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COVID-19 Updates:

COVID-19 Safety:

Monitor the COVID-19 reports and review websites:

Monitor the Pinellas County Website:

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Reopen Surveys

Share Your Thoughts with your Congregation


As we work through the challenges of this pandemic, we know the congregation is wondering when we might meet again at CBI for in-person services, classes, and programs. Congregation B'nai Israel has created a task force to evaluate when and how we will reopen to our community. In addition to guidance from local leaders and medical professionals, we need your feedback to help us make an informed decision. We need to hear from you. We will use the data from our congregation to help guide our next steps.

You must be signed in to our website to access the survey found here.


PRECEC Families - We Need to Hear From You


As we make plans to reopen our school physically, we need your input.  The attached survey will take 2-3 minutes and will give us the information we need to best support our PRECEC families. In the interim, we continue to remain committed to providing your family with a quality virtual learning experience and social engagement opportunities.  

You must be signed in to our website to access the survey found here.

Monday, April 6, 2020

As we approach Pesach, I am incredibly grateful.  Amidst rapidly shifting sands, our leadership and staff has been incredible.  They have worked tirelessly to connect us to one another in challenging times.  If you need anything, please reach out. We want to make this the best (and only) Quarantine Passover ever!

Passover is possible in a pandemic.  In this video, I discuss the Rabbinical Assembly’s suggestions for a safe and KOSHER Passover.  You do not need a Facebook account to watch this video.

Since we are forbidden to OWN chametz, you may appoint me as your agent to sell your chametz using our online Sale of Chametz Form.   I must receive your completed form by Wednesday at 8:30 am.  (Assuming the buyer does not want your chametz back, you may unlock the chametz cabinet at 9 pm on Thursday, April 16, following your Havdalah at 8:47 pm.)

Wednesday morning is the Fast of the Firstborn.  I will be having a Shacharit service at 8:30 am on Zoom, followed by your own celebratory food (a seudat mitzvah breaking said fast) outside to celebrate me completing Mishnah Pesachim.  Following that you will want to stop eating chametz by 11:02 am and burn or destroy it by 12:15 pm.  Since burning in an apartment is dangerous, throwing it in the trash is also an acceptable way of destroying chametz.  If you want to be extra sure, you can sprinkle a little kitchen cleaner on top to ensure it is totally inedible.

This year has produced new and exciting challenges.  We are all having small seders. We are not physically together.  That does not mean we are spiritually distant. We are coming together in so many beautiful ways. While Passover is an exciting and liberating time, preparing for it can sometimes feel like slavery. 

Ultimately, have a joyous Passover. We will get through this.  You are not alone. We are all in this together. We are still working on a kosher solution to services on holidays and Shabbat. We are ALMOST there.  Stay tuned.

With love, 
Rabbi Philip Weintraub

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

Our Passover Seders are but days away and this year most of us will have
very clear answers to “Why is this night different than all other nights?” It is also
certain that when we read aloud the Haggadah’s call for each of us to see
ourselves as if we personally made the Exodus from Egypt, it will resonate with
each of us as it never has before. It is a time, my friends, in which our experiences
will actually intertwine with those of our ancient ancestors.

The history of our peoplehood has provided us with more than a fair share of
plague experiences and the celebration of Passover has done much to help us to
get beyond all of those ugly realities of the past. The tradition of the Seder and
the retelling of the Exodus have, throughout the centuries, provided us with the
ability to believe that, whatever oppression or catastrophes exist, these too will
pass and ultimately we will be free! However, inherent in the telling of the
“story” of the Exodus is the understanding that while there certainly will be divine
intervention we do not know when or how that will happen. Therefore, we need
to focus on the here and now knowing that we will be judged on what we do and
how we behave from the time we cry out for help until that help is granted.

This year, we may not be preparing for Passover with the same energy we
have in the past. However, despite the fact we are living in a 21st century
mitzrayim, we are preparing and performing these sacred rites as we
have done so many times before. This year’s Passover exercise will give us an
authentic opportunity to express our hopes, our fears, and our yearning to be
freed from this terrible oppression.

There may be aspects of our Pesach observances that will be different this year
because of the constraints imposed on us by this disease, but there is one
tradition that each of us can and must participate in as we have done in years
past. On the final day of Pesach, we are called upon to say Yizkor and give charity
in honor of those who came before us. We are a people who honors its past. With
the recitation of Yizkor, we can pray our ancestors will look down on us and
once again grant us the love and protection they provided when they walked
among us.

Please click on this link and join me in making a meaningful contribution to CBI.
Alternatively, you may mail in your contribution with a note. Your contribution will not just honor your departed loved ones, but will work to ensure the future of CBI.

Meanwhile be safe, be healthy, be meaningful, and remain hopeful we soon
will be in CBI together in celebration and prayer. Chag kasher v’sameach, a kosher and sweet Passover to us all!

In strength,
Dorothy Bowser, President

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dear PRECEC Parents and Families,

The health and safety of our PRECEC family, which includes your children, family, and our dedicated staff, is our first priority. This is especially true as we all deal with the uncertainty of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. Our number one goal, once this global pandemic passes, is to be able to recover easily, ensure we open our doors, and continue to provide you with the best service and education you have enjoyed so far.

It has been a gut-wrenching decision to figure out how to balance public health and the safety of our team members and our children and families. It is with a heavy heart that we will temporarily physically close for the safety of everyone. Our last day in the building will be tomorrow, Friday, April 3, and we hope to physically reopen on Monday, May 4.

In the interim, we invite our PRECEC families to join us for Virtual PRECEC beginning Friday, April 17 after our regularly scheduled Passover Spring Break. We will reevaluate and communicate through the regular channels before that date, should anything change.

During this time, it is our social responsibility to stay home. Our teachers are already working on activities and ideas for you to use at home and to allow for continued learning.

We will be providing you with daily learning experiences, including games and educational projects.
Teachers will be reaching out daily to you and your family.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding and know PRECEC is here now and in the future for your family. This is an emotional roller coaster for everyone, but we will get through this together. As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have and please stay safe.

Wishing you all good health,
Alisha Buchanan, Pauline Rivkind ECEC Director

Friday, March 27, 2020

Like so many of you, I alternate between the need to self- isolate and the need to buy eggs. I too appreciate the requirement for social distancing and the consequences of not doing so. At the same time, I also recognize the need for CBI to step up and be there for you and provide us all with the opportunity to remain connected and engaged. I am proud of all we are doing in the way of programming and outreach and yet I feel we need to do more. More to alleviate the fear, more to reduce the isolation, more to comfort, and more to inspire so we do not despair or give up as a community. The implications of this 21st-century plague are truly frightening. Financial instability, yours and CBI’s, only adds to the angst. However, because of this uncertainty, we need to move closer to each other and allow ourselves to be embraced by our connections. This is not a time for fear unchecked, but rather a time for protecting one another.

We must stay strong. We must continue to believe in “G-d’s Plan” and do all we can to ensure our safety today and our existence tomorrow. When we begin to feel sorry for our personal circumstances we need to step back and appreciate the sacrifices that are being made on our behalf by those on the front line.

A Prayer for Health Care Workers
May the one who blessed our ancestors
Bless all those who put themselves at risk to care for the sick
Physicians and nurses and orderlies
Technicians and health aides
EMTs and Pharmacists
(And bless especially_____)
Who navigate unfolding dangers of the world each day,
To tend to those, they have sworn to help.
Bless them in their coming home and bless them in their going out.
Ease their fear. Sustain them.
Source of all breath, healer of all beings,
Protect them and restore their hope.
Strengthen them, that they may bring healing,
Help them know again a time when they can breathe without fear.
Bless the sacred work of their hands.
May this plague pass from among us, speedily and in our day.
- Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, March 2020

Shabbat Shalom!
Dorothy Bowser, President

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear friends, 

I want to commend each and every one of you.  During a time of challenge (tsurris), we are reaching out.  We are uniting spiritually, as we remain physically distant.  Together, we are strengthening our community each hour and each day.

We are seeing each other and being present as we daven at each minyan service, even as we do so through a screen.  We are showing up in record numbers to study together virtually - and hopefully leaving with a renewed sense of community. 

Together, our kehillah saved 66 potential lives through the donors who participated in this weekend's Blood Donation Drive.  

By phone, by email, by video chat, and by text, we are reaching out to each other.  We aren't just checking in, we are creating new bonds.  We are living "Side by Side at CBI." While we are alone, we remain together. 

Be well, 
Rabbi Philip Weintraub

Friday, March 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the staff and board and congregational volunteers who have stepped forward to help create some semblance of normalcy in an abnormal world.

These people have worked way beyond their job descriptions, paid or otherwise, to talk, to plan and to implement opportunities for us to continue being a Kehillah.

Together they have worked to stay at the forefront of doing what is necessary to protect our congregants while providing the necessary mechanisms for implementing opportunities for prayer, intellectual stimulation, and laughter.

Together we will continue being a powerful spiritual community, together we will bring consolation to all who live within our tent, and together we will rejoice when this affliction passes. It is my prayer that G-D will surround us all and give us the strength and comfort necessary to face the uncertainty of these times.

Meanwhile, for now let each of us be the reason people continue to believe in the goodness of other people.


Dorothy Bowser, President'=

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What We CAN Do!

Although our doors are physically closed on the advice of health officials, the doors of our hearts remain wide open.  It's at times of stress and uncertainty, personal or communal, that our congregational community is here to serve as a beacon of support and solace. As our tradition teaches us, we are obligated to care for one another at times of need and to reach out to one another to anticipate need.

Pikuah Nefesh, the ability to save a life, is paramount. Hazak, Hazak V’nithazek - we are strong and we pray we will continue to be strengthened.

Zoom, a video and phone conferencing platform, is FREE for participants from any computer, phone, or tablet with a webcam. Call-in options are also available. Visit our webpage for full details at
Get Together Online with CBI

Tuesday, March 17 at 2:00 PM 
From the US:
Meeting ID: 598 982 203
In this time of great tumult, we are looking for ways of continuing our services and programs in healthy and safe ways.  
We will talk. We will sing.  We may cry.

Jews & Brews in your home
Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 PM 
New Topic: Jewish Law in the time of COVID-19

From the US:  
Meeting ID: 957307753
Bring your laptop/phone/iPad and pour your own drink.  Study sources and discuss pressing issues. 

Donate Blood at CBI
Sunday, March 22 from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Blood donors are urgently needed.
Please sign up using this link to allow for adequate planning by One Blood personnel. 
Walk-ins will be available. 

Each whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. In addition to saving lives, you will receive a $20 gift card, a reusable water bottle, and a free wellness checkup including blood pressure, temperature, iron count, and cholesterol screening.

How can we support one another at this time? 
We are working on reaching out to our community at this challenging time.
Please contact Chelsea Anderson in the synagogue office at or call (727) 381-4901 for the following: 

  • If you would like to help us make calls and virtual visits.
  • If you need assistance with grocery and/or pharmaceutical shopping.
  • If you are able to volunteer to assist with shopping.

This is how we can show we are a kehillah kedoshah, a holy community.

Interested in prayer at home, but don’t have a Siddur?
The Rabbinical Assembly has made portions of Weekday and Shabbat services available from both our Siddur Sim Shalom as well as their Siddur Lev Shalem - with more coming soon. This copyrighted material is for personal use only.  As these files have Gd's name in them, please print and handle with respect.
Download your prayer book using this link.

Looking for a Hebrew only Siddur? 
The Masorti Movement in Israel has an app for that available for iPhone here.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear PRECEC family,

Our protocol is to remain open unless one of the following occurs:

  1. ​​​​​​We have a positive case of COVID-19 within our school community - staff member, student, or a relative.
  2. The State of Florida mandates that all preschools/daycares/private schools all close.


As of this moment, Pauline Rivkind ECEC will remain open.

To serve our community, our office will remain open.  Rabbi Weintraub will remain available for all spiritual and pastoral needs.  

The current concerns regarding COVID-19 reminds us we are required by our Jewish tradition to do all we can to ensure the physical (not only the spiritual) health of our community. We are continuously monitoring the situation. You can find the latest information on the virus at and from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Wishing you all good health,
Alisha Buchanan, Pauline Rivkind ECEC Director

Friday, March 13, 2020

There are two ways we can still help our community during the COVID-19 pandemic:

- Blood donors are urgently needed. As of 3/13, the CBI office has confirmed the OneBlood bus will be at CBI on 3/22 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. If you are able, please sign up at…/donation-centers-list-select-tim… and give blood. Signing up in advance will allow for adequate staffing by One Blood but walk-ins will be accepted.
- You may still drop off non-perishable food for donation to the CBI office. Please make sure to stop by during normal business hours, either before 3/22, or if you are coming for the Blood Drive, you can drop off then as well.

CBI has made the decision to cancel all events for the next 30 days after which we will reassess. In order to continue to serve our community, our office will remain open with regular business hours. Rabbi Weintraub will remain available for all spiritual and pastoral needs. For ongoing updates regarding this situation, please continue to visit this page.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear CBI kehillah,

A community leadership meeting was held this morning with Dr. David LeVine (Chief Medical Officer of Menorah Manor), Rabbi Weintraub, and Billie Bornstein to discuss CBI's response to COVID-19.  Dr. LeVine was unequivocal in his statement that, effective immediately, all physical synagogue programming will be canceled for the next 30 days after which we will reassess. This closing includes all Shabbat and daily minyan services and our upcoming Passover Seder.  These decisions are rooted in concern for the health and safety of our community and our Jewish value of pikuach nefesh, the saving of a life, which is a commandment transcending virtually all others. 

Our Kabbalat Shabbat service this evening will be live-streamed by Rabbi Philip Weintraub and Cantor Jonathan Schultz on Facebook live from his public page (accessible without a Facebook account) at . There will be no Maariv service this evening or Saturday morning service this weekend. In looking towards the days ahead, we have accepted a grant from The Jewish Federation of Florida's Gulf Coast to pursue further live-streaming so we can maintain halachically appropriate communication with each of you. 

Our Pauline Rivkind Early Childhood Education Center will follow Pinellas County Schools and FL Dept of Health in Pinellas - Pinellas County Child Care Licensing guidelines.  As of this moment, the school will remain open.

For ongoing updates regarding this situation, please continue to visit this page. 

Our spiritual and mental health is important as is our physical health. We encourage you to stay connected with us and with each other in all of the ways that we have available in the modern world: phone, text, email, Facebook, Skype or other video calls. Watch for future announcements from the congregation and the wider Jewish community for opportunities to engage in online learning, interactive video conferencing, and more. 

In order to continue to serve our community, our office will remain open.  Rabbi Weintraub will remain available for all spiritual and pastoral needs.  

Wishing you all good health in the days ahead,

Dorothy Bowser, President

Philip Weintraub, Rabbi

Jacob Luski, Rabbi Emeritus

Interested in prayer at home, but don’t have a Siddur?
The Rabbinical Assembly has made portions of Weekday and Shabbat services available from both our Siddur Sim Shalom as well as their Siddur Lev Shalem - with more coming soon. This copyrighted material is for personal use only.  As these files have Gd's name in them, please print and handle with respect.
Download your prayer book using this link.

Looking for a Hebrew only Siddur? 
The Masorti Movement in Israel has an app for that available for iPhone here.

The Talmud (Ketubot 8b) records the prayer of Reish Lakish:
“Master of the worlds, redeem and save, rescue and deliver Your people, Israel, from the pestilence and from the sword…  and from all types of afflictions that suddenly erupt and come to the world. Before we call You are already responding. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who halts the plague.”

We pray for healing for those who are ill and for health and wellness for us, our communities, and all people.

Thu, May 28 2020 5 Sivan 5780