If you have any questions, feel free to call Donnie Boyd, Barbara Leeman or drop an e-mail to Marilyn Weinberg. Hope to see you soon.
Social Action Committee Needs Assistance
by Joanne Rosenthal
Meals are needed for a member of our community. Please contact Joanne Rosenthal if you are able to help. Thank you.
The Sunday morning food project with the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program is underway. More volunteers are needed for a once a month commitment. Please contact Jill Standish to learn more.
Tot Shabbat is coming to Beth Israel. On Friday, October 21, at 6:30 pm we will hold our first family Shabbat service. This will be a special program geared for families with young children, although all ages are welcome to attend. We will learn some prayers, sing songs and listen to a story. For this October service we will have our "oneg" in the synagogue's sukkah. It should be a lot of fun. This program will take the place of our regular Friday night service. Our next scheduled Tot Shabbat service will be December 2.
Our Kindergarten/Preschool class (Gan) will begin September 14 at 4:00 pm. Susan Horowitz will be teaching this program and is looking forward to getting started. This is a wonderful opportunity for any families with younger children to have time for Jewish learning through crafts, songs, cooking, stories and more. The class will be meeting twice a month this year on Wednesday afternoons. Tuition will be $200 for the year.
If you are interested in enrolling your child, please call Susan Horowitz or Barbara Leeman so that we can get an accurate count of class size.
Last Hebrew School Year in Pictures
Daniel and Barbara Leeman have compiled pictures from many of our activities throughout the year, and we thought you may all enjoy seeing our Beth Israel Hebrew school in action. There are close to 200 photos, so get ready for about 10 minutes of entertainment. Feel free to send the link to anyone who you feel may be interested in sending their children to our school, or anyone who may be interested for other reasons.
We take pride and joy in seeing our students in their many activities. We delight in seeing them learn and develop as all our teachers aspire to nurture their young Jewish souls. We want you to share in the vitality and varied activities that are taking place at our Hebrew school. Enjoy!
To view the slide show go to our web site and click on the Hebrew School picture.
Yiskor Book Reminder
Lola Lea will be putting together the Yiskor Book for us again this year. If you have a loved one you'd like remembered, please send the name and relationship to you to Lola by September 26.
Annual Pot Luck Progressive Sukkot Event
On Sunday, October 23, we will celebrate Sukkot with our Annual Pot Luck Progressive Sukkot event. This year's program will begin at noontime. We will share food and bless three different sukkahs. You will be receiving a special flyer in the mail with the details. We have something out of the ordinary in store for you.
By Daniel Leeman
Over the past couple of years I've gotten to know Rev. Steve Concannon, a Catholic priest from it. Charles church in Brunswick. He's been an enthusiastic participant at a number of our "Brunswick Area Interfaith Council" meetings. Rev. Steve approached me recently about creating a dialogue in our community between Catholics and Jews.
As a result of his initiative, St. Charles of Brunswick and Beth Israel of Bath will be hosting two thinkers from the Christian-Jewish Learning Center at Boston College to come to our area and facilitate our community's dialogue.
Over the past couple of years the National Council of Synagogues has felt a keen need to respond to the changes in the core values of the Catholic church as it refers to its relations with the Jewish people. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort by the Catholic Church to change its view of Judaism and right some of the wrongs of history. Catholic leadership made significant statements regarding Jews on a number of levels. These changes include: recognizing the role of the Church in the persecution of Jews, rejecting any ancient claims of Decide and accepting the Jewish Covenant with G-d. Catholics now say that they view Judaism differently. They now refer to the Old Testament as the First Testament so to respect the fact that Judaism is not some antiquated history of Christianity, but a living, breathing, people, alive and practicing actively today. The Catholic Church is making a concerted effort to stop the teachings of ‘contempt' for Jews. This teaching, which effectively fostered a desire to place Jews at the margins of society, is no longer part of the Vatican's official policy. They appear to want to be sincere and active partners with us in community efforts.
I feel we are compelled to respond to these new and powerful changes in Catholic ideology towards Judaism, and consider your attendance at this meeting part of a new obligation to change the ‘arms-length', post WWII rabbinate's traditional response towards Christian-Jewish dialogue.
Because we expect this series of three meetings to be a dialogue of some substance, I would encourage those of you who are interested in this process to contact me to say you would like to volunteer to participate. I would like to have a meeting at the synagogue so we can prepare ourselves in an orderly fashion to engage our Catholic neighbors appropriately. I would like to briefly present the subject categories, and topics to be discussed. In this way, no one will be surprised by any topics, and our Jewish participants will be well enough informed to be comfortable with the candid conversations. Please look up the Jewish-Christian Learning Center at Boston College on the internet for more information about the overall format we will be using.
Membership and Information
by Rea Turet, Treasurer
In early September, you will be getting your Beth Israel Congregation bill. Because many of you are contributing to the capital campaign, the Synagogue Board has agreed to keep the dues at the current level. Beth Israel Congregation still offers the most reasonable membership dues in the state of Maine. The dues are as follows:
A small Hebrew School tuition increase of $25 was approved at the annual meeting. The new tuition is now $375. This is the first Hebrew School tuition increase in four years. It was deemed necessary due to soaring fuel costs and teacher salary increases.
As always, we offer installment payments. If there is a financial problem, please let me know. And if you pay in advance of your bill, you won't receive one!
Any questions or problems, e-mail me. Or call. Thank you!
Robert Gersh in Iraq
Please write to him and let him know we are thinking about him.
Robert Gersh is being stationed in Iraq for the next six months. Before he left he gave us his address. If you would like to write to him you can request it from email@example.com.
He also has a web site. The address is http://www.thewebmasterstouch.com/robert/index.htm
After qualifying with a pistol, they "all pitched in to clean up the brass shell casings, which the military recycles."
Here's an additional note from his wife, Susan Horowitz that she sent on August 14, 2005:
We said goodbye to Robert this morning, putting him on a plane headed for Ft. Bliss, Texas. He will be there for about two weeks before heading to Iraq at the beginning of September for six months.
A friend will be setting up a website where you can all go to check in on how and what he's doing, and I'll send the address out just as soon as we've actually posted something!
If you mail a package, you DO have to fill out a customs form, but you DO NOT have to pay extra postage.
New Oneg List
Marilyn, our President will be making up the new "oneg" list for the upcoming year in just a few weeks. She is going to assign just one family per week so that nobody will have to do it twice. If you have any dates you prefer, please let her know as soon as possible.
Capital Campaign Update
by Jeff Cohen, Chair, Capital Campaign
As many of you know, we are in the midst of an ambitious capital campaign for Beth Israel Congregation. We announced the campaign at last year's High Holidays, setting a goal of $250,000. We earmarked about $150,000 of this amount for much needed and long-delayed capital improvements at the synagogue and the Minnie Brown Center, with the balance to be used to boost our existing endowment.
Thanks to the remarkable generosity of many members—several of whom have pledged up to $10,000 each toward the campaign—as well as a major gift from a Boston benefactor, Robert Smith (who has ties to the Bath Jewish community), I am pleased to report that we have now exceeded the $250,000 goal in pledges to the campaign.
Although we are delighted to have reached our goal ahead of schedule, there are still many members of the Beth Israel community who have yet to be solicited for the campaign. We would like everyone to have the opportunity to participate in this effort. As a result, the Campaign Committee has modified the fund-raising goal: we are now committed to raising an additional $50,000, which will be used to create a scholarship fund for the Beth Israel Hebrew School. Through this fund, all Jewish children in our community will have the chance to attend our Hebrew School, regardless of their families' ability to pay tuition. We are very excited about creating this opportunity for the families we serve.
To meet our new goal, we need your help. We are asking you to pledge as generously as possible to make the scholarship fund a reality. We understand that there are many worthwhile charitable organizations seeking your support. But Beth Israel Congregation has been an invaluable resource to the mid-coast Jewish community since the 1920's. And what better way to keep it viable for generations to come, than to help fund a program that will allow all of our children to receive a meaningful Jewish education? We are asking you to make a gift to Beth Israel Congregation commensurate with the importance of this goal.
Please send your pledge contribution to Jeff Cohen. Please note that this is a three-year campaign, so you may spread your payments out equally over that period. All we ask is that you pledge as much as you can, and that you make your first payment by the end of this calendar year. This will allow us to fulfill our campaign goals on schedule.
On behalf of the entire Congregation, I thank you for your support. If you have any questions about the campaign, please feel free to call me or our President, Marilyn Weinberg. With your help, Beth Israel will remain a vital source of Jewish life and community in mid-coast Maine.
Synagogue Gift Shop
Going to a wedding or Bar Mitzvah and need a gift? As many of you know, Marina Singer is in charge of our synagogue gift shop. She can order many things for you through her catalogs. The synagogue makes a profit and you are often charged less than you would be if you bought it yourself.
She has a new source and the price is right:
The name of the catalog is: The Source for Everything Jewish.
However, if you order through the synagogue you will get a better price.
Just get in touch with Marina and she will let you know how to proceed. Profits go to the synagogue instead of the company (well they probably make a little too.
Social Action Seeking Volunteers
For the last eighteen months, the Mid-Coast Collaborative for Access to Transportation (A Brunswick-Topsham Community Action Group) has been looking at the issues related to transportation in the Brunswick and Topsham area. Particularly we have been focusing on the needs of individuals who have difficulty or inability to drive themselves, for whatever reason. We are now in a position where we know much more than we did at the outset about the issues and have proposed some possible solutions that includes partnerships with non-profit and religious groups.
There is a widespread acknowledgment that the lack of public transportation has effects that are deeply felt throughout our communities. We heard from people who felt isolated and unable to participate in the activities that make for a meaningful life because they could not afford a ride.
One solution that has been suggested would address the off hour, weekend and more spontaneous needs that have been repeatedly raised by many residents. This solution could take a number of forms, but it would develop a volunteer network, and the capacity to link people needing rides with those providing them. The Town of Brunswick, the Maine DOT, Coastal Transport , many community groups and the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council ( on which I represent Beth Israel) has been wonderfully supportive throughout, and we believe a successful partnership using volunteers can happen here.
Are any members of our congregation from Brunswick or Topsham willing to provide rides to those less fortunate?
Thanks to Denise Tepler for these wonderful recipes.
Please send us your favorite recipes so that we can share them with our members.
These are two of Denise's Israeli-style recipes:
Donations and New Members
We welcome as new members, Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk; and Mort and Evelyn Panish.
We'd like to thank the following people who contributed to Beth Israel Congregation