Who We Are
We are open to and comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and affiliations, including interfaith families, singles, young families, middle year families, seniors and LGBTQ’s.
Through our close ties, members gain confidence to be responsible for some part of our services, whether playing an instrument, leading a prayer or chant, presenting a D’var Torah [Torah talk], or leading a service. As an egalitarian community, women and men participate fully in all aspects of our Chavurah.
What We’re About
P’nai Yisrael empowers us to respond to the call of the Infinite One and the Torah, in our quest for a meaningful Jewish life. Judaism provides the historical, cultural, intellectual, emotional, practical, religious and spiritual framework for our learning as individuals and as a group.
What We Do
We come together every 2nd and 4th Saturday morning of each month for Shabbat services, which serve as our primary gathering. We also enjoy sharing life cycle events and Jewish festivals.
We get together for spiritual practices, such as Devekut Gathering, men and women’s retreats, book groups, study groups, havdalah services and sacred dancing.
How We Began
Our chavurah arose from a desire for greater connection among the congregants of our local Charlottesville synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel [CBI]. In response to this request, CBI developed chavurot [fellowship groups] based on mutual interests. Our group was interested in personal & spiritual growth. So in the Fall of 1990, 15 of us, ranging in age from 16-55, got together to explore a spiritual approach to Jewish life.
Some of our founding members were familiar with Jewish renewal. Around 1995 we officially became a Jewish Renewal chavurah within The Network of Jewish Renewal Communities of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.