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Beth Israel Congregation

   
 
 
 

Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

September/October 2009
Elul/Tishri/Heshvan 5769/5770


Memories of Jewish Bath Program
The Day of the Blasting of the Shofar is Coming
President's Message
Yizkor Book
Flowers for the High Holidays
Selihot Services: the Only Midnight Service of the Jewish Year
High Holiday Youth Services
Childcare for High Holidays
Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon
Yom Kippur Break Fast
Teen Scholarship for Israel Trip
Sukkot Celebration
Simchat Torah Celebration
Hebrew School Enrollment
Hebrew School Open House
Kindergarten/Preschool Classes
Tot Shabbats
Last Hebrew School Year in Pictures
Picture Gallery
Join the Sukkot Fun
Hebrew School Wish List
Thank You
Book Club News
Jake Schoenberg Bar Mitzvah
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Donations

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 info@bethisrael-maine.org.


Memories of Jewish Bath Program

by Marilyn Weinberg

We have a very special event coming up on Sunday September 13th. Nathan Cogan along with his sisters Ann and Janet (they are triplets) are coming to Bath to visit old friends and share their memories of growing up in a time very different from 2009. Nathan and his sisters were born in Bath in 1937. He and his family were a vital part of our Beth Israel Jewish community. Nathan has also invited a number of past Bath Jewish residents who are looking forward to returning to their synagogue, sharing their memories with each other and getting to know the present members of Beth Israel Congregation.

We will start with a brunch at 9:30 am so that we can all have a chance to meet each other and talk informally.

At 10:30 am we will break and Nathan will give a presentation titled "Jewish Immigrants of Bath 1900-1960."We will then have an opportunity for all our other visitors to share their memories and answer questions from those in attendance.

Lon Povich (Janice's son) will be our moderator.

This is a very special opportunity to learn more about Beth Israel's "roots." Don't miss it. The event will be held in our beautiful synagogue.


The Day of the Blasting of the Shofar is Coming

by Daniel Leeman

The Torah does not refer to the Jewish New Year as Rosh Hashanah, or by the the title "The Day of Judgment," which is commonly used. Rather, the Torah refers repeatedly to Rosh Hashanah as the day of the blasting of the shofar. Why is the symbol of the shofar so important that it is in fact the only name the Torah uses?

There at several reasons:

One: Hail to the King! -- The Shofar blast evokes a coronation theme. In Psalms 47:6, we read "G-d ascends (His throne) amidst a loud sound the sound of the shofar." Judaism teaches that a human affirmation and proclamation of G-d as the singular and supreme Ruler can amplify G-d's presence and effectiveness in the world.

Two: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The court is in session. The oral law and rabbinic literature articulate the theme of the "Day of Judgment" around the highly charged imagery of a trial for one's very life. So it is necessary for us to realize that in the case of Rosh Hashanah, the right honorable Judge of the world is presiding!

Three: Sacrifice a ram instead. When Abraham demonstrated his willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice of his only son born by his beloved Sarah, he offered a ram instead. So, the ram's horn is a symbol of the profound faith of Abraham. This story serves as a type of vicarious atonement mechanism. When we ask forgiveness from the Maker of heaven and earth, we don't stand alone. Even today, we are sustained and inspired by the faith, sacrifice and merit of those who came before us.

Four: Wake Up! -- Maimonides wrote in the Laws of Repentance: "Wake up from your deep sleep, you who are fast asleep, search your deeds and repent. Remember your Creator and examine your souls. Mend your broken ways." It's easy to be lulled into a routine that includes negative things. We need to remind ourselves in a formal way to abandon all wickedness completely.

Because the shofar was sounded at the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the shofar reminds us to accept G-d's reign in the world, and to be the best we can be. Conversely, because the ram's horn was also sounded in time of war, we are reminded of how destructive and senseless war can be. We remember how war ultimately caused the destruction of our Temple and our way of life in Jerusalem for two thousand years.

So, let's prepare our hearts and welcome a new year. May we be privileged to witness expanding diplomacy, understanding and compromise in the world. May we really see health insurance reform, leading to access to affordable health care for all our citizens. Let us also hope and pray that through our worthiness, a great justice, unity and peace can truly come and embrace the whole world.


President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

By the time you receive this newsletter, our summer, filled with visitors and travels will be ending and we will be back into a more regular routine. As the days get shorter and the nights cooler we are very aware of the changing seasons. What a perfect time for the High Holidays, with such an obvious awareness of change in the air.

As the days before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur draw near, I always feel blessed that we are given an opportunity to "take stock"of where we are and decide on those things we want to change. Personally, I value the instructions we are given to make peace with our friends and neighbors and to apologize for any "wrongdoing,"whether intentional or unintentional. As Jews we do not retreat into cloistered seclusion for this introspection. On the contrary, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in public, as a community. This is an opportunity to look not at just ourselves, but also at our community and think about our focus, direction and commitment.

There has been quite a bit of change over the last few years. We have attempted to offer a traditional approach to ritual and practice while being egalitarian and open to critical thought. It has not been easy to find the right balance. Our goal for the year is to continue to work on these issues. Our synagogue stands for something, in part because of this struggle. Besides, who said this would be easy?

Since so many of us live far apart from each other, it is only through attending services and synagogue programs that we often can connect. I think we can retain our sense of community if many of us try to attend services or some of our functions. Better yet, volunteer to work on a committee. Make a New Year's resolution to attend some services this year. The Chai committee is planning some great speakers and programs. Plan on coming to our Progressive Sukkot Celebration in October to reconnect and meet new members. Each one of you is important to the survival of our synagogue.

May this year bring you and your family only the best.

L'Shana Tova
Marilyn


Yizkor Book

by Lenore Friedland

Lola Lea has once again volunteered to do our Yizkor book. She does a beautiful job each year. She has requested your listings be e-mailed to her no later than September 13th.

Even if you have had a listing in the book in previous years, you need to give her the list again. She needs the name of the person and their relationship to you.

Donations should be sent to Rea Turet.


Flowers for the High Holidays

by Marina Singer

If you are interested in contributing toward the flowers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, please contact Marina Singer. You may also send the names of the people you are remembering or honoring with the flowers to Marina. Your donations for the flowers should be sent to Rea Turet.


Selihot Services: the Only Midnight Service of the Jewish Year

by Daniel Leeman

The new month of Elul begins Friday, August 21. According to the Aggadic Midrash, this is the day that Moses began his ascent of Mt. Sinai for the second time. Forty days later, Moses is said to have arrived back from the summit to deliver the Law to Israel. When the second tablets arrived, we willingly accepted them. The Midrash considers this "second chance" to be the first Yom Kippur in history.

Just as we prayed at the base of Mt. Sinai as Moses transcribed the Torah, we recite the Selihot each year to prepare our hearts for the New Year. We traditionally begin at midnight, a Saturday evening prior to Rosh Hashanah. The term Selicha, the singular form, means forgiveness.

Some of the beautiful poems of the Selihot service date back literally two thousand years, and have recently been examined and translated for our benefit. The music of the service has a special mode, sung only for these prayers and themes and at this season.

Let's bring in the New Year with a full heart. Rather than at midnight, we will be starting our one-hour service at 9:00 pm, Saturday evening, September 12th at our lovely Synagogue. Please come.


High Holiday Youth Services

by Barbara Leeman

Rosh Hashanah - September 19th at 11:00 am
Yom Kippur - September 28th at 11:00 am

Both services will be at the Minnie Brown Center. The service is designed for children ages 7-11 but others should feel free to join in. An announcement will be made at the adult service just before 11:00 am, so that you can be reminded to walk your child to the Minnie Brown Center. Either stay with your child, or rejoin the adult service. Your child will be brought back to the adult service at the conclusion of the youth service if you are not there. Those with younger children are encouraged to stay. A snack for the children will be provided (only on Rosh Hashanah).

Please contact Denise Tepler at or Barbara Leeman at for more information.

L'Shana Tovah Umetukah, a sweet and a good new year.


Childcare for High Holidays

by Barbara Leeman

Please contact Campbell Clegg if you think you would like babysitting on the High Holidays. This is available free of charge to all members. In the past, this has been an underutilized service, and we would be happy to continue to provide it if there is a need for it, so please do call. This babysitting service will give you a chance to enjoy the adult prayer service, worry free, while still being within a close distance of your child. We want to avoid having children unattended in the Synagogue or Minnie Brown Center.


Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon

by Marilyn Weinberg

Rosh Hashanah is the time when we all come together as a community. Last year we had our first High Holiday community luncheon and it was a great success. We would like to make this an annual event at Beth Israel.

We will begin our second Rosh Hashanah luncheon at the Minnie Brown Center immediately following morning services on Saturday, September 19th at approximately 1:00 pm. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with each other and share some delicious food for which our members are known.

You can drop off a "non-meat" dish at the Minnie Brown Center before you come to services.


Yom Kippur Break Fast

by Marilyn Weinberg

This year our annual potluck break fast will begin at 7:00 pm, right after we blow the shofar signaling the end of Yom Kippur. There is something very special about being together to break the fast. You can drop off food any time on the 27th or 28th of September.


Teen Scholarship for Israel Trip

by Marilyn Weinberg

Lynn Frank's daughter, Kaela, spent a year in Israel in 2006-07. It was a life-changing experience for her. Lynn would like to see another Jewish teen from our congregation have an opportunity to experience a taste of Israel. She has put aside the funds to sponsor one teen from our congregation to go on the Maine Israel trip this February.

If any teen is interested in going, they need to write a letter to the Beth Israel board, describing why they would like to participate in this trip. The board will set up a committee to read each letter and select a recipient. The deadline for applicants is October 30th.

Letters should be sent to Marilyn Weinberg.


Sukkot Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Sunday, October 4th, from 12:00-2:00 pm, we will celebrate Sukkot with our annual Pot Luck Progressive Sukkot celebration. We will share food and bless three different sukkahs. This year all of our homes are in Freeport. Please see the attached special flyer for details. We have a great day planned, so mark your calendars now.


Simchat Torah Celebration

by Barbara Leeman

Sunday, October 11th
11:00 am: Simchat Torah Service
12:00 pm-ish: Pot Luck Dairy/Vegetarian Meal


Hebrew School Enrollment

by Barbara Leeman

Hebrew School begins September 9th at 4:00 pm. All current forms, as well as the 2009-2010 Hebrew school calendar, are available on the Beth Israel website at http://www.bethisrael-maine.org/school.shtml.

For anyone new, interested in more information, please send your name, phone number, or email address to education@bethisrael-maine.org or call 443-4606.


Hebrew School Open House

by Barbara Leeman

For all those interested in learning more about our Hebrew school, there will be an open house, on Wednesday, September 2nd, at 5:00 pm, at the Minnie Brown Center (906 Washington Street, Bath). This will be a great opportunity to take a tour of our school, hear about our curriculum, ask about our teachers, and hear about our programs. We look forward to meeting you.

If you are new, or still deciding whether to send your child to Beth Israel Hebrew School, please try to come, or call 443-4606 to get more information.

Kindergarten/Preschool Classes

by Barbara Leeman

Our kindergarten/preschool class (Gan) will begin September 9th at 4:00 pm. 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 email education@bethisrael.maine.org or call 443-4606 so that we can get an accurate count of class size.


Tot Shabbats

by Barbara Leeman

Tot Shabbats return to Beth Israel congregation. These "family style" Shabbats take place at 6:30 pm and are designed for families with young children, although all ages are welcome to attend. We learn some prayers, sing songs and listen to a story. Services last approximately 30 minutes, and are a great way to introduce young kids to our Jewish community. The first Tot Shabbat of the year will be held as a family Sukkot service, on October 9th. For this October service we will have our "oneg" in the synagogue's sukkah. This program takes the place of our regular Friday night service. Our second scheduled Tot Shabbat service will be December 4th just before Chanukah.


Last Hebrew School Year in Pictures

by Barbara Leeman

Pictures from our 2008-2009 Hebrew school year have been pulled together into the latest photoshow and can be viewed on our website (www.bethisrael-maine.org) by clicking on the Beth Israel Hebrew school picture (top right of home page). Here is our Beth Israel Hebrew School in action. The show has music that goes with it, so please don't forget to turn up the volume. The show lasts for approximately seven minutes. Feel free to send the link to anyone who you feel may be interested in sending their children to our school, or anyone else who may be interested in our school.

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 to share the vitality and varied activities that are taking place at our Hebrew school. Enjoy!


Picture Gallery

by Barbara Leeman

A permanent picture gallery has been added to our website by our web manger Fred Weinberg. It displays pictures from our Hebrew school and congregation during our holiday celebrations. If there are any photos that you have taken of Beth Israel activities that we can add to our permanent collection, or you see any photos posted that you would like a copy of, please send an email to education@bethisrael-maine.org.


Join the Sukkot Fun

by Barbara Leeman

Our Hebrew School family will be building our community/school sukkah behind the Minnie Brown Center on Wednesday, September 30th during Hebrew school. We will be putting up the frame, and making decorations. Please come and fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of helping to build and beautify our Holiday sukkah. Everyone is welcome. Sukkot is a reminder that it isn't really the brick and mortar or plaster and wood that protect us.


Hebrew School Wish List

by Barbara Leeman

We continue to add to our Hebrew school wish list. As ideas come up, we will add them below. As we all clean our homes, we may find things that the school will find useful. Please send an email to education@bethisrael-maine.org if you have something that you think the school could use.

  • Portable boom box with a CD and/or cassette player (preferably both), so that we can play Hebrew music for the kids downstairs.
  • Any books of a Jewish theme that your children have outgrown, or are ready to share, in order to build our new Hebrew school lending library.
  • Someone who enjoys sewing, and who would be willing to sew book bags for our children's lending library. We will provide the material and a sample.
  • Any paints left over from a home painting project. Color doesn't matter. Either a paint bucket or spray can will work. To be used for art projects.
  • Someone who has time and would be willing to help categorize, catalog, and label books from our adult library.

Thank You

by Barbara Leeman

Thank you to the many volunteers we had getting the Minnie Brown center back into condition for school, after our July 4th flood. There was initial emergency work, of removing wet carpets, moving furniture, and saving many materials from ruin. Thank you Stan Lane and Dennis Westman. They were joined by Norma Dreyfus, Dana Malseptic, Michael Brodsky and Andy Hagler. Next came the job of filling car loads and bringing items to the dump. Peggy Brown filled up her car over and over. Painting the downstairs level was something we debated, but amazingly was also taken on by Susan Horowitz, Shira Gersh, Alina Shumsky, David Chatalbash and Rea Turet. The job of finding someone who could possibly install new flooring, was handled by Stan Lane and Peggy Brown. Replacing and rebuilding new shelving units couldn't have been done without Rea Turet. John Martell secured everything to the walls. Lastly, the enormous job of sorting through materials and finding a home for everything was done by Alina Shumsky, Marina Singer, Rea Turet, and Lenore Friedland. We are very grateful.


Book Club News

by Barbara Lenox

There is still time to join the Beth Israel Jewish Book Club for the second meeting to discuss the book The Jew Store by Stella Suberman. This is a memoir of a "Jew Store" in the small town of Concordia, Tennessee in the 1920's. Join us for a good discussion, good food and friendship on Thursday, October 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Marilyn Weinberg. Any comments, questions, suggestions, please e-mail Barbara Lenox.


Jake Schoenberg Bar Mitzvah

by Rea Turet

Jake Schoenberg, and his parents, Andy and Chris Schoenberg, and siblings Rachel and Eli, warmly welcome the Beth Israel family to join us as Jacob is called to the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah on October 24th. An oneg will follow immediately downstairs at the synagogue.

Jacob is entering 7th grade at Mt Ararat Middle School in Topsham. He plays football for the Mt Ararat Eagles, and hockey for Midcoast and Mt Ararat. He hopes to play again this year. Jake also played Cal Ripken baseball in the spring. At school, he plays the alto saxophone in the band, was in chorus and the school play. Jake likes biking, swimming, skateboarding, playing sports, music, videogames, and reading a good book. His favorite subject is history and interest he developed during his yearlong sailing trip with his family, from June, 2007 to July, 2008. As they traveled up and down the East Coast of the US, and all around the Bahamas, they read about, talked with locals, and visited many historical sites and museums along the way. He has a special interest in the Civil War period, now seen from several different perspectives.

Jake enjoyed meeting and traveling with kids and adults from all over the world, swimming, snorkeling (the coral reefs were amazing!), surfing, and especially cave exploration both on land and in the water. His favorite locations on the trip were the many islands of the Bahamas, and the coast of Maine. The family met many different musicians along the way, and there were many impromptu "jam sessions" aboard various boats and on land. Jake and Rachel had many opportunities to sing together, and Jake also learned some guitar. Now that he is home, he enjoys figuring out songs on the Casio keyboard.

For Jake's Mitzvah project, he volunteered at a farm camp for younger kids, helped older neighbors with shoveling snow, picked up trash along the coastline, and helped clean up at the Minnie Brown Center. We hope that you are able to join us on this special day.


Birthdays and Anniversaries

Listing the birthday's 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 isn't listed, please send along all information to Barbara Leeman so that they can be included with the next bulletin issue.

September Birthdays September Anniversaries
6 Beth Westman   3 Linda Silberstein & Larry Loeb
12 Abby Sreden   29 Lisa Tessler & Mark Ireland
12 Zoe Sreden      
20 Zelda Clegg      
20 Lola Lea      
23 Jeremy Fields      
23 Eydie Rose Kaplan      
28 Diane Gilman      

 

October Birthdays October Anniversaries
8 Beth Pols   12 Jennifer & Allan Kaplan
14 Evelyn Panish   29 Beth & Dennis Westman
17 Allan Kaplan      
21 Barbara Lenox      
22 Shira Gersh      
22 Jacob Schoenberg      

Donations

Many thanks to the following people for their donations to Beth Israel Congregation.

  • Norma Dreyfus & Stan Lane in memory of her father, Morris Goldberg
  • Marina & Steve Singer in memory of his mother Bessie Singer
  • Marina & Steve Singer in memory of her mother Henrietta Shapiro
  • Jeremy & Joan Fields in memory of her father, Arthur Blatt
  • Jeremy & Joan Fields in memory of his mother, Ruth Fields
  • Rea Turet & Sandy Polster in memory of his father, Martin Polster
  • Marilyn & Fred Weinberg in memory of her father, Max Isacoff
  • Susan & Dan Levey in memory of his father, Leo Levey
  • Susan & Dan Levey in memory of his mother, Shirley Levey
  • Judith Weisman in memory of her mother, Dorothy Gross
  • Cantor Daniel & Barbara Leeman in memory of her father Albert Goldenstein
  • Marcia & Leonard Klompus in memory of Benjamin Mensh
  • Margaret Isaacson
  • George Durham
  • Herb & Harriet Paris
  • Norma Dreyfus & Stan Lane in honor of Sam Leeman receiving the Maine Secretary of State Award
  • Roy & Penny Feldman in honor of Cantor Leeman & Barbara Leeman