B’Nai Harim has built a virtual community during the pandemic
Congregation B’Nai Harim in Pocono Pines is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the Reform Jewish synagogue’s ability to hold services and events, the congregation has built a community online.
Ashley Catherine Fontones, Pocono Record
Hanukkah is the “Feast of Lights,” and Jewish believers celebrate it by lighting a menorah candle each night for eight days with special prayers, songs, and latkes. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday, December 18th.
Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum of Congregation B’nai Harim was excited, hoping to be able to meet in person after celebrating online for the past two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This year’s festivities are overshadowed by a storm forecast for northeastern Pennsylvania. Check the weather for service times and events at your congregation.
Read a list of Hannukah services and events planned for Monroe, Pike, Wayne and Lackawanna counties.
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Congregation B’nai Harim: Located at 5349 Pocono Crest Rd, Pocono Pines
B’nai Harim (“Children of the Mountains”) is led by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum and the congregation is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism.
It offers a mix of Jewish practices and in addition to religious services, B’nai Harim offers a variety of cultural, social, adult and family events. Important topics, Hebrew lessons, intergenerational programs, and ongoing book discussions are scheduled regularly.
Hanukkah Party: at 13:30, Sunday. A fun afternoon of latkes and donuts featuring the David Mesmer Comedy Hypnosis Show.
Cost is $20 for adults, children 12 and under are free.
Information: Go to bnaiharimpoconos.org/ or call 570-646-0100 to learn more.
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Temple Israel in the Poconos: Located at 711 Wallace Street, Stroudsburg
Temple Israel of the Poconos is led by Rabbi Johanan Bickhardt.
It was founded on Yom Kippur in 1919 and is an affiliated Conservative congregation that follows the principle of matrilineal descent. They work closely with each family, helping to introduce the principles of basic Judaism and offering courses in basic Judaism and more.
Chanukah Community Candle Lighting and Dinner: 17:00, Sunday. On the first night of Hanukkah, enjoy music, dancing, face painting and more, bring a menorah and candles to light.
Information: Go to templepoconos.org or call 570-421-8781 to learn more.
Poconos Resource Center: Located at 1210 N 5th Steet, Stroudsburg.
The Poconos Jewish Resource Center was founded and has been directed by Rabbi Yehuda Salkow since 2006.
Provides resources for a wide range of Jewish cultural, educational and social experiences. JRC’s curriculum of events and programs is designed to provide stimulating and enjoyable content for all ages, regardless of political or religious affiliation. They offer youth programs, Vacation experiences, Torah classes, Heritage Trips and more.
Chanukah celebration: From 17:30 to 19:30, Wednesday, December 21. Enjoy Menorah lighting, dreidel games, food, magic show and children’s activities.
The price is $15 per adult, $10 for children ages 3 to 11.
Information: For more information, visit poconojrc.org or call 570-517-0815.
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Temple Hesed: Located at 1 Knox Rd, Scranton.
Temple Hesed is a member synagogue of the Union for Reform Judaism and Scranton’s oldest Jewish congregation. It is led by Rabbi Daniel Swartz.
Temple Hesed, also known as the Temple of Love, is a community of individuals and families in Lackawanna County and surrounding NEPA areas.
Hannukah service: 7:00 p.m., Friday, December 23. Reservations are required before the potluck dinner.
Information: Learn more at templehesed.org or by calling 570-344-7201.
Congregation Beth Israel: It is located at 615 Court St in Honesdale.
Congregation Beth Israel in Honesdale has been led by Rabbi Elliott Kleinman and is part of the Union of Reform Judaism. Since 1849, they have prided themselves on their willingness to embrace change.
While expressing the highest appreciation for their heritage, they are open to modern approaches to Judaism. Beth Israel prides itself on being open to progressive values and the only stipulations are that members must adhere to a reasonable code of ethics and be welcoming to all members.
The pre-Chanukah dinner and scheduled services for Friday have been canceled due to winter weather. For more information, go to congregationbethisraelhonesdale.org or call 570-253-2222.
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Jewish Community of Hemlock Farms: Located at 540 Forest Drive, Lords Valley.
According to The Jewish Fellowship of Hemlock Farms website, the fellowship has been at the center of Jewish life in Pike County for more than 40 years. As an unaffiliated nonprofit religious organization, the congregation is comprised of families and individuals who “promote and continue the rites, customs, and joys of Judaism, regardless of current or prior practice and/or affiliation.”
Membership consists of practitioners from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, and secular traditions, including full-time residents, weekenders, and snowbirds.
Chanukah Menorah Lighting: 18:30 to 18:30, Sunday.
Information: Learn more at jfhf.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-775-7497.