Sign In Forgot Password

Shabbat Morning Services Online Tomorrow

Rabbi Colin

Shabbat Shalom
Dear B'nai Torah,
I hope everyone is feeling and doing well. After another week of seclusion, I imagine that we are all just a bit more frazzled than this time last week. Personally, it has been difficult for me since two of my friends have the Coronavirus and have been seriously ill. Also, one of the reasons I became a Rabbi was to interact with people of all ages, as much as I could, and to only see members and my students on line has been very unsatisfactory for me.
I'm certain that we are all suffering in some way, but would like to take the opportunity to wish hamakom yenachem to all those who have lost a loved one to the Virus and refuah shleimah to those who are sick. And it is important to open our hearts to the Medical practitioners who are putting themselves, and their families, at risk in order to help their patients.
I am delighted that members of the Board of B'nai Torah on the initiative of our Presidents are calling our members to find out how they are doing and discover if there is anything that the synagogue or I am able to do for you. The synagogue building may be closed, but we are open and here to help in any way we can.
Many thanks to the volunteers who are purchasing and/or delivering shopping for some members who have asked for help. We will be continuing to explore ways we can help you and also tzedakah projects, such as the making of face masks that we can participate in.
I hope you have been availing yourself of the Zoom Torah study on Wednesday evenings or the live streamed Shabbat services which we began last Shabbat. We will be on Facebook Live tomorrow morning beginning at 10:30 am for Shabbat Morning Service. It is a wonderful way for our community to be together, even if it is virtually. You can follow along in the Etz Hayim Humash which is now online. Certainly I hope you have been reading the messages that we have sent out on a regular basis since all of this began. If you need any technical assistance, please let us know and we will help you.
Also attached to this note you will find a listing of sessions being hosted by Jewish Family Service for those who are struggling in any way during the Coronavirus crisis. No one should feel embarrassed to feel and express anxiety or fear or to reach out to me, the synagogue or Jewish Family Services for help, if needed.
One of the ways that I have been achieving some control in a time where nobody knows what tomorrow brings, is to create a routine for myself of preparing classes, teaching students, making phone calls and writing emails. You might not be teaching classes, but I think it is possible for all of us to create a routine, even if watching Netflix is part of that routine! Secondly, in my house, we are taking the opportunity of doing things that none of us usually have time for, such as cleaning! And we plan on repainting the whole house!
I think it is important to create positive moments, such as eating together regularly because we are all here together, or perhaps you could cook a meal, or paint a picture with someone who lives with you. In other words, let us think about those things we CAN do, rather than what we cannot do. And please reach out to those you know whom are alone at this time…Remember , it is PHYSICAL separation that we need a at this time, not Social separation and I wish the media would change the terminology they are using. We should seek as many ways as possible to communicate and be in touch with as many people as possible.
Next week I will be presenting my (and others) ideas about how to celebrate Pesach 5780. Without doubt this Pesach will be different from all other Pesachs.
Shabbat shalom. May this Shabbat be a peaceful one.
Rabbi Colin

Finding Comfort in Music

Music from Israel
As we have done every day for the past few weeks, we wish all of our community good health and peace as we endure this unique time that we all hope will end swiftly and with the least suffering possible. As we have stated in our past messages, please contact the shul if you need anything – we are here to help. And, please attend our online programming to feel our community connection. 
Today, we are highlighting a topic that is sure to be uplifting – music! Most Americans think of “Jewish” or “Israeli” music as liturgical, BUT it is far from that. Music from Israel is folk and rock and blues and country and even rap. For your listening pleasure, here is a list of some of the greatest contemporary albums from Israel from the past 20 years, or so. Please send us your favorites.
(p.s. the links should open in Apple Music in case you want to stream the songs).
1. Artists: Shlomo Artzi and Shalom Hanoch -- Album: “Shlomo Artzi Live in Caesarea with Shalom Hanoch,” 2005
2. Artist: Yehudit Ravitz -- Album: “Greatest Hits,” 1994
3. Band: Ethnix -- Album: “Maksimum Ethnix Osef Halehitim” (Maximum Ethnix Greatest Hits), 2000
4. Band: Mashina -- Album: “Eskei Ha’Rock N’ Roll” (Rock N’ Roll Business), 2010
5. Artist: Muki -- Album: “Sh’ma Yisrael” (Hear O Israel), 2002
6. Artist: David Broza -- Album: “The Original Albums” (Haalbumim Hamekori’im), 2012
7. Artist: Arkadi Duchin -- Album: “Yoter Mimeni” (More than Me), The Collection 2004
8. Artist: Arik Einstein -- Album: “The Best of Arik Einstein,” 2003
9. Artists: Shlomi Shabat and Yehuda Poliker -- Album: “Live in Caesarea,” 2005
10. Band: Kaveret -- Album: “Hamofa Ha’acharon” (The Last Concert), 2013
11. Artist: Sarit Hadad -- Album: “Best Of Sarit Hadad,” 2015
12. Artists: Moshe Peretz and Omer Adam -- Album: “Mahapecha” (Live), 2015
13. Band: Teapacks (Tipex) -- Album: “Kol Ha’Lehitim” (Greatest Hits), 2003
14. Artist: Ariel Zilber -- Album: “The Best Of,” 2013
15. Artist: Rita -- Album: “Rita Osef” (Rita Collection)
16. Artist: Eyal Golan -- Album: “Live in Caesarea” with Ma Kashur, 2016


Join us for a Facebook Live Shabbat Morning Service

BT Presidents and Board

Shabbat Morning Service
We hope you enjoyed participating in B’nai Torah’s first live streamed Friday evening service . This week we will be bringing Shabbat Morning Service to your home virtually.
Rabbi Colin will be live on Facebook, Saturday, March 28th at 10:30 am.  We hope your family will gather around your computer, tablet, or phone to watch the live stream together. You will find the service on  B'nai Torah's Facebook page . We expect the entire service to be 60 – 90 minutes. Let’s practice our social distancing while continuing to enjoy each other's company on Shabbat.
If you do not have a Siddur at home and would like to follow along, please contact Rabbi Colin via email .
Not on Facebook? Not a problem. You can set up an account  by clicking here . Once you have your account you can follow this link to the  B'nai Torah page  and be sure to " Like " us. We have also set up a B’nai Torah Community group which is a private group where we can stay in touch with all of our B’nai Torah friends. 
Next week, we will live stream the erev Shabbat service again. 
Please consider reaching out to those in our community that you know do not have Facebook, and help them be a part of this B’nai Torah first. 


Especially while you are quarantining...

BT Presidents

It's a beautiful day today - so we need to take advantage of the sunshine to move, move, move!  It is important to preserve our physical health and our emotional well-being during these days of enforced home-time and limited face-to-face interactions.  Staying active is critical and does not require fancy equipment and going to the gym.  Exercise can be family time, or it can be individual or both.  Walk outside in the yard or in parks or trails that have been permitted to stay open - but maintain your social distance.  Use your computer to enjoy a virtual dance, yoga or exercise class with friends.
Many of us are regular users of computers, but the new challenges of working and schooling from home find us spending longer hours in front of the screen.  If you are sitting in front of a computer, make sure to get up and walk around, stretch, do some squats, straighten your back and reach for the ceiling at least every 45 minutes or so.  Our bodies get "stuck" in a flexed position from hours in front of the computer - bad for your neck and shoulders, your low back and your legs.  Just as we are encouraged to pump our ankles and get up and walk when on long drives or flights, we need to remember to get up and move around and get our blood moving when working and playing from home. 
Recommendations for exercise to maintain good health consist of 150 minutes each week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes each week of vigorous exercise.  Of course, this is based on your health.
See below some excellent recommendations from the American Physical Therapy Association for staying active and healthy during COVID-19. Follow the links for great ideas and information.
Coronavirus is causing significant disruptions to all areas of life and presents a serious threat to health. The American Physical Therapy Association supports following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for remaining safe and avoiding unnecessary exposure, which includes staying home and distancing yourself from others when possible.
But practicing social distancing doesn't mean that you have to stop being physically active. Getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity for your age and ability helps to maintain and to improve overall health, and it is perhaps even more important during stressful times like these.
First, follow CDC guidelines for personal health habits and other tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Then, take advantage of the following tips and resources that you can use to maintain your health and fitness, while doing your part to stop the spread of the virus.
Activities For Kids of All Abilities
Motivation: Move More, Feel Better
To learn more, visit the ChoosePT website:


For your viewing pleasure...

Bev, Fred, Amanda

Dear Fellow Congregants,
We hope you and your families are healthy and are holding up well as our enforced stay-at-home continues. Friday night's live streamed Shabbat service was fantastic with more than 1000 views!  If you missed it, you can still log in on Facebook to watch the recorded version. Stay tuned for information about next Saturday's live-streamed Shabbat morning service.
For your watching pleasure, we asked Margery Verlezza, one of our movie gurus along with Laurie Raccuia, another movie maven, to put together a list of Jewish content movies that you might find interesting or entertaining.  This list contains 10 films, but we will be sending out additional lists of movies and also TV series in the future - and will also prioritize a movie list in the future "for family viewing".  You may also want to take a look at the following link to a 1998 list of top Jewish movies derived from Kathryn Bernheimer's book,  The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies: A Critic's Ranking of the Very Best:
We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the movies listed below - and welcome your recommendations for future listings.
We have set up a "virtual" space for our members to congregate on Facebook.  It is entirely private, and only those who have received invitations can participate.  It will also be moderated.  If you are interested in joining us please join us here.
We look forward to hearing from you.  Stay safe and healthy!
Bev, Amanda & Fred
Jewish Themed Movies - available on-line
An Israeli Love Story (Amazon Prime - 2017): a love story set in 1947 Israel against the backdrop of the struggle for independence
The Angel (Netflix - 2018): this real-life thriller is based on Uri Bar-Joseph's bestselling book, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Amazon Prime - 2017): This highly rated movie depicts the fascinating life story of Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-American actress who also created a groundbreaking technology that helped to torpedo Nazi U-Boats during WWII.
Defiant Requiem (Amazon Prime - 2012): a full length documentary set in the Nazi concentration camp Teresienstadt (Terezin) where the courageous Czech conductor, Rafael Schächter and his fellow inmates use music to stand up against the brutal Nazi regime.  (This film was originally scheduled to be shown at B'nai Torah last week!)
Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana (Amazon Prime - 2017): The film explores the community of villagers in the small Ghanaian community of Sewfi Wiawso who observe Jewish practices and who believe that they are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel.
Fanny's Journey (Netflix - 2016): In this film inspired by true events a group of Jewish orphans flee Nazi-occupied France for Italy, then must escape from Italy.  They make their way to the Swiss border and freedom, led by 13 year old Fanny.
For My Father (Amazon Prime-2010): explores the interactions of a young Palestinian terrorist, and a disillusioned orthodox young woman in Tel Aviv.
Felix and Meira (Amazon Prime - 2014): an unlikely relationship develops between a Hasidic wife and mother and a secular man mourning for his father in Montreal 
GI Jews (Amazon Prime - 2018):  a fascinating documentary of the 550,000 Jewish men and women who serviced in the US military during World War II
Foreign Letters (Amazon Prime - 2014): Lonely pre-teen Ellie has moved with her family to suburban CT from Israel in 1982.  She finds new friendship with Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee of her age.  This movie deals with immigration, prejudice, friendship.


Friday Evening Service with Rabbi - Live on Facebook!

BT Presidents

Did you miss Shabbat services last week?  We are fixing that this week...virtually!
Rabbi Colin will be going "live" on Facebook, Friday March 19th at 7:30pm to bring Friday night services right to your home.  Grab everyone and come to B'nai Torah's Facebook page   to catch the live stream and be sure to bring your singing voice!  We will welcome Shabbat together and bring our community closer, while observing social distancing.  
If you don't have a Facebook page there is still time to set up an account by clicking here.  Once you have your account you can follow this link to the B'nai Torah page and be sure to " Like" us.
Next week, we will live stream the Shabbat morning service so we can all be together once again.
We are excited to bring this to you.  Be sure to share the news with your B'nai Torah friends!


How about a good book?

Rabbi Colin and BT Board

We hope everyone is healthy and safe.  As we begin to understand the scope of our current health crisis and resulting confinement, we would like to offer some suggestions to sharpen the mind and perhaps bring some comfort to our fellow congregants and the community.  One place to spend some time away from the grim reports is with a good book.  But, deciding what to read is often a challenge.  We would like to refer you to an excellent source of Jewish Literature, the Jewish Book Council.  Here is a link to their website:
The website contains many recommendations organized by topics, but the winners of the 2019 Jewish Book of the Year awards may be a good place to start.  Here is the list:
Please share some of your reviews on our Facebook page by clicking here and if you need to purchase one of these "must reads" you can use to help support B'nai Torah.
We also remind you to contact us if you are in need for anything and please don't forget the Rabbi's eLearning Class tomorrow night at 8pm.  
Rabbi Colin and the BT Board

Our Online Classes Begin Wednesday!

Rabbi Colin and the BT Board

Parshat Hashavua eLearning!
We hope you are remaining healthy and doing well.  While we can't see you at services and in synagogue, please know we are working behind the scenes to bring you online classes and get-togethers to allow our community to still be "together."
We will be rolling out different options throughout the coming weeks, but to begin, tomorrow night Rabbi Colin will hold an online class through Zoom.  The information on how to participate is below.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any issues with connecting.  We recommend downloading Zoom at and setting up your computer prior to the class so you can ensure your system is working.  We have added a phone number as well.
If there is something you are looking for feel free to email Rabbi Colin ( or the presidents ( with your suggestions.
We will continue to check in with you and as always if you need anything from us please reach out. 
Parashat Hashavua eLearning with Rabbi Colin
Wednesday, March 18 at 8:00PM 
Meeting ID: 497 383 087

Password: 547625

Dial In: 1-929-205-6099
We look forward to "seeing" all of you Wednesday evening!
Rabbi Colin and the BT Board


Staying Safe Online with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Rabbi Colin and BT Board

Shavua Tov to all of our BT families. We hope you are both feeling and doing well.
In today's digital age, we receive news from many sources. Unfortunately, some of it is not always well-intentioned. To help protect our BT community, please consider these warnings from law enforcement as fears surrounding the coronavirus continues to spread.
Local police say some people have taken advantage of the deadly virus.
Several police departments have shared FBI information that people are getting phishing scams, so they are urging people to be cautious of suspicious coronavirus e-mails.
Many agencies have alerted local police to people sending out e-mails appearing to be from the  CDC  and   World Health Organization .
But instead of learning more about the coronavirus, people getting these e-mails provide criminals with their own information.
The e-mails are phishing scams .
The emails lure people to download attachments that contain malware to access people's bank statements and personal information. Law enforcement has also said that some scammers have created fake charity e-mails asking for money. 
In order to protect you and your family, experts said to verify the sender before opening the e-mail, read link addresses before you click, and never provide personal ID information.
In addition, earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission sent a warning to several businesses accusing them of selling scam coronavirus treatment products. 
Police ask that you report any phishing e-mail to your local police department or the FBI.
We wish that everyone remains healthy and safe during these unusual times. We will continue to send updates to our community and  please remember to contact us if you require assistance . A link to this week's Torah Study class will be forwarded tomorrow.
Rabbi Colin and the BT Board


Important Information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and B'nai Torah

Rabbi Colin and the Presidents


March 12, 2020

Dear B'nai Torah community:

As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact and disrupt daily life, we know that you are concerned about both the health and public safety implications of the virus and also the short- and long-term repercussions to you and your families

With this in mind, we want to assure you that B'nai Torah stands with you in every way. Rabbi Colin, the staff and our leadership have been working on a sound, safe plan for the synagogue in light of new information regarding the coronavirus. We are thankful that there are no confirmed cases in our synagogue community, but we must act in the interests of the health and safety of all our congregants.

We therefore are implementing the following plan for our community, which we will update regularly:

  • All in-person group functions, gatherings and meetings scheduled to take place in the building for the next 30 days are CANCELLED or POSTPONED to a later date.

  • Services are CANCELLED beginning tomorrow evening.

  • Options for Bar/Bat Mitzvah families are being addressed directly with the families in a separate communication.

  • Other life cycle events, like funerals or baby namings will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the rabbi.

  • Talmud Torah classes are currently CANCELLED. An on-line option for classes is being implemented and will be addressed with Talmud Torah families in a separate communication.

  • Nursery School is CLOSED. Updates will be provided directly to nursery school families.

  • Bingo is currently CANCELLED

On a positive note:

 Rabbi Colin and the Ritual Committee WILL be running an online Parsha of the Week class on Wednesday evening from 8-9 p.m. A dial-in number will be provided.

Rabbi Colin will continue to work in the building during this time. We ask that if you would like to schedule a meeting with him, please call ahead, 203-268-6940, to let us know that you'll be coming into the building. Rabbi Colin will continue his lessons with the B'nai Mitzvah students at this time and the building will be open to them.

We will also be conducting a deep clean of every part of the building, so we are prepared when the building re-opens.

Please take all precautions to stay safe and healthy at this time. Please be thoughtful and follow the latest updates from the CDC and government experts. We will get through this together, as a community, and support those in need.


Rabbi Colin, Amanda, Beverly and Fred



Join Me on Facebook for Erev Shabbat Services Live!

Rabbi Colin

Dear B'nai Torah,
I am writing to express my sincere hope that everybody is doing as well as can be expected during these difficult times, and certainly I hope that everybody in your immediate and extended family are feeling well. I hope you have been receiving the messages sent out by B'nai Torah and that they have provided some comfort and help as we navigate the 'new normal' of our lives. The Presidents, the Board and I have been continually meeting and planning for the best ways that we can help and serve you. If you have any ideas, please do not hesitate in forwarding them to us. I would like to particularly thank our Presidents, Amanda Wendt, Beverly Fein and Fred Knopf, who have been working tirelessly, while attending to their own work situations, in order to look after our congregation.
As of tonight, we will be live streaming one Shabbat service a week. Tonight will be the erev Shabbat service, beginning at 7:30 p.m. and next Shabbat will be the Shabbat morning service. (Details will be sent next week) I will conduct the service as though there were a congregation. If you do not own a siddur, please let me know, so that we can figure something out for the future for you. Also, I would welcome anyone who would like to lead the service (or parts of it) with me, to let me know, and we will make a schedule to ensure there are not more than 3 of us on the bimah. My offer is open especially to 7th graders preparing for B'nei Mitzvah and all 8th through 12th graders and, of course, any adults who are interested in leading a live streamed service. And thank you Fred, for being our cameraman!
One of our ideas is to collect a list of people who would be willing to purchase items at the supermarket for anyone who is unable or unwilling to do the shopping themselves. Please let me know if you are willing to do this. Also, if there is any member who is alone or and could benefit from a phone call, please let me know. Please remember that we need to practice ' physical' distancing not 'social' distancing...Indeed we must not practice social distancing - because we need each other more than ever. My expectation is that we will become stronger after this is over, because together we have turned a crisis into an opportunity. Let us look ahead together to a time of wholeness asking, 'What can we do to make things better for someone else and our world.'
I would like to end, by sharing with you the Hashkivenu prayer from the evening service, which I do at the suggestion of Dr. Beverly Fein:
Help us, O G-d, to lie down in peace;
And awaken us to life on the morrow.
May we always be guided by Your good counsel,
And thus find shelter in Your tabernacle of peace.
Shield us, we pray, against our foes,
Against disease, destruction, and sorrow.
Strengthen us against the forces of evil
Which abound on every side.
May we always sense your loving care;
For You are our merciful G-d and Sovereign.
Guard us always and everywhere;
Bless us with life and peace.
Praise to You, O G-d of peace,
Whose love is always with us,
Who shelters Your people Israel,
And protects Jerusalem in love.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Colin
Erev Shabbat Service
Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Facebook Live! with Rabbi Colin


Mon, May 16 2022 15 Iyyar 5782