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

CBA honors Mitzvah Brigade


Congregation Beth Am will celebrate over four decades serving the Jewish community and honor the CBA Mitzvah Brigade at its 40th Anniversary Gala on Sunday, Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m., at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. The event will include a kosher dinner, dancing and a raffle/silent auction.

Bob Rosenberg and Tom Mayer, both former CBA presidents, are co-chairing this event, which is also billed as a mitzvah project as the synagogue is partnering with Nemours Children’s Hospital.

“We will gather together past and present Beth Am members and the community, not only to celebrate our past, but also to commit to our future children,” said Rosenberg. “We are reaching out beyond our walls and partnering with Nemours Children’s Hospital, which will receive a portion of proceeds, in a new mitzvah project.”

Rosenberg sees CBA as much more than just a typical shul at which to attend services.

“When Sheri (wife) and I moved to central Florida over 25 years ago we found a home at Beth Am. We were greeted with love and support and opportunities to grow,” said Rosenberg. “We developed friendships that became extended family, supporting us through simcha and sadness. The congregation was always there.”

Rabbi Rick Sherwin has served as CBA’s spiritual leader for the past 13 years during which time he has witnessed growth of the shul and many of its families.

“Our congregation highlights the strength of L’Dor va-Dor, which people often mistranslate as from generation to generation. It literally means through the generations, and that is exactly what we are about,” said Sherwin. “Children are named, then become B’nai Mitzva, our B’nai Mitzva get married, then have children of their own.

“To see grandparents, parents, and children sitting together, that’s the strength of Beth Am.”

Mitzvah Brigade is a group of 40 CBA members, all of whom actively participate in community outreach programs. They are not used to being the center of attention. They aim to quietly help others in need, although they are grateful for the public recognition so that others will learn about them and join them in performing community service.

“Response to the community action projects has been amazing and is a sign that this is truly an area which hits right at the heart of our membership,” said Fran Gelfand, a Mitzvah Brigade member.

Mitzvah Brigade volunteers at Second Harvest and the Jewish Family Services emergency food pantry, provides food for a local elementary school as part of their “Adopt a School” program, helps at the interfaith IDignity program, and supports the local Safe Houston, among many of the other projects they undertake. In addition, they are always there for CBA members, providing meals for those in need and attending shiva minyanim and funerals.

Rosenberg shares a similar perspective to the Mitzvah Brigade.

“Torah teaches us that children are our future and that we are obligated to teach them mitzvot,” he said. “We have the responsibility of Tikkun Olam to heal the world through mitzvot.”

Tickets are $125 and can be purchased at CBA40.org or by contacting the CBA office at shalom@congbetham.org or 407-862-3505.


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