B'nai Jacob Synagogue

1599 Virginia Street East

Charleston, West Virginia 25311


(304) 346-4722

May 14th-19th, 2024

A Thought for Yom Ha-Atzmaut

Israel Independence Day

(Posted yesterday on social media and edited slightly here)

Today is Yom Ha-Atzmaut.

Israel's Independence Day.

It’s 76th year as the modern Jewish state.

If you want to argue with me on how Israel is conducting the war against Hamas; its mistreatment of Palestinians in the West Bank; illegal settlements and growing religious extremism.

Talk to me all you want.

But not on Yom Ha-Atzmaut.

And if you knew me or have read anything I have written or heard any sermon I have delivered, you would know how I feel about those issues. You would know that if you think you are outraged, you have no idea how this lifelong Zionist feels when Israel does not live up to the highest ideals of a Jewish democratic state.

And if the word Zionist in the paragraph above bothered you, then let me save you some precious time. 

Scroll down to another Facebook post.

I will never apologize for being a Zionist nor feel the need to explain that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination in our ancestral and spiritual homeland.

My people deserve that like any other people.

And we exercised that right through the national movement known as Zionism.

And Israel was reborn.

We can debate the contours of that state and what a Palestinian state should look like, but Israel will be her Jewish neighbor.

In Israel, my long-suffering people have a haven and a homeland for the first time in almost 2000 years.

We still haven’t recovered from the Holocaust where two out of every three European Jews were killed by the Nazis. 

That was a genocide.

And that happened to us far too often because we didn’t have a place to flee to when we were being murdered.

The arc of Jewish history has always bent toward injustice.

And crushed the bodies of Jews worldwide.

But not our spirit and no longer today.

Israel is my people’s eternal hope and our greatest dream fulfilled.

And on Yom HaAtzmaut, I am not going to debate her right to exist nor point the moral finger at her.

The former never and the latter in the days ahead.

Today, I will be grateful to G-d that we have a Jewish state.

A country that touches my soul despite its complexities and imperfections.

Inspires me despite its inequities and inequalities.

I am living as a Jew in a time where Israel is once again a state.

A modern Jewish miracle.

Days after Bergen-Belsen was liberated in 1945, BBC radio broadcasted the survivors of that concentration camp singing Hatikvah, the 1878 poem that would eventually become the Israeli national anthem.

It means "Hope". 

A Jewish state for the first time in almost 2000 years still gives me chills.

And hope. 

G-d bless the Jewish state of Israel.

-Rabbi Victor Urecki

Dear Congregants,

Happy Yom Ha-Atzmaut!

Our Thursday newsletter is out early this week so I could share a thought on Israel's Independence Day. Your next newsletter will appear on Sunday.

The schedule for the rest of the week and Shabbat is found below.

Please join us online or in person!

Shalom V'ahava,

Rabbi Victor Urecki 

The USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships are in Charleston from May 13-19, 2024.

There are road closures and detours that will impact getting to the synagogue this week and Shabbat. Click the picture below for up-to-date traffic information.

Join us this Shabbat!

Saturday May 18th

10:00 AM

Ladies Auxiliary Installation of Officers

Unveiling of the Stone

For Doris Goldfarb

May 19th, 2024

12:00 PM

B'nai Jacob Eternal Home Cemetery

(South Charleston)

Daily and Shabbat Services]

Evening Services


Tuesday thru Thursday 5:45 PM


Evening Services


Morning Services


Wednesday Morning 7:30 AM

(Followed by breakfast)

Morning Minyan

Shabbat Schedule

May 17th, 2024/10th Iyyar, 5784

Candle lighting Time: 8:15 PM

Parshat Emor

Leviticus 21:1-24:23

Friday Night

5:45 PM

Friday Night Service

Saturday Morning

10:00 AM

Kiddush Luncheon Follows

Saturday Morning

Classes This Week

Tuesday May 14th

Torah Class

Torah Class

Thursday May 16th

10:00 AM

Talmud at Ten

Wondering Jews

The One Stop For All Things Jewish in West Virginia

Wondering Jews, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with the goal of connecting people who are physically or geographically challenged with the wide variety of educational, service, and faith activities in the local West Virginia Jewish congregations.

Moe and Janie Rubenstein have created a unique website which will allow all congregations and Jewish organizations who wish to announce activities and programs of interest for Jews throughout West Virginia. We have seen at B'nai Jacob how Zoom has opened the door to those who are challenged to allow people in isolation to join and be a part of our B'nai Jacob family.

The website is now live and will offer us and Jews around our state an opportunity to further connect and be together. You can even sign up for the American Jewish Committee program on that platform as well.

Check out Wondering Jews in the months to come and in the words of the Machzor (High Holiday Prayerbook), may we all be bound together, connected to each other.

Check out Wondering Jews here

Don’t miss ExploringJudaism.org, the digital home for Conservative Judaism. This site features a wide range of topics and creators including weekly Torah content (with study guides) thanks to our partners at the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center & Conservative Yeshiva.

B'nai Jacob Synagogue

1599 Virginia St. E

Charleston, WV 25311



"Traditional Judaism for

a Modern World"

Proud Congregation Member of USCJ

Congregation B'nai Jacob | www.bnaijacob.com

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