Events & News

  • June 25-August 6, 2024

    LEV ExperienceSummer Sip of Spirituality

    Join Devorah Buxbaum and Rachel Berenzweig for a transformative jouney this summer! Connect with like-minded women as we explore the book “Soul Construction” by Ruchi Koval.

  • Israel Solidarity Mission

    March 28, 2024

    Getting ready to board our flight to our holy land!!! Coming into this trip with feelings of hope, Jewish unity and love. We will be volunteering at a military base, helping harvest the land, and connecting with our brothers and sisters impacted by the war. We are one people. Am Yisrael Chai

    March 30, 2024

    Wishing you a Shavua tov (a good week) from Jerusalem!! We spent a beautiful, meaningful and restful Shabbat here in Jerusalem. Went to the Kotel (western wall) right before Shabbat to pray and feel the warmth and spirit of our people. How can one put into words the joy of seeing ultra orthodox dancing with modern orthodox dancing with soldiers dancing with conservative dancing with reform? How to put into words having multiple l’chaims on Shabbat with Chabad rabbis from Boca while playing Jewish geography in the hotel lobby? How to describe rushing back to our hotel to celebrate Havdalah and having young soldiers join our group and thank us (you all!!) for our support from America? Telling us that we give them strength. We are truly one people. Shavua tov, friends. Am Yisrael Chai!!!

    March 31, 2024

    Friends, today was an overwhelming day. Today we bore witness to the terrorism and atrocities committed on October 7. We spent the day in the Gaza envelope. We started the day in Sderot and met with a policeman who was involved in helping fight and protect citizens that day. He lost many of his police friends during heroic measures to stave off the terrorists and save those injured. Remember the story of the 6 year old girl and her baby sister who were caught in the car when their parents were murdered? We saw footage of their rescue in front of the police station. So hard to comprehend.

    We moved on to Kibbutz Kfar Aza which is a few minutes south of Sderot and roughly a mile from Gaza. This kibbutz lost over 70 precious souls, of blessed memory and there are still 5 hostages in captivity. Remember the recent article in the New York Times about Amit Soussana who gave her most painful and personal testimony about the sexual violence she endured while in captivity? She lived in Kibbutz Kfar Aza. There are two brothers from there in captivity in Gaza. They lived in the young people’s area of the kibbutz. After the kids graduate high school, they each get a room in this super-cool, fun part of the kibbutz to use while they served in the army, take a gap year, go to college and figure out their next steps. These precious brothers were dragged out of this special area of the kibbutz. Can you imagine if your child was dragged out of their college dorm room or their apartment in Arlington? So painful.

    We then moved into the site of the Nova music festival. My friends, can you imagine going to Wolf Trap this weekend, but when you arrive there it turns out that it is a graveyard full of memorials where many hundreds of young people died? Unthinkable pain and tragedy. We lit memorial candles and placed flowers at the memorials. Our Rabbi led us in prayer as we said Kaddish (Jewish mourning prayer) and Psalms.

    We just finished our evening and are staying just north of the Negev dessert near the burial place of Israel’s first president, David Ben Gurion. We had the honor to hear testimony from Rami Davidian, the local farmer who went back and forth for hours ultimately saving over 700 young people from the Nova massacre. On Simchat Torah. Also the day of his dad’s yahrzeit, May his neshama (soul) have an Aliyah (rise up) in the merit of Rami’s incredible acts of bravery and devotion to life.
    And what do the Israelis say? “We are strong.” “We appreciate your coming.” “Please keep visiting Israel.” “Please don’t forget our hostages. Almost 6 months in captivity.” “We believe in peace. It may take some time, but we believe in peace” “don’t thank me (a soldier) there are so many more like me”.
    We hug them, cry with them, thank them, remind them they are not alone, and assure them that they are never forgotten.

    April 2, 2024

    Shalom from the Negev dessert!! We spent the past couple days volunteering at an IDF military base. Hard, sweaty and rewarding work. We helped with the supply logistics on the base including sorting, cleaning, counting, and loading army uniforms, beds, cots and tents. Seth also helped organize guns and magazines in the armory.

    This was also incredible opportunity to meet and connect with the young soldiers on the base, to express our solidarity, our profound thanks for protecting our homeland and to ask what messages they would like us to bring back to America. They thanked us for the love and support they feel from us in the United States. They said it means so much to them when we visit and express our caring. That they feel our spirit with them. We assured them that we are with them, that we are thinking of them and praying for them every day and each supporting in our own way.

    Our tradition teaches us that to save one life is to save the entire world. These young soldiers also explained how they carefully created, assisted with and guarded the humanitarian corridors for Gaza citizens to evacuate. They provided aide to families where they could (food, water, reassurance) and diligently worked to help families safely evacuate. Their caring and dedication was evident. The high value we place on human life brings tears to my eyes.

    Did you know that there are currently 100,000 Israeli families evacuated from their homes and living in hotels throughout the country? There are more than that living in other arrangements, as well. These residents had to grab their families and leave for an unknown amount of time. Subsequently, they have had to create their own infrastructures to support their families in their new living situations. This had been particularly challenging for school-aged children. We had a number of displaced families staying at our hotel (through government funding) and had a chance to talk with them and learn more about the major stresses of uprooting one’s family while not being able to work. Many of these families have financial need, let alone need for some feeling of normalcy in their lives.

    Lastly, we had a speaker from the Israeli government about the agricultural terrorism that occurred on October 7, along with the unthinkable human terrorism. Did you know that Hamas systematically attacked the infrastructure of Israel’s farming industry to disrupt and destroy food supply? Terrorists destroyed irrigation systems, burned livestock, chicken farms and dairy buildings. They punctured a milk tower. This was carefully calculated and took place a couple of miles from the location of the major human massacres. And you know what? The next day, those who survived were back on the farms, irrigating, caring for their animals, and insisting that we will not only survive, but thrive.

    Throughout these couple days, we cried, sweated, laughed, learned, worked super hard, asked lots of questions and then sweated some more. There is no place like Israel. We are strong, determined and resilient. As a grief therapist in the Israeli Navy put it to us at dinner “We (Israel) cannot survive without you (Diaspora Jewry) and you cannot survive without us.” Am Yisrael Chai

    April 4, 2024

    Our last day in our homeland. We volunteered at a farm with Israel Food Rescue. All of the farms impacted lost crops and many lost workers either to terror or to being called back home. We helped harvest apricots to hopefully get them ready to be picked in a couple of weeks. It was an honor to help out and encouraging to meet volunteers from all over the world, both Jewish and non-Jewish. It was so powerful to help farm the land the way our ancestors did thousands of years ago. You will see that I laughed out loud when my friend Jennifer confirmed my suspicions – that my hair was indeed very frizzy. Feels good to laugh, even during difficult times. And thank you Marcy Morein-Prussick for the orchard picture.

    We then visited Hostage Square in Tel Aviv. It’s so hard to describe such a beautiful plaza covered with remembrances of those still missing. Pictured below is an Empty Shabbat table, as we have seen in the states. But what we hadn’t seen is having a second half of the table depicting life in captivity – dirty, little food or water, empty chairs. There are also tents set up all around the square where hostage families gather to pray, speak, mourn and visit with friends and family. It is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

    We finished our trip with dinner at The Whiskey Bar in Tel Aviv – delicious Israeli appetizers and dinner. Our evening speaker was Mark Regev, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UK and former Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Communications, among other accomplishments. Ambassador Regev answered many questions about Israel’s history and the current war. He reminded us that over and over again, Israel and our Jewish nation have overcome tragedy and have “bounced back”. It may take time, but we will win and we will bounce back. Light always dispels darkness.

    Friends, we have returned home safely and with mixed feelings. So thankful to have traveled safely and so sorry we couldn’t stay longer. It does feel weird to return to a comfortable home and grab a cup of coffee when we know there are many in captivity who can’t. We remain encouraged and inspired by the resilience, determination and optimism of our Israeli brothers and sisters. And we are honored and very humbled to bear witness and to share our trip with you.

    We pray for the immediate return of our hostages, the safety of our soldiers, the healing of our brothers and sisters and for peace. Am Yisrael Chai

  • April 4, 2024

    Congregation B'nai Tzedek Women's SederWomen’s Seder 2024

    Women’s Seder
    Sunday, April 4th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm
    at Congregation B’nai Tzedek

    Join us as we honor the women in whose footsteps we walk – the heroines of the Exodus story, our mothers, grandmothers and all the women who came before us!

    Bring your sisters, daughters (13+), mothers and friends and join us for this joyful, musical celebration and dinner sponsored by the Sisterhood and led by Rachel Berenzweig, Lisa Baydush and Susan Sacks.

    The following is an exerpt of Rachel’s talk.

  • March 26, 2023

    Congregation B'nai Tzedek Women's SederWomen’s Seder 2023

    Women’s Seder
    Sunday, March 26th from 4:30 to 7:30 pm
    at Congregation B’nai Tzedek

    Join us as we honor those women in whose footsteps we walk- the heroines of the Exodus story, our mothers, grandmothers and all the women who led the way, breaking glass ceilings and creating new opportunities for future generations.

    This joyous, musical celebration and dinner is sponsored by the Sisterhood and will be led by Lisa Baydush and Rachel Berenzweig.

    Purchase your tickets below by March 5th.

    RSVP Here!

    Special invited guests, including CBT staff and teachers and invited guests of Moishe House, please email Lesley at [email protected] for your complimentary registration.

     

  • November 20, 2022

    Sparkling from the Inside OutElevateHER

    For this ElevateHER program, Rachel discussed lighting up the nights and sparkling from the inside out. The following is an exerpt from her talk:

    So how do we ascend on our ladder and share our sparkle? That is for each of us to work on. We each bring our essence to the world through our mitzvot (connection to the Almighty) and our acts of loving kindness.

    It may be different for each of us.  I like to call it “Racheling” or “Heathering” or “Jodiing”.  It is different for each of us.  This requires the honesty to take stock of our strengths and the determination to bring them forward into the world.  So, who am I?  I’ll give you a few ideas.  I am a warm, gentle, creative, funny, spiritual Jewish woman who is humbly presenting to you today in hopes that you, too, will lean into your strengths to bring them forward.  I am a good speaker, usually comfortable in my own skin.  But I don’t like writing very much, so outlining these talks is actually hard for me.  And I get pretty nervous before a talk.  So why do I choose to do it?  Because I try daily to lean into my light and to kindle my inner sparkle.  It is not always easy, but I am so determined to do it.

    Now the question is, what are your unique strengths and gifts?  Are there any you are holding back on, afraid to share, regret that you aren’t sharing, procrastinating on sharing?  This is where our soul work is, uniquely and lovingly handcrafted for each of us by Gd.  How blessed we are.

    I would like to share with you a story written by an Aish Rabbi of the great Chassidic master, Zusya, who lay crying on his deathbed.  His students asked him, “Rebbe, why are you so sad? After all the mitzvahs and good deeds you have done, you will surely get a great reward in heaven!”

    “I’m afraid!” said Zusya. “Because when I get to heaven, I know Gd’s not going to ask me ‘Why weren’t you more like Moses?’ or ‘Why weren’t you more like King David?’ But I’m afraid that God will ask ‘Zusya, why weren’t you more like Zusya?’ And then what will I say?!”

    My dear ladies, we were each created with our own, unique and most beautiful and critical light to share with this world.  It is our life’s work to keep tapping into our Pintele Yid, that divine spark within each of us, and share it and keep sharing it.  For it is when we are sparkling inside that we are able to share that sparkle outside.

    So go forth, glow forth and sparkle forth!!!

  • June 2022

    TEACH GIVE INSPIRE FRIDAYSFROM STONES TO KISSES

    Some excerpts from Rachel’s beautiful talk:

    The great Rabbi Simcha Bunim is credited with the idea that we should each walk around with a note in each pocket.  One says “The world was created for me.”  The other says “I am but dust and ashes.”  This teaching really resonates with me – two beautiful beliefs, which are both true and exist simultaneously.  Hope and humility.

    It seems to me that emotional endurance (or maintaining our sparkle through our suffering) comes from being okay with conflicting feelings while maintaining faith, optimism, gratitude and curiosity…

    When I think about surviving and thriving, it makes me think about holding stones in one hand and Hershey’s kisses in the other.  The stones represent the difficulties we have in life and the chocolate kisses represent the joy.  And I think our thriving comes in the reality which is that space between the painful stones and the kisses of joy.  Letting them both exist at the same time and embracing both.

     

  • November 2021

    RACHEL INTERVIEWS DR. EDITH EGERDr. Edith Eger

    Rachel interviews Dr. Edith Eger, author of “The Choice” and “The Gift” at the Congregation B’nai Tzedek Sisterhood Membership Brunch. Dr. Eger, whose parents both died at Auschwitz, made the choice to heal rather than remaining a permanent victim. She is a testament to the freedom of forgiving, letting go, and moving on. Watch Rachel’s fascinating interview with this amazing woman.

  • July 2022

    LEV EXPERIENCEJOY OF THE JEWISH WOMAN

    In this intimate, summer mini-series, we highlighted topics unique to Jewish women.  We focused on the divine spark within each of us, the special mitzvot for Jewish women and the incredible character traits of our Matriarchs.  Can’t wait to continue this series soon!!

     

Please check out my videocast