Congregation B'nai Israel

2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604 | (203) 336-1858 | |

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Small Groups at B’nai Israel

Our Small Groups at B’nai Israel is Growing! Small Groups are a new way to connect with members of the B’nai Israel community who share a similar interest, passion, or hobby. The groups are intended to be smaller, up to twelve people, so members can build relationships with one another in a more intimate setting. We already have wonderful small groups focused on art, wine, and kayaking. You can find information about all our small groups below. Here are three new Small Groups we’re adding in February to build new connections in our community:

MSG – Men’s Spiritual Group

MSG – Men’s Spiritual Group Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. Calling all men of B’nai Israel! Join us for a monthly schmooze-fest. Yes, there will be talk of the spiritual, but also the secular, the news of the day, what’s most pressing on your mind, and some fun to take your mind off of the day’s troubles. We’re aiming to lift spirits and put everyone in good spirits in a friendly, low-key conversation. Bring yourself, bring your voice and bring your ideas. Who knows, maybe someday MSG will stand for the world’s most famous men’s group! Our first meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 24.

Contact Group Leaders:  Scott Verchin ( or Scott Smith (

B’nai Israel Runner’s Club
Please join us for the inaugural B’nai Israel runners club! This casual and friendly group will meet once a week and run anywhere from 2-5 miles followed by coffee and light snacks. The plan is to explore iconic running spots throughout the city of Bridgeport that truly give meaning to the name “Park City” including St. Mary’s by the Sea, Seaside Park and Beardsley Park.  The group is open to runners of all abilities from newcomers and those who might be interested in running their first 5k to experienced marathoners alike. 

Contact Group Leader:  David Krulewich (

Mental Health Advocacy, Support and Awareness Group
This group is for members who live with mental health challenges or have family members who do. It is also for those professionals working in the mental health system (social workers, therapist, psychiatrist) or any allies of members with mental health challenges. We will SUPPORT each other in our struggles of dealing with mental illness and the behavioral health system. We will ADVOCATE to stop the stigma and myths surrounding mental illness by educating ourselves and the larger B’nai Israel community through forums, workshops, films, etc. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom for our first meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16!

Contact Group Leaders:  Adam Weisblatt ( or Beth Lazar (

B’nai Israel Kayakers
Do you have your own kayak and love paddling? Let’s get out there and explore our beautiful coastline, creeks, rivers, and lakes together. I’m a graduate of the Outward Bound Sea Kayaking Program and I have been paddling all over the local region and beyond for the last 25 years. Assuming you’re an adequate swimmer, comfortable on the water, and have a U.S. Coast Guard- certified personal flotation device (PFD), I would be happy to share some of the special places I’ve enjoyed in the immediate Fairfield-Westport-Ash Creek area. If people have roof racks and want to travel a bit, we also can get up, get out, and put our boats in elsewhere in Connecticut. Send me a note and tell me about your experience and what you’re interested in. I’ll get back to you. 

Group Leader:  Don Hyman (

CBI Wine Enthusiasts
Wine Enthusiasts:  uncork your tasting talents with a small group of like-minded oenophiles! We would love to get a group together by Zoom to share notes on wines we have tasted (hopefully facilitating an intro to new wines without having to experiment extensively, or umm, expensively), and eventually we can perhaps arrange live tastings over the spring and summer in backyards or other Covid-friendly venues. Our plan would be to have a regular monthly gathering of some sort where we can discuss the best way to share experiences, best places to buy or trade wine, notes on tastings, best travel experiences, or whatever comes to mind. “Before the age of forty, eating is more wholesome; but after that, drinking is better” (Babylonian Talmud). Contact if you’re interested!

Group Leaders:  Rich Walden and Rob Morris

Community Through Art
We are so happy to be involved in piloting a group of like-minded congregants who are interested in exploring different types of art! This small group of 12 congregants will meet 6 times a year with the goal of building community through art. We will explore a new, hands-on project each time we meet. Extensive art experience is not necessary. A willingness to participate and try new art media is key! Members are responsible for acquiring their own art supplies from a provided list. Covid-19 vaccination is required, as we will meet outdoors in-person. Email to express your interest in joining us on this artistic journey. THIS GROUP IS CURRENTLY AT CAPACITY…STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE ARTISTIC OPPORTUNITIES.

Group Leaders:  Lisa Greenberg and Rebecca Blondin (

Wrapping Ourselves in the Sacred:  An Immersive Tallit (Prayer Shawl) Journey for Women
Women have various, and sometimes complicated, ideas and experiences around Jewish prayer shawls. Some of us have never worn or owned a tallit; some of us wore one for the first time at our adult Bat Mitzvah; some of us own and wear many tallitot on a daily basis; some of us associate tallitot with a painfully inclusive, male dominated form of Judaism; and some of us are still not sure if wearing a tallit is necessary for our own personal practice. Whatever your thoughts, associations or experiences are around tallitot, we invite you to join us for this immersive experience in which take a deep dive into the history, significance, and custom of tallitot, with discussion around what the practice of tallit wearing has meant for women and girls throughout the ages. Our journey will continue with the option to create your own beautiful, custom made tallit, using purchased materials or fabric from a personal or family heirloom. For more information or to sign up, please email Rabbi Marion at  

Group Leaders:  Rabbi Marion and Nancy Katz, Jewish Educator and Artist