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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

March/April 2018
Adar/Nisan/Iyyar 5778

Rabbi's Message
President's Message
Upcoming Services and Programs at Beth Israel
Purim Celebration
Community Involvement Brunch
Community Passover Seder
School Shabbat Service
Social Action Committee
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project Food Pantry
Sunshine Committee
Welcome New Members
Maine Jewish Film Festival Comes to Brunswick
News from the Hebrew School
Beth Israel New Arrivals
Remembrances for March-April 2018
Birthdays and Anniversaries

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

Rabbi's Message

by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Dear Beth Israel Community

I first want to express my gratitude for the warm welcome and support that you have shown my family with the birth of our child. Be it the gift of a warm meal, a knit sweater, a beautiful children's book, making a run to the supermarket or a friendly hello at the farmer's market or Cafe Creme, we 've felt extraordinarily embraced by this community. Thank you. In addition, it was an honor to give Shira Dorit her name and be surrounded by you, our community, in the Beth Israel sanctuary. We feel so blessed.

Shira is named for two wonderful women whose qualities, we pray, she will inherit. Her first name is for my mom, Sheila who died two years ago. Sheila was a gentle yet strong woman, who loved music and taught piano. The name Shira, which means song in Hebrew, is a fitting remembrance of my mom. Dorit is for Alyssa's maternal grandmother Dorothy, who is 91 years old and thriving in Florida. She is a smart, congenial woman, and very connected to the Jewish community. We hope that the essence of the name Dorit, which means generation, will connect our Little One to the legacy of her generations past.

The birth of a child brings about new beginnings and hope. So too, the spring Jewish holidays are our communal opportunity for rebirth and possibility. Purim reminds us that we can try on a new costume to change our perspective, and that laughter can be a tool for hope even in difficult times. During Passover, we enact our journey from slavery to freedom, tasting the sweetness of rebirth. May we savor the upcoming early spring through celebration, song, and time together.

Rabbi Vinikoor

President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

Although the weather has certainly taken up a lot of our thoughts and energy this winter, we are fortunate at Beth Israel to be in the midst of some very exciting times.

The board has been very busy in undertaking a lot of work on several topics and issues that we had put on the back burner during our busy strategic planning and Rabbi search process. The Cemetery Committee led by Stan Lane has completed their update and is ready to talk to any members who plan to purchase plots in the cemetery. The cost of cemetery plots will be increasing.

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guidelines Committee has updated that document and it is ready for publication. You can access this document by going to our website:

We have a new Social Action Committee that has been meeting and formulating a plan for our community. You will be hearing much more from them in the future.

The other very focused board group is our Finance Committee, which has put in many hours coming up with an updated investment policy, organizing funds and looking into our long-term future. Their work is ongoing but will be presented at our Congregation brunch on April 8. This will be an opportunity to weigh in on our future.

During the time when Rabbi Vinikoor has been on her much deserved family leave, several of our members stepped up to lead services. Thank you to Robert Gersh, Rachel Connelly and Maurie Libner who are always ready and willing to volunteer and take care of things at Beth Israel. They always do a wonderful job.

Looking ahead, lots of things are happening this spring (assuming it arrives sometime). Rabbi Vinikoor will be returning in early March for our Purim Megillah reading and carnival. The Maine Jewish Film Festival kicks off in Brunswick at the Eveningstar on March 10 and 11 with three wonderful films. We will be holding our Community Passover Seder on March 31. In April, save the dates for two special programs that are still being finalized. Wednesday, April 11 is Yom ha-Sho'ah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. A service and a special speaker will be coming. Thursday, April 19 is Yom ha-Azma'ut or Israel Independence Day. The State of Israel is 70 years old this year. We have something special lined up.

I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm at Beth Israel and I am hopeful for the future of our little congregation, which is growing every month…amazing. Come to everything, or maybe just one thing, but come.

"May love and harmony, peace and friendship
abide among us, now and evermore

Upcoming Services and Programs at Beth Israel


Saturday, March 3 from 10:00-10:45 am
Tot Shabbat
Led by Rachel Connelly
Minnie Brown Center

Sunday, March 4 at 11:00 am
Megilla Reading and Purim Carnival
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor
Synagogue and Minnie Brown Center

Friday, March 9 at 7:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor
Oneg: Spiegelman-Boyd Family

Saturday, March 10 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Study
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Friday, March 23 at 6:30 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
Led by Hebrew School Students
Oneg: Lisi Family

Saturday, March 24 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Study
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Saturday, March 31 at 5:00 pm
Community Passover Seder
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor
Minnie Brown Center


Saturday, April 7 from 10:00-10:45 am
Tot Shabbat
Led by Rachel Connelly
Minnie Brown Center

Sunday, April 8 at 10:30 am
Community Involvement Brunch

Wednesday, April 11 (time T.B.D.)
Yom ha-Sho'ah Program
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Friday, April 13 at 7:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor
Oneg: Haller Family

Saturday, April 14 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Study
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor

Thursday, April 19 (time T.B.D.)
Yom ha-Azma'ut
Bowdoin College/p>

Friday, April 27 at 7:00 pm
Shabbat Evening Service
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor
Oneg: Jacobs Family

Saturday, April 28 at 10:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service and Torah Study
Led by Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor


Please join us on Sunday, March 4 for our community Purim celebration.
Don't forget to come dressed in costume!

11:00 a.m. - Megillah Reading at the Synagogue
11:45 a.m. - Parade of costumes to the carnival
Noon-1:30 p.m. - Purim carnival at the Minnie Brown Center

Loads of games, lots of new prizes, hamantaschen, pizza, drinks and fun for kids of all ages


Community Involvement Brunch

by Marilyn Weinberg

Sunday, April 8
10:30 a.m.

The Sunday right after Passover is a perfect time to gather and dine on bagels and kugel and other yummy things we might not have eaten the previous week.

Please join us for a brunch with the board. We have had a busy year and want to give you an opportunity to hear what we have been working on and how we might proceed in coming years. Our financial situation has been a primary focus. Creating a thoughtful and meaningful financial plan is essential. It is also essential that you are part of this process. We hope you can come.

Community Passover Seder

Saturday, March 31
5:00 p.m.

You are invited to join family and friends for a potluck Community Passover Seder.

Reservations required by March 21.
Please email

To cover expenses:
$5.00 per person/$10.00 per family for members
$10.00 per person/$20.00 per family for non-members

School Shabbat Service

by Marilyn Weinberg

Friday, March 23
6:30 p.m.

The students of Beth Israel Hebrew School will be leading the Friday night Shabbat service on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. This is a special service that showcases the talent and hard work of our Hebrew School students. It will take the place of the regular Friday night service. Please mark your calendar and come out to see these amazing kids and their teachers.

Social Action Committee

by Joanne Rosenthal

Discussions are underway to reactivate the (somewhat dormant) social action committee at Beth Israel. Informed with information from the URJ Biennial and the Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, there are wonderful examples of programs that could be implemented to fit our small congregation and serve the community. As a Brit Olam Congregation, we have pledged to act in solidarity with vulnerable communities and to " the world we want, not the world as it is."

We will move forward "fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our congregation where all opinions are heard" and welcome participation at all levels.

For more information, please contact Joanne Rosenthal.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project Food Pantry

by Jill Standish

Beth Israel members have been volunteering at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program for over ten years. I am looking for someone to take my place as the Beth Israel volunteer coordinator for the group that brings food from Hannaford's on Sunday morning to the food pantry. I have been involved in this coordinating job since the beginning.

It's really not a lot of work to be the coordinator, but every so often my help is needed. I would guess that it's about two hours a month. It involves asking people to sign up, checking to be sure someone will cover Sunday, and sometimes asking again if there is no one scheduled. If new people volunteer, I take them to show them the ropes and coordinate with the person at Mid Coast.

The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project food pantry has a new volunteer coordinator on their end and is very helpful.

Please email me if you have any questions or concerns. The volunteer coordinator is really a worthwhile position.

Sunshine Committee

by Sharon Drake

We have had a busy time with welcome packages going out to our new families and individuals who are new members of the Synagogue. In addition home made meals were delivered through the Meal Train to the families with new babies, Rabbi Vinikoor and Alyssa Finn with baby girl Shira Dorit, and Katherine and Rachel Bouttenot with baby girl Sylvie Rose. In addition, we have sent out the birthday and anniversary greeting cards and welcomed members and visitors to the Congregation. New volunteers are welcome and appreciated!

Welcome New Members

  • Piper Panzeri and Emily Davies
  • Margaret Boyle and and Andrew Lardie
  • Susan Kamin and Ben Crystal
  • Moshe Menaker and Shana Starobin

Maine Jewish Film Festival Comes to Brunswick

by Marilyn Weinberg

Saturday, March 10
Sunday, March 11
Eveningstar Cinema, Brunswick

With the support of members of our congregation, Beth Israel is a proud sponsor of the Maine Jewish Film Festival again this year. There will be three films shown during the weekend of March 10 and 11 at the Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick. I am listing the links for details for each film.

Tickets can be purchased directly from Eveningstar Cinema at Spread the word and bring your friends.

SATURDAY, March 10
11:00 a.m.
Bye Bye Germany

This dark comedy focuses on David Berman and his friends, all Holocaust survivors, who have only one goal: to get to money and go to America as soon as possible. Clever, resourceful, and shady, they are succeeding in their goal when the past comes back to haunt them.

SUNDAY, March 11
11:00 a.m.
Fire Birds

A veteran cast of Israeli stage and screen stars who deliver captivating, bravura performances in this noir detective story that has many surprises.

SUNDAY, March 11 4:00 p.m. Bombshell Known for her matchless beauty and electric screen persona, Hedy Lamarr also possessed an exceptional mind. Rare recordings, interviews, and excerpts from Lamarr's own diary expose how this Jewish refugee and secret genius with a scandalous past never received the respect she deserved. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, voiced by Diane Kruger.

News from the Hebrew School

by Marilyn Weinberg

It has been my pleasure to lead the Hebrew School for the past two months while Rabbi Vinikoor has been on leave. I have felt so much positive energy from our students and their supportive parents. The children arrive hungry and excited and ready to learn after a busy day at school. I am so impressed with all of them.

Grades 3-6 students begin each Hebrew School session with a prayer service and they chant and sing with lots of enthusiasm. Our younger group has been joining them for the first few songs and doing a great job. They then break up onto two groups, studying both Hebrew language and Jewish customs, holidays and mitzvot. They are now preparing to lead a Friday night Shabbat service on March 23 and hope you can join them to see how far they have progressed.

All of our students love singing and our grades K-2 students had the opportunity in January to do some extra singing with Shira Gersh who was home on break from Brandeis. They loved her ukulele. Thank you Shira. Students have warmly welcomed Hannah Pucker, a Bowdoin student, who has been a great addition to our school. She has been working with our young ones on some of the Shabbat prayers and customs. Meanwhile, Susan Horowtiz has kept them focused on holidays and customs with great Jewish stories and crafts.

All of our students spent time learning about our environmental holiday, Tu B'shevat, and all the things they could do to help "repair the world." They heard stories and learned a number of songs connected with the holiday, which they sang with enthusiasm at the Tu B'shevat Seder attended by parents and siblings. They planted seeds that we hope will grow a little before Passover and baked some "seven species muffins" that we enjoyed at the Seder.

We look forward to Rabbi Vinikoor returning to us in early

Beth Israel New Arrivals

by Camille Kauffunger

Each winter we look forward to February and Tu B'shevat, the Birthday of the Trees, as the holiday stirs our anticipation of spring and reminds us of the miracles of nature. This January, however, we were given an early opportunity to celebrate new life as we welcomed the arrival of two babies to our Beth Israel community.

Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor and Alyssa Finn delivered their baby girl on Sunday, January 7, at Mid Coast Hospital and introduced us to her eight days later at her naming ceremony. Here, their daughter's name was shared for the first time, Shira Dorit, named after her grandmother, Sheila Vinikoor, who passed away on the same date two years earlier. With song, blessings, great love and ritual, Shira Dorit was given "tribe and history, roots and purpose, baggage and wings" as she was welcomed into the Jewish community by a full synagogue of relatives, members and friends. As one email to Beth Israel expressed following the service, "The baby naming ceremony was so beautiful and there wasn't a dry eye in the synagogue!"

Just two days after the arrival of Shira Dorit, new members Rachel and Katherine Bouttenot gave birth to little Sylvie Rose on Tuesday, January 9, at their home in Bath. Our community has enjoyed getting to know Rachel and Katherine during Shabbat Onegs and holiday celebrations and now looks forward to meeting (and holding) baby Sylvie. Sylvie and her parents traveled Canton Ohio for her naming ceremony. Sylvie Rose Bouttenot was named for her great-great-grandmother Sylvia and her grandmother Roslyn. She also got to meet her great-grandmother Marjorie during her visit.

Thank you to all the Beth Israel members and friends that organized so quickly to cook for the new parents and deliver meals in winter weather. They are grateful for your kindness and warm nourishing meals as they hibernate, hope for sleep and adjust to the role of mama and ema.

The arrivals of Shira Dorit and Sylie Rose are extra precious for Beth Israel Congregation, as they serve as a sign that our community is blossoming with new energy and life. We are growing! A blessing for us all.

Remembrances for March-April 2018

May their memories be for a blessing

WE REMEMBER Hebrew Date Calendar Date (2018)
Helen Freedman Cohen 20 Adar March 7
Sarah Goldman 20 Adar March 7
Edward Haller 20 Adar II March 7
Mishael Selig 21 Adar March 8
Susan Linet 21 Adar March 8
Mary Panzeri 22 Adar March 9
Helen Isaacson 22 Adar II March 9
Harry Shartar 24 Adar March 11
Joseph Silberstein 24 Adar March 11
Josef & Marie Haller 26 Adar March 13
Norman Jablow 27 Adar March 14
Elaine Leighton 27 Adar March 14
Moshe Ben Gedalyah 27 Adar March 14
Daniel Ensel 4 Nissan March 20
Gerard Feldman 6 Nissan March 22
Elaine Friedberg Giulianti 9 Nissan March 25
Maurice Turet 9 Nissan March 25
Sandor Polster 10 Nissan March 26
Fred Gersh 13 Nissan March 29
Ellen Leavy 14 Nissan March 30
Virginia King 16 Nissan April 1
Albert M. Swartz 17 Nissan April 2
Jesse Lane 20 Nissan April 5
Louis Sarazan 23 Nissan April 8
Gladys Filler 26 Nissan April 11
Morris Filler 26 Nissan April 11
Harold Hershenhart 27 Nissan April 12
Harold Gilman 28 Nissan April 13
Michael Lobenthal 28 Nissan April 13
Peter Rubin 28 Nissan April 13
Cheryl Milkes Moore 29 Nissan April 14
Isadore Baseman 30 Nissan April 15
Jeffrey Robert Cherner 30 Nissan April 15
Albert Panzeri 30 Nissan April 15
Elayne Schoenberg 3 Iyar April 18
Rita Pepper 4 Iyar April 19
Lauren Beth Dunleavy 6 Iyyar April 21
Mildred Lenox 8 Iyyar April 23
Jerry Goldsmith 11 Iyyar April 26
Lillian Wolfe 14 Iyyar April 29
Morris Eisman 15 Iyyar April 30

Birthdays and Anniversaries

March Birthdays March Anniversaries
1 Max Ergas 15 Ken Rosen & Ellen Kempler
3 Donny Giulianti 15 Jennie & Campbell Clegg
4 Robert Lenox 19 Glen & Beth Eisman
5 Gary Torow
6 Crissy Swartz
8 Teresa Gandler
9 Andrew Schoenberg
10 Monica Blatt
12 Ethan Blatt
12 Tobyn Blatt
12 Nicholas Giulianti
13 Jennie Clegg
14 Bart D’Alauro
15 Michelle Lisi-D'Alauro
16 Peter Felsenthal
20 Maurie Libner
21 Ken Rosen
28 Campbell Clegg
31 Andrew Lardie

April Birthdays April Anniversaries
2 Lisa Tessler 14 Daniel Stone &
3 Alan Mayer Laura McCandish
3 Patricia Brennan
5 Nadia Leiner
5 Ellen Kempler
6 Nora Boyle-Lardie
7 Sumner Blatt
8 Mort Panish
9 Susan Horowitz
13 Sheila Cohen
18 Barbara Baseman
18 Leslie Shaw
18 Steven Barr
29 Asa Meyer-Waldo


Memorial Gifts
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver in loving memory of his mother, Rose Hurwitz Silver
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in loving memory of his father, Fred Lenox
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in loving memory of her grandfather, Solomon Wernick
  • Karen and Matt Filler in loving memory of her grandmother, Sarah Lang
  • Shelia Cohen in loving memory of her sister, Deborah Cohen
  • Stephen and Marina Singer In loving memory of his sister, Ann Alvare
  • Evelyn and Morton Panish in loving memory of her mother, Else Chaim
  • Barbara and Robert Lenox in loving memory of her mother, Freda Selig
  • Jeremy and joan Fields in loving memory of his father, David Fields
  • Mara and Donald Giulianti in loving memory of her father, Leon Berman
  • Martin and Betty Welt in loving memory of his mother, Shirley Welt
  • Gary Torow in loving memory of his mother, Ann Torow
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in loving memory of her mother, Ann Isacoff
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in loving memory of his mother, Frances Weinberg
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in loving memory of his father, Marvin Weinberg
  • Karen and Matt Filler in loving memory of her parents, Gerald and Frances Feldman
  • Diane Gilman in loving memory of her mother, Selma E. Gilman
To Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor and Dr. Alyssa Finn in honor of the birth of their daughter, Shira Dorit
  • The Board of Beth Israel Congregation
  • Barbara and Robert Lenox
  • Deborah and Kermit Smyth
  • Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Krisch
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland
  • Erich and Pauline Haller
Building Fund
  • Lee Leiner and Lisa Trembley
In Support of the Synagogue
  • Rabbi Lisa Vinikoor and Dr. Alyssa Finn in gratitude to the Beth Israel Community for hosting Shira's baby naming and for all the love and support offered to our family
  • Alan Norman and Ellen Ablow
  • George Isaacson and Margaret McGaughey
  • Sanford and Cynthia Boxerman
  • Lola Lea
  • Aaron and Liza Greenwald
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell
  • Jon and Lorna Lichter
In Support of the Hebrew School
  • Sharon Drake