agudasisrael star


505 Glasgow Lane

Hendersonville, North Carolina 28739


Yom Sheini, 18 Tevet 5777

The Center for Jewish Living in Henderson County!

Rabbi Jackson Photo

The stillness of the ground and the trees is what strikes me during the winter months. Sure, the chill in the air, the fewer tourists, the early setting sun are also indicative of this time of year. But, the quietude found when sitting in the park is unmatched in other months. The creepy crawlers are burrowed underground. The adventurous critters are nestled deep in their dens. And only the heartiest of birds remain in the trees.

So, what of us then? How do we acknowledge this natural rhythm? Some of us too will head for warmer climates (hi Floridians!).

 Some of us will find ourselves snuggled under layers of blankets and fuzzy socks. There are also those who may not feel the change so intensely. Each of us must find our own balance.

Here at Agudas Israel, we slow down ever so slightly. We plan fewer programs and gather less frequently as a community. But we are here. Judaism does not hibernate. Shabbat services will continue. Learning will continue. Community will continue (see the calendar for specifics of each of these). Beyond events that happen at the synagogue, our Jewish lens can also guide us in the greater community. On Martin Luther King Jr Day, January 16, 2017, several area congregations are coming together to celebrate the unity which was part of the legacy of Dr. King. After the MLK breakfast (hosted in Hendersonville by Blue Ridge Community College), we will be meeting noon at St. James Episcopal Church for a “Day On, A Day of Service.”

Our Jewish lens helps us to see that there is much work to be done in the world, and each of us contributes to repairing it in ways that suit us as individuals. I hope you can join us; however you are able, on this day (see additional flier for full details).

Why? Because Judaism does not hibernate. May this coming month be one of rejuvenation and renewal. May we put on our fuzzy socks and go about helping others.

Wishing you abundant blessings,

Rabbi Rachael Jackson


Dr. Linda Perkel

As I am writing this message, 2016 is coming to a close and we are looking ahead to 2017. This year has been a good year for Agudas Israel. We’ve had new members join our community, had many opportunities for study and learning, experienced the joy of Shabbat and the High Holy Days led by Rabbi Jackson, and had several successful fundraising efforts.

The coming year, 2017, looks to be exciting. We will be celebrating B’nai Mitzvahs every month this year through April with more to follow in the fall and winter. Due to a generous donation, we now have Mishkan T’Filah siddurim for Shabbat. We are well on our way to funding the purchase of new Machzor for the High Holy Days and are exploring the possibility of acquiring Visual T’Filah. Rabbi Jackson is planning to start Tot Shabbat, an initiative to attract and engage young families to our community. So… lots going on. With that said, we will be focusing on two specific initiatives this year, strategic planning and an ongoing effort to organize our efforts at Tikkun Olam.

After several years of uncertainty, Agudas Israel is in a good place. Why then do we need to engage in strategic planning? Strategic planning is important to an organization because it provides a sense of direction and outlines measurable goals. Strategic planning is a tool that is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions and also for evaluating progress and changing approaches when moving forward. A strategic plan will help us develop strategies for membership growth and retention, for financial stability, ongoing ritual enhancement, study and learning experiences. The identification of clear goals and objectives, allows us to make thoughtful decisions in the best interest of the congregation. I am delighted to say that Bill Lavine and Alan Cooper have agreed to chair this initiative. This will be a long term project and will require the involvement of many of us. We will be hearing from our Co-chairs about their plan and how we can participate.

For several years now, we have held very successful annual Mitzvah Days. My thanks to Judi Levinson and Linda Reihs for their leadership and excellent feedback on last year’s event. In addition to Mitzvah Day, many of us participate in ongoing Mitzvah activities through our individual volunteer efforts. An organized effort at Tikkun Olam can provide opportunities within our temple community, our local community, the nation and even the world for acts of mitzvot. You have already seen in last month’s Chai Lites the “Mitzvah Opportunity of the Month”. This will be an ongoing feature and I hope that some of the activities identified will spur you to action. I believe this approach will offer opportunities for Agudas Israel members to practice tikkun olam at varying levels of intensity, from our once-ayear Mitzvah Days to individual volunteer activities. I would like to see these efforts coordinated throughout the year by a Mitzvah committee. If you are interested in leading or participating in this effort, please let me know.

As always, I thank each of you for the contributions that you make to our synagogue community and the greater community. You always make me proud. Peter and I wish you all a new year filled with peace and joy.

Shalom, Dr. Linda Perkel, President


Read the our Newsletter "Chai Lites" for January by clicking Chai Lites January 2017

Rabbi Jackson's High Holy Days Sermons 5777 (Chick here to read all four sermons from this year's services)

See what books we have in the Agudas Israel Library for you to check out by clicking here: AGUDAS ISRAEL LIBRARY

See photos of our Mountain Jewish Festival from August 21, 2016 by clicking here: Mountain Jewish Festival photos 2016.

See photos from our Annual Sisterhood Fashion Show, August 2, 2016 by clicking here: Sisterhood Fashion Show 2016

The most up-to-date information:


MONDAY, JANUARY 16, MITZVAH OPPORTUNITY OF THE MONTH: MLK A DAY ON, A DAY OF SERVICE Projects will meet at St. James Episcopal Church at noon


FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 7:30pm-SPEAKER SERIES: The next speaker in our Friday night Speaker Series will be Caroline Long, the Executive Director of St. Gerard House will join us for an informative talk. St. Gerard House is a private, non-profit resource center offering evidence-based treatment for children experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disabilities, development delays and behavioral health needs. Other programs serve the needs of adolescents, and young adults. St. Gerard House is making an impact on our community. The staff and volunteers are doing important work. Caroline Long will guide us through the complex course of this disorder. Currently, one in every 58 children in N.C. is diagnosed with autism.

ORDER YOUR CHICKEN SOUP AND MATZAH BALLS TODAY TO KEEP YOU WARM THIS WINTER! Click here to download the order form. Contact Karen Murray if you are interested in helping.

Balabusta Bakers Matzah Ball Soup preorder form

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2pm - Mark your calendar for the first SISTERHOOD CHOCOLATE SEDER. This will be a time for women to enjoy the story of Passover and celebrate without all of the work and preparation of the meal…and have fun with chocolate…who will miss this one?!!? Details to follow.

 "LET THERE BE LIGHT" 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.Send in with your check and 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. by calling the Agudas office.

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.

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 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, beginning in November, 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




01.17.2017 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


01.17.2017 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


01.18.2017 10:00 am - 11:00 am


01.18.2017 10:00 am - 11:00 am


01.18.2017 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


01.18.2017 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm