Astoria Center of Israel sanctuary (Photo © Mark Milch) The murals, by Louis Pierre Rigal, were inspired by the Pirkei Avot, Chapter 5, Verse 23, where Rabbi Judah Ben Tema says: "Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion, to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven".



Astoria Center of Israel is an egalitarian synagogue that maintains a conservative Jewish tradition and is built around a warm, wonderful group of people that embraces a wide variety of perspectives on Judaism in a joyful and inclusive community.
Everyone is welcome--visit our next service!



27-35 Crescent Street, Astoria (Queens), New York 718-278-2680
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The Potluck Dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat scedhuled for March 6 has been cancelled, Join us March 13 for the Shabbat Across America dinner (see below).

Coming Shabbat weekend March 13 & 14 is the annual Shabbat Across America dinner and Shabbaton. Join us for 25 hours of song, spirit, learning, nature, fun, food and more! Experience a special spirited and spiritual Shabbat at ACI with Friday's Shabbat-Across-America Kosher catered dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat Service with special musical program, then join us Saturday for a full day of Shabbat activities, with music, dancing, learning, praying, spirit and song! More details and schedule coming soon!

You can help bring the beauty of Shabbat to as wide a community possible! As in past years, ACI's Shabbat-Across-America and Shabbaton are in part subsidized by generous sponsors, who make a donation of $50 (or above) so that this special Shabbat experience can be enjoyed by as many in the community as possible. If you wish to do so, please go to click the "Donate" button to contribute by Paypal, or contact the ACI office (718-278-2680).

ACI is pleased to announce the start of our Weekday Hebrew School. ACI and its Hebrew School offer a warm, supportive, and lively Jewish atmosphere for children to gain an exciting awareness of Jewish life and to foster and strengthen their Jewish identity. The Hebrew School provides an opportunity for fellowship and friendship in an environment that nurtures students and families and encourages active participation. Click HERE to visit the Hebrew School page for more information.

Remember the wonderful Ba'alat Mitzvah ceremony? Want to be a part of a new class of adults studying with Rabbi Pearl for this special experience of learning, spirituality and meaning? SIGN UP NOW FOR THIS SPECIAL ADULT BA'ALAT MITZVAH CLASS! A new class is currently in formation and will be starting soon. To register (or if you have any questions), please contact Rabbi Pearl. This is a great opportunity for ACI members who have never had a bat mitzvah, never read from the Torah, and/or want to take a step up to a deeper level of Jewish learning and meaning.

Astoria Center of Israel Hebrew School and education news. Our renewed Hebrew school, which has been growing over the past few years, has expanded yet again—with more teachers, more students, and more class time! Classes are starting up this year in mid-September; call the office for more info and to register. There will also be special services and sessions for youngsters over the High Holidays, including Junior Congregation & Children/Family Corners with Lisa Goldberg and with Rabbi Pearl.

Ongoing Adult Hebrew classes. Native Israelis and ACI members Alona and Shlomo Shevach teach a weekly, introductory Hebrew class, covering reading, writing, and conversation. This class is free to all ACI members (but you must pre-register, and seriously intend to regularly attend classes.) To registers call (718-278-2680) or email astoriashul[at] the ACI office. Non-members also welcome - contact the ACI office regarding registration and fees.

You can raise funds for the Astoria Center of Israel when you order items from Amazon! Simply go to -- and ACI will receive a small percentage of your Amazon order! On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization (ACI) to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation to ACI.

Buy The Keys to Fanny by ACI member Sally Constain. Another delightful way to raise funds for ACI and to recognize the accomplishment of one of our many talented ACI members is to purchase the recently published novel by Sally Constain. The Keys to Fanny is an engaging and wonderful novel geared for young readers, but which everyone will enjoy. Signed copies are available in the ACI office for $10, with profits donated to ACI. Mazal tov and thank you to Sally!

Get beautiful items at our gift shop. Judaica, housewares, chochkas, and fine gifts - both modern and retro are available - all at incredibly reasonable prices (a 'steal' actually!) Need a house-warming gift, a birthday item, or a token of appreciation for a deserving friend, colleague, or mentor? Look no further than our ACI gift shop, where you'll find one-of-a-kind items, and all money from sales goes to ACI! Items have been recently moving off the shelves - so come get yours before it disappears! (For assistance with the gift shop, or questions, contact Elaine Lindenblatt or Judy Pearl) The gift shop is located in the lobby showcase and the social hall showcase on the lower level.

After 25 years of conscientious service as Ritual Committee Chairman, Mark Sohmer has retired. We will, however, look forward to seeing him in his customary seat at services, and at ACI events.
Mark arrived in Astoria at the auspicious age of three months. He is a graduate of our Hebrew School and became a bar mitzvah in 1961. With bachelors and masters degrees in marketing from Baruch College, he worked as an import customs broker.
At ACI Mark is a former Chairman of the Board. As Ritual Chair he prepared the Schedule of Services that you see on p. 2 in every bulletin. In fact, his was always one of the first items submitted each month. He also handled the distributing of aliyahs and ark openings year round, prepared the list of announcements at services, and had the time-consuming job of creating the entire High Holiday schedule of honors.
Mark comes from a long tradition of service to ACI. His parents, Sarah & Hy, were active volunteers and fundraisers. Sarah also brought her crackerjack memory to the position of office secretary here for 20 years.
We thank Mark for a job well done, and wish him continuing worthy deeds in good health. Says Mark, “It’s been an honor to serve the synagogue all these years.” The honor has been ours.

Astoria Center of Israel receives grant for restoration - Historic news for ACI. As Rabbi Pearl writes in his December, 2013 column, "On October 16, as reported in the Queens Gazette, we came together to publicly announce that Illya Azaroff’s design firm had been hired, that a $200,000 grant from the Conservancy and the David Berg Foundation had been activated, and that the estate gift of $50,000 from Dorothy Horowitz – thanks to Sydelle Diner– made the grant match possible." CLICK HERE TO READ THE COVERAGE ON THE QUEENS CHRONICLE WEBSITE.

Sign your child up for free Jewish books from the PJ Library. PJ LIBRARY IS A JEWISH FAMILY ENGAGEMENT program implemented on a local level throughout North America, mailing free, high-quality Jewish children's literature and music to families across the continent on a monthly basis. All families raising Jewish children from age six months of age through five, six, seven or eight years (depending on the community) are welcome to sign up on the Astoria Center of Israel page of the PJ Library Website.

The ACI Cookbook is heating up! Co-chairs Gina Friedlander and Zahava Alter ask you to submit recipes to us at Recipe forms are available from the information table in the synagogue lobby. You can also download the form - right-click on your mouse and choose 'save as' to download the form in Word format or click HERE to download the form in PDF format. You're encouraged to submit 3 or 4 favorites and we'll include as many as possible. The more creative, them-based, or holiday, the better. And make sure they're kosher! Please address any questions to Thanks for your help!


All events are at the Astoria Center of Israel unless otherwise noted. All events are at the Astoria Center of Israel unless otherwise noted. Events may be cancelled due to weather conditions. Check this website for cancellation notices.

Shabbat services are every Saturday beginning at 9:30 am.

Purim Carvival
Date: Sunday, March 1
Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Cost: No charge for ACI members Non-member adults $10 pp; kids free

Adult Ba'alat Mitzvah Graduate Seminar
Date: Tuesday, March 3
Time: 6:30 pm - 7:15pm

Megillah Reading
Date: Wednesday, March 4
Time: 6:30 pm

Potluck Dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, March 6
Time: Potluck at 6:15 pm, service at 7:00 pm

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am

Shabbat Across America Dinner
Date: Friday, March 13
Time: To Be Announced
Cost: To Be Announced

Date: Saturday, March 14
Time: To be announced

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, March 14
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, April 18
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, April 25
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, May 9
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am

Tot Shabbat
Date: Saturday, June 6
Time: 10:45 am - 11:30 am


For complete details see our EVENTS page.

  Parents Cooperative If anyone has infants or toddlers and would like to participate in a Parents class please contact Judy Markowitz at or Judy Pearl at for additional information and upcoming events.



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