At Congregation B’nai Israel we offer a wide variety of holiday programming. Our holiday services are traditional, beautiful and filled with music and spirituality. We offer holiday experiences for all ages and we strive to make our programming fun, interactive, and meaningful.
Holiday programming at CBI is also about community and social action. Combined with our traditional holiday programs and services, we offer many ways for you and your family to get involved and give back. Our Feed My Community program during the High Holy Days is a food drive that collects thousands of pounds of food for local food pantries. Each year our WRJ/Sisterhood collects Rosh Hashanah items and makes and delivers hundreds of baskets to seniors in need. For the last 30 years, in conjunction with Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, CBI provides Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of people in our community through our Feed the Community program. At Congregation B’nai Israel, each holiday is filled with prayer and mitzvot.
The festival of Passover, or Pesach as it is called in Hebrew, celebrates one of the central events of Jewish history, the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. While all Jewish festivals, holidays, and lifecycle events encourage participation in the Jewish community, Pesach, in particular, serves as a powerful model for Jewish families. Pesach preparations and celebrations teach Jewish history by recreating Jewish events in the home. Many of the rituals associated with Pesach focus on the importance of perpetuating Judaism. The Pesach Seder entertains children while encouraging them to relive Jewish history. At CBI we have a second night seder for our members and their guests.
Congregation B'nai Israel is known for its Purim Shpiels. In fact, CBI maintains a website dedicated to sharing our scripts, which are requested by synagogues around the world. CBI has performed Purim Shpiels for over 25 years. The rabbis, cantors, president, choir members, and staff perform a full-scale show that is not to be missed! Cast members rehearse for 6 weeks prior to the shpiel, however, they start working on the script and the preparations a year in advance. Each year, at least 700 people attend and everyone leaves with a smile.
The idea of a Purim Shpiel has been a tradition of the Jewish people for centuries. By the 18th century in eastern Romania and some other parts of Eastern Europe, Purim plays (called Purimshpiln) had evolved into broad-ranging satires of the biblical story of Esther with music and dance; precursors to the Yiddish theater.