Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

A new (Holy) day at Bet Chaim


Jillian Marini

Casselberry's Congregation Bet Chaim is shaking up the High Holidays this year with a new leadership team designed to engage and inspire members and guests with a combination of traditional and unique. 

Rabbi Sanford Olshansky, previously of Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff, N.J., is already breathing new life into the 23-year-old congregation, Seminole County's first reform temple. "Rabbi Sandy" is a "second career" rabbi whose passion for Judaism led him to begin his rabbinical studies after retiring from sales and marketing.

"I want to make Jews WANT to come to Shabbat services," he told CBC, "particularly the younger generation. They are, after all, the future."

His holiday sermons will move from the universal theme of "Checking up on ourselves," to the specifically Jewish theme of chosen-ness, and will illustrate the difference that religious faith can make in Jewish lives, and the necessity of forgiving oneself while knowing God's forgiveness. He will also introduce a "reader's theater" version of the book of Jonah, (the haftarah for Yom Kippur afternoon).

Rabbi Sanford Olshansky

Accompanying Rabbi Olshansky is operatic soloist Jillian Marini, 25, a former Bet Chaim student, bat mitzvah and madricha. She is taking time from her Pittsburgh career to grace the Bet Chaim bima with her crystal-clear soprano voice, a truly transformative experience. 

Finally, nationally renowned Hebrew, religion and history scholar and author Dr. Ken Hanson will co-lead, along with Rabbi Olshansky, a discussion on Israel and the Middle East between the morning and afternoon services on Yom Kippur.

For schedule and ticket information please visit http://www.betchaim.org, email information@betchaim.org, see Heritage page 12A or call 407-830-7211. The services include a traditional Tashlich service on Lake Kathryn immediately following the morning Rosh Hashanah service. Break-the-Fast requires reservations and an additional fee. All college students are invited to attend services free of charge, with a picture student I.D. 


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