Melrose B'nai Israel Emanu-El

The Little Shul with the Big Heart

8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
Phone: 215-635-1505 | Email:

Welcome to Melrose B'nai Israel Emanu-El


Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El is the small, haimish, traditional, egalitarian congregation that extends warmth and welcomes a range of diverse ideas so that people of all ages will know they are valued, participate and feel spiritually uplifted. We are a United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (USCJ) congregation

We invite you to join our warm and welcoming community, and get to know “the Little Shul with a BIG Heart!”

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What's New

Shabbat Worship Times

  • Kabbalat Shabbat - Every Friday night, at 5:45 pm - early enough to get home for Shabbos dinner.
  • Mincha/Maariv/Havdalah - Every Saturday evening. The time changes with sunset times.
    Time this week:  8:15pm

BBQ MBIEE June poster Final 2019

Cantor Stephen Freedman Flyer

Men's Club Closing Program FLYER

Congratulations to Our Newly-Elected
Officers and Board Members
for 2019-2020

Fran Sion

David Berd
Rebecca Gelman
Sharon Sussman

Eugene Rifkind

Jay Rigberg

Financial Secretary
Len Cohen

The Shofar

The April-Passover issue is out. Check your mail or pick up a copy from the table in our lobby starting today.  All previous issues are available for reading or downloading on this web site:

Current and Past Issues of Shofar

Active Listening Devices Available

Active Listening Devices have been installed and are ready for use in our sanctuary.  You may reserve one by calling the office (215-635-1505) or contacting Fran Sion ( or Sandy Pinsly (  The upgrading of the sound system of our sanctuary is now complete with the recent installation of speakers in the rear of the room.  Everyone should now be able to hear clearly from any section of the room.

Do you have ideas on how to improve our web site? Click Feedback on the top of the home page. If we use your suggestion, you will win a box of frozen latkes to eat next Hanukkah. Would you like to help build or edit our web site?








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Candle Lighting Times and Readings

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Why I Left the
Women’s March L.A.
by Rabbi Nicole Guzik 
(Daughter-in-law of Rabbi Charles Sherman of Melrose B'nai Israel Emanu-El)

To Emiliana Guereca and Deena Katz, Co-founders Women’s March L.A.
Dear Emiliana and Deena,
   There’s a rabbinic dictum, Dan lkaf zchut, give every person the benefit of the doubt. And that is what I did this past week and today. I booked a hotel room from Friday to Sunday in order to observe Shabbat downtown and stand for equality and the ability for women and men to join together to give voice to those unable to speak. However, I was assured by you, the founders of this March, countlessly in a private meeting, that this March was different. That in Los Angeles (unlike the National March) Israel would not be attacked, labeling Israel as an apartheid state would be unwelcome on the stage and if a speaker went off script, the managers of the program would raise the music. In the very first hour of the Women’s March L.A. program at Pershing Square, all those promises were broken.
   Marwa Rifahie, representing the Council on American-Islamic Relations used her allotted time to focus on the Palestinian agenda, a conversation that I was told would not be a focus. I waited. When she called Israel an apartheid state…I waited. Where was the music? Where was someone asking her to remain on script? Who vetted this speaker? Why was I assured that anti-Semitic statements would not be permitted or tolerated in this anti-hate arena? Why was someone allowed to defend the organizers of the march in Washington? I used my voice, opinion and reputation to defend you, the founders that assured me, a Jewish woman was welcome and needed. I know I’m needed but today, I was not welcomed.
   My family and I left the March immediately after we heard this woman’s rhetoric. Almost meant to be, I ran into you, Emiliana and voiced my dismay, disappointment and sense of betrayal. I explained that Jewish leaders were assured time and time again to trust you; that I was personally promised that the agenda would not include hate against Israel, that the scheduled speakers would be screened and if off message, monitored and kept on script. And you, Emiliana apologized and hoped the next three hours of the March would look different. Perhaps I was meant to be at the March just to have this conversation and potentially prevent hate speech from infiltrating the remainder of a program that should focus on a united bipartisan cause of cultivating a nation where women feel heard and protected. But now, as a woman, mother and rabbi, I feel dejected, embarrassed and misled.
   Other Jewish women around me said, “That’s it. This is my last March.” Help me. Help me to bring Jewish voices into this fold. Help me to trust you again. Help me understand and believe that when you invite a lover of Israel to a march for women, my people won’t be attacked.
   If you want me back at next year’s March, someone like me better vet and screen your speakers. Someone like me must be willing to say anti-Zionist speech is the language of hatred and won’t be allowed on stage. But until you take this course of action, it will be quite a while until I give someone like you the benefit of the doubt.
   I held a sign that read, “Jewish and Proud Zionist standing for women’s equality.” My daughter’s sign read, “I march for kindness.” I hope to find a place where those signs are welcome and not attacked. It’s with the heaviest of hearts, that I admit I was wrong. This March was clearly not meant for me.
   I pray, next year, teshuvah, great repentance and change is taken to win back my trust. But today was not a day for all women, all people, all creeds and voices. When Israel is publicly attacked, my voice is silenced. I will not be silenced.
   If you want to learn how to include me in ensuring hate against Israel isn’t on next year’s agenda, I’m all ears. Until then, this March is over.

Your comments on this article are welcome.  Just click on Feedback on the menu at the top of the page.  Please use proper language and common sense in your replies.

When a Rabbi and a Mega-Church Pastor Learn to Pray Together
by Rabbi Erez Sherman
(Associate Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and the son of
Rabbi Charles Sherman of Melrose B'nai Israel Emanu-El)

   Do you know your neighbor?
   I live in the crowded city of Los Angeles. I see my neighbors who live in the adjacent buildings to my home, just feet from my own front door. I could not tell you their names. We wave to each other on our way to work, but that is the extent of our relationship in our hectic lives.
   In rabbinical school, you are required to find a chevruta, a study partner; a person to sharpen our mind with new ideas; a person to challenge us in our thinking; a person we know better than our next door neighbor. Often, it is a classmate or a close friend, experiencing similar life passages, with comparable theologies; your spiritual neighbor.
   Yet, what they did not tell me in Rabbinical school was that my chevruta would not live next door. Rather he would live a couple of neighborhoods away from my synagogue in Beverly Hills, he would be an African-American pastor of a mega-church, and he would be as passionate about Israel as I am.
   Three years ago, I was introduced to Pastor John Paul Foster, of Faithful Central Bible Church, in Inglewood, California, after he traveled on a pilgrimage to Israel. He described to me the feeling he had witnessing baptisms in the Jordan River, and touching the sacred stones of the Western Wall. As he stood in the Jerusalem plaza marveling at the sights of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he felt a touch on his shoulder. As he turned around, a man with a kippah on his head said proudly, “See this wall, this is my wall, and it is your wall too!”
   There are walls that separate this rabbi and this pastor. We live in separate neighborhoods, we serve different congregations, and we hold major theological differences. Yet, we have become brothers in faith, champions of a pro-Israel community, and neighborhood bridge-builders.
   At our monthly breakfasts, we articulate our common differences; how to engage millennials in religious life, what messages to preach to a divided society, and what social action projects we can create together to make the world a better place tomorrow than what we find today. When there were tensions between the black community and the police, Pastor Foster was my first phone call to see what my community could do for him. After the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, I was his first call asking what the Jewish community needed. It was normal, it was real; because we are neighbors.
   As our relationship developed, we began to visit each other’s communities. On a Thursday evening, I sat in the pews of the church listening to Pastor Foster’s brilliant preaching, and he returned the favor, bringing his church leaders to a Friday night Shabbat dinner and service. Our communities prayed together and broke bread together, because we are neighbors. As one conversation led to the next, I invited Pastor Foster to accompany me to the AIPAC Policy Conference, in Washington, DC. A strange sight to see; a rabbi and pastor, hand in hand, supporting the US-Israel relationship. I watched as he observed over 20,000 people, black and white, Jewish and Christian, young and old, unified because a stronger more diverse Israel is a stronger more diverse world.
   When we returned from Washington, I asked Pastor Foster, “Why is our experiment so successful?”
   He responded brilliantly: “Rabbi, we are neighbors, and we love our neighbors.” When Rabbi Hillel was asked to explain the Torah on one foot, he answered, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet, we forget the most important part of his teaching. It concludes, “Now go and learn.”
   Yes, we can love our neighbors as ourselves, but do we go learn about them? What are their concerns and fears? What are their hopes and dreams? Do we invite someone different to our Shabbat table or do we converse with only those who are like minded? Do we look past the color of our skin or do we make that a defining marker of differentiation?
   This past Shabbat, to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our communities once again gathered together. Pastor Foster was our guest preacher, along with 25 young professionals of the Faithful Central choir. The English writer, Gilbert Chesterson, once said, “”We make our friend; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor.” Pastor Foster made clear there is no better reason to praise God then for our neighbors. But that is not sufficient, for in fact, it is our neighbors that we need to survive. It is most obvious in the model that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel demonstrated.
   As Dr. King taught, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. King prayed that his message would be heard. Thankfully, one rabbi saw the injustice, and prayed with his feet. These two spiritual neighbors changed the course of history, marching arm in arm down the streets of Selma. The world witnessed the power of a good neighbor. The world witnessed that we need each other to survive. Have we forgotten this lesson?
   We are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus to our children as if we were slaves ourselves in Egypt. What story do we want to tell our children: One of separation and isolation? Or an America where unity is a ubiquitous word, where our Shabbat dinner tables is a unified altar of differences, with our neighbors waiting to be our friends.
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