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UPDATE: September 21st 2018

Bnai Israel continues to be without power as the electrical crews continue to work on the damaged power lines on Chestnut Street.  Many of the old trees that lined the street are still down and have not been removed from the power lines.  Water continues to accumulate in our lower boiler room, and thanks to the monumental efforts by Harold Eichenholz, who faithfully has been coming twice a day with his own generator to pump out the water, we have not lost our new boiler or any of the other electrical connections.

Harold continues to monitor all the other facets of the building, including the roof, and with Yvonne has made sure that our refrigerators and freezers have been emptied and any contaminated food thrown out.  The grounds have been cleaned, but the tree covering the Sukkah has not been totally removed yet.

Speaking of Sukkot, the Men's Club will be meeting to build the Sukkah on Sunday Morning at 10:00 AM.  Bring tools if you have them and please whether you are a member or not come and help.

Finally, donations for the cost of our repairs, and cleanup, as well as replacement of food, and help for our members in need can be made at:

Click here to Donate to our Disaster Relief Fund

UPDATE: September 18th 2018



After very careful consideration, Rabbi Kozlow and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors have decided to cancel services at Bnai Israel for both Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur.  First hand accounts of our building indicate that at this time, we still do NOT have power, and the grounds are not fully cleared of debris.  More importantly, we do not want to encourage our members and guests to be out and about on the roads of Wilmington that continue to be dangerous.  Police, Sheriff, and Disaster Relief all continue to ask that travel be kept to a minimum to let crews repair power and roads.  We look forward to all being together for Shabbat, as well as the upcoming holiday of Sukkot and Shmini Atzaeret on Monday, October 1st, another opportunity to say Yizkor.  Additional times and updates for services will appear on this website.


Dear friends,

Please know that today I have spent hours on the phone with the Jewish Federation and their Hurricane relief representatives. I am also in touch with United Synagogue's Kehillah coordinator, who is forwarding us invitations from all of our neighboring cities and congregations for services and shelter. At the end of this letter I will add her latest information. She also is sending us the synagogues that will be live streaming services for those able to get internet connection.

I received a call from Temple Beth Am's Library Minyan, a shul I used to daven at when I lived here in Los Angeles, and they are donating $1,500. to my discretionary fund for Hurricane relief, so if anyone has any immediate needs for assistance do not hesitate in letting me know.

There is a shul in NYC that will be sending homemade cards from their children to our congregants. They are a lovely bunch at Shefa.

Shefa is a Jewish Day school in Manhattan, 1st-8th grades, and they would like to reach out to our community.

Dov wrote, " I know that your community has many immediate needs that cards, prayers and good wishes will not solve in tangible ways, but drawing pictures and writing prayers and notes to you are concrete acts that these young children can accomplish from a distance. We are planning to compose these gifts on Friday when the children assemble to prepare for Sukkot. "

How blessed are we to have been found by their radar.

Jewish communities the world over have been contacting me with support and concern.

My Yom Kippur sermon has been brewing in my soul. Im not sure when you will hear it but I promise that you will. Tomorrow in my message before Yom Kippur I will elaborate a bit.

Rabbi Avi Peretz called from Myrtle Beach with an invitation to everyone still in Wilmington to join them for Yom Kippur for both housing and services. Unfortunately the roads are not permitting passage. Jane Birnback had to turn back after driving in from Charelston. She was so close but so far, she is back in Charelston now because of flooded highways. Rabbi Peretz has a list of his congregants ready to host any and all of you. We are grateful, just unable to reach them.

I will be davening at IKAR with Rabbi Sharon Brous over Yom Kippur and as someone who knows me very well, put it, the only place I want to be for Yom Kippur is with you, my beloved congregation, but short of that, the only other place for me is in Rabbi Brous' synagogue here in LA. You will all be with me in spirit. Still, it feels very awkward to be unable to return home to all of you. I am praying that the airport will be open by Thursday. We've got Sukkot to prepare for:)

I saw that Sandy Robbins will be streaming the services from the Shelmore Fitness Center Community Room in Brunswick Forest tonight and tomorrow. Details are as follows for Brunswick Forest: Address of the fitness center: 2162 Shelmore Way. Service times 6 pm Tonight, 9 am family service tomorrow, 10:45 main service, 3:30 Yizkor. You can contact Sandy at 919-539-3490 for questions or directions.  I hope those who are able to safely travel will join in with her to make it possible for you all to be together as a congregation in one of your homes. We are able to get Machzorim to anyone who needs one.  

I saw a t-shirt today that read, IM TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED. Its not an easy statement to heed but it is so wise and so smart. Lets try to see the rebuild and not the storm, thank God everyone is alright and we have experienced no loss of life.

Now its time to feel this unsettling dis-ease, if you can feel it, you will also be able to feel how blessed you are to be alive, peanut butter jelly sandwiches and all. Its in the details, the quiet and still moments of life. If you can stop running and feel this moment, you will be hearing to the soulful whisper of Yom Kippur. That is exactly what we are asked to do.

With love and blessings,

Gmar Hatimah Tova,

Be safe

Rabbi Julie Kozlow

הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה


Rabbi Julie Anne Kozlow

B'nai Israel Congregation

Wilmington North Carolina


ואהבת לרעך כמוך

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UPDATE: Services for Yom KippurSeptember 17th

At this point...We are still evaluating the safety and conditions of the Synagogue before we make a final determination on the Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur Holiday service schedule.  Driving conditions, and power as well as the recommendation of the Police, and Sherrif's departments will be paramount in makeing these decisions.  We will keep you posted through email and this site as the day progresses.

UPDATE: Monday, September 17, 2018

Letter from Rabbi Kozlow

Dear friends,

What an ordeal this is for everyone. I pray for your safety and a speedy return to normalcy. That's the hope, but patience is the key.

I was just notified that my flight back tomorrow to Wilmington has been canceled. More accurately, the airport has not been reopened. My first flight back, is not until Thursday as flying during Yom Kippur is not an option.

As frustrating as this is, the message is clear, everyone should stay put where they are until the official okay has been given. It is recommended by government officials that people not try to return because of the danger of the roads, flash flooding, lack of electricity, lack of drinking water and lack of ways to get food. Please, this is not a time for acting cavalier. The system is strained and if you don't have to add to that weight, please stay put until the coast is clear.

I just spoke to Rabbi Zach Golden our Cantor for the holidays and he has been staying in NYC waiting to return but it seems as if that will not be happening this year. Barry and I have suggested that he return to LA and plan to return next year for High Holidays for a redo. He was very saddened not be be able to return but not only are the roads dangerous, if even passable but we do not believe that it is prudent to lead services, with no electricity, water leaks and the danger of having people drive to us. It is all mute right now as we have no Cantor, the Rabbi is 3,000 miles away, our president is still in NYC and many of our congregants having evacuated. This is certainly one Yom Kippur to remember. Or should I say a Yom Kippur we will not be able to forget.

Safety is the most important consideration before us. If you have evacuated, please call a local synagogue, they will all welcome us with open arms. Our lives may feel upside down so it is a perfect time to hold onto what is constant in our lives, and that is the observance of the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

I am sorry to be so far away from our beloved Port City and especially all of our large and extended Bnai Israel family. Please continue to stay in touch with Barry or myself, your safety is our greatest concern.

With love and profound blessings of strength that we all stay calm, one step in front of the other, we will get there.

Reach out for those who are in worse shape than you find yourself, it will keep your mind thinking, your heart beating and solutions within reach.

It is all going to be alright,

With love and blessings,

and in faith,

Rabbi Julie Kozlow

הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה


B'nai Israel Congregation

Wilmington North Carolina


ואהבת לרעך כמוך

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Hurricane Florence 5779

Hurricane Florence arrived in Wilmington late Wednesday night, September 12, 2018, as a category 2 hurricane, and proceeded to dump up to 20 inches of rain, a storm surge of 10-15 feet, and winds as high as 105 miles per hour.  The eye of the storm passed directly over Wilmington at 11:oo or so on Friday morning, but the winds and rain continued through Shabbat.  Many of our congregants and friends headed the warnings of TV, radio, Sherriffs and Police to evacuate their homes, yet many decided to stay.  The effects so far from the storm have been wide spread flooding, wind damage, and an enormous amount of trees and debris blocking roads, highways and generally making driving dangerous and difficult.  Power outages throughout the area are estimated to take from 2 days to three weeks to be repaired and restored to normal.  This section on our web site is designed to keep you informed of what's going on at our building, and to keep you posted on decisions for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services.  We hope that everyone has remained safe and has not sustained any major damages to their property and that if they are need of assistance can contact help.

UPDATE:  Sunday, September 16th

The streets of Wilmington are a mess.  Mayor Saffo, Wilmington Police, NH and Brunswick County Sherrif's departments have asked that all non-essential driving be curtailed to allow for Duke Energy and other workers to be able to clear roads, restore power, and deal with life threatening situations that require emergency vehicles.  

At this time VP Harold Eichenholz  and Murray Sherman have been to our building and report the following:

Many trees and tree limbs are down and the grounds are full of storm debris.

Travel on Chestnut Street is extrememly difficult with tree limbs and power lines in the street.

Travel on 26th Street is slightly better and passable.

Our new roof is showing a few week spots where small areas of water have accumulated, but so far no major damage has occurred. 

All the contents of the building are secure, the Torahs are wrapped and safe, and our beautiful windows have not suffered any damage.

A minor disaster caused by flooding in the lower boiler room has been averted by Harold connecting a generator to the sump pump located in that room and the eight inches of water threatening to ruin our new boiler, and other HVAC connections has been pumped out of the room.  

As with most of the city, there is NO power at the Synogogue.


At this time, no decision has been made as to the location of services for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur.  A decision will be made by Sunday afternoon.  Rabbi Kozlow is in Los Angeles with her family, and Barry and Pam Weiss (President) are in NYC.  Both plan on returning to Wilmington as soon as possible,  but can be reached by cell phone if  you have an emergency.  

Please keep posted to our web site for more information as it becomes available.

Thu, November 15 2018 7 Kislev 5779