1545 Bushkill Street
Easton, PA 18042
Phone: (610) 258-5343
Fax: (610) 330-9100
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Service Schedule

Thursday, 7:25 am
Minyan

Friday, 8:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Services

Saturday, 9:30 am
Shabbat Morning Services

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Jewish WeddingFrom weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to business functions and lectures, our facility is a great setting and location for your special occasion.
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Synagogue office is closed on Mondays and Fridays. Hours open: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

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Religious School

BAS Religious School welcomes all children ages 1-8th grade to enrolll in 2009-2010 program. Everyone is welcome.
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BAS Rabbi's Message

Rabbi's Message Archive

August, 2014

In 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh recruited a mining expert—Joachim Gans—to help establish a permanent settlement in the Virginia territory. When Gans arrived in the New World, he became the first Jew to set foot in Colonial America. Why, then, is the founding of the North American Jewish community dated seventy years later, in 1654?

In the decades subsequent to Gans’ arrival, Jews continued to arrive in the new world in small numbers. In 1654, though, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, some twenty-four Sephardic Jews arrived from the Netherlands and settled in New Amsterdam. In that same year, they founded congregation Shearith Israel—today the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue in New York (The congregation moved many times in its history--so while the Touro Synagogue in Newport is the oldest edifice, Shearith Israel is the oldest congregation). We date the establishment of the Jewish community in America to the first time when it was feasible for Jews to pray in a minyan. Throughout our history, coming together to pray as a community has been the measure of our viability. Without a minyan, a couple cannot be married. A bris cannot be held. Kaddish cannot be recited.

In the few short years I’ve been in Easton, I’ve heard many people discuss what the function of the synagogue should be. Perhaps we should shorten services, or have more social programming, or include more music in our functions. All of these suggestions, though, address the symptoms, not the underlying condition: we are so busy (myself included) that we don’t always know how to make communal prayer a meaningful priority in our life. They remind of words Rabbi Heschel addressed to the Rabbinical Assembly sixty years ago:

That we sensed that this is a problem is evidenced by the many valiant but futile attempts to deal with it. The problem, namely, of how to increase synagogue attendance. A variety of suggestions have been made, e.g., to bring the siddur up to date by composing shorter and better prayers; to invite distinguished speakers, radio-commentators and columnists, to arrange congregational forums, panels and symposia; to celebrate annual projects such as "Jewish Culture Sabbath," "Jewish War Veterans Sabbath," "Boy Scouts Sabbath," "Interfaith Sabbath" (why not a "Sabbath Sabbath"?); to install stained glass windows; to place gold, silver or blue pledge-cards on the seats; to remind people of their birthday dates. Well-intentioned as these suggestions may be, they do not deal with the core of the issue: Spiritual problems cannot be solved by administrative techniques. The problem is not how to fill the buildings but how to inspire the hearts.

Ultimately, if our community is to endure, we must address these spiritual challenges together. To the best of my ability, I will continue to try to bring new approaches to prayer and spirituality to our services. There are so many models of exciting prayer in the Jewish world today; we have a chance to experience one of them when we travel to Bnai Jeshurun in New York this month. Hopefully, we can learn and bring back something new to our community. Together, we can work to add spiritual meaning to our prayer; I promise, there is no idea to which I or our ritual committee is not receptive. At the same time, though, our services can only improve if we renew our commitment to attendance. As history has taught us, a community is only regarded as existing when its minyan functions. Hopefully, we will continue to thrive well into the future.

Best Wishes,
Rabbi Stein

Rabbi Stein