By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Joy is the mood that welcomes worshipers to Congregation B’nai Avraham. In this Modern Orthodox synagogue, whose spiritual leader, Rabbi Aaron Raskin, is a Chabad hassid, one can experience joy and community in worship, learning and meals. Rabbi Raskin personally exudes a joy that is very contagious and inspiring, as he welcomes all people to his shul.
The neighborhood’s only Orthodox synagogue has served Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill since September 1988. In the mid-1990s, the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, a Reform-branch community, sold its brownstone at 117 Remsen St. to B’nai Avraham and moved into the former Brooklyn Club, a larger space up the block. This enabled B’nai Avraham to have its own home.
B’nai Avraham is currently the only neighborhood synagogue that offers daily services every morning and evening, providing the necessary minyan (ten adult Jewish men) needed for worship. Therefore, when someone needs to say Kaddish, members of the community are present to help the mourner fulfill this important obligation.
Weekday morning services are at 7:45 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 8:45 a.m. on Sundays and secular holidays.
Friday Evening Shabbat services begin five minutes after candle lighting time, according to Jewish calendars readily available through the synagogue and online. Saturday morning services begin at 9:45 a.m., followed by an light-lunch kiddush at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon and evening series begin according to the candle-lighting times.
Weekday evening services are prayed Monday through Thursday at 9 p.m. Sunday afternoon and evening services follow Shabbat candle lighting times.
In addition to services, the shul offers daily Jewish education classes, taught for free and in English, and most open to both men and women.
Rabbi Raskin's most popular Monday evening class, from 8 to 9 p.m., draws a wide range of people of many religious persuasions. A class on Tuesday, also form 8 to 9 p.m., covers the week's Torah portion.
At a Men’s Lunch & Learn, which convenes every Wednesday at a Court Street law firm, participants discuss a variety of topics and studies in Judaism over a complimentary lunch.
Women have a well-attended in the synagogue library, every Wednesday at 9:15 am, to discuss each week’s parsha. A complimentary continental breakfast is served. Phone conferencing is available for those who must miss a session.
Children also learn about Judaism through Congregation B’nai Avraham’s "Yoshaba Shaba: Welcoming Shabbat Program," which is offered Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. at Kiddie Korner, the synagogue-affiliated day care center, 117 Remsen St.
For more information on Shabbat candle-lighting times and the High Holy Days, contact Rabbi Raskin at 718-596-4840 ext. 11, email RavRaskin@AOL.com. His classes can be viewed on Jewish.TV.