Bath Food Pantry
by Lenore Friedland
Beth Israel Congregation and its Hebrew School will be collecting non-perishable food items to help the Bath Area Food Pantry. The food pantry has mentioned that the following items are most helpful: pasta (in boxes), canned pasta, canned meat, bottled juice, cereal, coffee (regular) and diapers (disposable). However, all items are accepted and appreciated. There will be a box placed in the hallway of the Minnie Brown Center for the collection of the items. Hebrew school families will be chosen to deliver the food to the Pantry once a month throughout the year. The Hebrew School will be asked to donate items each week as part of the Tzedakah program, but anyone who would like to donate would be doing a mitzvah.
News from the Hebrew School
by Barbara Leeman
Hanukkah Fun at Hebrew School
In December, besides our students continuing their Hebrew education, we had some time for a little Hanukkah fun. There was the favorite sweet activity of Hanukkah cookie decorating (thank you Deb Hagler and Susan Horowitz for your expert baking skills), a craft (thanks Campbell Clegg for the photos each child used), a paper chain menorah was created (thank you Josh Levy, Beth Pols and Virginia (Van Slyck) Raker for helping the kids with your creative talents), and some dreidel playing (thanks to Campbell Clegg, Kate Foye, Lou Ensel and all others that joined in). Donnie Boyd's homemade latkes left a wonderful scent in the Minnie Brown building, and everyone enjoyed the applesauce from Lisa Tessler. Cantor Daniel and Michael Brodsky helped the Heh and Daled class prepare more for their Shabbat service, while Alina Shumsky and Hannah Leeman helped some of our students put their Flat Shmuel photos onto poster board. All in all, we had a huge amount of involvement, and a wonderful break from our normal classroom activities.
Hanukkah Around Town and at the Blaine House
Many of our members shared the story of Hanukkah this year with our non-Jewish friends and neighbors. Programs were run at Fisher-Mitchell School and The Children's Schoolhouse in Bath and at the Patten Free Library children's room. I'm sure that many others from our congregation also presented or hosted Hanukkah programs. Isn't it wonderful that our local communities always reach out to include some learning about Hanukkah during this busy time of year?
A number of our Hebrew school families attended the annual Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony at the Blaine house. They had the opportunity to meet and greet Governor Baldacci and his staff, as well as to greet Jewish leaders from several other Maine congregations for a candle lighting on the second night of Hanukkah. It was very gracious of the Governor to continue this tradition, started just a few years ago by Governor Angus King and his wife Mary Herman, thereby bringing the Jewish communities of Maine together.
Classroom News - Just a Few Notables
The Minnie Brown Center has some wonderful decorations thanks to the Aleph and Bet class. The Heh class has spent some time this month on the Ten Commandments, reading and understanding them in detail. The Daled class has been working on stories, which help to understand the meaning of the words in the Hanukkah prayers.
Flat Shmuel's Adventures
Flat Shmuel has returned from some amazing adventures. He visited New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, New Mexico, Israel, London, the Ukraine, and is now trying to see what Hong Kong and Newton, Massachusetts have in common. The kids are beginning to put the pictures of Flat Shmuel's adventures onto poster boards, so that everyone at the school can join together to reach out to Jewish communities everywhere.
Our Heh and Daled class Shabbat was scheduled for December 19th, but because of weather, it was postponed to January 16th. The students who are in the Heh class are Shira Gersh, Jacob Hagler, Julian Ireland, and Sophie Sreden. Those in the Daled class are Sullivan Boyd, Zelda Clegg, Arielle Leeman, Emma Miller, Henry Raker, and Noa Sreden. Each service begins at 7 pm. The class gathers earlier at 6 pm for a meal, where we have a chance to sing zmirot (Shabbat melodies), and learn some new blessings. We encourage members of our congregation and greater community to attend these special services. Your attendance and support inspires our students to continue their effort towards honing their prayer and leadership skills. Please mark your calendars.
Tot Shabbat Services Continue
This year we have scheduled Tot Shabbat services on alternate months throughout the year. We are very excited about keeping this as a regular option for families with very small kids to stimulate our schools continued growth. The last Tot Shabbat, December 19th, was cancelled due to weather. We encourage all Tot Shabbat families to join us on January 16th, when the Heh and Daled class will lead us. This will be very child friendly with a brief service and some lively singing. Please invite families you know with small kids to join us.
Hebrew School Library
We continue to collect and catalog books for our new Hebrew school library. Please remember to separate any books with Jewish content that your children may have outgrown or are ready to part with, so that we can share them with others at the school. Books can be brought to the Minnie Brown center, or can be picked up by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Thank You's
In our last newsletter, our Hebrew school wish list mentioned that a VCR/DVD player would be a useful item for our school, as we occasionally have educational Jewish films that we would like to show our students. Alina Shumsky went right out to the store and bought our school a new one. We are very grateful for her generosity and we are lucky to have her teaching in our school. Thank you.
What's Coming Up?
For anyone who is interested, our next parent group meeting is at 4:30 pm during Hebrew school on January 7th. This is the best way for anyone interested to see more of what is going on during Hebrew School and to be more involved. We are always looking for new and exciting ideas to incorporate into our Hebrew School program.
Cooking Classes at Beth Israel
by Lenore Friedland
Love to cook, but need new recipes or a new technique? Hate to cook and want to learn? Just want to have fun on a winter morning with friends and taste something new?
Starting Sunday, January 25th, members of our synagogue will be demonstrating their best dishes. Lessons will start at 10:30 am at the shul. Participants will help to make the dish, get to eat the finished product and receive the recipe. Classes will cost $10 per person and will be limited to twelve people. If you would like to participate, call Lenore Friedland. Checks should be made out to Beth Israel Congregation and sent to Marilyn Weinberg after you speak to Lenore.
The first session, Sunday, January 25th, will be Hot and Cold Hors D'oeuvres, and will be demonstrated by Jay and Lenore Friedland and Marilyn Weinberg.
The date for the second session is February 22nd. Check the website and your e-mail as we get closer for the announcement as to which one of our many exceptional cooks will prepare their specialty.
If you have a dish or two that you would like to demonstrate please call Lenore.
Of course, all dishes will be fish, dairy or vegetarian in keeping with our kosher kitchen.
Bar Mitzvah Profiles
by Rea Turet
Zach attends Brunswick Junior High School. His favorite subjects are math and reading. He is on the Math Team and in the School Band. He likes to read, build robots and do computer programming. His bar mitzvah community project was to volunteer at the Brunswick Curtis Memorial Library. His parents are Matt and Michele Miller, long time members of Beth Israel Congregation
Sam attends Bath Middle School. His favorite subjects are math and science. Sam is in the band, jazz band, District III honors band, President of National Junior Honor Society, science/engineering mentor program and Southern Maine Children's Choir. He is active in swimming, baseball, tennis, skiing and likes to play ultimate frisbee. Sam likes to rock climb, play the trumpet, sing and whittle wood. His bar mitzvah community project was to clean and rededicate the children's section of the Jewish cemetery in Portland, and the remember us program, remembering a child from the Holocaust. His parents are Cantor Daniel and Barbara Leeman, Cantor Leeman is the spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation.
Donations and Welcomes
We would like to thank the following people for their donations