Bnai Torah class of January 2017
Vicki Courrèges, Anna Foster, Carol Goekin, Hilde Klein, Erica Leino, Linda Mumford, Diane Posner, Joy Rosen, Robert Whiteman,
Snapshot 1 2 3 2017 3 37 PM SmallAnna Foster, Joy Rosen, Erica Leino, Rabbi Carla Freedman

Snapshot 2 2 3 2017 3 39 PMJoy Rosen, Anna Foster, Rabbi Carla Freedman
Snapshot 3 2 3 2017 3 40 PM 2Hilde Klein, Daine Posner, Joy Rosen
Snapshot 4 2 3 2017 3 43 PMLinda Mumford, Bob Whiteman, Rabbi Carla Freedman
Snapshot 5 2 3 2017 3 45 PMLinda Mumford, Rabbi Carla Freedman
Snapshot 6 2 3 2017 3 46 PMVicki Courrèges, Rabbi Carla Freedman
Snapshot 7 2 3 2017 3 48 PMDiane Posner, Bob Whiteman, Hilde Klein, Rabbi Carla Freedman
Question: What is “Bnot Torah”? I have heard of “adult bar/bat mitzvahs”, but never “Bnot Torah”.

“Bar Mitzvah” is an Aramaic phrase that comes to us from Pirkei Avot, 5:24. In this collection of “wisdom literature”, various ethical and inspirational sayings are attributed to the earliest generations of the rabbis. The item of interest to us is attributed to Rabbi Yehudah ben Tema, who outlines the stages of a Jew’s life, indicating what is appropriate for specific ages. He identifies 13 as the age at which a Jew becomes morally accountable for his own actions, as signified by his (and today of course, her) full assumption of the religious duties of Jewish adulthood, that is, the performance of mitzvot (fulfilling the commandments).

In antiquity, and probably until the 17th century, this transition from childhood to adult responsibility at the age of 13 took place without ceremony. But for the last 400 years, approximately, we have been marking the occasion by requiring the youngster in question to demonstrate to the community that he (and now she too) is ready to be counted amongst the adults, by demonstrating competence in some ritual act that is not permitted to those under 13. Reading from the Torah scroll became that demonstration because in addition to the reading skills it shows, it is also evidence of disciplined learning. Thus, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony serves to notify the community that another member has come of age.

So, to speak of “an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah” is a contradiction in terms. Bar/Bat Mitzvah is something that happens, with or without ceremony, at the age of 13.

Many adult women today did not have the opportunity to acquire the skills and demonstrate them to their family and community at the age of 13 because Bat Mitzvah ceremonies had not become common when they were the right age; others did not have this rite of passage because the family they grew up in only provided religious instruction to their sons. So these women have asserted their right to that instruction and the public acknowledgement of their Jewish identity by going through a parallel ritual. But properly speaking, that cannot be called a “Bat Mitzvah” because that is unequivocally associated with the age of 13. Many of us would like to reclaim our youth, but we all know that we cannot go back to being 13!

So the event is referred to as Bat or Bar Torah (some men missed out on the adolescent rite of passage too). To emphasize that this is a ritual for mature and highly motivated adults, it is appropriate to give it a name of its own. And so we can speak of an adult laying claim to Torah (either in the sense of what’s on the scroll or in the sense of all of Jewish wisdom) by becoming a son (bar) or daughter (bat) of the Torah.

When a mixed gender group or an all-male group does this together, it is called Bnai Torah. And when a group of women do this, it is called Bnot Torah. This nomenclature acknowledges the centrality of Torah to Jewish life and learning, and reminds us that we are all the children of that source of wisdom.




January 10, 2018  Worship 101 will attempt to answer questions about the what/why/when/where/how of Jewish worship. This class is for those who never learned these things, or for those who want to understand the practices of this congregation.
The class will be presented in one session of 2 hours’ duration, once only, in the (secular) new year.

January 28, 2018 Fund Raiser Just Twistin’ Hay Traditional and Original Celtic Music with a Twist! 

Come share the Spirit of Traditional Music from the Celtic Nations

Sun City Center Community Hall 2:00 p.m.

Tickets cost - $12.00. Tickets will be on sale beginning January 2nd. M-W-F at the kiosk. Call Ilene Unruch at 973-876-3513 or Paul Spiegal at 813-283-8010 for information.


February 13, 2018 Rummage Sale 9:00am to 2:00pm

Drop off at Social Hall:Soft Goods( clothing & linens )

          Sunday Feb. 4 10-1 Sunday Feb. 11 9-12   Monday Feb. 12 9-3

 Hard Goods(everything else)

         Sunday Feb. 11 9-1  Monday Feb. 12 9-3 only

February 28, 2018 Purim Schpiel  Check back often for more information

March 30, 2018 First Seder

Judaica shop – Browse some of our items  and hours of operation here

Special Programs and Events

Bnot Torah Class of 2015

Bnai Torah  Class of 2017

A Night of Comedy

Woman of Distinction - Beth Israel congratulates Sandy Zians on her selection as Woman of Distinction 2017.  Read more about this honor here.

Dedication of the Betty Kleinman Library Shelf and Kleinman Mosaic – January 18, 2013

Rummage Sale –  Read more

Rededication of the Temple - Celebrating 25 years – March 3, 2013  Read More


03.24.2018 10:00 - 12:00
Morning Shabbat Service
03.24.2018 12:00 - 01:00
Torah Study
03.27.2018 09:30 - 11:00
Sisterhood Board Meeting
03.27.2018 01:30 - 02:30
Continuing Hebrew
03.28.2018 10:00 - 12:00
Choir Practice Yom Hashoa
03.28.2018 12:00 - 02:00
Men's Club Membership Meeting
03.29.2018 01:30 - 03:00
Biblical Hebrew
03.29.2018 03:00 - 04:30
Bible Study
03.30.2018 05:30 - 06:30
Shabbat Services
03.30.2018 06:00 - 08:00
Passover Seder