Temple Israel of Brevard | Reform Synagogue Brevard County, Florida


Message From Our President

President’s Message for Jan-Feb 2024

A new secular year has arrived, so let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 2024! We certainly have much to be thankful for at Temple Israel. When I think back at where we were one year ago, and where we are today, it’s safe to say that nobody truly knows what the future may hold. Last January Rabbi Karen Fanwick was living comfortably in West Lafayette, Indiana – on a farm, the Dr. Doolittle of Rabbi’s –and by May, was embarking on a great adventure in Viera, Florida. She started as an interim, and is now our permanent Rabbi, and we are fortunate for this unforeseen twist of fate.
So, it’s now time to look forward to a bevy of activities and programming wehave in store in 2024! In this newsletter, I’d like to concentrate on the next 70 days, and highlight a few of the offerings and signature moments you’ll not want to miss. The schedule, in its entirety, can be found on the next page.
Rabbi Karen will offer Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew on four Sundays (130pm in the Social Hall) in January, and then beginning in February, commence with a 12-week program – Hebrew 102: Intro to Hebrew Prayer – again, on Sundays at 130pm. We also have a guest speaker, Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, who will visit Temple Israel and discuss the “Jews of Spanish Colonial America” (St. Augustine) on Sunday, February 25, at 2pm in our Lois Katzin Sanctuary.In addition, for those seeking an insight into Mussar, Temple Israel’s Libby Kahn will Zoom cast “A Taste of Mussar” on four consecutive Sunday evenings (7pm) beginning January 7. And of course, Rabbi Karen will maintain her weekly Torah study, in-person and simulcast on Zoom, Saturday mornings at 930am.
On the ritual side, January brings A Tribute to MLK Shabbat on January 12, and a Family Shabbat (BBQ) with Torah on January 26. In February were going to hold a Disability Shabbat Service jointly with TBS on February 9, and our Family Shabbat Service on February 23 (food TBD). We have two Havdalah outreach activities scheduled – February 3rd at the Temple with folks from Bridgewater and February 10th at the Heritage Isle Clubhouse– open to all Temple members.Our first Bnai Mitzvah of 2024 – Zoe Wiener and her cousin Sam Amad– is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, at 10am.
In March, one of the key weekends in our Temple’s history will occur, with the installation service (Friday, March 8, 7pm) and banquet celebration (Sunday, March 10, 530pm) for Rabbi Karen Fanwick. She will have quite a few out-of-town family members with her that weekend, and I’m hoping that our families will turn out,en masse, for the festivities. Details on that weekend will be forthcoming, including meal selections and pricing.
So please take a look at the diversity of activities available and enjoy. One thing’s for sure, more options will be added as the year progresses.

January 1 – March 10, 2024

Wednesday January 3 (2pm) Mah Jong
Friday January 5 (7pm) Shabbat Services
Sunday January 7 (9:00-11:30am) Religious School
Sunday January 7 (13:0pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Sunday January 7 (7pm) A Taste of Mussar (Libby Kahn on Zoom)
Friday January 12 (7pm) Shabbat Services – Tribute to MLK Shabbat
Sunday January 14 NO SCHOOL – MLK Holiday Weekend
Sunday January 14 (13:0pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Sunday January 14 (7pm) A Taste of Mussar (Libby Kahn on Zoom)
Wednesday January 17 (2pm; 7pm) Mah Jong; Book Club
Friday January 19 (7pm) Shabbat Services
Sunday January 21 (900-1130am) Religious School* (TuB’Shevat with TBS)
Sunday January 21 (130pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Sunday January 21 (7pm) A Taste of Mussar (Libby Kahn on Zoom)
Friday January 26 (6pm) Family Shabbat Shirah Services (BBQ)
Sunday January 28 (900-1130am) Religious School
Sunday January 28 (130pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Sunday January 28 (7pm) A Taste of Mussar (Libby Kahn on Zoom)
Friday February 2 (7pm) Shabbat Services
Saturday February 3 (6pm) Bridgewater Havdalah plus Potluck @ TIoB
Sunday February 4 (900-1130am) Religious School
Sunday February 4 (130pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Wednesday February 7 (2pm) Mah Jong
Friday February 9 (7pm) Shabbat Services – Disability Shabbat Services w/ TBS
Saturday February 10 (6pm) Heritage Isle Havdalah @ Heritage Isle Clubhouse
Sunday February 11 (900-1130am) Religious School
Sunday February 11 (130pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Friday February 16 (7pm) Shabbat Services
Saturday February 17 (10am) Zoe Wiener/Sam Amad B’nai Mitzvah
Sunday February 18 NO SCHOOL – Presidents Day Weekend
Sunday February 18 (130pm) Hebrew 101: Intro to Biblical Hebrew (Rabbi Karen)
Wednesday February 21 (2pm; 7pm) Mah Jong; Book Club
Friday February 23 (6pm) Family Shabbat Services
Sunday February 25 (900-1130am) Religious School
Sunday February 25 (2pm) Jews of Spanish Colonial America (Rabbi Merrill Shapiro)
Friday March 1 (7pm) Shabbat Services
Sunday March 3 (900-1130am) Religious School – Mitzvah Walk at TBS
Sunday March 3 (130pm) Hebrew 102: Intro to Hebrew Prayer (Rabbi Karen)
Wednesday March 6 (2pm) Mah Jong
Friday March 8 (7pm) Shabbat Services (Rabbi Installation)
Sunday March 10 (900-1130am) Religious School
Sunday March 10 (530-830pm) Rabbi Banquet (Hilton Indialantic)
I’m pleased to report we have expended the entirety of the funds raised for Israel (over $14k), with another check mailed off for Brothers and Sisters for Israel. The charity is currently the largest civilian aid organization providing immediate support to civilians and soldiers, in full coordination with the Israeli military.Underwear, socks, raincoats, sleeping bags, diapers, feminine hygiene products, milk substitutes, sheets, mattresses, pillows, tents, power banks, flashlights, etc. On behalf of the Temple, its Directors and Families, thank you all for this precious gift!
We had some fantastic events in December. Our Casino Night, held on Saturday, December 2, was an amazing evening. Great food, a fully-stocked cash bar, and six blackjack, poker, and roulette tables made for a wonderful experience. I want to thank once again our title sponsors, Temple Israel’s own Joe Friedman (Keller-Williams), Brian & Hilary Steinberger, (Steinberger IP Law) and Dr. Adam Wiener (Melbourne Dermatology Center). Without their support, the event would not have been possible. I’d also like to acknowledge our two indispensable event planners – Amy Hershman and Barb Cannon. Their efforts and attention to detail were appreciated by all.
Casino Night BlackJack – December2, 2023
On Friday night – December 8 – we had our annual Menorathon, another crowd pleaser. It’s hard to believe but we comfortably seated and fed over 80 congregants and guests. Many thanks to our Sisterhood under the leadership of Joy Inventasch and Bobbi Rodriguez for coordinating a stellar dinner, and to Rabbi Karen for leading and enriching service. All the kids had a wonderful time!
Casino Night Winners (L to R): Michael Dorn (3rd), Dave Brewer (2nd), and Lori Licker (1st) – December2, 2023
Menorathon at Temple Israel – December 8, 2023
Finally, I’d like to look back at our Giving Thanks Family Shabbat (Nov 17),where we also named two babies: Charlie and Madeline Vasko’s twin daughters – Abigail Jean and Sarah Nicole (see the picture below). I think we can all agree that photo below makes us proud to be in such a caring and supportive Congregation.
It’s going to be a great year ahead. We are planning for the reactivation of many our Temple Committees (i.e., Ritual, Education, Programming, Marketing & Strategic Planning, etc.) and will be tapping into your expertise to continue the process of rebuilding this vital and necessary reform synagogue. We hope you’ll participate.
Mike Slotkin
President, Temple Israel of Brevard
The Vasco Family– November17, 2023
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