Worship lets us REFRESH our spiritual lives.
Working together to RESTORE our Jewish community.
As a congregation we aim to REFUEL our Jewish way of life.

Working to Preserve Jewish Tradition

The mission of this congregation is to cultivate the tenets of Reform Judaism through prayer, worship, study, fellowship and good works. In pursuit of this, we commit ourselves to ongoing innovation, seeking new challenges and continually evaluating our progress and results while building and sustaining an environment necessary to realize our mission.


Annual Meeting - Committee Reports

For the benefit of members who could not make the annual meeting,  committee reports can be had by sending a request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Shabbat Morning Services

At the Annual Meeting it was voted to continue the Shabbat morning servicdes. First Saturday each month at 10:30.


Don't forget, no Erev Shabbat service the night before. Take the opportunity to have a Shabbat dinner with family or friends.


Jacob Stern - February 7, 1924 - August 27, 2013

Jacob Stern was born during a blizzard on Staten Island NY on Feb. 7, 1924. His parents were Herman and Lillie Stern, who brought their first four children--3 daughters and a son--to the USA on the US Copenhagen in 1922. Jacob was their "New World" baby--and his arrival made Lillie happy for the first time since coming to America. Lillie and Herman had to leave their parents behind in Poland and did not know if they would ever see them again. Unfortunately, Jacob never had the opportunity to meet or know his grandparents. 

Jacob was raised in an orthodox, kosher home, attended public schools on Staten Island, and of course Cheder on certain days after regular school. He was given a new suit to wear and taken out for an ice cream cone when he was 13 and called to the Torah for the first time. Jacob's father worked at a lumber yard on Staten Island and eventually bought out his partner. Jacob learned a lot about wood in those days, but neither he nor his brother were interested in a lumber yard career.

Jacob graduated from Staten Island's Curtis High School and shortly thereafter entered the U. S. Army Air Corps where he was trained in sheet metal repair, and was then sent to Italy on a liberty ship to repair damage to planes returning from bombing runs.  After World War II he settled in Detroit Michigan where he became a machinist and attended college on the GI Bill. During his years in Detroit, he married and became a father to his first two children--Sam and Anita. Jacob eventually earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from Wayne state University.  Most of Jacob's professional career was with the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and he retired from there in 1984 as Associate Professor Emeritus. Jacob and Marilyn were married in 1971 and their children--Daniel and Lili-Marguerite were both born in Champaign. Daniel and Lili attended Religious School and Hebrew School in Champaign. 

Having been born and raised on Staten Island, Jacob saw lots of boats and Marilyn used to tease him that his first love was a tug boat. No wonder that he developed a passion for wooden boats and built two of them for his family to sail. It was that interest that brought the Sterns to Oriental, North Carolina. Daniel and Lili were 10 and 11 when the family moved to Oriental and joined Temple B'nai Sholem. A wrinkle in furthering their religious education was that New Bern had no rabbi or Sunday School. Temple B'nai Sholem did have an arrangement with the Reform Temple in Kinston and their rabbi. The Stern's schlepped from Oriental to Kinston (60 miles each way) several times a month.  Rabbi Robert Shafran officiated at the children's bar/bat mitzvah ceremony which was held in this sanctuary 38 years ago on Sept.7, 1985. At that time worship services were held here on two Tuesday evenings a month October through June and were led by the rabbi from Kinston. 

At that time many of the businesses on Middle Street were owned and operated by Jewish members of the congregation; but just as Herman Stern's sons were not interested in working at their father's lumber yard, the children of New Bern's merchants also chose to move on. This lovely area on the coast of North Carolina and this beautiful little Temple were being discovered by middle-aged Jews looking for a place to retire. Thanks to the Goldman, Howard, Lipman,  Orringer, Steinberg and Vatz famiiles, Temple B'nai Sholem did not have to close its doors as did Temple's in Goldsboro, Tarboro and Jacksonville. In 1997, under the sponsorship of Rabbi James Apple,  Jacob and Marilyn completed the Reform movement's Para-Rabbinic Fellows program at Hebrew Union College in Cinncinatti to prepare themselves to lead High Holy Day services, and officiate at life-cycle events. It was Jacob's leadership that prompted re-opening our religious school, starting a Temple newsletter and forming a Chevrah Kadisha. 

Jacob was very specific about what he wanted done at the time of his death and made sure they were in writing and well communicated to Marilyn and his family. He wanted there to be a graveside service within 24 hours of his death and specified who he wanted to conduct the service and who he wanted to play taps. He asked that the traditions of covering the mirrors and sitting shiva for seven nights be observed. When asked who he wanted to conduct his Memorial Service, he said " I want Rabbi Marilyn to plan but not conduct it.  He asked that memorial service be held as soon as possible but not before all the children could be present.  Fortunately, none of them were out of the country last week and were all able to be at his bedside to express their love and say their goodbyes while he could still respond to them and litterally just moments before he took his last breath. In addition to his children, his dedicated Hospice of Pamlico's caregivers were also present. 

As you might imagine, the newcomers were not interested in attending Temple on Tuesday evenings. So, one of the oldtimers-Lou Steinberg--and one of the newcomers--Jacob Stern-- decided to try holding lay led Friday evening services once a month. The idea caught on. When Lou died, more of the newcomers stepped up to the plate.

Jacob was active in his community as well as his Temple. He worked with the caring carpenters to build wheelchair ramps, was a charter member of the Oriental Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, was the founding President of the Pamlico County Education Foundation, recieved the NC Governor's Volunteer Award in 1989 and in 1994 was selected as Citizen of the Year by the Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce. 

Zikhrono livrakah -May his memory be for a blessing.




Our Current News - The Shofar

Click here to view our latest issue of The Shofar - our bi-monthly newsletter.




scroll Torah

Our Link to The Holocaust

We are honored to have one of the Holocaust Torahs in our safekeeping. Ours is one of three from the town of Trebon in the Czech Republic. During the Holocaust, the 87 Jews living in Trebon and its surrounding villages were transported in about 1939 to the Terezin concentration camp, and none survived. To read about the amazing recovery of all these Torah, click this link.   We also have on display in our Temple four paintings by Temple member Paul Field depicting the struggle for life in a concentration camp. Both of these bring a special meaning to our observance of Yom Hashoah.
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Tikkun olam

This Hebrew phrase best translates as healing and restoring the world. It suggests humanity's shared responsibility with the Creator "to heal, repair and transform the world."   Led by Mitch Lewis, many of our congregation are helping to raise awareness of the genocide and strife in Darfur through the One Million Bones project. For more information use this link.


Kindness is valued by religious Jews and is seen as the foundation of particular interpersonal commandments and of a variety of communal institutions. The tannaic rabbi Simon the Just taught: "The world rests upon three things: "Torah, service to God, and bestowing kindness" (Pirkei Avot 1:2).   In addition to individual acts of kindness, our Temple has a community outreach program to provide visitation to elderly Jews unable to attend services. This is staffed by two RNs and funded through the BJH Foundation for Senior Services. We also support the New Bern RCS food pantry and soup kitchen through donations of food and monetary contributions. Our Chevra Kadisha is available in times of need.

URJ News

Upcoming Events


Jul.25.2014 7:30pm
Erev Shabbat Service


Aug.02.2014 10:30am
Shabbat Service


Aug.06.2014 7:00pm
Men's Club


Aug.08.2014 7:30pm
Erev Shabbat Service


Aug.11.2014 12:30pm
Sisterhood Meeting


Aug.15.2014 7:30pm
Erev Shabbat Service