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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2017
Tammuz /Av/Elul 5777

Rabbi's Message
President's Message
Shabbat Service
Upcoming Services and Programs at Beth Israel
Shabbat Under The Stars
Community Conservation - a Film by Mark Ireland
Off the Record: Between a Laugh and a Hard Place
Sunshine Committee
Julia Pols
Anna McDougal
Highlights from Hebrew School
Rabbi Maslin Leads Shavout Service
Welcome New Members
Remembrances for July-August 2017
Birthdays and Anniversaries

NOTE: It is our policy that no personal telephone numbers, email addresses or mailing addresses be contained in the web version of our newsletter. If you need to get in touch with one of our members please email us at

Rabbi's Message

by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

I want to begin by telling you how thrilled I am to join the Beth Israel Congregation community in August. My wife, Alyssa and I will be arriving in Bath in late July and look forward to this move with excitement, gratitude and anticipation. Towards that end, I have been thinking over the past few months about finding the balance between attentiveness to the present and anticipating what is to come.

As for the present moment, we find ourselves the midst of the summer, a terrific time for soaking in the present moment. This is the season of cookouts and camp, walks on the beach and waffle cones, shaking the dirt from our gardening gloves and sharing the bounty we've harvested. While I try my best to savor these and other sweet summer moments, my mind inevitably wanders to contemplate and imagine the future. What will the year to come be like?

Judaism has much to offer us when we consider how to both live in the present and plan for the future. A vignette from the life of our ancestor Isaac offers one view. We learn in Genesis chapter 24 verse 63 that Isaac "went out towards evening to stroll in the fields." The Hebrew word "lasuach", translated here as "stroll," is understood by the medieval Rabbis to mean "to meditate" or "to pray." Here, Isaac attempts to focus on the present moment; yet, in the end of that same verse, Isaac looks up and for the first time sees Rebekah, who will become his wife, riding on top of a camel heading towards him. It is precisely in this moment of being present that Isaac is able to glimpse his future life.

This story can provide consolation to the idea that we must either tend to the present or chart the future. Perhaps like Isaac, we can be attentive to both realities, engaged in the current moment while planning for and feeling excitement for what is to come.

My blessing for all of you is that you find a balance this summer of savoring the moment and feeling the excitement of the road ahead. May you enjoy the long summer days, time with family and friends and Shabbat Under the Stars, and at the same time may you feel joy in anticipating what lies before us.

On that note, I greatly look forward to seeing you all in August!

L' Shalom
Rabbi Vinikoor

President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

Summer is officially here which in Maine means company, gardening and trips to the beach. All are wonderful. It's also a time for the new board to regroup and plan for the future of our congregation as we welcome our new Rabbi.

The future looks bright. Throughout much of the summer we have had our wonderful volunteers leading services and our lovely Shabbat Under the Stars is thriving. In August we will welcome Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor.

In order for the Rabbi to meet all of our members, we are organizing "Dining with the Rabbi" events throughout the month of August and early September. You will soon be receiving emails and calls from our volunteer "hosts" to invite you to a small "meal" to meet and talk to Rabbi Vinikoor and give her a chance to get to know each of you.

We are so excited to have Rabbi Vinikoor join us. As a board we will face new expenses and challenges. So we ask that you continue your support. Moving forward in a new direction is challenging in that it requires both a personal commitment to programs as well as a financial commitment. We want to keep the warm and welcoming feeling that is so special to our little shul. Yet we want to reach out to all who are interested in exploring their Judaism and find a way to connect it to their lives.

Our dues bills will be going out in late July. We are asking all those who are able, to pledge over and above their regular dues level, so that our little synagogue can continue for many years to come. If you are not already a member, please consider joining.

Do you want to join a committee or do you have more questions about our future direction? Contact me at Your help is always appreciated.

Shabbat Service

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Friday, July 7 at 7:00 p.m. Robert Gersh will lead us in a brief Shabbat service followed by a presentation by Amy Waterman.

Amy is a writer and museum professional and is a past Chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums. We were fortunate to have her work with us on our local Bath Jewish History project.

Amy will be sharing information about a new exhibit that she is co-curating at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. In the spring of 2018 and continuing through much of 2019, the Maine State Museum will present a major exhibition, Maine + Jewish: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Maine. This will be the largest public exhibit on the subject ever presented, addressing the distinct qualities and circumstances of Jewish life in Maine, and the contributions of Jewish Mainers to the state—from the earliest Jewish immigrants to today's cultural, business, and civic leaders.

This will be a great opportunity to find out what is happening and to see if you might be able to contribute to this effort.

Upcoming Services and Programs at Beth Israel


Saturday, July 1 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and
Torah Discussion led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Friday, July 7 at 7:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
led by Robert Gersh

Saturday, July 8 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Saturday, July 15 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Friday, July 21 at 6:30 pm
Shabbat Under The Stars
South Bristol
Sponsored by the Silvers

Saturday, July 22 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 pm
An Evening with Judith Sloan
Unitarian Universalist Church

Saturday, July 29 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin


Wednesday, August 2 at 2:00 pm
Bowdoin International Music Festival
Community Concert Minnie Brown Center

Saturday, August 5 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Friday, August 11 at 7:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Saturday, August 12 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Saturday, August 19 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Tuesday, August 22 at 7:00 pm
Community Conservation
A Film by Mark Ireland
Maine Maritime Museum

Friday, August 25 at 6:30 pm
Shabbat Under The Stars Arrowsic
Sponsored by Norma Dreyfus and Stan Lane

Saturday, August 26 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Discussion
led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin

Shabbat Under The Stars

by Marilyn Weinberg

July 21 - 6:30 pm
August 25 - 6:30 pm

In keeping with a summer of Beth Israel outreach programs, we will be hosting two additional Shabbat Under the Stars programs this summer. Taking services outside seems like a perfect way to celebrate Shabbat. In each home we will have a brief prayer service and D'var Torah, and then have time to connect with each other over dessert.

On Friday, July 21 at 6:30 pm, we will gather the home of Barbara and Barrett Silver in Bristol.

On Friday, August 25 at 6:30 pm, we will gather at the home of Norma Dreyfus and Stan Lane in Arrowsic.

We will send out an email reminder and directions to each home. Bring your lawn chairs and let's hope for good weather.

Community Conservation - a Film by Mark Ireland

by Camille Kauffunger

Beth Israel Congregation will be sponsoring a special screening at the Maine Maritime Museum of the documentary Community Conservation: Finding the Balance Between Nature and Culture.

This is a new film created by Mark Ireland of MI Media. This documentary, shot throughout four seasons, profiles four active land trusts in different regions of Maine, demonstrating their efforts toward conservation for all members of their community. A Q&A with Mark Ireland and local conservation experts will follow.

Mark Ireland, along with his wife Lisa Tessler, is a member of Beth Israel Congregation. Half of all proceeds will be given to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT). We are excited to support a member of our congregation and KELT's mission to conserve, restore and instill appreciation of the land and water resources of the Kennebec Estuary to benefit today's communities and future generations.

You can watch a trailer at:

Watch for more details and save the date: August 22, 2017.

Off the Record: Between a Laugh and a Hard Place

by Joanne Rosenthal

Thursday July 27
7:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church
One Middle Street, Brunswick

Beth Israel Congregation and the Brunswick UU Church are co-sponsoring this event to benefit the Midcoast Welcoming New Mainers group and Earsay. If you went last year you'll remember how powerful Judith's performance is, and if you missed it, now's your chance!

Judith Sloan is a NYC based actress whose work with refugee youth informs her stories of migration, refuge, and finding home. Her stories and monologues combine humor, pathos and a love of the absurd in this evening of Off the Record: Between a Laugh and a Hard Place.

Here's what critics are saying about Judith's work:

  • "boldly carries the tradition of oral history into the 21st Century. Electrifying!"
  • Eve Ensler, author The Vagina Monologues
  • "...a whirlwind tour and love poem of what has often been called the most racially and ethnically diverse county in America."
  • New York Times

For more information and to order tickets:

Sunshine Committee

by Sharon Drake

As we hoped this new committee is a proactive community building tool for the Synagogue. We have 18 members. A meeting for the committee will be called after Rabbi Vinikoor is on board to hear her ideas for the Committee, including communicating all the assistance we can provide, such as rides, meals, perhaps a book club group?

In the past four months the volunteers have sent out greeting cards for anniversaries, birthdays, get well, and graduations, from March through June. Please let us know if we missed anyone or if you have a special event coming up. Crissy Swartz has continued to organize very enjoyable and bonding "Dine Around" dinners once a month.

At the Annual Meeting the Sunshine Committee presented two awards to recognize the accomplishments of Anna McDougal and Julia Singer Pols.

If you would like to volunteer for this committee, please call Sharon Drake at .

Julia Pols

by Marina Singer

Congratulations to Julia Pols, who received the Mathilda Schlossberger Scholarship and was recognized as an Outstanding Student of the Year at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center's Annual Meeting on June 11. Julia's English teacher, Danielle LeBlanc, introduced Julia, and told the gathering about how Julia's story came to be written and why it was entered for consideration. Julia received a standing ovation and caused many tears to be shed as she read her story, "And That Which Survived Rampant Fire Could Not Survive Merciless Hands." On hand at the lovely luncheon and inspirational program of speakers were Julia's parents, Beth and Benet Pols, her grandparents, Steve and Marina Singer, her aunt, Karen Totman and Joanne Rosenthal, a member of our congregation.

Julia's story can be found on the Beth Israel website at:

Anna McDougal

by Marty Fox

Anna McDougal, daughter of Thyle Shartar and Marty Fox had the honor of attending the 2017 Winter Special Olympics in Austria this winter. She won a bronze medal in the Giant Slalom G event and a silver medal in the Giant Slalom.

Anna was honored at the Synagogue Annual Meeting by Sharon Drake from the Sunshine Committee with a plaque commemorating her achievement. Anna's excitement and enthusiasm came through during an interview by Nan Ross, founder of Spindleworks in Brunswick. Anna was thrilled with the event.

Highlights from Hebrew School

by Abigail Halpern

As usual we had a very busy end of the year with the observance of Yom Hashoah, the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, and our second Hebrew School Shabbat.

For Yom Hashoah the kids had several important lessons in empathy. Thyle Shartar spoke to the students about her mother's experience coming to America on the Kindertransport. The kids imagined what it was like to move to a new country without your parents. The next week, the students in 3rd grade and up watched Paper Clips. They were moved by the experiences of the kids from rural Tennessee who had never met anyone different from themselves until they started the paper clip project. In the end they collected about 30 million (that is not a typo) paper clips and housed 11 million of them in a rail car from Germany. We were all moved by the lessons of empathy that the students in the movie shared with us.

On Yom Haatzmaut, Morah Alina's cousin came to visit from Israel. She spoke with the students about what it is like to live in Israel and brought some real Israeli money. The students used the money to "buy" Israeli food.

We are so fortunate to have a group of kids who are mensches to each other. On the last day of school I asked all of the students to write a nice thing about each student on an index card. They had no trouble whatsoever coming up with nice things to say, and the end result was an envelope full of cards for each kid with nice comments from their peers. On the last day, the kids also enjoyed Hebrew language activities with Rabbi Asch and our annual ice cream party.

We wrapped up the school year with our second Hebrew School Shabbat. The kids were very confident in their skills, and it showed in their positive attitude. It was a great note to end the year on. Next year we will focus on the Torah service since they are definitely up for a new challenge.

The first day of Hebrew school next year will be Thursday, September 7. Enrollment forms and the 2017–2018 school calendar will go out shortly. The theme next year is "Receiving the Torah." We have big plans for another fun and productive year of religious school and cannot wait to welcome our new students and see how much all the kids have grown.

Rabbi Maslin Leads Shavout Service

by Lenore Friedland

On May 30, thirty people gathered for a special Shavuot service led by Rabbi Simeon Maslin.

Before the service we held a special dairy potluck. As always there was a lovely and delicious variety of kugels, sides, salads and desserts. Jay Friedland baked a delicious challah.

Rabbi Maslin enlightened us with a lovely service focusing on the significance of each name and "no name" in the Book of Ruth in an informative and humorous way. Thank you Rabbi Maslin.


  • Maxine Gersh in loving memory of her mother-in-law, Ida Gersh
  • Marc Swartz in loving memory of his sister, Lauren Beth Dunleavy
  • Stan Lane and Norma Dreyfus in loving memory of his father, Jesse Lane
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in loving memory of her mother, Lucille Hershenhart
  • Andrew and Christina Schoenberg in loving memory of his mother, Elayne Schoenberg
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in loving memory of his mother, Mildred Lenox
  • Glenn and Beth Eisman in loving memory of his father, Morris Eisman
  • Betsy Atkins in loving memory of her father Jacob Fishkind
  • Stan Lane and Norma Dreyfus in loving memory of her mother, Dr. Rose Goldberg
  • Lynn Frank in loving memory of her father, Dean Milkes and her sister, Cherly Milkes Moore
  • Sharon Drake in loving memory of her father, Edward Kravitz
  • Donald and Mara Giulianti in loving memory of his father, Nicholas Giulianti
  • John and Marilyn Darack in loving memory of his mother, Marian Darack
  • Jerrold Lurie in loving memory of his parents, Phillip and Celia Lurie
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in loving memory of his father, Edward Friedland
  • Ruth Benedikt for the Rabbi Fund
  • Marty Fox and Thyle Sharter for the Rabbi Fund
  • Stephen Cohen in support of the synagogue
  • Daniel Morgenstern and Moriah Moser in loving memory of his father, Frederic Morgenstern

Welcome New Members

  • Sue and Bob Nusbaum
  • Barb and Steve Inkellis

Remembrances for July-August 2017

We know we are missing many names from this list. Please send them to us so that we can add your loved ones to this list.

May their memories be for a blessing

WE REMEMBER Hebrew Date Calendar Date (2017)
Mary Petlock Tammuz 10 July 4
Dr. Morris Goldberg Tammuz 11 July 5
Joseph Stendig Tammuz 11 July 5
Anna Katz Tammuz 18 July 12
Eleanor Tessler Tammuz 18 July 12
Sylvia Greenhut Tammuz 20 July 14
Bertha (Jablonsky) Berman Tammuz 21 July 15
Bessie Singer Tammuz 22 July 16
Milton Silver Tammuz 23 July 17
Sheila Lichter Tammuz 24 July 18
Paula Travers Tammuz 25 July 19
Albert Skigen Tammuz 26 July 20
Barbara Bronstein Av 2 July 25
Arthur Blatt Av 2 July 25
Joseph Wolfe Av 2 July 25
Priscilla Schwartz Av 3 July 26
Henrietta Shapiro Av 9 August 1
Abaham Linet Av 13 August 5
David Goldman Av 15 August 7
Anne Skigen Av 15 August 7
Lillian Turet Av 16 August 8
Max Isacoff Av 17 August 9
Rosaline Lasher Av 20 August 12
Jacob Smith Av 22 August 14
Ruth Fields Av 24 August 16
Benjamin Mensh Av 27 August 19
Louise Nusbaum Elul 3 August 3
Zhang Mei Qin Elul 3 August 25
Dorothy W. Gross Elul 4 August 26
Michael Krassner Elul 5 August 27
Harold Leavy Elul 8 August 30

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Listing the birthdays and anniversaries of those in our immediate family creates a wonderful opportunity for our community/shul family to have an excuse to celebrate with each other. We have listed the few that we have. If you notice that someone in your family is not listed, please send along all information to Lynn Frank, so that they can be included with the next issue of the newsletter.

July Birthdays July Anniversaries
3 Anne Hebebrand   13 Maurie Libner &
8 Linda Silberstein     Sharon Bouchard
9 Aaron Greenwald   23 Marina & Stephen Singer
13 Matt Filler   26 Lenore & Jay Friedland
13 Michael Hagler   27 Lou Ensel & Jennifer DeChant
21 Marina Singer      
22 Jay Friedland      
25 Sheldon Tepler      


August Birthdays August Anniversaries
14 Lou Ensel   11 Bob Lobis & Judy Wolfe
21 Daniel Stone   15 Rachel & Nathan Tefft
31 Marilyn Weinberg   18 Sue & Bob Nusbaum
31 Isla Tefft   20 Mort & Evelyn Panish
      31 Aaron & Liza Greenwald