*COVID-19 UPDATE 3.16.20 from Rabbi Sender Haber

After much deliberation and consultation, and in light of the latest recommendations, we have made the decision to suspend all minyanim at shul. 
While I respect that others may have more creative alternatives, I encourage individuals to make responsible and fully informed choices.  
Please try to daven at either sunrise or published times so that we can be united in time as we connect to HaShem as a community.   
I want to underscore that the goal here is prudence, not panic.  Please continue to remain calm. 
I also ask that everyone increase their Torah & Prayer to fill the deficit caused by these most recent guidelines. 

Our Rabbi

Rabbi Sender Haber
Rabbi Sender Haber has led B’nai Israel Congregation since August 1, 2012. Under his guidance, we have grown and increased our involvement in the greater Tidewater Jewish Community. Rabbi Haber is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived here over 15 years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has taught Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh in Norfolk and is currently on BINA High School‘s faculty. He served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for six years before assuming its pulpit. He also serves as the unofficial Rabbi of The Lost Tribe, Tidewater’s Jewish motorcycle club! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous chavrusos (one-on-one learning) covering a wide range of topics and writings. Clearly, Rabbi Haber has become an integral part of both B’nai Israel and the larger Jewish community, and in his capacity as our spiritual leader, we can look forward to his continued and increasing involvement in the lives of everyone with a desire to learn and grow. He continues to teach on a part-time basis at Toras Chaim. Rabbi Haber is the author of The Mosaica Haggada as well as numerous articles featured in the Southeastern Virginia Jewish News, Baltimore Jewish Life, The Jewish Press, and other publications.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for 17 years and have five children, b’li ayin hara. Both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, kiruv, and chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including  Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ, and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem. Chamie is a talented preschool teacher, having taught at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater for 6 years and more recently at Toras Chaim. She has also been a popular mentor for adults and teens, teaching classes and spearheading learning and fundraising programs, and is the driving force behind the weekly Women’s Learning Program at B’nai Israel for over 10 years. Vivacious and outgoing, she devotes endless energy to her family, the community, and hachnasas orchim, welcoming many Shabbos guests into the Haber home.

When asked about his hopes and goals, Rabbi Haber sees B’nai Israel as “a place where people can come to daven to Hashem and connect to each other and grow in their Torah Judaism. Our wider Jewish Community has many valuable resources, and I believe we can all gain by working together.” Perhaps Rabbi Haber’s strongest demonstration of Jewish values is love for every single Jew, regardless of affiliation, level of knowledge or observance, age, or the circumstances under which he meets them. Rabbi Haber is frequently found at Simon Family JCC and United Jewish Federation of Tidewater events, and it is always amazing to see how many people in the greater community are happy to see him and eager to speak with him for a few minutes. Rabbi Haber summarizes his perspective by saying: “My wife and I have been part of the Norfolk community for most of our adult lives. All of our children were born here. In many ways, our family is a product of the Norfolk community. The mission statement of B’nai Israel is to be ‘The Orthodox Synagogue for all Jews of Hampton Roads.’ Every person who walks into our Shul should feel respected and valued. Everyone has something to add and something to share.”

We welcome and invite everyone in the Tidewater Jewish Community to come and get to know us, just as we pledge to continue to reach out to all of you. We invite you to contact Rabbi Haber through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358 or at rsh@bnaiisrael.org

Submitted in 2012 by Michael S. Weissman, Ph.D., a former President of our congregation. Last Revised February 5, 2020 by Website Content Editor.

Summer Hospitality

As we approach the summer months, please let Mrs. Helen Griffin know if you are able to host guests for sleeping or eating. All guests placed by the hospitality committee are screened by Rabbi Haber. Please have all potential guests call Rabbi Haber’s office directly. He will put them in touch with Mrs. Griffin. If you are interested in renting out your house over a portion of the summer please let Rabbi Haber know. We receive several requests each year.

Mazel Tov!

Apr., 2018
To Rabbi Chaim and Naomi Silver on the engagement of their son Eli to Adina Hartman.

Mar., 2018

To Rabbi Sender and Chamie Haber on the engagement of Rabbi Haber’s brother, Yossi to Chamie’s cousin Yael.

To Rabbi Shaul and Chayala Lefkovitz and family on Chaim Dov‘s becoming Bar Mitzvah.

To Beryl and Esther Basya Greenberg and families on their recent marriage. Esther is the daughter of Pesach and Lea Schwartz.

To Naor and Goldie Hilel and family on Osher‘s becoming Bar MItzvah.

Jan., 2018

To Esther Schwartz, Beryl Greenberg, and their respective families on the young couple’s engagement. Parents are Pesach and Leah Schwartz, formerly of Norfolk and now in Woodmere, NY, and Rachel and Sanford Greenberg of Cleveland.

Dec., 2017

To Leah Esther Mostofsky and Eli Krischer on their upcoming wedding. Mazel Tov also to the extended Mostofsky, Krischer and Blumenthal families.

To Danny Trestman on his engagement to Shalva Kakon. Mazel tov also to his parents, Gregg and Rena Trestman.

Oct., 2017

To Herb Zukerman and Bina Krieger and their families on the couple’s recent engagement.

Sep., 2017

To Chana Brooke, daughter of Jeff and Amy Brooke, and Avi Horowitz and their entire families on the couple’s engagement.

To Ro’ee and Avigail Mor and families on their recent marriage.

To Jenny (Lefcoe) and Shneur Wallach and their families on their recent marriage.

To Leah Mostofsky, daughter of Rabbi Sholom and Tehilla Mostofsky, and Eli Krischer on their engagement.

Aug., 2017

To Rabbi Mordechai and Chana Wecker on the engagement of their daughter Dina to Elad Eliyahu.

Maos Chittim

Jewish Law mandates donation of funds to ensure that our neighbors also have the means to prepare Pesach. Please contribute to our local maos chittim (“wheat money”) fund with a check to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund. Bring it to Rabbi Haber or the office. Thank you to all who have contributed. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Orthodox Union in supplementing maos chittim funds of our community.

Also, if you are able to host individuals or families for the sedarim, please contact Rabbi Haber.

Daf-a-Week

At shalosh seudos of Purim week, we celebrated Dr. Schwartz‘s siyum on the tractate of Rosh Hashana as part of the Daf-a-Week program. The program is now beginning the tractate of Ta’anis, which will take about seven months to complete. Any men interested in participating locally can contact Rabbi Haber or Rabbi Prager. For more information, please see http://www.dafaweek.org/.

Od Yosef Chai

To learn more about Od Yosef Chai, click image.

One of the primary mitzvos of Purim is matanos l’evyonim, gifts to the poor. B’nai Israel Congregation has a great tradition of partnering with Od Yosef Chai to help impoverished families in Israel. Donations for Od Yosef Chai can be made before or during Purim, Thu., Mar. 1. All monies will be tallied and reported to the organization for distribution before the end of Purim. Their deadline is 5:30 PM, Thu., Mar. 1. If you wish that your funds be distributed locally, please contact Rabbi Haber. Checks for Od Yosef Chai should be made out directly to them. Checks for the local use should be made to B’nai Israel, Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.