The Latest from BZBI

Repairing the World with Rosalie

March 4, 2019

Our thriving congregation is built on the involvement of dedicated community members and volunteers, who are both the reason we exist and the reason we strive to maintain this community for many years to come. This year, March is Congregant Appreciation Month. We will take time each week to profile a BZBI member and their story.

We are opening this month of appreciation with Rosalie Kurz, our Tikkun Olam Community Co-Chair and the leader behind BZBI’s Library Program, where BZBI members volunteer at Stephen Girard Elementary School to introduce books to the students, read to them, and to clean the library as well as improve its collection. Rosalie is committed to improving the world through hard work and by making positive connections wherever she can.

Rosalie’s seven year journey at BZBI began when she married her husband, long-time BZBI member Joseph Klein, and moved to Philadelphia from Toronto. Becoming involved in the BZBI community was easy. She began by helping out in committees, starting with the SICHA committee, and became a dedicated Mussar student. It sparked an instant feeling of belonging for Rosalie. “There was no question from the first day I stepped in,” she’ll tell you, “I loved what the shul wanted to accomplish.”

Rosalie has been volunteering at BZBI from the beginning, but she recently found her place as the Tikkun Olam co-chair (sharing the position with another illustrious volunteer, Alyssa Bailkin), where she helps with all of BZBI’s efforts to repair the world. However, Rosalie wanted a project that could utilize her skills and experience. Before she moved to Philadelphia she had been a teacher for more than 30 years, and she admits, “always in the back of my mind I was thinking, what can I do for and with children.”

Rosalie found inspiration in Society Hill Synagogue’s work with Vare Washington Elementary School’s Library, where they had made a real lasting impact by building a library and by kindling a love of reading in the students. She wanted BZBI to be able to extend this blessing to more students in Philadelphia’s many underfunded schools. Through the SHS program she met Evelyn Eskin who connected her to Stephen Girard Elementary, located at 18th and Snyder, a K-4th Grade school that had a library in desperate need of a little loving-kindness. She knew she’d found a match.

Since this idea first emerged last year, Rosalie has been hard at work making it a reality. Just as she had worked to help others repair the world, our community has returned the kindness. Through the BZBI community she has found a few “wonderful, beautiful people” who read books to the children, sing songs, and teach them to love reading. In order to stock this library, she has reached out to our Neziner Hebrew School students, who have donated many books. Every day she works on this project is a joy to Rosalie, who will tell you she “walks out of there on a cloud each time!”

We are so grateful for Rosalie, who works so hard to make the world a better place. Our community wouldn’t be what it is without people like her and we are happy to be the community that supports her in this work.

You can help us sustain this valuable community through our Annual Campaign. Contributing to our synagogue allows us to create spaces for people to meet, connect, and leave a positive impact on the world.

If you’d like to learn more about our Library Program, which is always looking for volunteers to help teach or organize the library at Stephen Girard, check here.