Congregation B'nai Israel

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

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Tikkun Olam

This page is to inform you of the many CBI committees currently taking place that are actively involved in the work of Tikkun Olam.  They offer quite a variety in terms of focus and initiatives which means that there are many options for engagement based on your own interests. All are welcome.  It’s a wonderful way to connect with CBI members of all ages while making an important difference.

  1. Caring Committee

The Chesed committee is dedicated to acts of lovingkindness for the congregants of B’nai Israel. When a family needs a meal or a number of meals delivered, we arrange this. This typically occurs when a new baby arrives, when someone is ill, or there is a shiva. We make telephone calls to congregants who are alone and need to hear a cheerful voice occasionally. When we have in person services, we can arrange for a ride to services for those who may not be able to drive. Our newest initiative is lev b’lev (heart to heart). We are looking to create a relationship with congregants who need a bit of help (shoveling a walk, going for a walk with someone) and a family, especially family with tweens or teens who may be able to help, with the supervision or assistance of parents. All initiatives can use more volunteers.

If you are interested in joining this committee, please email Jim Grutzmacher at

  1. Operation Hope/St. John’s Food Committee

Committee members provide St. John’s Church in Bridgeport with 100 bagged sandwich dinners on the second Tuesday of each month.  On the designated Tuesday, volunteers are asked to prepare sandwiches at home and deliver them to B’nai Israel.  At some point, it is hoped that there will be small group sandwich making in the B’nai Israel kitchen.

In addition, on the first Monday of every other month, small groups of committee volunteers divide up the cooking for a hot meal for 50, and deliver it to Operation Hope in Fairfield.  All food preparation is done at home.  After this month, we will be providing our dinners in April and June, and welcome volunteers.  

Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact Deborah Goodman at

  1. CONECT (Congregations for a New Connecticut)

CONECT ( is a non-partisan, interfaith community organizing and advocacy body that works on social justice issues. It represents approximately 40,000 people from across New Haven and Fairfield counties and cooperates with sister organizations in Hartford and around the US.  You can join issue teams in Criminal Justice, Gun Control, Voting, and Health issues. CONECT has hosted interfaith dinners, assemblies with state leaders, and special forums on police reform and antiracism.

B’nai also has a core team that organizes synagogue events that bring social justice issues to our attention.  For example, the committee is currently sponsoring a book discussion of How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith and will be holding a House Meeting to identify issues that you would like CONECT to advocate for in the coming year. 

For more information or if you would like to join this Core Team, please write to Co-Chairs, Emily Lehrman at and Jeff Schwartz at

  1. Reproductive Justice Committee

This committee is exploring how our congregational community can help support, advocate and protect Jewish values of reproductive choice, bodily autonomy, on both local and national levels. You can join any of the three subcommittees currently developing their initiatives: one of which is working within our synagogue; one working in Bridgeport and CT; and the third working at the national level. 

For example, committee members are discussing ways to implement Merkaz classes/learning opportunities on Sexual Ethics and Reproductive Choice from a Jewish lens; outreach is being made to local healthcare clinics and Bridgeport-based advocacy organizations that support women and families to explore how can we help support their work.

For more information or if you would like to join this committee please contact Rabbi Marion at  or Ilana Ofgang at

  1. B’nai Israel Green Team Committee

This committee is working on ways to help improve environmental change within our synagogue.  The committee has been reviewing daily life at the temple in order to help it become a more eco-friendly space; learning about sustainability efforts and Bridgeport and how to contribute to those efforts; and, seeking a national sustainability advocacy effort that we can support as a congregation. For more information, please click here to go directly to our web page.

If you are interested in joining this committee, please email Michelle Serlin at

  1. Schoke JFS Satellite Food Bank at CBI

This committee has been operating a food pantry from our synagogue where they have been busy distributing food in the community since last March.  As a member of this committee, you can help run the pantry, collect supplies, and prepare and deliver food distributions.

If you are interested in joining this committee or would like additional information please contact Judy Blumenthal

  1. Mitzvah Morning Committee

The Mitzvah Morning committee plans and organizes monthly events to support Bridgeport and surrounding communities.  Committee members reach out to local agencies to determine their current needs and then plan how to meet those needs by organizing an events such as food drives, school supply collections, purchasing and wrapping holiday gifts, cleaning communal nature areas, preparing and serving meals, collecting and organizing summer camp supplies, cleaning and helping to preserve gravestones, and much more.

For more information or if you would like to join this committee please write to Co-Chairs, Mitch Weinstein at and Nina Silberman at


        8.  Kulanu

B’nai Israel has been partnering with the Anti-Defamation League in the Kulanu: Synagogues in Action Against Antisemitism since 2022. Kulanu means “all of us” in Hebrew. This is a synagogue engagement program that empowers synagogues to fight against antisemitism and hate in our own communities.
We are collectively learning how to have critical conversations about antisemitism and other forms of bigotry. We have an active book group and read and discuss an average of two books per year. We have access to many Kulanu webinars and workshops about the current level of antisemitism and how to combat it. As a Kulanu synagogue, we also implement larger programs both within our synagogue community and one program for the larger community.

If you experience and incident of antisemtism you should report it to ADL  at