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Beth Israel Congregation

   
 
 
 

Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

September/October 2010
Elul 5770 ~ Tishri/Heshvan 5771


Jewish Communication
President's Message
Flowers for the High Holidays
Selihot Service
Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon
Yom Kippur Break Fast
High Holiday Youth Services
Childcare for High Holidays
Join the Sukkot Fun
Sukkot Celebration
Simchat Torah Celebration
Hebrew School Begins
Kindergarten/Preschool Classes
Hebrew School Wish List
Tot Shabbats
Picture Gallery
Making It in Maine
Memories of Jewish Bath Program
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.


Jewish Communication

by Cantor Daniel Leeman

Who's going to replace Simon? Simon is the both beloved and hated British born talent agent and scout who founded the hit show "American Idol." Millions of viewers watched for years as Simon, the judge, would brutally slam both gifted and weak artists of all types. Simon's cruel words and harsh remarks were ostensibly meant to help improve the contestant's career chances, and in most cases to push them out of the business entirely. We know that the entertainment business is a tough business, but how we choose our words is really important.

As we approach the holidays, we become both judges and critics. We look carefully at ourselves, and we look carefully at those around us.

Now that Elul is upon us, the last month of the year, we prepare ourselves emotionally for the late night Selihot Service, which begins the month long Holiday period. Seliha in Hebrew, means 'pardon,' or 'forgiveness.' We recite special poems and prayers in an effort to learn the language of forgiveness.

When we choose our words, they are supposed to be a true reflection of what is in our hearts and minds. That's why it is so important to nourish our spirits regularly with moments of prayer and gratitude. By doing so, our thoughts and feelings are ones worthy to be transmitted with our words.

How do we learn about words of kindness? We all learned the basic manners of "please and thank you" from our parents and teachers. We learned the old saying, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything!" These are important. But there is a world of nuance and subtlety in language, ones that can make all the difference in our lives, our relationships, our reputations, and sometimes even our very survival.

One famous story about words of kindness in the bible demonstrates how Joseph comforts and forgives his brothers. Joseph decides to reveal his identity to them because they had changed, and were unwilling to repeat the pain they caused their father Jacob by leaving Benjamin in jail and returning home without him.

Joseph comforts them by telling them it was G-d's plan to bring him down to Egypt to save their lives. Through his words, Joseph prevents his brothers from being mortified in shame as he discloses his identity. Joseph, the Zaddik, the "righteous one," could have said he suffered at their hands and now forgives them. Rather than do this, he diverts their attention entirely to G-d's higher purpose. We know as viceroy, he easily could have had them imprisoned or killed for their past sins. Instead, after examining them thoroughly, he decides to forgive their evil plan to sell him, their own brother, into slavery. By his words he helped to create a destiny for his family, and ultimately our people. This is a man who chose his words of reconciliation carefully. We can do the same.

Let's remember how important it is, especially as we enter the New Year, to learn the nuances and subtleties of speech, so we may choose our words of forgiveness and reconciliation carefully. By learning what words NOT to say, we can learn words of kindness. Let's prepare our hearts and minds for a year of peace.


President's Message

by Robert Gersh

Greetings! I hope that everyone had an enjoyable summer, whether you traveled away or stayed here in Maine for a staycation. In any case, I hope that you are rested and ready to participate in the activities of our congregation. With Erev Rosh Hashanah beginning on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, the High Holy Days come early this year.

As kids do when they return to school, I would like to share with you a story about something that I did during the summer break.

On Sunday, July 11, 2010 I attended the cemetery headstone unveiling for Minnie Brown at the Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Portland. Cantor Daniel Leeman led a moving ceremony to commemorate the event and to remember Minnie Brown. John Voorhees, the attorney and executor of Minnie Brown's estate, had arranged for the purchase of the headstone and worked with Cantor Daniel to set up the unveiling ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony Mr. Voorhees presented a 7-branch menorah that belonged to Minnie Brown. Cantor Daniel accepted it on behalf of the congregation.

Minnie Brown was a lifelong member of our congregation and a Bath resident. When she passed away on November 14, 1997, she made a very generous contribution to the congregation in her will. In fact, her generosity enabled our congregation to purchase the School and Cantor's office and also to create an endowment fund.

While Minnie Brown's generous donation has enabled us to do many things, the viability and health of our congregation depends on the continuing contribution of time and money by all of our members and visitors. If you aren't yet a dues paying member, become one. Pay your dues in full in a timely manner. If you can afford to give more, please do so. The substantial needs of the congregation provide many opportunities for you to honor someone through an additional donation. We would be happy to publicly recognize your donation unless you wish to give anonymously. If you would like to sponsor improvements to our Synagogue or to the Minnie Brown Center, I encourage you to contact Peggy Brown, the chairperson of our Building Committee. If you have trouble paying your dues in full, please contact our treasurer, Rea Turet, to work out a reasonable payment plan.

The congregation also needs your time and energy to run effectively. Volunteer to serve on the Board or in one of our committees, to teach in our Religious School, or to lead a fundraiser. Come to our religious services throughout the year, not just during the High Holy Days. Participate in our additional events, including but not limited to our Book Club, our food pantry assistance, our musical kumzitz evenings (from the Yiddish for 'Come, sit'), our Medical Ethics seminar, our Purim Carnival, our Passover Seder, and our community Chanukah party. The Beth Israel Congregation is what you make of it!

Although Minnie Brown never had any children of her own, her generosity has enabled us to provide a quality Jewish education for an entire generation of children. In a sense, our congregation's children have become her children. Please commit yourself to carrying on Minnie Brown's legacy as we start a new year (5771) on Erev Rosh Hashanah on September 8, 2010. Thank you and La Shana Tova (Happy New Year)!


Flowers for the High Holidays

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 Service

This year's Selihot Service will take place Saturday evening, September 4th, 2010, at 9:00 pm. It is a one-hour service of song and prayer. It will begin with a brief lesson about some of the laws regarding words of kindness. Please make every effort to attend.


Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon

by Marilyn Weinberg

Rosh Hashanah is the time when we all come together as a community. Our High Holiday potluck community luncheons have been a great success that we hope will continue for many years.

We will begin our Rosh Hashanah luncheon at the Minnie Brown Center immediately following morning services on Thursday, September 9th, 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. We will then go together for a Tashlicht service at the waterfront in Bath at approximately 2:00 pm. 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 7:13 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 17th or 18th of September. The break fast will be held at the synagogue.


High Holiday Youth Services

by Barbara Leeman

Rosh Hashanah: September 9th 11:00 am
Yom Kippur: September 18th 11:00 am
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 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 at 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.


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 22nd 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.


Sukkot Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Sunday, September 26th, from 12:00-2:00 pm, we will celebrate Sukkot with our annual Community Pot Luck Progressive Sukkot celebration. We will share food and bless three different sukkahs. This year all of our homes are in Brunswick. We will be sending out a separate flyer soon with all the details. We have a great day planned, so mark your calendars now.


Simchat Torah Celebration

by Barbara Leeman

Wednesday, September 29th at the Synagogue
5:00 pm - Simchat Torah Service
6:00 pm-ish - Pot Luck Dairy/Vegetarian Meal


Hebrew School Begins

by Barbara Leeman

All current forms, as well as the 2010-2011 Hebrew school calendar, are available on the Beth Israel website at www.bethisrael-maine.org/school.shtml.

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


Kindergarten/Preschool Classes

by Barbara Leeman

Our kindergarten/preschool class (Gan) will begin September 1st 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 remain at $200 for the year. As always, Beth Israel membership is required.

If you are interested in enrolling your child, please email education@bethisraelmaine.org or call 443-4606.


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.

Wish list:

  • 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 has time and would be willing to help categorize, catalog, and label books from our adult library.
  • Empty egg cartons. Please save as many as possible, and bring to the Minnie Brown center when school begins (or before).
  • Our students will continue next year to collect food/dry items to bring to the food bank. 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 is a box placed in the hallway of the Minnie Brown Center for the collection of the items.

Tot Shabbats

by Barbara Leeman

Tot Shabbats will return to Beth Israel congregation. These "family style" Shabbats have been taking place at 6:30 pm and are designed for families with young children, although all ages are welcome to attend. We learn prayers, sing songs and listen to a story.

This year we are planning to change the program a bit and we would like your input. Would you like us to change the time or the format? Please feel free to call 443-4606 or email education@bethisraelmaine.org if you have ideas. Our first Tot Shabbat of the year will be held on December 3rd.


Picture Gallery

by Barbara Leeman

A permanent picture gallery was added to our website by our web manger Fred Weinberg last year. 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.


Making It in Maine: Jewish Stories from the Pine Tree State

Sunday, October 31, 10:00 am
Minnie Brown Center

Join Professor David Freidenreich of Colby College for an interactive program of stories depicting Jewish experiences in Maine from the nineteenth century until today. Prof. Freidenreich, a scholar of religious history researching Jewish life in Maine, will offer a framework for understanding our state's rich Jewish history, illustrating it with anecdotes from around the state. Whether you're a native Mainer or an arrival from away, come prepared to contribute your own stories to this mosaic.

Free and open to the public. All are welcome!

This event, produced by the Colby College Jewish Studies Program in collaboration with Beth Israel Congregation, is made possible by the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project, directed by the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). Support for the project is generously provided by Legacy Heritage Fund Limited.


Memories of Jewish Bath Program

by Marilyn Weinberg

If you remember, last September we had a wonderful program at Beth Israel led by Nathan Cogan. He spoke to a full house about his recollections of growing up in Bath in the 1940's and 1950's and then called up a number of previous members of Beth Israel to share some of their memories. Thanks to Mark Ireland and Fred Weinberg, we now have a DVD of the presentation. If you would like a copy please contact Fred Weinberg at info@bethisrael-maine.org.


Birthdays and Anniversaries

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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in memory of her father, Max Isacoff
  • Joan and Jeremy Fields in memory of her father, Arthur Blatt
  • Joan and Jeremy Fields in memory of his mother, Ruth Fields
  • Sandy Polster and Rea Turet in memory of his mother, Evelyn Miller Polster
  • Sandy Polster and Rea Turet in memory of his father, Martin J. Polster

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Friends of the Patten Free Library
  • Bowdoin College Get and Go
  • Lee Silverman and Margaret Butler in honor of their son's Bar Mitzvah
  • Heidi Ayer Zwaan
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver
  • Ray and Sheila Lucente
  • Marcia and Leonard Klompus in memory of her father, Benjamin Mensh

Welcome to new member Michele Riley of Falmouth, Maine