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Beth Israel Congregation





Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2008
Sivan / Tammuz / Av 5768


Lessons About Leadership
Mainsail Award
Give and Go Raises $1150
Birthdays and Anniversaries
News from the Hebrew School
Thank You Rea
A Challenging Budget Year
Help Support Our Fundraising Efforts
Donations and Welcomes

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 info1@bethisrael-maine.org.


Lessons About Leadership as Our Presidential Election Approaches

by Cantor Daniel J. Leeman

When Samuel's leadership was challenged, he proclaimed: "Here I am. Testify against me in the presence of G-d... Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I defrauded..."(Samuel I 12:3.)

When Moses's leadership was challenged and the children of Israel defied his authority he cried out to G-d: "...I have not taken a single donkey from Israel, nor have I wronged a single one of them." (Numbers 16:15)

Each leader humbly protested and defended himself by proclaiming before G-d that he did not steal a single thing from the community in the form of corrupt paybacks, bribes, or shady deals. I find it amazing that after all these great leaders had done during the course of their careers to help the people of Israel; they don't bother to enumerate their accomplishments in their defense. Moses could have said: "I helped free you from slavery. I led you through the desert. I helped you acquire the gift of Torah." Samuel could have said: " I was a prophet and a judge. I crowned Saul king."

Instead they insisted they didn't steal a thing from the public. They justified and qualified their leadership through an honesty and integrity characterized by an avoidance of corrupt financial dealings.

Perhaps we should evaluate our two presidential candidates on this level. Who is least likely to be corrupt? Who is most likely to behave honorably with the hard-earned resources of his people? If this was the yardstick of great leaders like Moses and Samuel, perhaps it is a good enough measure for us.


Mainsail Award

by Marina Singer

It is with great pride that we announce that Marilyn Weinberg was the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Mainsail Award. Since 1980, the Morse School Community Liaison Council has awarded the Mainsail Award to a member of the greater Bath area for fostering connections, and making major contributions between Morse High School and the community. Marilyn is now retired from her work as a guidance counselor at Morse High School, but she continues to help organize trips to area colleges for Morse students and has helped develop the "Scholarship Tea" function, which allows students to meet with those sponsoring scholarships. Marilyn's sincere love for the students she guided over the years, as well as her many accomplishments during her career at Morse High School paved the way for her being so highly regarded by those who bestow this award.

Marilyn's leadership at Beth Israel was another way she connected school with community. She worked with the English teachers at the high school to bring better understanding of the Holocaust to the students.

Marilyn joins an impressive array of recipients, including Max Dawson, Charlie Burgess, Priscilla Montgomery, Dan Donovan and another Beth Israel congregant, Steve Singer.

All of the recipients exemplify the ideals of American citizenship, including respect for honesty, individual freedom, and equal opportunity.

Congratulations Marilyn!


Give and Go Raises $1150

by Barbara Leeman

Each spring, Bowdoin College runs what is called a "Give and Go." As students are clearing out their dorm rooms and returning home for the summer, they find there are many items they don't need or want. These items get donated by the students, and then collected, sorted and sold by volunteers (us). The proceeds of "Give and Go" are shared by the community organizations that volunteer for the event.

This year, the Bowdoin "Give and Go" raised just over $40,000 dollars for area non-profits. There were 25 organizations that helped work approximately 2,400 hours. The profits are distributed to each organization based on the number of hours they contribute. This year, each volunteer hour was worth approximately $14.50. We are so pleased to say that Beth Israel volunteered 78 hours and will receive approximately $1150 for our efforts.

I am so pleased to report that we had 20 people who were able to volunteer some time to help Beth Israel at the "Give and Go." Special thanks goes to Nonny Soifer and Rea Turet for working multiple shifts. Each of these people not only helped to raise money for Beth Israel but also slow down the waste that fills the Brunswick landfill (and they had the opportunity to get some incredible bargains in the process). This was an easy fundraiser, one that I would like to have Beth Israel participate in again next year. When you see the announcement next year, please consider signing up for a shift. You'll be amazed at how much fun you'll have.

Thank you to the following people who all worked hard at the Give and Go:

Anna Boll, Susan Horowitz, Allegra Boyd, Stan Lane, Chris Boyd, Barbara Leeman, Donnie Boyd, Hannah Leeman, Morgan Boyd, Crissy Nadeau, Quin Boyd, Harriet Paris, Peggy Brown, Tammy Shirley, Hannah Chatalbash, Nonny Soifer, Diane Gilman, Rea Turet, Heather Gilman and Marilyn Weinberg.


Birthdays and Anniversaries

by Barbara Leeman

We are looking to start a new section in the Bulletin called "Birthday's and Anniversaries." This section will list the birthdays and anniversaries that occur during the month of the bulletin. We will only list the month and day, NOT the year. It is a wonderful way for our community/shul family to wish each other well on each simcha (happy occasion), and it will give us another excuse to celebrate with each other. I will begin next issue with the few that I have. Please send along all birthdays and anniversaries of your family to me so that I can compile them each month.


News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

We wish everyone a healthy, active, enjoyable summer, and we will anticipate our students' return in the fall. Our first day back will be Wednesday, September 10th. A complete calendar is available on our website.

Israeli Dancing

In honor of Yom Ha'Azmaut (Israel Independence day), Lisa Tessler, a member of our Beth Israel community and a wonderful dance instructor, came to teach some Israeli dances to our students in May. Lisa made it easy for everyone to join in. In fact, the students were introduced to some complex dances, as they enthusiastically mastered the basics. We thank Lisa for providing a lively, fun activity to bring our school year to an end.

Photo Show

Just as last year, a Photo Show will be created of our school year. It will be available at our synagogue website. Look for it in July.

School Pictures

School and class pictures were taken. Pictures will become a part of our school photo show. Any parent who would like to have a copy of any class picture or any other candid photo, can request one from me.

Tzedakah

Through the Hebrew School, our students donated to a Tzedakah fund throughout the year. During the month of May, they voted on the recipient of their Tzedakah dollars. This year the winner was: Israel Special Kids Fund. There is much to say about this charity, but to very briefly summarize, below is a bit more information.

Israel Special Kids Fund

Formerly Kav Lachayim, The Israel Special Kids Fund provides medical funds for seriously ill children in Israel. Children with serious illnesses often undergo treatment requiring long, debilitating stays in the hospital. Even when the child returns home, he or she may need additional assistance. Parents can become overwhelmed by the constant care they must give their child, especially with other children at home. Israel Special Kids Fund goes to the hospitals to play with the patients, read to them, feed them and help them with their schoolwork. They will also come to their homes to help the children, prepare meals and assist in therapy treatments.

Our Graduates

Our 6th graders, Quin Boyd and William Connelly led our Tefillah/Daily prayer service on May 28th, our last day of school. They chose Hebrew prayers to share, and described the meaning behind these prayers. Both Quin and William spoke for a few minutes about a particularly special moment they had at Hebrew school, or about something that may have inspired them, with regard to their Hebrew school experience. Quin and William's next goal is to work toward becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Mazel Tov!

Lag B'Omer

We celebrated Lag B'Omer on May 28th, by having outdoor games and an ice cream party following Hebrew school, on the Patten Free library lawn across the street. Campbell Clegg provided a variety of fun games for the students to enjoy, including potato sack races, and a favorite, catch the potato on the fork. We enjoyed a potluck picnic dinner together. Our thanks to Campbell for organizing and running this fun day.

Flowers

Some of you may have noticed the beautiful flowers now welcoming you as you enter the Minnie Brown Center. Susan Horowitz, with the help of the Aleph and Bet class, planted these for everyone to enjoy. These students worked very hard, and may even remember the Hebrew names of some of the flowers. Thank you Tobyn Blatt, Isaac Daniel Ensel, Avi Gersh, Nicholas Hagler, Nadia Leiner, Isabella Pols, Julia Pols, Zoe Sreden, Abby Sreden, and Leah Totman.

Special Thanks

The end of the year is always a great time to thank our teachers for all their efforts. Our teachers, Susan Horowitz, Cantor Daniel, Alina Shumsky, and Marina Singer prepare thoughtful lessons each week and instill a love of Judaism into each of our students. Our student teachers, Jane Martell, Michael Brodsky, and Hannah Leeman were a huge help to our teachers. Each week in their own quiet way, they helped to make things at Hebrew school run more smoothly. Many thanks again to you all.

We give special thanks to Campbell Clegg, Deb Hagler, and Susan Horowitz who came all year to parent committee meetings to plan extra activities for our kids above and beyond the curriculum.

Next year

More information to prepare for next year's Hebrew school will be mailed to families in August. Some forms will also be made available in July, on our website. Forms can be forwarded to Beth Israel Congregation 906 Washington St. Bath, ME 04530 or to education1@bethisrael-maine.org

We wish everyone a healthy, productive and enjoyable summer. We eagerly look forward to our students return in the fall. Our first day back will be Wednesday September 10th.

Have a great summer!


Thank You Rea

by Marilyn Weinberg

For the past six year, Rea Turet has served as treasurer of Beth Israel Congregation. In addition to record keeping, she has paid all bills in a timely manner, paid salaries, negotiated oil fees, taken care of building insurance, deposited checks with multiple trips to the bank each month and written thank you notes. The list goes on. It's a task most of us take for granted, yet takes up more time than any other job for our synagogue.

Thank you, Rea, for all you have given. As I take over the job, I am in awe of all you have done.


A Challenging Budget Year

by Marilyn Weinberg

At the Annual Meeting on June 1, the members voted to raise the synagogue dues by $50. A full family membership now will be $650. (The new dues structure will be sent to you in the fall.) This decision was not taken lightly. Our proposed budget, without the increase will put us close to $14,000 in the red for the upcoming year.

We know that with our present membership, this increase in dues barely narrows the gap. However, we feel that it is important to try to keep our membership dues with reach of all our members.

Several years ago we made a decision not to charge for High Holiday seats and to keep regular membership at a reasonable level. Yet we are faced with a bill for over $8,000 just for heating oil. We have decided to undertake several fundraising activities this year. We are hoping that you will support our synagogue by participating in these community events. In addition, when your membership bill comes, please consider giving more if you are able. Many of us make a donation in memory of our loved ones. Why not make a little extra donation for a joyous occasion, like a special birthday, an anniversary or graduation.

When you compare our membership dues to that of other synagogues, you will find ours to be very reasonable. Please give what you can.


Help Support Our Fundraising Effort

by Lenore Friedland

Look for the Friends of Beth Israel table at Bath Heritage Days on Friday July 4th, Saturday July 5th and Sunday July 6th. We will be selling cold water and healthy snacks in an effort to help defray the rising cost of maintaining our two buildings. This will be the first of many fundraising endeavors. We still need people to man the tables most of the day on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. We also need young adults who will be willing to walk around selling water and be runners between our two locations (Friday and Sunday we will have a table set up outside of the Minnie Brown building).

If you can volunteer to man a table for two hours or have a cooler with wheels that we can use please call Lenore Friedland or Barbara Leeman.


Donations and Welcomes

We would like to thank the following people for their donations

  • Peggy Brown & John Martell in honor of the graduation of their daughters Jane and Simone
  • Peggy Brown & John Martell in memory of Lucille Hershenhart
  • Jay & Lenore Friedland in memory of Edward Friedland
  • Steve & Marina Singer in memory of Victor Shapiro
  • Gerald Lurie in memory of Phillip & Celia Lurie
  • Sharon Drake in memory of Edward Kravitz
  • Barbara & Robert Lenox in loving memory of Freda Selig
  • Don & Mara Giulianti
  • Norma Dreyfus & Stanley Lane
  • Susan & Dan Levey in memory of Milton Applebaum
  • Ann Isacoff
  • Deborah & Kermit Smyth
  • Dennis & Beth Westman
  • Steven Levin and Rondi Pillette in honor of the bar mitzvah of their son, Jake Levin
  • David Greenberg & Marisol Villamil
  • Neil & Deborah Metviner for honors received at Ethan Blatt's Bar Mitzvah
  • Molly-Jane Isaacson Rubinger in memory of Stephanie Levy's mother
  • Larry Simon &Lynne Miller in memory of Susan Simon
  • Daniel Morgenstern & Moriah Moser in memory of Frederic Morgenstern

We would also like to welcome the following new members to our congregation

  • Stacy & Cristina Giulianti
  • Jake Levin