CBI’s Mission & By-Laws
In June 2017, a revision of the organization’s by-laws was adopted by the CBI membership.
Please Click here to view them.
Over 100 years ago, a group of Jews who had settled in Northampton founded Congregation B’nai Israel with this stated purpose, still contained in our By-Laws:
The objectives of this Congregation shall be to maintain a synagogue, religious schools, a cemetery, and such additional educational, religious, social, and recreational activities as will tend to strengthen Jewish life.
It is a simple, prosaic mission statement, with profound implications. Each generation following the founders has striven to strengthen Jewish life in Northampton while also recognizing that we live in and are affected by events and societal changes in the larger world. Maintaining our synagogue and our educational and social programs has meant continually adapting to the changing needs and desires of our congregation, while holding fast to the Jewish ideals and values that have sustained our people for thousands of years.
Today, CBI serves its diverse, multi-generational congregation of approximately 400 families by providing multiple entryways into a Jewish life. On Shabbat, we house a traditional, Conservative service, a variety of alternative services, children’s services and an Orthodox minyan. Our educational programs for children and youth include Gan Keshet, our pre-school (often a gateway to synagogue membership for young families), religious school for K through 7th grades, middle and high school programs, and a madrachim (teaching assistant) program for teens.
We are blessed to count among our members scholars, rabbis and others with a particular body of knowledge, some nationally known, who share their gifts by teaching in our adult education program. Other opportunities for learning include our Scholar-In-Residence program and year-long series of programs on such topics as Maimonides and Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Members of our synagogue have demonstrated a deep and abiding interest in matters of social justice, in issues of conscience and in doing their part to repair the world. CBI members also care for each other as they would for members of their own families. Both through our Bikkur Holim Committee and through less formal networks, members provide support for troubled individuals or families, such as visiting or bringing meals to the sick, driving people to medical appointments and giving comfort in difficult times.
CBI is led and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose members devote significant time and energy to ensuring that our synagogue is run efficiently and cost-effectively. We have an endowment fund of relatively recent vintage which, while not large, has grown at a steady rate. It provides a regular, modest stream of income to the synagogue’s annual operating budget. However, ever-rising costs, particularly of fixed expenses such as insurance and utilities, and the escalating demands of our aging building, have inevitably led to significant increases in dues. A larger endowment will produce more revenue for CBI, thus keeping membership affordable. More endowment revenue will allow for continued and enhanced programming that attracts new members and engages existing members and will make it easier to maintain our synagogue in both a physical and a metaphysical sense.
Our founders created CBI, worshipped together, educated their children, built a building, all with an eye towards the future of Judaism both in Northampton and in the world. Individuals and families join the synagogue because they want to nurture their own Jewish souls and because they want to ensure Jewish continuity locally and globally. As CBI looks ahead, our mission is to create and sustain a vibrant Judaism that will secure a Jewish future in a rapidly changing world while continuing to nourish and inspire the Jewish souls of our congregational family.
In June 2015, a revision of the organization’s by-laws was adopted by the CBI membership. Please Click here to view them.