Kempsville Conservative Synagogue and Temple Israel to celebrate “Bar Mitzvah Year” of programming partnership

Friday, June 7

Members of Kempsville Conservative Synagogue and Temple Israel are not sure if anyone remembers exactly how their “programming partnership” began.

They do remember that Sharon Grossman, then president of Temple Israel, and Alene Jo Kaufman, then president of Kempsville Conservative Synagogue/ Kehillat Bet Hamidrash enjoyed working together. They know that “KBH” wanted to engage in additional adult education and had investigated some possibilities. Rabbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel offered to teach a mini-series at KBH for members of both congregations, and since then, the relationship between the two synagogues has grown and developed. The original mini-series became an annual event and education for the children became a joint affair as KBH’s students joined the Temple Israel Sunday School and KBH members served as teachers. The two synagogues continue to share worship services for specific holidays at Temple Israel and annually, join together at Beth Sholom Village to lead services. KBH annually hosts Temple Israel members for Shabbat dinner and the congregations often support each other’s celebrations and fundraising events.

“Thirteen years is a long time in the life of our still young congregation and, as in any life, it is sometimes difficult to remember every detail. However, as we prepare to celebrate our “bar mitzvah” year, it brings us such joy to acknowledge the influence we have had on each other in our congregations and the friendships we have formed as a result of this distinctive relationship.” says Kaufman.

Rabbi Panitz adds, “Ten or a thousand, a minyan is a minyan! The partnership of the Kempsville Conservative Congregation and Temple Israel is characterized by deep and mutual respect. Each of us recognizes the vital work of Jewish community-building, worship and Torah study that constitutes the missions of both congregations. This mutual respect allows us to celebrate our Jewishness together, regardless of the difference of our demographics. As we celebrate the bar mitzvah year of our partnership, we are proud to serve as an example of k’lal yisrael.”

The kick-off to the 13th year of the programming partnership will take place at KBH with Shabbat services, followed by Shabbat dinner prepared by the catering committee of KBH. In the spirit of continuing collaboration, services will be conducted by Cantor David Proser of KBH along with Rabbi Panitz, with melodies and traditions of both congregations woven throughout the service.

To join the celebration, contact KBH at for dinner reservations and additional information.