300 58th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710 | Phone: 727-381-4900 | info@cbistpete.org

Welcome to Congregation B’nai Israel


Congregation B’nai Israel family among victims of plane crash in Costa Rica

Update: Community Memorial Service Announcement
A Community Memorial Service will be held Wednesday, January 10, 11:00 am at Congregation B’nai Israel, 300 58th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710.
We mourn together with Bibby Weiss, Mother of Dr. Mitchell Weiss, Dr. Rhonda Weiss and Debbie (Michael) Picker, Sisters of Dr. Mitchell Weiss, Ed & Sandy Levin, Parents of Dr. Leslie Weiss, and Marci (Bob) Hackel, Sister of Dr. Leslie Weiss.
Due to the anticipated number of people in attendance, which would exceed the capacity of Congregation B’nai Israel, a live-stream of the Community Memorial Service will be simulcast at www.webeamtv.com/weissfuneral and the following locations:
Temple Ahavat Shalom of Palm Harbor, 1575 Curlew Rd, Palm Harbor, FL 
Temple B’nai Israel of Clearwater, 1685 S Belcher Rd, Clearwater, FL 
The family will receive visitors Wednesday & Thursday 6:00 – 8:30 pm with evening minyan at 6:30 pm at the home of Mark & Louisa Benjamin and on Thursday from 1:00 – 3:00 pm and Friday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the home of Bibby Weiss.
Contact David C. Gross Funeral Homes for the latest details.
The Community Memorial Service will be closed to both electronics and the media. Doors will open 90 minutes prior to the start of the service to allow for our community in grief to take their seats. Please allow ample time for parking.

Weiss Family Memorial Fund

The Weiss Family Memorial Fund honors the memory of Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Leslie Weiss, and their children Hannah and Ari Weiss, with a hands-on play and environmental learning area at Congregation B’nai Israel of St. Petersburg. The Weiss and Levin families have given their blessings to the creation of this fund in memory of the young, vibrant family that died in a plane crash in Costa Rica, December 31, 2017. It continues their cherished work of sustainability, child health, and social justice.

To donate, please click here.

Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Leslie Weiss with children Hannah and Ari Weiss, Photo Credit: Michael Heape

Message from Rabbi Luski

 The death of the Weiss family along with the Steinbergs, the guide and pilots last Sunday morning in Costa Rica was a great shock that is incomprehensible and most difficult to process. I am beyond words as we confront this tragedy at the loss of such an important part of our CBI family.

Let me share with you that the Jewish community in Costa Rica has been most generous with their time and energy, assisting the authorities in completing the investigation and identification so the Weiss family can be returned to us for proper burial in our community.  The Hevra Kadisha Burial Society in Costa Rica is providing ‘shemira’ appropriate company as Psalms and prayers are recited for our dear friends.  They are working with the Costa Rican authorities and the US Embassy in Costa Rica to fast track this process. The plane crashed in a wooded area, making the task complex and prolonged.  It is a difficult and time consuming exercise and we are most grateful for the Hevra Kadisha and the local authorities for their diligence and respect that our beloved deceased deserve.  My daily communications with Costa Rica’s Rabbis allow me to continue to apprise the family of the slow and delicate progress of this endeavor.

I received numerous communications from all over the world sharing their sorrow at the loss of the Weiss family.  Many of those will be shared when we gather to remember them and provide them with an appropriate burial in our community, and during the Shiva period of mourning which traditionally follows the burial ceremony.

The CBI leadership under our president Dean Hershkowitz has reached out to the families to express our sadness, but most important our support during this difficult time.  They have provided venues for our CBI family to confront our sadness.

It is very difficult under these circumstances to have to wait so long to bury our friends. I encourage you to join us for Shabbat services this weekend, to give a hug, a handshake, a kiss, a nod, a word of encouragement and support to our fellow congregants, as we travel through these inconceivable moments together.  See you this evening for Kabbalat Shabbat at 5:30 pm and Shabbat morning services tomorrow morning at 9:00 am.

So many questions remain unanswered, yet together we can discover strength, comfort and healing, while the extended Weiss family and our CBI family suffer pain and loss.  CBI will keep you posted as definitive plans to remember our dear friends Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Leslie, Hannah and Ari Weiss are finalized.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Jacob Luski

Congregation B’nai Israel welcomes interfaith & LGBT families.

Founded in 1923, Congregation B’nai Israel is a traditional Conservative egalitarian congregation. We welcome members and visitors alike and make it easy to participate in Jewish Life. We know each other and provide support in times of celebration and grief. We share the joys of Jewish worship and learning with family, friends and community. From generation to generation, CBI leaves no one behind.

We invite you to browse our website and see the wonderful things we offer for both members and non-members alike in Pinellas County’s Jewish Community.

join-button     donate-button

Special Events

Date & Time Event & Location
March 11
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Chaivana Night Gala
Congregation B’nai Israel

SSL Site Seal

SSL Site Seal

Help CBI by Planting Trees with JNF

Help CBI by Planting Trees with JNF

Sign Up for Our Newsletter