Temple B’nai Israel of Petoskey 120th anniversary festivities

 Temple B’nai Israel of Petoskey (TBI) kicks off a gala weekend in celebration of its 120th anniversary on Friday, July 29 with a special Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service, led by returning rabbi Maya Leibovich, the first Israeli-born female to be ordained as a rabbi in Israel, in 1993.
The service will honor past student rabbis from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, who have held a rabbinical internship at the temple in Petoskey.
During the early 1900’s, rabbis from the seminary in Cincinnati were known to vacation on Lake Charlevoix, and TBI became the first Reform Judaism temple in the country to have student rabbis from the college to serve the congregation for just the summer, beginning in 1925.
The upcoming Friday night service starts at 7:30 pm in the temple sanctuary, located on the corner of Michigan and Waukazoo streets in downtown Petoskey.
In its early days, when Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay were populated by visitors traveling by steamer ships and passenger trains, the temple was known for holding weekly religious services led by clergy or student rabbis only in the summer months and the Jewish High Holidays, to accommodate the burgeoning summer resorter and vacationing populations in the Petoskey, Charlevoix, and Harbor Springs area. Over the years, as the local communities grew so did the congregation’s year-round membership.
To this day, the temple carries on its past tradition by still holding weekly Friday night Shabbat services led by HUC-JIR, Cincinnati student rabbis or ordained Reform rabbis each summer, along with monthly visits by a student rabbi from the Cincinnati seminary, during of the school year. The congregation has recently begun to offer lay-led services on the alternate weeks when the student is not in town.
Visitors and members alike praise the congregation for its warm and friendly appeal.
TBI’s Religious School students, consisting of current and post B’nai Mitzvah students will also have an honorary role in the Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday night.  A celebratory Oneg Shabbat will follow. The service and oneg are open to the public.
On Saturday evening, July 30, TBI will host a kid-friendly Family Havdallah Service and Party with a Falafel and Ice Cream Bar, in the temple social hall and the Marianne Kaplan Memorial Garden (granddaughter of the late temple and Petoskey matriarch, Irene Gordon). Singing and dancing will round out the night’s festivities.
The 120th anniversary weekend wraps up on Sunday, July 31st with a Gala Champagne Luncheon at the Bay View Country Club, featuring a slide-show presentation by Wendy Rose Bice, Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan with offices in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The Master of Ceremonies for the luncheon is Dr. Josh Meyerson, the current President of the TBI Board of Directors.
Bice’s talk will focus on the history of Jewish synagogues in Michigan, including a unique look at TBI of Petoskey, as well as the myriad of congregations located in both the small towns and urban cities across the state’s lower and upper peninsulas.
To RSVP for the Saturday evening Family Havdallah Party or the Sunday Gala Champagne Luncheon, contact the synagogue at 231.347.8740. (Please note, there will be no Brunch and Learn discussion on Sunday, this week. The discussion series will resume on Sunday’s from August 7 thru August 21, 2016.)
For more information about TBI and our upcoming  summer and year-round activities, go to the TBI website at www.templebnaiisraelofpetoskey.org
Temple B’nai Israel is a member of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and has been in its current sanctuary since 1911. The synagogue is celebrating 120 years (1896-2016) of providing Jewish worship, lifecycle, and educational and cultural services to Petoskey and surrounding communities in Northern Michigan.