CAI Trip to see Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish in New York City on June 2nd

We have set up a trip to see Fiddler on the Roof. This is an absolutely fabulous production, in Yiddish with English supertitles. Produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, this production had a recent sold out run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and is now moving to Stage 42, on 42nd Street, NYC. We have reserved a block of seats for Sunday matinee, June 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM. The cost for group orchestra seats is $109.00.


Please call Maryjean at (845) 562-5604 if you would like to reserve a seat. Seats must be paid for by May 15, 2019.



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Congregation Agudas Israel Speaker Series

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Rabbi Cella leads CAI for the 2019 World Wide Wrap

On Sunday, February 3rd, Rabbi Cella led the morning minyon in participating in the 2019 World Wide Wrap. First timers learned how to put on Tefillin with the help of our experienced congregants. After services, we enjoyed a delicious brunch along with additional learning on the ritual of Tefillin.

Downtown Bagels and Miracle Bagels are now certified Kosher (parve)

Shalom to the Members of Congregation Agudas Israel and the Jewish community of Newburgh and Friends Near and Wide:

We are pleased to advise you that our community now has freshly baked kosher bagels (pareve).

The production is supervised on a regular basis by Rabbi Moshe Edelman, one of our rabbis, to assure you of a quality product and to ensure you of a guaranteed standard of Jewish dietary acceptance.

From the flour to the making of the dough; from the dough to the bagel presentation (twisting); from the boiling of the bagels (in a dedicated huge pot) to their baking (in a special bagel only oven); every ingredient is under strict “HASHGACHA”, rabbinic supervision, in factories and on location Look for our certificate of supervision in the stores.

Please shop at Downtown Bagels located in the Mid Valley Mall 47 North Plank Rd, Suite 10 in Newburgh and Miracle Bagels 372 Windsor Hwy, New Windsor.


“I Never Really Did Like Kool -Aid: My Fifty Year Journey from Jesus to the Rabbinate”. 

Spend a lively social evening with Rabbi Margie Cella and hear her fascinating story:

“I Never Really Did Like Kool -Aid: My Fifty Year Journey from Jesus to the Rabbinate”.

Many of you have been asking to hear the story of Rabbi Cella’s journey to Judaism along with her husband and children, and then her continued journey which led her to the rabbinate. She promises you will not be bored!

We will gather at the Rabbinage for wine and cheese, hear this unusual story and enjoy coffee and cake. Please RSVP to the office at (845) 562-5604 .

PJ library

Looking forward to offering our thanks with PJ library tomorrow at 10:30am in the Copans Library. We will start with Havdalah, do a craft, sing songs, read PJ library books and have coffee for the grownups and donuts for everyone! Hope you have as much fun as we do!


Good afternoon.  I’m always looking for new ways of reaching our community.  Here is a reminder to go vote today with a connection to this week’s parsha.  It’s one take, so I can’t edit it, but you get the point.

Second Sundays continue!

On November 12 we will have Jen Glantz.  You can read about her here:

It will be a blast!


Second Sundays

What do you do on Sunday?  After the blessing of Shabbat do you run around and get all your errands done before another workweek begins?

At Congregation Agudas Israel, we are turning the SECOND SUNDAY of the month into a very special social day.  Each month we have a new activity, movie, author, topic, and of course, SNACKS!

In September, we learned about babka with Shannon Sarna.  In November, we will talk with Jen Glantz about her hilarious book, Always a Bridesmaid–for hire!

No one left our October event hungry.  We screened the Deli Man movie and brought in kosher deli.  Who can beat that?

Also starting in November will be a PJ Library program on Second Sunday mornings.  We aim to keep you busy and connected!

Wishing you a wonderful week.  Shavua tov!


Rosh Hashanah is coming, but first Selichot!

Sephardic Jews begin their preparations for Rosh Hashanah when Elul begins.  In addition to the daily blasts of the shofar, they begin waking up early and reciting Selichot, prayers of forgiveness and atonement.  They ask the Holy One to remember Her conversation with Moshe after the golden calf, to remember the 13 attributes of mercy, that Gd is gracious, merciful, forgiving of sin, etc., etc.

Ashkenazi Jews also blow the shofar every morning, but they do not begin their Selichot until the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah (most years).

This year, my colleague Rabbi Freedman of Temple Beth Jacob, Stefanie Kostenblatt of Newburgh JCC, and I (Rabbi Philip Weintraub) of Congregation Agudas Israel, wanted to figure out how to inspire more people this time of year.  How do we get people excited for Rosh Hashanah, while also considering a public response to the growing hatred and violence in our nation and around the world?  How can we speak out against hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamic, anti-LGBTQ, anti-American, and even Nazi/KKK propaganda? After some brainstorming, we decided that Selichot was an incredible opportunity, a tremendous gift.  It was already a time for repentance, to discuss areas of growth.  If we opened that to the community, we could find new ways of talking about race, hope, love and their opposites in this country.

We invited everyone we could think of, but until they started coming in, we did not know what our numbers would look like.  Approximately 200 people from across the City of Newburgh and its surrounding municipalities came.  We saw Mayor Kennedy, City Councilpeople and Town officials.  It was a truly pluralistic event.  We had a gospel choir from Ebenezer Baptist Church.  And the words from their Senior Pastor, Bruce Davis, Sr. were incredible.  He used the Bible to teach an important message of appropriate outrage AND cooperation.

Chaplain Patt Kauffman joined us on the 16th anniversary of her ordination and her reading of the Psalms was truly inspiring.




We heard a message of love and peace from Imam Rashada, of Masjid Al-Ikles in Newburgh.

I think it was probably the first time on our bimah we heard the Muslim Call to Worship AND a song about Jesus.  Some might find that theologically challenging, but to me, it is a tremendous blessing.  We shared our space with our friends and neighbors.  We called out to Gd and created a sacred moment.  We did not try to blend our traditions, but to hear from the best of all of them.  We learned about one another and saw the beautiful parallels we share.


We heard voices from the Catholic tradition, saw friends in all sorts of elegant clerical garb, and truly reflected on our place in the universe.



While we asked everyone to limit themselves to 6 minutes, I may have used a little more time–but I did try to capture the lessons that each spiritual leader had shared before me.

My words from tonight's incredible evening.

Posted by Rabbi Philip Weintraub on Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rabbi Freedman got us all to think about the Al-Chet, and what we should be asking forgiveness for today. His reminder that we all need to be a bit more “uppity”, that we must not stand by when we hear racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, or any other hurtful -ism brought people to their feet.

I didn’t list everyone here, but it was a beautiful night.  Many thanks to Stefanie Kostenblatt and Rabbi Larry Freedman for their organizational abilities, beautiful teachings and cooperation in this beautiful night.  As I go into the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days, I am inspired, uplifted and sure that through our cooperation, we can do amazing work.  Our country is a very special place, where people can come from all different backgrounds, faiths, and traditions and work together to build community.   Hallelujah!

Thank you very much to Caryn Sobel for her beautiful photography.