B’nai Torah gives members ‘Light’ subscriptions


As part of its program to promote the benefits of membership, Congregation B’nai Torah’s board of directors voted to buy subscriptions to the St. Louis Jewish Light for all of its members.

“We should be a 100 percent Jewish Light congregation,” Jack Cohen, a member of the board of directors for B’nai Torah and the Jewish Light, said. “We need to know what’s going on in the Jewish community and the paper is another tie to the community.”

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He said the Light strengthens community ties by keeping everyone informed of all the cultural and philanthropic events going on at places like the Brodsky Library, Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, and New Jewish Theatre.

This new benefit is one of several that B’nai Torah is implementing to attract and retain members.

“We started this program seven years ago when we only had 12 families,” Cohen, a B’nai Torah founder, said. “And now we have 45.” The first item the board put into practice was removing charges for Hebrew and Sunday schools. It also offers b’nai mitzvah tutoring as part of membership. In addition, it holds an adult education program that is free to members.

“Since we don’t have an ordained rabbi, we went to the Kollel and spoke with Rabbi (Sroy) Levitansky,” Cohen said. “Once a month a rabbi comes out and leads a discussion.”

And, adults are welcome to sit in the Hebrew School classes at no charge.

Congregation president Steve Weeks is very happy with the decision to offer the Light to everyone. “It’s a wonderful opportunity and mitzvah,” he said. “We’ve received 100 percent positive feedback.” Weeks would like to see more families served by B’nai Torah and hopes these benefits will help toward that goal. “I know the Jewish population in St. Charles County has to be growing as rapidly as the rest of the county. We don’t want to take members away from other congregations; we just want the Jewish families in St. Charles County who aren’t affiliated to know we’re here.”

The board is hoping that with its new program of benefits of being a member of B’nai Torah, including offering the Jewish Light to all members, it will be able to strengthen membership and loyalty to the small congregation. “We want to provide all of the spiritual needs that we can for our members, in addition to the usual Sunday school and holidays,” Weeks said.