agudasisrael star


505 Glasgow Lane

Hendersonville, North Carolina 28739


Yom Rishon, 18 Tammuz 5776

The Center for Jewish Living in Henderson County!

 Rabbi Jackson Photo

It’s now July— one of the hottest months during the year. And here in Hendersonville, one of the busiest. And here at Agudas Israel, that is also the case. We welcome everyone who calls Agudas home all the time, some of the time, and newly! You’ll read elsewhere in this month’s Chai Lites about all the events happening, so I will not reiterate them here. Instead, I want to showcase our Torah this month. We will read from the Book of Numbers the following parshiyot, Torah portions: Sh’lach lecha, Korach, Chukat, Balak, and Pinchas. These are some of the most interesting sections of this book.

For example, in parshat Sh’lach lecha, [read July 1] the Israelites have been wandering the desert for two years, not great, but not so bad either. They arrive near their destination. A representative of each of the tribes is sent to spy on the land—see if it is safe and habitable for them. All but two, Joshua and Caleb, report how awful the place is. One can debate whether or not they are lying—are they telling what they saw, or how they felt? Either way, the result is that the Israelites are required to wander for another 38 years; long enough for all those who were slaves in Egypt to die. So that the generation who first inhabits Canaan will have always known freedom. How apt that we read this section the same weekend that we celebrate Fourth of July?!

And in parshat Balak, [read July 22] we get the famous talking donkey—thousands of years before the loqua-cious “Donkey” of the Shrek movies. Balaam, a prophet hired by a rich Moabite king (Balak), is supposed to curse the Israelites. But instead, when he opens his mouth, he praises and blesses them. Balak and Balaam have a continual negotiation, all the meanwhile, the donkey is the one aware of divinity in their presence. How many times do we go out with a particular purpose, with blinders on, only to be caught off-guard by a more in-tune being?

In parshat Korach, [read July 8] there are stirrings of a rebellion. Korach, a leading member of one of the powerful Levite families, questions the authority of Moses. In his heart, he questions Moses’ leadership because he wants it for himself. And while his intentions are less than savory, his question is poignant: “For all of the community is holy, all of them, and the Eternal is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Eternal's congregation?” [Num 16:3] Korach dares point out that we are all equal and holy—and what a phenomenal concept! This is not like in Animal Farm where “All animals are equal, some more equal than others,” but rather true equality in access to holiness. Over the years, our tradition has struggled through midrash and commentary to understand this statement (and the ensuing punishment of Korach and his follow-ers). While we are all equal in our access to holiness, we are not all equal in our abilities. Each of us is granted certain gifts, and it is up to us to share the gifts we have, not enviously long for the gifts of others.

So while the Book of Leviticus discussed the role of the Levites (the priests) and sacrifices in great detail, the Book of Numbers looks at everyone else. This section of the Torah counts each of us, it examples various people with their virtues and their flaws. It shows us how to be a community comprised of a myriad of voices and the beauty that represents. As we celebrate our new members, our new board, our volunteers, our mitzvah day, let us remember to celebrate the gifts we all have as individuals that we bring to our community. May this month bring us continued freedom, mindfulness, and holiness.

With blessings,

Rabbi Rachael Jackson


Dr. Linda PerkelI am writing this as we are preparing for our 4th Mitzvah Day. Mitzvah Day is one of the visible ways in which we, as a congregation, do a small part in tikkun olam, striving to improve the world in which we live.
As a somewhat newcomer to Jewish study, I was interested in the history of this concept. I learned that there is much debate over the meaning of tikkun olam. In the Orthodox community, the words are in-terpreted as the prospect of wiping out all forms of idolatry. The modern movements in Judaism inter-pret the words as a commandment for people to be-have and act constructively and beneficially (Jacobs; The History of Tikkun Olam).
The issues we face in the world are overwhelming. We at Agudas Israel do our small part in creating the kind of world we wish to leave for those who follow us. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, after participat-ing in the Selma, Alabama civil rights march said “I prayed with my feet”. On each Mitzvah Day we have almost 100 people come out and volunteer at a dozen or more projects around the community, praying with their feet. This one day of service helps the commu-nity in wonderful ways. It also builds our own com-munity as we plan and work and pray together.
Thank you to our project chairs, Dr. Judith Berson-Levinson and Linda Reihs, to all the project captains, and each and every
Dr. Linda Perkel, President

Read the our Newsletter "Chai Lites" for June by clicking Chai Lites July 2016


The most up-to-date information:

SISTERHOOD LUNCHJuly 18, 11:45am This month the Sisterhood will be going out to lunch! Yes, on Monday, July 18th we will gather at 11:45 am for lunch at Mezzaluna, (22 North Main Street, Hendersonville). Join us for comraderie while we dine from a nice varied menu. Please contact Joan Kershner This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828 253 2929 so we can make accurate reservations.


GUIDEBOOK AD FUNDRAISER GUIDEBOOK ...PERSONAL ADS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED...TO DOWNLOAD THE ORDER FORM..CLICK HERE:GUIDEBOOK ORDER FORM   ?Questions? Contact Bonnie Cooper at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


BALABUSTA BAKERS - MOUNTAIN JEWISH FESTIVAL PREPARATION HAS BEGUN...Contact Carol Lehman for more information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fashion Show chicos aug2016TUESDAY, AUGUST 2nd, SISTERHOOD ANNUAL FASHION SHOW AND LUNCHEON- Hendersonville Country Club featuring Chico's fashions.

MARCH 1-8, 2017 - TRIP TO ISRAEL - "ABRAHAM'S LEGACY TOUR", led by Rabbi Phil Bentley and Talia Goldman.  Click here for more information: Trip to Israel Flier (deadline to register is September 15, 2016)

Join the excitment and participate in this Cost Saving Project for Agudas Israel. Help us save money and energy by contributing to the "LET THERE BE LIGHT" project. $18 will buy 3 energy efficient LED light bulbs, $36=6, $54=9, and $72 will buy a dozen. Simply print this coupon and send in with your check. Please indicate on your check that it is for this project.

MEMBERSHIP: lf you would like information about joining our wonderful congregation, please contact our Membership Chair, Barbara Gittleman. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Contact the office for other questions.

GIFT CARDS:  The funds raised by the Gift Card Program go into theSisterhood Building Beautification Fund. If you would like to order gift cards for contact Carol Leaman: 828.693.0145 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Helps support our fundraising efforts to keep Agudas Israel alive!

ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES - Check the pamphlet with the schedule of classes that will take place throughout the year.  There are a wide variety of subjects and skills that you may be interested in.  See the dates and make sure you register before the deadlines.  Click here for COURSE BROCHURE for classes.

MOUNTAIN JEWISH FESTIVAL - Mark your calendar for the next MJF: SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2016 ...To see photos from last year's event click here: See Photo album of this fabulous day!

Agudas Israel has a Facebook Page.  We are keeping up with the current times.  Please take the time to check out our do not have to have a facebook account to view our page....see photos...LIKE US...the most up-to-date information:

  Bookmark this page and refer to it often for up-to-the minute program details/changes/and photos of latest events.

BOOKPLATES FOR OUR SIDDURS Bookplates are now ready to be inserted into our siddur, Mishkan T'filah. The bookplates can be purchases for $36 each, "In honor of" or "In memory of". Send your order with payment to Susan LaRue in the Agudas Israel office. There are only 100 books available and we expect them to sell out quickly

PHOTOS ARE NOW ON THE WEBSITE! Mazel Tov to the Chairs and volunteers on great events and a jobs well-done. See the Special Event section for photos from our latest special events at Agudas Israel (or click here)! (Please wait a few seconds for them to download.)


Hebrew Classes -Wednesdays, Arthur Lebowitz, resident language scholar will teach beginning and intermediate Hebrew.  6:30-7:30 Beginning Hebrew followed by Intermediate at 7:30-8:30 pm.  To register contact Susan at Agudas Israel's office, 828.693.9838

Upcoming Events


07.25.2016 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm


07.26.2016 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm


07.27.2016 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


07.27.2016 10:00 am - 12:30 pm


07.27.2016 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


07.27.2016 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm


07.28.2016 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


07.28.2016 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm