agudasisrael star


505 Glasgow Lane

Hendersonville, North Carolina 28739


Yom Shabbat, 8 Heshvan 5775

Welcome to our Synagogue!

Menorah AGUDAS front name sign 2-small Agudas Israel front

The Center for Jewish Living in Henderson County!


Linda Perkel-President of the CongregationMessage from our President 

Many of you have spoken to me regarding your con-cerns about membership or have suggested ways in which we could enhance membership. Membership concerns range from how do we attract new mem-bers, how do we keep our members engaged, and why have some individuals left the congregation. These conversations lead me to try to better under-stand the many factors that impact synagogue mem-bership in order to try to develop strategies to strengthen our membership. 

The data on synagogue membership can be discour-aging. The recently conducted National Rabbinic Survey cited declining involvement in Jewish activities as their most press-ing issue. The good news is that Reform congregations seem to be flourishing to a greater extent than Conservative congrega-tions. Agudas Israel is consistent with the data which indicates that there are about three times greater membership in the 65 and over age group than in younger age groups.

When I attended the Scheidt Leadership Seminar, membership was an ongoing topic. Many synagogues, both in urban and rural areas are struggling for survival. Within the group of Presidents of small Reform Jewish communities, membership was identified as an ongoing concern that impacts the congregation’s ability to continue to sustain itself. 

So what can we do to counter these difficulties? In addition to the many activities and programs we offer, we need to focus on the broader areas of relationship building and "audacious hospitality". 

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ advocates auda-cious hospitality and writes that " the Jewish people are here today because those who came before us were audacious. By that I mean courageous, fearless, and bold." He talks of the lesson of Genesis that teaches us to practice audacious hospi-tality. On a blisteringly hot day, Abraham runs after three de-sert wanderers, insisting they come inside for nourishment. The point being that Abraham does not wait for the wanderers to knock on his door, rather, he goes out to meet them where they are and invites them in. I recall an article writ-ten a year ago by Linda Reihs describing her ex-periences at Agudas Israel. She said "What was so thrilling when I first joined was how totally I was welcomed here with open arms by the graciousness of everyone, the love that made me feel instantly a part of life here." 

The Synagogue Studies Institute asserts that synagogues that have been program focused with little or no innovation will not survive much longer. The approach needs to be targeting "different populations to a deepening relation-ship between the synagogues and their members. The best way to root people in the life of the congregation is through relation-ships." 

How do these two perspectives help us in our own quest to enhance membership at Agudas Israel? Rabbi Hayim Herring says that we must focus on the "synagogue as a communal cen-ter". We need to reach out to the diverse Jewish population within our community and offer activities that cast a wider net of interested participants. Included could be Yoga or Tai Chi that might attract some of the younger members of the commu-nity as well as our current members. We could have a woman’s support group. We could expand on our dinner for six program and incorporate an invitation to a new or prospective member. We need to speak up for our congregation out in the commu-nity. These are just a few suggestions and I think some of you have many more. 

There is no easy solution to the challenges of membership enhancement. We must continue our focus on maintaining and sustaining our congregation. We need to be open to each other, strangers in our midst, and open to ideas that will cast a wide net across the community. I think, most importantly, we need to share with anyone who will listen our pride and joy with our congregation and each other. 

Shalom, Dr. Linda Perkel 



The most up-to-date information:

 Hebrew Classes Begin - Starting Wednesday, November 5, 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 Dr. Arthur Lebowitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call Susan at Agudas Israel's office, 828.693.9838

URJ Board Workshop - November 9, 9:00 - 1:00 pm

Caring Committee Health and Wellness Educational Program

November 10, 1:30 - 3:30 pm  Learn how to begin advance planning.  Conversations will include: Document decisions, end of life preparation, tools and resources to prepare for the future.  Jennifer Stuart From WNC will be the facilitator.

Sisterhood Meeting and Game Day - November 17, 12:00

Join us for our November Sisterhood meeting followed by a game day.  There will be a variety of games played.  Bring your own lunch.  Dessert and coffee will be served. $5.00 donation  Please contact Natalie to RSVP This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interfaith Shabbat Service - November 28, 7:30 pm

Join us for Shabbat Services with our guests, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  Help celebrate our gratitude and share in the meaning of Thanksgiving.  

Heads Up! Chanukah Bazaar Sunday, December 7, 12:00 - 3:00 pm 

 Agudas Israel has a Facebook Page.  We are keeping up with the current times.  Please take the time to check out our page.

Volunteers are needed for coordinating Onegs, Managing the Calendar, Hunger Coalition and Chai Lites.  

Hard Lox -  Asheville was on Sunday, October 19, 2014...if you missed this great opportunity to shop for Chanukah at the Agudas Israel Sisterhood Judaica Boutique...then you will have another chance on Sunday, December 7, noon-3pm at Agudas Israel.


Friday, October 31,2014 7:30pm

Join us at services to acknowledge your special day for the month of October.  



LIKE US ON FACEBOOK (You do not have to have a Facebook account to access our new page-simply click on the link below)

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




B'NOT MITZVAH SERVICE was held on August 22-23, 2014

bnot mitzvah reduced for web

We are so proud of our B'not Mitzvah class (as pictured here): Adele Groban, Teri Nadler-Thorz, Linda Reihs, Linda Sauter, and Linda Perkel. They all did a terrific job with their D'vor Torahs and leading both the Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services. Mazel Tov!

Mainstay is in need of volunteers.  The Purple Ribbon Thrift Store needs help.  Mainstay is an organization that helps women and their children get shelter from domestic violence. Please call 828.693.3840 and ask for April Hatch, volunteer coordinator.





Use gift cards for all of your holiday gift giving (hairdresser, mail carrier, teachers, housekeepers, etc) Come into the synagogue with your check or contact Carol Leaman, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . See how you can help speed up this process with gift cards.


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.


 Planting a tree in Israel is a wonderful act of kindness and support for the state of Israel.  Trees can be planted for bereavement as well as celebrations.  If you are interereted in planting a tree, contact Linda Reihs at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 954.240.0297  The trees cost 18.00 and checks are made out to Agudas Israel Sisterhood.  


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.)





Upcoming Events


8th of Cheshvan 5775


11-01-2014 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Torah Study


11-01-2014 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Shabbat Service No speaker


9th of Cheshvan 5775


11-02-2014 12:30 am - 1:30 am
Daylight Savings times end turn back clocks


11-02-2014 5:00 am - 6:00 am
Daylight Saving s time ends


11-02-2014 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Religious School followed by Hebrew class


10th of Cheshvan 5775