B'nai Sholom

Reform Congregation

Albany, NY

Yom Shishi, 26 Av 5777


on Friday, 07 September 2012.


                On Wednesday, September 26, 70 Reform Jewish congregations around the U.S. – including Albany’s B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation – will take a historic opportunity to pilot a draft of a new Yom Kippur afternoon service, part of a planned new Reform Jewish prayer book for the Days of Awe. The new prayer book will be published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the professional organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis.

 The afternoon service of prayers and readings is a key part of the Day of Atonement, the time when Jews believe that each person may repent prior to being judged for the coming year. American Reform Judaism first published a prayer book, called a machzor, based on traditional sources, in 1884; revised it over the years, and last introduced a major new version in 1978.

                 “This new service marks a generational shift to a brand new liturgy,” explains B’nai Sholom Rabbi Donald P. Cashman.  “And given that Jews are so familiar with the service for the Days of Awe – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – it’s a significant change.  Reform Judaism introduced an entirely new prayer book for daily and weekly use during the last decade, as we adapt to the reality of Jewish life and Jewish thought in the 21st century. Publication of a new book for the Days of Awe will mark an equally important moment in the life of Reform congregations.”

 Yom Kippur begins at sunset Tuesday, September 25, and continues through sunset the next day.

 Rabbi Cashman points out major differences in this new order of service, which illuminate the path Reform Judaism took when it split from more orthodox practices.

 “In the ancient, traditional service, a section called the Avodah detailed the sacrificial worship on Yom Kippur in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem and the High Priest’s preparations for it, as part of a section of the day called Musaf. Reform Judaism eliminated Musaf; moved Avodah, and changed the emphasis away from sacrifice and the Temple. Instead, the service dealt with heroic acts by martyrs in response to persecution of Jews over the centuries.

                 “Now the emphasis is shifted toward our individual responsibility for the world. The focus of the readings and meditations is on middot – personal qualities or attributes. The goal is tikkun middot – repairing and strengthening the personal qualities and traits that enable us to fulfill our urge to be good – virtues such as love, self-discipline, gratitude, and forgiveness.”

                 Other changes include some further reordering of the service, new song texts, and optional readings from the Torah, the Five Books of Moses in the Jewish Bible.

                 Each congregation piloting the new section is asked by the CCAR to survey a cross-section of its members for their reactions. Feedback from across the country will affect the final shape of the new machzor.


“We are informing and involving our entire congregation in this pilot project,” Rabbi Cashman said. 


                 “As with Christians at Easter and Christmas, Judaism’s Days of Awe are the best-attended services of the year. Liturgy that is experienced year after year becomes part of our feelings about the festivals themselves. The Day of Atonement has a quality of focus and devotion like no other day. Shifting to new prayers and readings will feel unfamiliar, but will offer us the chance to view Yom Kippur in a fresh way, promoting rededication to its ideals of repentance and renewal.”


                 Admission to Yom Kippur services, per common practice for these holidays, is by ticket only. For information, contact B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation at 518-482-5283, or e-mail office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us">office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us.



on Thursday, 16 August 2012.

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation  



ALBANY, NY 12208-1792

(518) 482-5283

FAX (518) 489-6353

e-mail: office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us



 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CONTACT: Rebecca S. Marvin

Phone: 518-482-5283                     E-mail: office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us




B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation today announced the election of new officers and members to the board of trustees.

            At the 40th annual meeting held recently, the congregation elected Jodi Kerper of Delmar, president; Melody Bruce of Menands, president-elect and finance vice president; Hana Zima of Troy, vice president; Mark Brody of Delmar, secretary; and Margaret Tabak of Guilderland, treasurer. The meeting was held at the synagogue, located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.

Kerper succeeds Douglas Goldman as president. Bruce, Zima and Brody are newly elected to executive posts, while Tabak continues as an officer.

            The congregation also elected Deborah Adler of Delmar, Eleanor Davis of Albany and Herb Swift of Guilderland to new positions as trustees. Continuing on the board are Joel Bloom of Loudonville, Glen Charles of Albany, Liz Davis of Glenmont, Jack Devore of Delmar, Eric Goldberg of Albany, Gail Golderman of Albany, Douglas Goldman of Loudonville, Yossi Koren-Roth of Delmar, Mark Reeder of Albany, Carol Smith of McKownville and Ruth Swift of Guilderland.

Rabbi Donald P. Cashman has been the congregation’s spiritual leader since 1985 and serves on the board ex officio.

After attending our first services at B'nai Sholom, I knew my family had found its spiritual home.  From the congregation-wide chanting of the Kol Nidre during the Days of Awe to the reading of the Megillah as part of our infamous Purim shpiel, B'nai Sholom truly is a warm, welcoming congregation that encourages all to partake in our opportunities for worship, prayer, learning and community.  I want to thank Doug Goldman for his leadership these past two years, and I and the board look forward to working with congregants as we continue to celebrate B'nai Sholom's 40th anniversary year,” Kerper said.

 Since 2007, Kerper has served as a training program coordinator at the Professional Development Program (PDP), part of the SUNY Research Foundation. Prior to that, she was a senior education specialist at PDP. From 1996 until 2002, she was a software engineer at Edgil Associates Inc. of Billerica, Mass., a software design company specializing in applications aimed at the newspaper industry. Kerper also holds experience in project management, publications and outreach at the University of Pennsylvania's National Center on Fathers and Families and the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.

             Kerper has served as B’nai Sholom’s president-elect for the past two years and has been a member of the synagogue’s board since 2007. She has served as an active member of the congregation’s fundraising and kids’ congregation/youth congregation committees.

 A native of Virginia, Kerper grew up in Temple Beth-El, a conservative synagogue in Richmond, and was active in B'nai B’rith as a youth, holding council and regional leadership positions. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has resided in the Capital Region for 10 years. Kerper is married to Dr. R. Karl Rethemeyer, associate professor of public affairs and policy and associate dean at Rockefeller College. The couple’s son, Benjamin Rethemeyer, will enter middle school this fall and is in his fourth year of attending the Union for Reform Judaism’s Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Mass.


Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 160 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.



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