah, remains at B'nai Sholom.
 
"The ability for our students to feel part of a bona fide community, and not just a single institution or house of worship, is an amazing lesson itself.  All our students and families will benefit from this new arrangement and will invigorate us with renewed purpose," said Rabbi Don Cashman.  "I'm very excited to be working with the four other clergy in this wonderful endeavor that embodies the way the American Jewish community actually works: across institutional and ideological boundaries. We are truly creating a minhag America - an American way of doing things."
 
"Having worked in Jewish education for more than 30 years, I feel that our B'Yachad School collaboration is one of the most exciting educational endeavors in which I have participated.  B'Yachad literally brings us together as a pluralistic Jewish community for learning, Jewish identity development, the strengthening of our connections to Israel and helping families to build Jewish life.  I look forward to our partnership with Temple Israel and B'nai Sholom," said Rabbi Dan Ornstein, spiritual leader of Ohav Shalom.
 
B'Yachad is overseen by a board that sets policy, reviews the budget and assesses the education programs.  The board also advises the B'nai Sholom Religious School Committee and those of the other member congregations.
DR. MIMI BRUCE IS NEW B'NAI SHOLOM PRESIDENT;
NEW OFFICERS AND BOARD CHOSEN
 
 B'nai Sholom Reform Congregation has announced the election of new officers and members to the board of trustees.
 
At the 42nd annual meeting, the congregation elected Dr. Mimi Bruce of Menands, president; Libby Liebschutz of Delmar, president-elect; Mark Reeder of Albany, vice president; Liz Davis of Glenmont, finance vice president; Deborah Adler of Delmar, secretary; and Eleanor Davis of Albany, treasurer.  
 
Bruce succeeds Jodi Kerper as president. Liebschutz, Reeder, Adler, Liz Davis and Eleanor Davis are newly elected to executive posts.
 
The congregation also elected Barbara Devore of Delmar, Debra Greenberg of Delmar and Ann Shapiro of Albany to new positions as trustees.  Continuing on the board are Joel Bloom of Loudonville, Jodi Kerper of Delmar, Steven Klein of Delmar, Joan Savitt of Albany, Mark Silverbush of Selkirk and Hana Sullenger of Troy.
 
Rabbi Donald P. Cashman has been the congregation's spiritual leader since 1985 and serves on the board ex officio.
 
"During my 33 years with B'nai Sholom, it has been my center of support, friendship and spiritual growth.  I thank Jodi Kerper for her leadership these past two years, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve this wonderful community," Bruce said.
 
Melody Bruce - President 2014-2015Bruce trained in the ob-gyn program at Albany Medical Center and entered private practice in Troy in 1982.  During her career, she has served as president of the medical staff at Samaritan Hospital, chair of the ob-gyn department, medical director of women's health service for Northeast Health and board member for the new Burdett Care Center in Troy.
 
Bruce also serves on the Albany Symphony Orchestra board of directors and has been a long-time member of the Conductor's Circle.
 
  Bruce joined B'nai Sholom in 1981 and has been an active member on the congregation's adult education, ritual and social action committees.  She has served as B'nai Sholom's president-elect for the past two years and a member of the synagogue's board since 2008. 
 
A native of New Orleans, Bruce received her medical degree from the Louisiana State University Medical Center and her bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University.  She has lived in the Capital Region since 1978.  Bruce is married to Dr. David Ray, a physician at Albany Medical Center.  The couple has three grown children: Isaac, Margaret and Arielle.

New “Bible As Literature” Course Kicks Off September 8

Congregant and distinguished teacher Fran Berg invites adult learners to explore The Bible As Literature, for eight Monday evenings, beginning September 8.  The class will meet from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Examining passages in the Bible that “illuminate the human experience,” Berg and the class will look through the critical lens of contemporary literary interpretation. “We will consider Biblical examples of stories with heroes; comedy and tragedy, and lyric poetry,” Berg explains. The course will culminate in conversation about unifying themes. 

Fran Berg r125Fran Berg holds a BA from Brooklyn College, and a Master’s degree in English literature from SUNY Albany. She has 35 years of experience teaching English literature in the Albany and Rensselaer school systems, where she received multiple awards and student acclamations. 

Suggested (not required!) reading: How to Read the Bible as Literature…and Get More Out Of It, by Leland Ryken.

The current Bulletin (September Bulletin) includes a registration sheet. For full news release, see press release. Cost of the course is $40 for BSRC members, and $60 for non-members.

Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism Examined In Adult Ed Class

Where did anti-Semitism originate, and how do we know it?

A course at B’nai Sholom will provide many of the answers. Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism will be taught over seven Tuesdays beginning September 16 from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The class will be taught by popular instructor Steven Stark-Riemer.

The modern terms “anti-Semitism,” “anti-Judaism” and “Judeophobia” will be examined for their appropriateness in understanding attitudes toward Jews in the ancient world. The class also will review the history of violence against Jews during an 800-year era from 410 B.C.E. through 387 C.E.  Evidence from archaeology, ancient papyri, the later histories of Egypt, Hellenistic and Roman writings, the 380 C.E. edict declaring Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, and the denouncement by early church leaders of gentile Christians who observed the Torah will form the background of the discussion. The course will attempt to distinguish between the antipathy of early Christianity toward Judaism as a threat to Christian identity and the irrational accusations against Jews in the Middle Ages of ritual murder, well poisoning and other atrocities.

Stev Stark-Riemer2r100Steven Stark-Riemer studied anthropology at City College of New York, where he specialized in archaeology, and received his degree in 1972.  He conducted field work at the Tel Gezer excavations in Israel under the direction of William G. Dever, director of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School at the time.  Stark-Riemer continues to pursue his interest in the archaeology, history and religion of the ancient Near East.

“Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism” is open to the public.  Fee for the seven-session course is $36 for members of B’nai Sholom, and $54 for non-members. For the registration form click here registration form and the full news release is posted here press release.

Fundraising for B'nai Sholom is easy, painless, and -- best of all -- FREE. Pre-paid grocery cards from Hannaford and ShopRite, and Internet shopping through our web page portal both net funds for the congregation, with no surcharge for shoppers. What's not to love?  Further Information..

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Our community is actively involved with coordinating the efforts of the congregation’s activities, fulfilling the mitzvah of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

Click here for our Social Action.

Youth Groups

Israel Education & Advocacy

IsraelADULTS -- Over 100 people have traveled on our 8 congregational trips to Israel in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2012.  From age 3 1/2 to over 80, we've gone from the Golan Heights up north to Eilat in the south, and once went over to Petra in Jordan.  While our itinerary varies each time, we always spend plenty of time in Jerusalem, and visit Safed, Masada, the Dead Sea, and Tel Aviv.

HIGH SCHOOL -- We provide scholarships for our High School students to visit Israel on Summer programs.  Our students have gone on trips sponsored by NFTY, Ramah Seminar, HaShomer HaTza'ir, BBYO,Young Judea, and Nesiya.

COLLEGE -- Many college students from B'nai Sholom have gone on Birthright-Taglit trips to Israel, FREE trips for students ages 18-29.  Our members can get priority status for KESHER Refrom Movement trips by contacting Rabbi Cashman

Upcoming Events

SEP
20

Sep.20.2014
9pm Selihot

SEP
20

Sep.20.2014 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Torah Study

SEP
21

Sep.21.2014
B'Yachad K-1 Family Ed

SEP
21

Sep.21.2014
9:30am B'Yachad

SEP
22

Sep.22.2014
7:30pm The Bible as Literature

SEP
23

Sep.23.2014
10am Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism

SEP
23

7:30PM Sep.23.2014 - 9:00PM Sep.23.2014
Library Committee

SEP
24

Sep.24.2014
8pm Erev Rosh Hashana

SEP
25

Sep.25.2014
5pm Tashlikh

SEP
26

Sep.26.2014 8:00PM - 9:00PM
Shabbat Service

SEP
27

Sep.27.2014 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Torah Study

SEP
28

Sep.28.2014
9:30am B'Yachad

SEP
29

Sep.29.2014
7:30pm The Bible as Literature

SEP
30

Sep.30.2014
10am Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism

OCT
1

Oct.01.2014
4:00pm B'Yachad Gr 2-7

OCT
2

7:30PM Oct.02.2014 - 8:30PM Oct.02.2014
Social Action Committee

OCT
2

7:30PM Oct.02.2014 - 8:30PM Oct.02.2014
Adult Education Committee

OCT
3

Oct.03.2014
Erev Yom Kippur

OCT
3

Oct.03.2014
8pm Kol Nidrei

OCT
5

Oct.05.2014
9:30am B'Yachad

OCT
6

Oct.06.2014
7:30pm The Bible as Literature

OCT
7

Oct.07.2014
10am Ancient Origins of Anti-Semitism

OCT
7

7:30PM Oct.07.2014 - 9:00PM Oct.07.2014
Board of Trustees

OCT
8

Oct.08.2014
7:30pm Erev Sukkot

OCT
9

Oct.09.2014
office closed

OCT
10

Oct.10.2014 8:00PM - 9:00PM
Erev Shabbat Hol haMoed Sukkot Service and Consecration of New Students

OCT
11

Oct.11.2014 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Psalms Study

OCT
12

Oct.12.2014
10am-12pm B'Yachad Family Ed Sukkot Program @TI

OCT
12

Oct.12.2014
9:30am B'Yachad

OCT
13

Oct.13.2014
7:30pm The Bible as Literature

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