Welcome to CBI!

We're Asheville's only independent egalitarian Jewish community. More than 100 years old, we’re rediscovering ourselves every day. We love pot-lucks, swapping stories and kids in the sanctuary. Sometimes we sing off key. We learn and laugh together, celebrate and care for each other. Interested in joining?   Click here.

"I deeply appreciate the empowerment and support I feel from the CBI leadership to forge our own path, one that is consistent and true to our family without being led to feel like our Judaism is lacking.” - Ali Climo

This is Us

We're a blended family. Old and young, Jews by birth and Jews by choice; from L.A., Miami, Atlanta and Brooklyn - London, Johannesburg and places with names too hard to pronounce. We celebrate together: single moms and newly retired couples, inter-faith and inter-racial families. And all of us - observant, secular and agnostic - find common ground in community.

"For the first time in my life, I find myself yearning to go to shul.”  - Rochelle Reich

This is what we're up to...

This is what we're talking about...

Sep
20
Sun
Second Day Rosh HaShanah Services
Sep 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Cantor Lindsay Goldman will lead services remotely via Zoom.  Members will receive the Zoom link, and visitors are asked to please contact the CBI office (828-252-8660 or admin@bethisraelnc.org) by Wednesday, September 16 to  arrange for access.

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Online Jewish Meditation & Chant Circle
Sep 20 @ 2:30 pm

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 via Zoom (every Sunday from 2:30pm – 4pm. No previous meditation experience necessary.  This opportunity is free and open to all. Please contact Linda Wolf at linda@networktype.com for the online meeting information.

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Sep
25
Fri
Online Friday Noon Study Group
Sep 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Friday, September 18,  12-1 

 Our discussion of Finkelstein and Silberman’s The Bible Unearthed continued last week with a focus on the authors’  central claim that the Bible should not be relied upon as an accurate historical document but rather as ”skillfully fashioned” national mythology, an elaborated saga to fit the times reflecting the concerns of the late monarchic period (8th/7th century BCE) and serving the cause of the political unification of a scattered and heterogeneous Israelite population. 

Finkelstein and Silberman seek to demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible and archaeology are frequently incompatible, noting that

  • the Bible records events that took place many centuries after those events took place (e.g. 1750 BCE vs. 700 BCE)   
  • the search for corroborating evidence of the historical patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their families) has been unsuccessful
  • the westward migration from Mesopotamia toward Canaan is ”illusory”
  • there is no record in Egyptian literature of a great mass of fleeing Israelites crossing the border; there is no archaeological evidence of the Israelites wandering across the desert 
  • the accounts of the Israelites’ conquest of Canaan (of the walls of Jericho tumbling down) is a “romantic mirage”

In essence our authors argue that the Bible offers a ”classic literary expression of the yearnings and fantasies of a people at a certain time and place.  

While some in our group are accepting of the claims made by Finkelstein and Silberman, others expressed some doubts.  Just because no evidence has yet been unearthed that supports accounts given in the Bible doesn’t mean that the evidence won’t be unearthed at some point in the future.  We noted that the field of archaeology is rife with controversy, and that Finkelstein and Silberman represent one point of view; they may be too quick to approach the Bible with suspicion and skepticism.  While The Bible Unearthed received much praise when it was published, it did have its detractors, such as William Dever who, in the Jerusalem Post, labeled Finkelstein an ”idiosyncratic and doctrinaire archaeologist.”  Dever described The Bible Unearthed as ”an ideological manifesto, not judicious, well-balanced scholarship.”

Our group’s fun will continue on September 18, when we continue with a discussion of chapters 4 and 5 of The Bible Unearthed (pp. 97-145), looking at the Book of Judges and asking ”Who Were the Israelites?” and at the reigns of Kings David and Solomon.  Before we turn to those issues, we’ll return to any loose ends from chapters 2 and 3–the Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan.  As a way of preparing for that discussion, participants might want to check out the following supplemental links:

 

https://wyattmuseum.com/entangled-in-the-land-or-a-way-in-the-deep/2016-11905

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/12/08/no-really-there-is-a-scientific-explanation-for-the-parting-of-the-red-sea-in-exodus/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Red_Sea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCgmr78Z6tU

https://ehrmanblog.org/historical-problems-with-the-hebrew-bible-the-conquest-of-canaan/

https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/joshua-s-conquest-did-it-happen/

  

Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1.  All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at  jbjacoby@uncc.edu.

 

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Online Kabbalat Shabbat Services @ CBI
Sep 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Online Kabbalat Shabbat Services @ CBI | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

With services unavoidably cancelled, the Ritual Committee is working hard to find ways we can support each other as a community when we can’t be together in person. It’s very distressing to be unable to say Kaddish for a loved one, or to contemplate not sharing a Seder meal with friends and family. We’d like to share with you some plans we have for filling these gaps in our lives.

Please join me beginning this Friday, March 27, at 6:00pm, when we will begin holding Kabbalat Shabbat services via Zoom.  A rotation of folks will lead the service, including Josefa, who will lead Family Shabbat on the second Friday of each month. As long as at least 10 adults log in, we’ll be able to say Kaddish, so please consider attending, even if you’re not a Friday night regular.

A link to the online service is below.  Zoom is easy to use and will let us see and hear each other as we welcome Shabbat.  If you haven’t already downloaded Zoom to your computer or phone, you must do so before joining the meeting on Friday at 6:00pm.  You only need to download Zoom once, after that you simply log in, always using the same Meeting ID: 406 391 4937.  Easy instructions are below this message.

We recognize that this is a big departure from traditional practice, and the Ritual Committee did not make this decision without serious discussion. This is a temporary measure to keep us all connected while we can’t be together physically.

If you’d like to borrow a siddur for use at home while services are cancelled, we’ll be happy to lend you one!  Please contact the office for details.

Eva Blinder

CBI Ritual Chair

Instructions for Downloading Zoom

The first time you ever use Zoom on a computer, do the following:

Go to https://zoom.us
Hover over (don’t click) “RESOURCES” on the top right and then click “Download Zoom Client” from the drop-down menu that appears
Click “Download” under “Zoom Client for Meetings”
If it asks you to allow it to download “zoom.us”, click “Allow” or “Yes”
Open the downloaded file and follow the instructions to install Zoom on your computer

The first time you ever use Zoom on a smart phone, do the following:
Go to the App Store and find “Zoom Cloud Meetings” and download it (it is free)

Instructions for attending services on CBI’s Zoom Account 1:

Right before the start of services, either go to https://zoom.us on your computer or open your Zoom app on your smartphone
Click “Join a Meeting”
Type in this Meeting ID: 406 391 4937 and click “Join”
If you’re using the computer and Zoom asks you to allow it to open “zoom.us”, click “Allow” or “Yes” or “Open” and then click “Join With Computer Audio”
If you’re using a smart phone and Zoom asks you to allow using the microphone/camera, allow it
If it says “Waiting for the host to start this meeting”, just wait a few minutes for CBI’s service leader to start the meeting

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Sep
26
Sat
Torah Study with Justin Goldstein
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Join Justin Goldstein for an hour of Torah study and discussion of the week’s Torah portion.

All are welcome, link to join the Zoom meeting here.

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Sep
27
Sun
Kever Avot at Lou Pollock Cemetery @ Lou Pollock Cemetery
Sep 27 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Kever Avot at Lou Pollock Cemetery @ Lou Pollock Cemetery | Asheville | North Carolina | United States

The ancient custom of Kever Avot, literally “graves of the fathers,” dates almost as far back as Jews themselves. “It’s part of a basic concept in the earliest stratum of Judaism that you to go the grave of the patriarchs in Hebron and they’ll intercede on your behalf,” said Pinchas Giller, American Jewish University professor of medieval Jewish thought. “Even talmudic traditions have the notion of people going to the grave of the patriarchs to ask for things.”

The tradition of visits before the High Holy Days began in the 14th century. More recent Jewish history recounts regular pilgrimages to the burial sites of revered rabbis and loved ones in Sephardic and pre-World War II European Jewish communities on the anniversary of a death, fast days and other times during the year. Visitors showed love and respect for the departed and prayed for the soul’s safe journey to heaven.

Join Rabbi Wolf Alterman for a brief socially-distanced Kever Avot service to remember and honor friends and family we’ve lost during the year. Please remember to wear a mask.

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Online Jewish Meditation & Chant Circle
Sep 27 @ 2:30 pm

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 via Zoom (every Sunday from 2:30pm – 4pm. No previous meditation experience necessary.  This opportunity is free and open to all. Please contact Linda Wolf at linda@networktype.com for the online meeting information.

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“CBI nurtures my spiritual life, especially the Shabbos experience - the participatory services and the Kiddush luncheon, which allows us to visit and get to know each other.” – Jimi Moore