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Special Message from Rabbi Kornspan

05/25/2017 03:46:29 PM


I want to share with you some excerpts from my report at our recent Annual meeting on May 21, 2017. This begins a transition for the congregation and for me.

Today’s report is bittersweet. I always wondered about the name of the drive we are on - Bittersweet Moors. It is significant to me, reflecting both...Read more...

Shavuot is a Major Jewish Holiday

05/04/2017 10:28:24 AM


I have often challenged students to go and ask fellow Jews if they could answer this question: What is Shavuot? Do you know that so many can't answer this question?

Shavuot is a major Jewish holiday, which is as important as Rosh Hashana and Pesach! This year it begins at sundown, Tuesday, May 30th and continues through June 1st.

What is this Torah holiday? It falls on the sixth and seventh day of the Hebrew month of Sivan,...Read more...

Welcoming Everyone

03/30/2017 10:02:22 AM


There are many teachings in Judaism regarding how we should be gracious and  inclusive. Have you ever thought about why the Seder includes four different types of children? We acknowledge the wise child, the simple one, the one who doesn't know how to ask a question, and the wicked child.  Wait a minute…. the wicked child, the one who derisively asks what does this mean to you?  Yes,...Read more...

Helping Israel

03/06/2017 10:23:25 AM


You are receiving this newsletter just shortly before Purim and a little over a month before Pesach. Both celebrations have inbuilt the mitzvah of Tzedakah. On Purim, we give matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) and for Pesach we collect Maot Hittim (Money for Grain) to help needy Jews obtain provisions for Passover.  Beyond the holidays, I am sure that you already know how important Tzedakah is!

Below you see a portion of...

Modern Day Maccabees Continue to Inspire Us

11/28/2016 11:51:31 AM


During the time period when Chanukah occurred, our people, outnumbered and oppressed, fought for religious freedom. To this day we are inspired by them. Today we have the modern Maccabees, who seek to protect peoples' faiths and defend them, physically and spiritually.

How many know that in October, Israel's President Rivlin hosted a meeting of Israeli Jewish religious leaders with senior Palestinian Muslim clerics? This was done...Read more...

Mazel Tov to You and L'Chaim! (October 2016)

11/03/2016 10:40:32 AM


Can you believe it? The oldest man in the world is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah! Not only is this 113-year old Yisrael Kristal having his Bar Mitzvah ceremony, but he has made the Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest man. Moreover, Yisrael is a Holocaust survivor, and he lives in Israel! 

If you are wondering why he didn't he have any observance of his Bar Mitzvah at 13, the answer is that Yisrael Kristal experienced many...Read more...

In Honor of Janet Finkel (September 2016)

11/03/2016 10:37:31 AM


As Rabbi of B’nai Jacob, I wanted to add these accolades in honor of our dear Janet!

I have had the honor of knowing Janet for 12 years. She always has a smile and has been a true cheer leader to me, this congregation and community.

Janet seeks our welfare not just sometime, but all the time. Who else is the first to call you if you are not feeling well, or just to wish you a Shabbat Shalom or a Mazel Tov, or just to say...Read more...

The Murder of an Innocent 13-Year Old (8/2016)

11/03/2016 10:33:26 AM


It is hard to cope with our present world condition. There are overwhelming incidents of terrorist attacks and senseless murders. Our hearts grieve for each and every innocent whose life is snuffed out, because of causeless hatred. To rub salt into the wound, there is the chutzpah of the terrorists who proudly proclaim "responsibility" for these horrendous acts. I would like to amend their worthless words with a different term. They can claim...Read more...

How Special You Are! (June 2016)

11/03/2016 10:30:33 AM


We can be so proud of our Jewish community. When Heather Chernen, a Jewish woman without family or friends, was hospitalized and then died suddenly, I wrote an email asking for your help. Knowing how sad it is when the Rabbi and funeral director are the only ones standing at a graveside, I asked you if you would help support a minyan for her. So many of you, together with members of Temple Achduth Vesholom, answered the call. Together we gave...Read more...

Yom Haatzmaut - 68th Birthday (May 2016)

11/03/2016 10:27:11 AM


This is an amazing story about a man who loved Israel. It happened over 100 years ago, but inspires us even now!

Nathan and Isadore Straus were indeed some of the greatest philanthropists in America.   In the spring of 1912, they and their wives went on a tour to Europe.  After enjoying the greatness of  Europe with its museums, operas and palaces, they decided to travel for a visit to Israel, which was then...Read more...

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime (April 2016)

11/03/2016 10:24:31 AM


As we view events unfolding in our world we see so much that confounds us, so much that makes no sense. To me it reaches the heights of absurdity.  I can only shake my head with dismay. It would be comedic if it weren't true.

In Palestinian school text books the State of Israel is not mentioned!  Only Islamic holy sites are cited. And, beyond all of this, there is the "glorification" of martyrdom and death! And they...Read more...

Jewish Cemetery Update (March 2016)

11/03/2016 10:21:14 AM


Dan Zweig is a member of Congregation B'nai Jacob and Temple Achduth Vesholom and is President of the Fort Wayne Jewish Cemetery Association.  His ongoing service to the Jewish community in these roles is greatly appreciated, as is the following cemetery update provided by Dan.  - Rabbi Kornspan


It’s hard to describe what went through my mind looking at the...Read more...

Eternal Vigilance (January-February 2016)

11/03/2016 10:14:03 AM


There persists in our world so much suffering. Our brothers and sisters in Israel are undergoing constant barrages of attacks from their neighbors. In the U.S.A. we are seeing acts of terror and violence that continue to occur. It is so hard for us to understand why people hate, and why they have to vindicate their causes, in their own eyes, by murdering innocent victims!

If we return to the beginning of the Torah, we see that the...Read more...

Being Grateful (December 2015)

11/03/2016 10:09:30 AM


Since my early years of  learning, I was struck by the great sages’ instruction that we should bless G-d for all the good that comes into our life, but also bless Hashem for all evil.

Really? Do I  truly want to do this? Do I wish to make a bracha, when my heart is breaking and thank G-d when my loved one dies, my family or friends are hurt, or there are horrendous tragedies in the world?  Indeed, what has been...Read more...

Believe in Miracles

10/29/2015 10:35:09 AM


The news from Israel has been very troubling. President Abbas of the Palestinians has blood on his hands for inciting bloodshed. Ever since he made the outrageous and vicious statement that the Jews desecrated the Temple Mount with their dirty feet, Arab teens and adults have been venting their hatred against their Jewish neighbors, inflicting pain and death on Israel's citizens. There have even been videos circulated on how to stab Jews,...Read more...

Our Children Are So Amazing!

10/06/2014 11:13:44 AM


Do some of you remember Art Linkletter and his show: “Kids Say the Darndest Things?” Out of the mouths of babes came rather humorous remarks. We enjoyed their sincerity, while they, with great assurance, pronounced such funny ideas.

Although the following wasn't on his show, it is an example of what could have been.  This comes from

G-d's Little Acre:  Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl...Read more...

For the Record on Israel

09/03/2014 12:35:02 PM


Dear B'nai Jacob family,

Penny and I wish you and yours a Shana Tova Tikatevu V'techatemu. May you be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a year filled with health, happiness and peace!

As of this writing and as we approach the New Year of 5775, Israel is faced with a tremendous crisis. An ongoing battle with Hamas terrorists has taken its toll on our people. Missiles and mortar shells numbering 4,594 were fired from...Read more...

Praying For and Acting on Behalf of Israel

08/06/2014 01:16:20 PM



My original article for this month has to be preempted. There is nothing more urgent and important to write about than Israel. By the time you receive this newsletter, you will have a more current knowledge of the war that Israel has been fighting to defend each and every individual in Eretz Yisrael. 

What does  not change is the need to keep Israel in our prayers and to act on her behalf.  I will...Read more...

What A Terrible Waste

08/06/2014 01:11:27 PM


(The following appeared in the June-July 2014 B'nai Jacob Bulletin)

There is a mitzvah which we trample upon all too often  with disregard. It is called Bal Tashchit.  What is this mitzvah and how do we disregard it, often daily?

It is first found in Deuteronomy, 20:19-20:  “When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against...Read more...

Israel's 66th Anniversary

08/06/2014 01:07:05 PM


(The following appeared in the May 2014 B'nai Jacob Bulletin)

Dear B’nai Jacob Family and Friends,

As we are about to celebrate Israel's 66th Anniversary, I thought this article from last year's observance is so apropos.                                    


Rabbi Mitchell...

A Seder Filled With Meaning

03/31/2014 11:31:57 AM


Dear B’nai Jacob Family and Friends,

If we have a Seder, which uses the Haggadah as a speed read, and if the main question is “when will we eat?” then we have missed the entire reason for having the Seder. Judaism is a way of life that prods us to ask questions. The Talmud, housing our Oral Torah, is replete with questioning. So much of the Seder contains different practices to stimulate our children to ask: “Mah Nishtanah,...Read more...

Official Purim Decree

02/27/2014 11:30:35 AM



AND IT HAS COME TO PASS IN THE CONGREGATION B’NAI JACOB  that a decree has been issued that the holiday of Purim shall be observed with joy and gladness, the evening after Shabbat, Saturday, March 15th and on Sunday, March 16th.

LET THERE BE the reading of the Megillah, the singing of songs, the attirement in costumes, and the booing of Haman, the villain!

AND IT HAS BEEN FURTHER DECREED that all...

The True Impact of What We Do

12/31/2013 10:51:10 AM


Here is a story from the Talmud, which relates to life and to Tu B'shvat. 

In the Talmud, Taanit 23 a-b, we find the following: 

Once it happened that the greater part of the month of Adar had gone and yet no rain had fallen. The people sent a message to Honi the Circle Drawer, Pray that rain may fall. He prayed and no rain fell. He thereupon drew a circle and stood within it in the same way as the prophet Habakuk...Read more...

The Little Known Observance

12/27/2013 09:47:19 AM


We are celebrating the last days of Chanukah through December 5th. When you first receive this bulletin, I want to repeat a Chag Chanukah Sameach, a happy Chanukah from Penny and me.

Of course, everyone knows about Chanukah! What is not so well known is the commemoration occurring on Friday, December 13th. It is the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tevet, and is a fast day. Why was this fast fixed into the Jewish calendar, despite it being...Read more...

                    6, 7, 8, Let Us Celebrate!

11/05/2013 11:11:57 AM


Rebbetzin Penny and I wish you Chanukah Sameach, a very happy Chanukah!

Most people know so much about the history and the story of Chanukah. In this article I want to go beyond these and focus on the power of eight!

I am indebted to Rabbi Avraham Sutton for the core of this idea. [The article NIFLAOT #2, printed in Ascent Quarterly #37.] He reminds us that the main mitzvah of Chanukah is the lighting of the Menorah. The...Read more...

Tu B'Shevat: An Opportunity To Tase Gan Eden

12/29/2012 07:42:13 PM


As I was shopping in a grocery store, a man approached me.  Noticing my kippah, he queried: "May I ask you a question about Judaism?"  Since it was still Hanukkah, I thought he would be inquiring about the holiday's observance.  Instead, he asked "Where in Fort Wayne can I obtain some really good lox?  You know, like they have in New York!"  (By the way, if you know a good answer, let me know!)

Although...

Clarifying Confusion

10/29/2012 08:46:21 PM


I am always thrilled when you ask me questions about Torah.  It is with so much pleasure and joy that I, as your Rabbi, love to teach Torah.

Here are queries that have been asked me recently.  I hope you enjoy reading them and my responses; perhaps you will add your own questions.

The first question: Is there a difference between Shabbat and Chagim (holidays) as far as what we should refrain from doing?

The...

August 2012

07/31/2012 07:39:48 PM


Mom used to come to Fort Wayne for Pesach.  Many of you met her.  She enjoyed Yom Tov and she enjoyed you.

It will now be almost two months since my mother died.  During this time period, so many of you have reached and given Penny and me comfort.  There were those of you who sent cards or an email of condolence.  There were those of you who contacted me by phone.  You gave me a gift of your...Read more...

May 2012

04/27/2012 03:41:25 PM




Dear B'nai Jacob Family, As we approach the celebration of our congregation's centennial, we will place more about our history in forthcoming bulletins. Our Aron Kodesh, our holy ark, is our sanctuary's focal point and the channel of the congregation's religious worship. We are including its history, as well as a description of its message.   The ark is a...Read more...

From The Archives

04/09/2012 01:50:10 AM


Need an uplifting story?  This originally appeared in the November 2010 newsletter.  But it's a story worth telling again.


Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782