Dr. Mark Packer, Our October Mensch of the Month!



Mark Packer is the new chair of our Ritual Committee. Along with those on the committee with him: Susan Abelkop, David Blumenfeld, Bob Britanisky, Ben Stauber, Elaine Hyman, and ex officio President Sandy Gordin, Mark has guided and directed the High Holidays Honors this year with great sensitivity and effectiveness. He also teaches our young people in Sunday School and has done so for many years.

As well as an expert in art history, Dr. Mark Packer is associate professor in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, where he has taught since 2011. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Northwestern University. Since then, he has held faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University and Dartmouth College, where he received numerous teaching awards. In addition to scholarly articles in ethics and the philosophy of art, Mark has published work on Kant and Aristotle and frequently directs interdisciplinary conferences for Liberty Fund, a non-profit educational foundation based in Indianapolis. Mark is the founder and full-time faculty advisor of the Adjunct Faculty Association at the University of South Carolina Upstate.


Hadassah and October Tish!

Hadassah Tisch


Saturday, October 6 there will be a Tisch after services. Please join us so we may have a Shabbes Minyan.

We will be sponsoring the tisch on Saturday, October 6 following morning services. Do plan on joining us as Hannah Keen practices for her Bat Mitzvah and for the brunch after- wards.

There will be a Hadassah meeting on Wednesday, October 27 at 11 am in the Sisterhood activity room. Bring your lunch and stay forthe Rabbi’s Brown Bag Lunch anddiscussion group.

The harvest season is almost upon us and while we are grateful for all of our good fortune, there are many who are suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. It would be a blessing to make a donation to those in need at this time because the need is great and will be for some time to come.

See you around the Temple.

Nancy Rosenberg

A Message from Our President

I enjoyed seeing so many people around the Temple during the holidays and having the opportunity to meet some congregants for the first time. I’m still trying to connect with members whom I don’t know, so don’t be surprised if I give you a call! As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, the Board and I want to hear your ideas and thoughts, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. A special thank you to everyone who recently paid their dues, made donations, and/or contributed to fair share. Your contributions make a difference!

Andrew Poliakoff recently reminded me of a wonderful organization, the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina. If you’re not a member, I encourage you to consider joining. The Society “encourages the collection, study, and interpretation of South Carolina Jewish history…to increase awareness of that heritage among Jews and non-Jews”. If you enjoy “Jewish geography,” you’ll enjoy reading their publications and visiting their website. The organization meets twice a year in cities across South Carolina and publishes a biannual magazine. The next meeting is October 20-21st in Sumter. For more information about the Jewish Historical Society, see page 14.

As a reminder, our Temple has a website page, ourtemple.net, and a Facebook page, Congregation B’nai Israel, many thanks to Sharon Packer. Sharon keeps these sites up-to-date with the Temple’s activities and information from the Union for Reform Judaism.

We have two very special events happening in October, Hannah Keen’s Bat Mitzvah the weekend of October 12th and the Tree of Life Dedication on October 26th. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Warmest regards, Sandy

October Yarhzeits

10/2 Jennie H. Cohen

10/2 Mark A. Fleishman

10/2 Harry From

10/2 Philip Weintraub

10/2  William Wimpy

10/3  Linda Rosenberg

10/3  Joel L. Tanenbaum

10/4  Bernard Litoff

10/7 Lewis Collins

10/7  Allen London

10/8  Sigmund Litoff

10/9  Anna Adler

10/9 Jeff Kaplan

10/9 Barry M. List

10/9  Abraham Rabinowitz

10/10  Abraham Katz

10/10 Dora Price

10/12 Dora Steinbrock

10/13 Pearl Bernstein

10/13 Jane Teszler

10/14 Guenther Mortge

10/15 Etta Flaum

10/15 Anne K. Finke

10/16 Bertha Finke

10/16 Ruth Levy

10/16 Matthew Poliakoff

10/16 Harris Rabiner

10/16 Beatrice S. Traub

10/17 Herman J. Mittle

10/18 Robert H. Gilpin

10/18 Samuel Miller 1

0/18 Wm. Pressman

10/18 Sol Weinberger

10/22 Philip Gelman

10/22 William W. Schwartz

10/23 Samuel Morewitz

10/23 Rose Packer

10/24 Richard C. Acanfora

10/25 Louis D. Portnoy

10/26 Sylvia L. Margolis

10/26 D’vorah Price

10/27 ChavaRifka B. Kirshner

10/27 Arthur Lutsky

10/27 Sophie A. Pinsley

10/28 Minnie Hyman

10/29 Kate Shapiro

10/29 Saul Tanenbaum

10/30 Ruth K. Arenson

10/31 Dr. Rosa H. Gantt

10/31 Cecilia Robinson

10/31 Nathan Shimkin

October Birthdays

10/4 Sandy Gordin

10/4  Heidi Moss

10/5  Florence Bernanke

10/5 Samuel Freedman

10/7 Ansley Lyon

10/7 Robert Lyon

10/12 Raeleigh McArn

10/14 Jon Lewson

10/14 Harry Price

10/17 Ira Greenfield

10/18 Tom Barnet

10/23 Jeffrey Cohen

10/23 Robert Lyon

10/25 Paul Friedberg

10/26 Carl McArn

10/31 Cashlin Bost

10/31 Roxanne Gheorghiu



October Worship Schedule

Simchat Torah 5:00 Yizkor Service

October 5 & 6

Friday: 5:30 Refreshments

6:00 Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday: 9:30 Morning Service with Hadassah Tisch

October 12 & 13

Hannah Keen Bat Mitzvah

October 19 & 20

Friday: 5:30 Refreshments 6:00 Kabbalat Shabbat Saturday: 9:30 Shabbat


October 26 & 27

Friday: Tree of Life Dedication, 6:30

Saturday: 9:30 Shabbat Discussion

From the Heart with Rabbi Liebowitz

Dear Friends,
No sooner has the shofar sounded at the end of Yom Kippur N’ilah; one tradition bids us to hammer a nail into the first beam of what will be the sukkah. At this time of writing (and recovery) from Yom Kippur and preparing for Sukkot, I am mindful of the intensity of our Jewish holiday regimen, as well as its variety of moods. The existential imperatives of the High Holidays bidding us to deeply consider the choices before us in life gives way to the quiet joyousness of the feast of tabernacles; all of which culminates in boisterous celebration that is Simchat Torah. I have come in recent years to think less of the intensity of the moods these holiday shifts impose and more about their gestalt, how they create balance; dark mystery of existence versus natural light of creation; hopeful anticipation versus a gentle fatalism (read the poetry of Ecclesiastes i.e. Kohelet “all is vanity”). We cannot have one without the other.

One tradition suggests that, in addition to hosting family and friends, we invite specific Jewish historical figures as Ushpizim (guests) to enter the sukkah with us: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. More recently, a novel invitation has gone out to Jewish historical women:Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Abigail, and Esther. To add and extend this tradition, one exercise asks whom would you invite from history and why? Einstein? Picasso? Amelia Earhart? Such a personal review would possibly serve as a Rorschach to your soul and mind, a mirror into your heart as to where your interests now lie. No doubt I would invite Sigmund Freud. Quite possibly he would say “Rabbi, sometimes a mezuzah is just a mezuzah” disabusing me of my overwrought tendency to look for explanations when there is none. Or just maybe I would like to stand in the presence of Hannah Senesch, that brave paratrooper who returned to Hungary to save her fellow Jews; be awed by her spirit of devotion and her poetic achievements. Most notably among these and others would be Darwin whose revolutionary spirit and intellect paved a new way for beholding nature’s gifts;

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

So whom would you welcome into your sukkah?

It occurs to me that the gift of being Jewish is that of entertaining ambiguities such as I have hinted at above. For this reason and others our reform faith more than tends to be non-dogmatic. So I hope you enjoy these last days of the holiday month of Tishrei. For the month that follows Cheshvan is called Mar Cheshvan “Bitter Cheshvan!” as it is bereft of holidays save Shabbat and the New Moon. There is a beautiful custom among traditionalist to take a bit of wine from the Havdalah cup and paste it to one’s eyebrows. This symbolizes the commitment to take the sweetness of the Sabbath into our week, its joys, its hope, and its future anticipation for the time of ultimate peace and brotherhood.

May the beauty of the holidays that were continue into the months to come!


Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.