Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for August 22

August 22, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Pictured, left to right: Local justice activist Gina Levy; Elizabeth Basile, vice president for institutional advancement at Kingsborough; Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz; Dr. Stanley Bykov; and family patriarch Mitya Bykof. Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz

Sculpture Memorializing Holocaust Victims Unveiled at Kingsborough Community College

Bykov Family Commissioned the Artwork To Continue Teaching Lessons of Holocaust

Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, a Brooklyn Democrat, and Kingsborough Community College’s Interim President Peter Cohen joined forces last week to unveil a statue commemorating victims of the Holocaust. The statue, titled Infinity, was donated to the college by the Bykov family.

The August 13 ceremony featured a memorial candle lighting with Russian-American veterans. Among those offering remarks were Cymbrowitz, Cohen, Dr. Stanley Bykov, and a number of elected officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Rabbi Andy Bachman also participated.

“The Bykov family commissioned the work and made the generous donation to Kingsborough, which is making it a permanent part of the Holocaust resource center that the school is in the process of building,” wrote Cymbrowitz in a social media post, an excerpt of which his office made available to the Eagle.

Speakers emphasized the importance of Holocaust education, to make sure the atrocities of this period are never forgotten.

Bykov, an ophthalmologist, and his father Mitya spoke of their family’s commitment to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and explained the significance behind the sculpture.

Bachman recited the Mourner’s Kaddish and described his recent trip to Belarus and Lithuania, where he bore witness to the crimes committed against Jews during World War II.

Also attending were Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, City Councilmember Mark Treyger and Ari Kagan from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

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Union Temple Begins New Chapter With Innovative Approach to Worship

The 170-year-old Union Temple of Brooklyn, which stands at a crossroads with the retirement of its beloved rabbi — Dr. Linda Henry Goodman, who served Union Temple for more than a quarter of a century — is entering a year of innovations. Union Temple will hold an open house to introduce the community to its new chapter.

Rabbi Mark Sameth, the congregation’s newly appointed interim rabbi, observed, “The Jewish world has changed. We’re honoring our past, and also experimenting with new modalities.”

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim was founded in 1848 by German and Alsatian immigrants in what was then the Village of Williamsburg. Its congregants abided by traditional Jewish Orthodoxy.

Another synagogue, Temple Israel, was established in 1869 by a congregation following the Reform Movement. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise had recently brought this community to America.

A transformation evolved over the years, as Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim also adopted the reforms of Rabbi Wise. These two temples merged in 1921.

Sameth previously led an experimental congregation for 18 years — Pleasantville Community Synagogue in Westchester County. The Forward named him one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.”

Sameth was attracted to Union Temple’s diversity, and calls it a place “where Jews, their families and friends unite for shalom.”  

“Reform congregations are attracting folks who grew up Orthodox and Conservative, Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant. Where do people of such diverse backgrounds meet? For me, the place of true meeting begins in Avodah Shebalev, ‘Service of the Heart,’” said Sameth. “We need to gather, to experience the felt sense of our shared humanity, share our collective wisdom, and buoy one another as we engage with a profoundly challenging, deeply broken world. Union Temple supports and makes a space for that.”

Sameth’s heartfelt, musical services build on a long tradition of music at Union Temple, but take it in new, unexpected directions. Also new this year are a monthly Meditation Shabbat, a Friday night scholar-in-residence-style lecture series, and something called “Pajama Shabbat” for the under-six crowd.

Union Temple’s Sept. 7 open house begins at 5 p.m. with refreshments, and provides an opportunity to meet Sameth and members of the community. Attendees can learn about Union Temple’s many offerings. Kids are welcome; they will participate in a supervised Shabbat-related arts and crafts project.

There will also be a lively service for children of all ages and their families at the temple’s First Friday Family Shabbat/Pajama Shabbat and potluck. RSVP: [email protected] or 718-638-7600 ext. 1. Walk-ins are also welcome!

Union Temple of Brooklyn is at 17 Eastern Parkway at Grand Army Plaza, steps from the IRT subway station on the 2 and 3 lines. High Holiday tickets are free, but must be reserved. Open House Friday Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.

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Synagogues Here Will Join Forces For Selichot Across Brooklyn

Selichot Across Brooklyn is a Brownstone Brooklyn Jewish community celebration of the reflective time that Jews traditionally take to prepare their heart, mind and spirit for the Days of Awe and Repentance.

Rabbis and cantors will gather at the Park Slope Jewish Center (Eighth Avenue at 14th Street), on Saturday, September 1 at 9:30 p.m. for Havdalah (which ushers out the Sabbath). The service of Selichot begins at 10 p.m. Meditative music will be offered from 11:15 p.m. until after midnight.

This event is co-sponsored with other neighborhood synagogues and minyanim.