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Beth Israel Congregation

   
 
 
 

Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2003
Tamuz/Av/Elul 5763


Message from the President
Fund Raising Committee
Torah Message
Farewell Rabbi Ruth and Family
Meet and Greet
Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program
Hebrew School Windows
Notice from the Hebrew School Committee
Bracelet Found
Donations

Message from the President

Dear Members & Friends,

It seems like such a short time ago that I was president of our synagogue and on the committee to select our first Rabbi. It has been seven years and so much has changed and yet little has changed. We still are the wonderful "hamish" Jewish community we have always been. We have probably about the same number of members that we did seven years ago, but some faces have changed and sometimes our directions have diverged.

I think, if I have learned any lessons over these years, it is that hiring a Rabbi or spiritual leader does not lessen our workload, but rather broadens it. We can thrive from the support and direction a leader can give to us and learn so much about our heritage and our religion. But we still need all of our committees staffed and we need members to regularly attend functions, both social and spiritual.

Please consider your connection to our synagogue. The people who keep it alive are all of you. No matter who is in charge, it won't survive without your participation.

Daniel Leeman will be leading services every Friday at 7 pm throughout the summer. He feels that regularly scheduling services can help us to make it a habit. Try it out. Bring your summer company. Lets try to re-connect.

Do not hesitate to call me or any other member of the board with your thoughts or suggestions. Remember, you are really in charge.

Marilyn

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Fund Raising Committee

As we grow and manage all of our programs and buildings, we find that we are less able to support these programs through our annual dues. Instead of just increasing dues, we want to explore different ways of raising money for our synagogue. We will be forming a fund raising committee and need people who have a willingness, interest and/or knowledge of how to raise money for our small congregation. Please call or e-mail Marilyn Weinberg if you would be willing to serve on this committee.

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Torah Message

This week's Torah portion is Shelach Lecha., Numbers 13:1-15:41. It tells how Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan to prepare to invade the Promised Land and take it by force. This was a turning point. Once a nation of slaves, we were now to be a free people in our own land.

Only two of the spies reported that we could win the war. Caleb and Joshua made the unpopular decision to report that we could succeed. They had the courage to contradict the vast majority and hold true to their belief. There is a lesson we can learn from this.

Sometimes we have to trust in what we know is right and trust in G-d, despite the vast majority of opinion.

We are Israel. Our name "Israel" is from the story of Jacob's struggle with the angel. His name change was explained in Gen. 32:29.

"Ki sareeta eem Eloheem v'eem anashim vatuchal"-is translated..."For you struggled with G-d and with human beings and prevailed."

Amazingly though the name is in the future tense, "Yisra- El" means "you WILL fight with G-d."

This is true today. Who tries to heal someone's pain when we feel it? Who tries to right the wrongs when we see them? We do. We ask G-d: "How could You do this?" When G-d sees that we are right, the world can change for the better, we prevail.

I've always bristled at the common maxim, "know what you can change and accept what you cannot." Although there are some things we cannot change, we must resist complacency. Even the beautiful idea that we should act as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on G-d, is not enough.

We need G-d to know what we expect. When change is needed, we must remember we are partners in creation. Let's make it happen together.

Cantor Daniel Leeman

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Farewell Rabbi Ruth and Family

I want to take this opportunity to formally thank Rabbi Ruth for her thoughtfulness and kindness during this transition. I want to offer best wishes to her whole family for their future endeavors in York, P.A. and to thank Rabbi Ruth for leaving the community a better place. During her tenure our synagogue acquired a new Hebrew School building and participated in other community successes as well. These include the construction of a magnificent new hospital and a wonderful new sports facility that I wish was a YMHA. During recent years, the Iron works is also succeeding in filling some tremendous contracts. Bath is moving straight ahead. This comes from the quiet work of the spirit. It's people like Rabbi Ruth who love their students, trust in the future and work to change things for the better that help make it all happen. G-d Bless.

Cantor Daniel Leeman

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Meet and Greet

I also want to thank everyone for your gracious welcome. I'm looking forward to meeting each of you.

Don't be surprised when you get a call. I'd like to visit with each member or family individually sometime this summer. The better I know you, the more effective I'll be as a community builder.

Shalom,
Cantor Dan

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Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program

Regarding the MID-COAST HUNGER PREVENTION PROGRAM, on which I have written in the March issue, only a few of you will be getting a solicitation flyer on this project because these are in short supply. For those of you who have been omitted, please accept our sincere apologies - but don't forget to send a contribution. A brief description of the project follows:

This region has a successful program to reach out to individuals and families with not enough food. The program serves meals at lunch and provides groceries for those registered in advance at a "Food Pantry."

There is a program in both Brunswick and Bath. The Brunswick program has been hosted for the last 20 years at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, but the facilities no longer meet the needs because the number of people in need has increased steadily and because the facility was never designed for this specific purpose. The facilities in Bath are much smaller than those in Brunswick. I have volunteered at the soup kitchen and have personally observed the excellent services provided, services that are provided which respect the dignity of the clients.

The community leadership has decided to build a new facility on donated land in Brunswick, a building that has sufficient space for all the needs and has modern and efficient kitchen facilities at a cost of $600,000.

I hope you will see the value of this effort and consider making a 3-year (tax deductible) pledge. You can also send a check to me at 45 Harding Rd, Brunswick ME 04011 made out to the Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program and I will make sure it is identified as coming from a Beth Israel congregant.

Sincerely,
Ed Benedikt

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Hebrew School Windows

The new windows for the Hebrew School at 906 Washington St. are on order and will arrive soon. The old stained glass windows will be taken out and put up for auction. The replacement windows are the same shape and are able to open. They should save money on heating costs. Members are welcome to send contributions to cover the cost of the new windows. Please send donations to Beth Israel Congregation c/o Rea Turet, Treasurer.

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Notice from the Hebrew School Committee

Even though school just ended, we are starting to get ready for next fall. To help us get an idea of numbers of students for the fall, we are asking that you give me an email or call. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
Campbell Clegg

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Bracelet Found

A gold bracelet with red stones was found after the Mills' Bar Mitzvah in June 2002. No one has clamed it so far. If you have lost it, please contact Karen Mills.

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Donations

We thank the following people have donated money to Beth Israel Congregation since January, 2003:

Anonymous
Sharon Drake, for the Beth Israel Congregation Website
Norma Dreyfus and Stanley Lane in memory of Mara Giulianti's father
Jay and Lenore Friedland
Marji Greenhut, in memory of Chinka Rosenmann
Jean Guthery
Nancy K. Kaye
Lillian Karass
Ann Lewis
Arthur & Ruth Marcus and Charles J. Sennet, in memory of Don Povich
Carolyn Turcio-Gilman
Fred and Marilyn Weinberg

The following members are purchasing windows:

Jay and Lenore Friedland
George Isaacson and Margaret McGaughey
Steve and Marina Singer
Carolyn Turcio-Gilman
Sandor M. Polster and Rea Turet

There are still more windows available!

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