More than 100 members of Brith Sholom gather at the Simon Family JCC on the first Sunday of each month to enjoy camaraderie, wonderful brunches, interesting speakers, and a variety of entertainment.
The Independent Order of Brith Sholom (Covenant of Peace) was founded in February 1905 in Philadelphia, Pa. Forty-four men realized that existing agencies could not integrate the large influx of immigrants who came to America in the early 20th century due to differences in language, customs, and social norms.
The organization’s primary purpose was to provide sick benefits to the mostly-immigrant poor when they were unable to earn a living or obtain insurance for their families in the event of death. Brith Sholom quickly became involved in civic, social, and charitable activities.
The Norfolk City Lodge was chartered by 16 men in 1915 and became the Brith Sholom Center of Virginia. Today, it boasts more than 250 members.
Since the sale of Beth Sholom Village last year, the group has been enjoying catering by Eitan Altshuler. The main fare continues to be bagels, lox, and eggs, with the addition of a variety of delicious Israeli salads and dishes, which have gotten a thumbs up from members.
Sharon Schloss, a third-generation member, says, “I come for social reasons. The first time I came to a meeting, I saw people that I hadn’t seen in 30 to 40 years; you don’t often see people who go to different temples. The brunches are unbelievable, the entertainment is wonderful, and they have great speakers. I think everyone should join!” That sentiment is echoed by nearly every member.
To start the new year on a happy note, The Doorway Singers performed on January 7. Their salute to the USO, with music from WWII to the Desert Storm era, was a hit. With no additional programming on February 4, there was extra time for brunch and socializing – which vice president, Ray Rebby refers to as a “Feed and Smooze” program. On March 3, one of the group’s all-time favorite musical acts, Fond Memories, will return, as everyone will stroll down (or dance down) memory lane with hits from the 40s, 50s and 60s. More programming and trips are being explored for the spring.
Although best known as a social group, Brith Sholom is also a charitable one. In 2023, it distributed funds to 14 agencies and institutions to further Jewish education in Tidewater. In addition, Brith Sholom conducts annual food drives to benefit the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry.
For membership information, contact Rhoda Ehrlich at 757-408-8000. For information about the organization or programming, contact LeeAnn Mallory at firstname.lastname@example.org.