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Tzedek, Tzedek

Congregation B’nai Tzedek celebrates 40 years

Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley kicked off its 40th anniversary celebration on September 2 with a special service featuring all five rabbis who have served the congregation over the years: Founding Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus Stephen J. Einstein; Rabbi Richard Ettelson, who filled in while Rabbi Einstein was on sabbatical in 1991 and 1998; Rabbi Rebecca Schorr, Rabbi Einstein’s daughter and CBT’s former assistant rabbi, 2006-2011; Rabbi Mark Kaiserman, interim rabbi after Rabbi Einstein’s retirement in June 2012; and Rabbi David N. Young, CBT’s current rabbi since July 2013.

“I recall how excited I was when I awoke on the first Friday of September in 1976,” Rabbi Einstein said. “A group of young idealists had been planning all summer to create a new synagogue–a Congregation of the People, preaching and practicing the principle of justice. They called themselves B’nai Tzedek, and they had called me to be their rabbi. That night was to be our very first Shabbat service.”

He continued, “Now this congregation — which has grown and thrived and touched so many lives — gathers together again on the First Friday in September to begin a series of celebrations marking four decades. The 40th Anniversary Committee, chaired by Rose Lesser and Debbie Biebelberg, decided to honor our five rabbis at this celebratory service. This is most fitting, as our membership has always understood the sacred partnership between congregation and rabbi, and the Judaic value of K’vod Ha-Rav has been an intrinsic part of our culture.”

Rabbi David N. Young created a special service for the occasion, which he led with Cantorial Soloist Jenna Sagan, accompanied by Katheryn Klein, who has musically supported the congregation’s worship for the past 15 years.

The September 2 service was the first of five special services, continuing through February 2017. Others include: October 21, 2016 — “Social” Action; November 18, 2016 — The Music of CBT; December 23, 2016 — Education at CBT, with former and current teachers and former students of CBT; and February 3, 2017 — The Future of CBT, featuring the students of Stephen J. Einstein Religious School.

The centerpiece of the celebration will be a gala on Saturday, October 22, at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. In addition to dinner and dancing, the affair will include a slide show covering 40 years at CBT and featuring favorite photos from members of the congregation. Parodies of songs dating from 1976 to the present will be another highlight.

Congregants also painted “legacy tiles” to go on a wall in the outdoor meditation area.

For more information, contact or visit Congregation B’nai Tzedek at 9669 Talbert Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; (714) 963-4611;