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.
B’nai Israel Congregation has a rich history in the city of Norfolk. As the namesake of the oldest and largest Orthodox congregation in the Tidewater area, we have history and customs that remain from the merger of several synagogues.
The Twentieth Street Synagogue and K’hal Chasidim from downtown Norfolk united and became the United Orthodox Synagogue in 1946 when our present sanctuary was established.
In its early stages, the congregation focused on outreach to the young, American-born generation and obtained an English speaking Rabbi. Outreach has always been a trademark of B’nai Israel. Years later, the synagogue merged with B’nai Israel Congregation of downtown Norfolk and assumed its name in the 1950s.
The present synagogue building was redesigned in 2000, merging the old county ta’am (flavor) of the original main sanctuary with the modern-age kitchens, classrooms and Minyan Room.
The synagogue was— and is, to an extent—unique in that it opens its doors to all Jewish worshipers whether they can or cannot afford membership.
The focus of the congregation is to provide an outlet for traditional Judaism in the Tidewater area for both young and old.
Believe it or not, it’s actually time to start getting ads for the 2019 B’nai Israel calendar. This year, the calendar will have an option to have ads in full color. If you have any companies (mechanic, electrician, plumber, painter, etc., or persons that you feel might benefit from placing an ad in the calendar, please send your list of names and addresses to the shul office and we will contact them for you.