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Deep Roots Build Strong Communities

B’nai Israel Living History Synagogue hosts their inaugural event as an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Signature Synagogue on April 2nd at 12:00 PM. ‘Deep Roots Make Strong Communities’ is a free lunchtime event open to all. Dr. Mary-Beth Muskin (B’nai Israel Board Member & Lead Museum Curator) will host ADL guests Trent Spoolstra (Assistant Regional Director, ADL Midwest) and Harmon Maples (ADL Nebraska Community Engagement Manager ) for an informal conversation about Jewish migration in America and how it relates to our local community and the broader history of antisemitism.


This event launches B’nai Israel’s partnership with ADL in the hopes of better connecting the past and present. The three-chair discussion invites the public to participate, as well. “We not only want to help contextualize how ADL fits into the historic narrative of Jewish migration,” says Dr. Muskin, “but also engage directly with Trent and Harmon’s expertise discussing the current rise in antisemitism since the October 7th attack on Israel.”


Dr. Muskin looks at this as, “an opportunity to continue nourishing the longstanding relationship between our community and ADL at a time when those bonds have never been more important. B’nai Israel’s focus in becoming a Living History Synagogue is not to showcase the past by simply preserving its legacy behind glass—but to allow everyone to interact with it in a modern way. In a way that gives us strength, hope, and determination for what lies ahead.”


According to Mr. Spoolstra, ADL hopes to build more meaningful relationships within the community through the Signature Synagogue Series providing real-time resources to mitigate antisemitism on the local level and offer better access to key ADL programs and staff to help serve the congregations (and thereby communities) of Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa.


“This is an excellent opportunity for collaboration between ADL and B’nai Israel Synagogue,” reflects Mr. Harmon. “B’nai Israel is the oldest continuous synagogue in the metropolitan area and ADL has been fighting anti-Semitism for over 110 years. Our collective history overlaps on many different levels and we look forward to exploring this history as well as future opportunities together.”   


A light lunch will be provided, and the event will take place in B’nai Israel Living History Synagogue’s Community Room at 618 Mynster Street in Council Bluffs.


RSVP for the “Deep Roots Make Strong Communities” program through B’nai’s website:


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