Clean Energy Asheville: A Report from Mayor Manheimer 


Carolina Jews for Justice/West will sponsor a program, “Clean Energy Asheville:  A Report from Mayor Manheimer.” on Sunday, March 13th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm in Dave Hall at Congregation Beth HaTephila Congregation, 43 North Liberty Street in Asheville.  The purpose of the meeting is to update the community on the collaborative partnership between the City of Asheville, Buncombe County and Duke Energy on building a 21st Century electric energy infrastructure in our community.  In addition to Mayor Manheimer, panelists will include Councilwoman Julie Mayfield, and a Robert Sipes, General Manager of Duke Energy’s Western Region.

As part of the WNC Modernization Plan, Duke Energy has committed to work with our community in reducing electricity demand by 25 Megawatts/year in order to prevent the construction of a 192 MegaWatt natural gas peaking turbine..

The City of Asheville has been engaged in reducing its carbon footprint since Mayor Bellamy signed the Mayor’s Climate Agreement in 2007. In the past three years, the City has passed a Clean Energy Economy Resolution and developed a Community Clean Energy Policy Framework. Now we have Duke Energy’s commitment to put resources into our community to help us reduce energy use and to begin to build community energy infrastructure. This is an opportunity that we cannot afford to ignore. Citizen participation is needed, so please attend on March 13th.

“I want to encourage everyone to attend this important gathering,” says Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel.  “While we may not have much control over how the industrial nations of the world react to climate change, we do have a big say in how our local government responds.  We are blessed to live in a community, which has taken a strong voice of leadership on curtailing our city’s carbon output, and we are blessed to have a mayor and city council willing to engage Duke Energy, the largest utility in the country, in assuring a more sustainable future for our city and our region.  The Jewish tradition compels us to be stewards of Creation and to ensure that our planet is sustained for future generations.  That Mayor Manheimer is willing to share her time to discuss the city’s goals of establishing sustainable practices and its relationship with Duke Energy is an opportunity we should not miss,” he added.

For more information about Carolina Jews for Justice events and projects go to and sign up to get regular e-blasts.

In the event of inclement weather, please call Congregation Beth Israel at 252-8860 for news of a cancellation.


“Why am I here?” by Rabbi Justin Goldstein

The following is from Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel. Do you have thoughts you’d like to share? Send them to and we’ll make sure it gets posted. 

jewish meditationWhy Am I Here?
It is a long day of prayer, meditation and study. In a language most do not know fluently, using metaphors many do not connect with deeply. So, why? Why Rosh Hashanah?

Dr. Elana Stein Hain teaches, “The High Holidays serve as a metaphor for life itself. During this season, we enter into an experience that has been curated for us, that existed before we ever did and which has elements that we are comfortable with and elements that challenge us…This is true of life in general: I participate in a world that I don’t completely shape, with others who think differently than I do, within a system that I did not create…
…The High Holidays then bid us instead to think about meaning, about the control we do have. If life is not about what we choose, it is about how we choose to engage with what we encounter…How will we choose to see life, and how will our attitudes guide our actions?”

Why Am I Here?
We can re-envision the world anytime – what makes Rosh Hashanah useful for re-crafting ourselves and the world?

For thousands of years, even to this day, the Jewish people have invested a transformative energy into this day. All around the world, the Jewish people will gather in synagogues and sacred spaces to engage in similar practices focused on bettering ourselves and our world. It carries the power of what John Searle referred to as the power of “collective intentionality.” Our personal experience is amplified by the historical and global collective experience, transcending space and time, of the Jewish people.

Why Am I Here?
Rosh Hashanah happens with or without me, so what makes me so important that I need to participate?

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught:

היום בו נולדת הוא היום בו החליט הקב”ה שהעולם אינו יכול להתקיים בלעדיך

The day you were born was the day the Holy One decided that the world could not exist without you.

A community is made up of individuals. Our Sages taught that just as there are 600,000 souls who stood at Mount Sinai there are 600,000 letters in the Torah. The Torah says “all Israel” stood at Sinai – me, you, our ancestors and our offspring. If one letter from the Torah is absent, the whole scroll is invalid. Every one of us is an essential component to the equation. Without you, 1+1 does not equal 2. Your presence is not only for the sake of yourself and your own experience, but every other person present is also impacted by your participation.

Why Am I Here?
Especially for those who only come a few days a year, the synagogue is not always a comfortable environment. Many feel that somewhere in nature where one can be in awe of the world, or a place with personal meaning would be better suited than the synagogue – so do Rosh Hashanah in a shul?

The Beit Knesset is so much more than a building. The truth is, it need not be a building at all! A Beit Knesset is, literally, a “gathering place.” It is not made up of the brick and mortar, but the people who invest in it and put their hearts and souls into it. It is not so much here because of where ‘here’ is, but because of with whom we are here.

With heartfelt wishes for a joyous, festive, happy, healthy and sweet new year.

May 5776 fulfill all of our hopes and dreams

From the big, boisterous and diverse family that makes up One Jewish Asheville, to your family, wherever they are…we wish you a healthy, happy and meaningful holiday!

Presenting Julie Kohner: Preserving the Memories and Personal Stories of Holocaust Survivors

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Hanna and Walter Kohner

Hanna and Walter Kohner had one of the few Holocaust stories with a happy ending.

The two were childhood sweethearts in Czechoslovakia before the war, with big plans for the future.  When Hitler’s armies closed in, Walter managed to get to the States, where his brothers were living. Hanna was arrested and miraculously survived internment in four concentration camps, including Auschwitz.

Julie Kohner presents “Voices of the Generations”, Tues Nov. 11th, at Beth Israel Synagogue

After the war, Walter learned from an American sergeant, who helped liberate her, that Hanna was still alive. He eventually found her in Amsterdam, and they were soon married. Settling in Los Angeles in 1946, Walter became a theatrical agent, and with Hanna wrote their amazing story, Hanna and Walter, A Love Story, published by Universe Press in 2008.

Julie Kohner is the daughter of Hanna and Walter Kohner. For the past 24 years, Julie has carried on her parents’ legacy of working to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. She travels the country telling her parents’ story to school and community groups. Ms. Kohner will answer questions for 30 minutes following the program.

This program is part of Congregation Beth Israel’s ongoing Adult Education Programming – Free and open to the public.


“Welcome Home” Newcomers’ Reception – April 9th

You are invited….

“Welcome Home” Newcomers’ Reception

Wednesday, April 9th


Asheville JCC (Upstairs Foyer)

Whether you moved here last week, last month or last year – if you’re looking to connect with the Asheville Jewish community and meet some new friends in the process – One Jewish Asheville’s “Welcome Home” Reception is for you!

You’ll have an opportunity to schmooze with representatives from all 12 Jewish organizations in town and meet others who are just discovering all that One Jewish Asheville has to offer. Enjoy a little nosh, a little wine and a healthy helping of Asheville’s southern hospitality.

This event is free and open to anyone interested in knowing more about the community. Please RSVP to or 828-253-0701 ext.111

welcome home


PurimPalooza – March 16th

10am – 2:30pm
Asheville Event Center (991 Sweeten Creek Rd., Asheville)

Click on image to download the PurimPalooza flyer


It’s back! One Jewish Asheville’s combined Purim celebration! A once-a-year, family-filled extravaganza for the entire Asheville Jewish community.

  • Three simultaneous Megillah readings
  • Kids’ carnival, food, prizes and more
  • BBYO Jailhouse Rocks
  • Musical Jame Session
  • Mishloach Manot (Purim Baskets)
  • Hamentaschen bake-off
  • Kids’ Judaica Craft Studio
  • Community Art/Photo Show
  • JFS Giant Tzedakah box
  • And lots more!


PurimPalooza is a One Jewish Asheville community event, sponsored by Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Bet Ha Tephila, Chabad of WNC, Asheville JCC, Jewish Family Services of WNC, and BBYO. Click here to see photos from last year’s event.