The April 19 board meeting for Beth Israel along the Mississippi Gulf Coast was anything but routine.

Over three and one-half years since Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, rendering the Beth Israel building in Biloxi unusable, the congregation met in its own building for the first time.
Also, a dedication weekend for the building on Three Rivers Road in Gulfport has been set for Shavuot at the end of May.

Before the April 19 meeting, congregants took part in a mezuzah hanging in the building. Rabbi Ira Flax officiated as mezuzahs donated by the Goldin family were placed on the front and back doors, and a third mezuzah — salvaged from the previous building — was placed at the entrance to what will be the library.

The Shavuot evening service of May 28, commemorating the time when the Jewish people received the Torah, will be a Torah processional into the new building. A light nosh will be served, and the evening will conclude with an ice cream social.

On May 29 at 7:30 p.m., children of the congregation will participate in the Shabbat service. Shabbat morning services will be on May 30 at 10 a.m. with a luncheon following.
On May 31, there will be a congregational meeting and elections at 2 p.m., followed by a barbecue and open house at 3 p.m.

Since the hurricane, Beth Israel has been housed at Beauvoir United Methodist Church in Biloxi.
In June, the congregation is hosting a benefit, the Mississippi Gulf Coast International Food and Wine Tasting at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Biloxi.

A dinner and dance will also be held in the fall to celebrate the new building.

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