Independent. Egalitarian. Transformational.


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Dr. Rick Chess

House of Israel, where the milk is
a high-holiday veil cascading
in front of the ark and the honey is hard
candy scooped up from the bema by children.
Where a still voice stirs
the sanctuary illuminated

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Congregation Beth Israel is proud to be Asheville's only independent, fully egalitarian, spiritual community. Together, we live out the meaning of our name: a "house for those who struggle with God." We believe the power of Jewish prayer is the unique state of "being alone, together".

We have a variety of ways to make it happen. Weekly Shabbat and holiday services, monthly Jewish meditation and family-based education that reminds us of our responsibility to ourselves, each other and the earth. 

Pick one that works for you and join us. 

Elevate your spirit this week

Kabbalat Shabbat Services @ CBI
Jan 24 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Kabbalat Shabbat Services @ CBI | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Join CBI families and kids, members and visitors of all ages as we come together to welcome Shabbat with prayer, song and inspiration.

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Shabbat Morning Services @ CBI
Jan 25 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Join us for a participatory, high-energy Shabbat service, sure to inspire, uplift, educate and engage. Be sure to hang around for food and schmoozing at our Kiddish lunch.

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Shabbat Morning Services @ CBI
Feb 1 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Join us for a participatory, high-energy Shabbat service, sure to inspire, uplift, educate and engage. Be sure to hang around for food and schmoozing at our Kiddish lunch.

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Jewish Meditation & Chant Circle @ Congregation Beth Israel
Feb 2 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Jewish Meditation & Chant Circle @ Congregation Beth Israel | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

Just as healthy foods nourish us through the blood stream, so Jewish meditation nourishes our “soul stream.” Meditation can be transformative, taking us from the intellectual awareness of ourselves to a deeper spiritual practice that links us to Judaism in the most profound way. Each mitzvah, holy day and cycle of life has its own rhythm, nuance, taste and character. Jewish meditation is a practice of infusing their essence into our daily spiritual lives.

Ready to give it a try? Join us (usually) on the first and third Sunday of each month from 1pm – 3pm. No previous meditation experience necessary.  This opportunity is free and open to all. Congregation Beth Israel, 229 Murdock Ave. in North Asheville.

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Shabbat Morning Services @ CBI
Feb 8 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Join us for a participatory, high-energy Shabbat service, sure to inspire, uplift, educate and engage. Be sure to hang around for food and schmoozing at our Kiddish lunch.

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"After many years of feeling an outsider because of my questions, I’ve finally found a place where my questions are not only respected but valued." -Linda Wolf

Weekly Shabbat Services

Kabalat-Shabbat[1]On the second and fourth Friday of each month, we usher in Shabbat with a warm and intimate Kabbalat Shabbat service from 6-7pm. The second Friday is all about kids and family. We sing simple songs with moving melodies selected from the traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service. We join together in uplifting singing and share space as families. The services are usually followed by a pot luck vegetarian dinner. The fourth Friday is typically a traditional-style service filled with heartfelt singing.

Shabbat morning services begin at 9:30am. We are a DIY congregation with a variety of lay leaders who pitch in to lead services and read Torah and chant Haftorah. Fully egalitarian, men and women participate equally. Throughout the school year, on the third Shabbat of each month the spaces surrounding the sanctuary are filled with children's voices and the sounds of Tot Shabbat (for the younger kids) and Junior congregation (for the older ones).

Most weeks, Rabbi Justin delivers the d'var Torah (sermon). On the last Shabbat of each month, the pulpit becomes community property with congregants encouraged to offer their take on the weekly Torah portion. Sometimes these featured speakers include individuals - Jewish and non-Jewish - within the wider Asheville community.

At CBI, we strive always to provide a space where everyone feels emotionally safe and spiritually enriched. We also have invested time and resources to ensure the physical safety of everyone. We invite you to review our most recent Security Memo to see what we're doing.

"I love that our weekly services are mostly lay-led and anyone / everyone is encouraged to take part in leading. There is such a difference between being just a spectator and a valued participant. I've never enjoyed services so much. I've never felt so welcome." -Patti Frankel

Moving with the Moon - in Rhythm with the Seasons

seasonsDuring High Holidays the sanctuary is at capacity. During the Circle of the Year, we remember friends made and lost, milestones celebrated. After Sukkoth, the days grow longer and we set  our sights on Chanukah and our annual CBI Chanukah party, which regularly draws 200-300 congregants and friends.

Our Tu 'b'Shevat seders for young and old set the table for the hidden truths and fun of Purim. Then on to Passover when we begin to count the 49 days till Shavuot and our all-night tikkun la'el Shavuot. Before you know it, is it Tisha b'Av and we are chanting from the book of Eicha (Lamentations). Summer changes to fall and leads us headlong back into the Rosh HaShannah. Tick tock, tick tock.

"My involvement with CBI provides purpose in my life because I value the friendships, appreciate the learning, contribute to making the world a better place, and have deepened my knowledge and practice of Judaism." -Caren Kessler

LadyintheSunWeb[1]Jewish Meditation Circle

At its heart, Judaism is about mindfulness and living our lives with intentionality. The CBI Jewish Meditation Circle can help you achieve this. Open to beginners and experienced practitioners alike, it provides a loving and supportive community in which each of us gains insights that help us live in more loving, kind and compassionate ways.

We typically meet every other Sunday to chant our Jewish liturgy; practice active and restive forms of mindfulness; and discuss Jewish texts from the perspective of this contemplative practice.  New to meditation? Don't worry, we're here to guide you through it and help you get the most out of it. We look forward to welcoming you into our circle.