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Beth Israel Congregation

   
 
 
 

Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2005
Sivan/Tammuz/Av 5765


President's Message
Hours for Services
Capital Campaign
Dump and Run
Calling All Teens
Support the Food Bank
Volunteers Needed
News from the Hebrew School
Recipe Exchange
Annual Meeting Chai Report
New Members and Contributions
Obituary
Letter of Appreciation

President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

There were three major goals I set for us this year.

First and most important, we needed to address the financial challenges we had before us and to find money for the capital improvements we needed to complete.

Secondly, the board needed to complete an evaluation process for our cantor since Daniel's contract was due to expire in June of 2005.

And finally, we wanted to provide programs throughout the year to increase the attendance at synagogue functions.

I feel that we have made significant progress in all areas:

  • Our capital campaign committee is succeeding beyond our expectations as you can see in Jeff Cohen's report. These funds will allow us to reach our financial goals for capital improvements as well as money toward our endowment to offset our annual budget shortfall.
  • A committee was set up to work with Daniel and address mutual concerns. I am happy to report that the board voted unanimously to extend Daniel's contract for two more years and that the contract has been signed.
  • The Chai committee began a series of Friday night "talks" from members and guests on a variety of interesting topics. Attendance has been great. The Hebrew School continued their popular tradition of Shabbat dinners and services. Our "social" events, including our Chanukah Party, Purim Carnival and Passover Seder, were also very well attended.
  • Through Ed Benedikt's hard work and a generous donation we now have a "chair lift" for the synagogue so that all can reach the sanctuary and the function room. And now we have a new prayer book (thanks to a donation from Richard Smith) that more closely reflects the needs of our congregation.

None of this could have been completed without the work of all of our board members. Each one of them has served on different committees, written articles for the newsletter and attended monthly meetings. I want to thank each one.


Hours for Services

For July and August, Shabbat Friday night services will start at 7:30 pm. Every Saturday, Cantor Leeman leads Shabbat services starting at 9:30 am.


Capital Campaign Receives Gift of $100,000

by Jeff Cohen
Chair, Capital Campaign

On behalf of the Capital Campaign committee, I am thrilled to announce that Robert Smith, of Boston, has pledged $100,000 to our Campaign. Mr. Smith, a financier and philanthropist, spent summers in Bath as a child (his mother grew up here) and has fond memories of attending services at Beth Israel decades ago. After learning of the Capital Campaign recently, he came to Bath, toured our facilities, and spent time talking to Daniel Leeman, Campaign committee members and—perhaps most important—Janice Povich, whom he remembered fondly from "the old days." He was sufficiently moved by the experience to make his pledge before he left town. Needless to say, we remain stunned by the magnitude of Mr. Smith's generosity.

With this pledge, Beth Israel has now received $276,000 in pledges toward the Campaign. Since our original goal was $250,000, we have now exceeded our goal! Because we have not yet approached all of our potential donors, the Campaign Committee has decided to increase our Campaign goal: we now seek to raise another $50,000 beyond what has been pledged to date. With this money, Beth Israel will establish a Hebrew School scholarship fund, to insure that future generations of children will be able to attend our Hebrew School regardless of whether their parents can afford it.

Mr. Smith has attached some conditions to the fulfillment of his pledge that should accelerate our timetable for collecting money pledged to the Campaign and for commencing some of our major capital improvements. Once we have in hand $80,000 in gifts pledged to the Campaign, Mr. Smith will give us the first $50,000 of his $100,000 pledge; once we collect another $40,000, he will give us $25,000; and once we collect another $30,000, he will give us the final $25,000. Mr. Smith has challenged us to collect the first $80,000 by the end of this calendar year.

Given these conditions, we now have a major incentive to collect as much money as we can, as quickly as we can. At this writing, we have collected $36,000, meaning we have $44,000 to go before Mr. Smith will give us his first installment. For those of you who have so generously pledged to the Campaign but have not yet sent in any money, please do so as soon as possible. We are counting on you to help us show Mr. Smith that our community is prepared to follow through on our pledges. And for those we have already paid your first year's installment towards your overall pledge, we are asking you, if possible, to accelerate your payments during this calendar year so that we can reach that all-important first milestone of $80,000.

Once we reach that interim goal, we will have $120,000 in hand. Plans are now being drawn up for the renovation of the kitchen, bathrooms, and gathering room in the downstairs of the synagogue; the $120,000 will allow us—finally!—to have this vital work done within the next year. Plus, we will be able to undertake many of the other capital improvements for which the Campaign was designed.

We on the Campaign Committee have been so gratified by your response so far. Your willingness to commit your financial resources to Beth Israel will enable our community to turn a dream into a reality. Now, we need you to convert your pledges into actual donations. The sooner that happens, the closer we will be to achieving our goals.

Please send all donations to me, Jeff Cohen. And if you have not yet pledged, please do so now. You can call me to make your pledge or write to me at the above address. Thank you all for your support.


Dump and Run raises over $1000 for Beth Israel

by Barbara Leeman

Each spring, Bowdoin College runs what is called a "Dump and Run." 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), and then the whole community benefits. This year, the Bowdoin "Dump and Run" raised approximately $31,000 dollars for area non-profits. There were 20 organizations that helped with a total of just over 2000 hours. The profits are distributed to each organization based on the number of hours they contribute. Each hour was worth approximately $15 this year. Each year that amount changes. We are so pleased to say that Beth Israel volunteered 78.5 hours and will receive just over $1000 for their efforts.

I am so pleased to report that we had 22 people who were able to volunteer some time to help Beth Israel. Some even did more than one shift. Each of these people not only helped to raise money for Beth Israel and slow down the waste that fills the Brunswick landfill, but also 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 at the Dump and Run:

Monica Blatt, Ed Benedikt, Ruth Benedikt, Carl Boyd, Chris Boyd, Donnie Boyd, Irwin Brodsky, Lori Brodsky, Rachel Connelly, Jacob Davidson, Scott Davidson, Kaela Frank, Robert Gersh, Marji Greenhut, Susan Horowitz, Barbara Leeman, Carole Maris, Linda Osmun, Jill Standish, Eva Winneg, Robert Winneg, Terry Winneg


Calling All Teens

At the annual meeting in June it was decided that we would add teen members to our board. A student must be post Bar/Bat Mitzvah and be involved on some level with Jewish activities. There will be up to two positions available for teens. Although these are non-voting positions, your opinions and ideas are important. The term would be for one year with the option to continue for a second year.

We invite any interested teens to apply. They must write a letter of interest describing why they want to be on the board and what they could contribute if they are selected. Letters should be addressed to Peggy Brown.


Support the Food Bank

We are looking for a few more people who are wiling to work (hopefully) once every two months to pick up food from Hannafords in Brunswick and bring it to The Midcoast Hunger Prevention Food Bank. It would be best if you have a truck or large van to do this. However a few people are willing to lend out their trucks for this purpose. It will probably take about an hour to collect the food and drive it across the street and store it. Please contact Jill Standiish or Ed Benedict if you can help.


Volunteers Needed

We have come to realize that even with our capital campaign there will be a regular need to augment the annual budget. We want to come up with some fun ideas to make this happen. Several people have mentioned the idea of our selling food during Bath's Heritage Days. Possibilities mentioned were falafel, hummus and even potato pancakes. Other people have mentioned a goods and services auction. If you have any ideas or experience in any of these areas, please let us know. Contact Marilyn Weinberg or Campbell Clegg.


News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman
This time of year is always difficult. Not only is it busier than ever with school and all our year-long activities coming to an end, our spring activities still in full swing, but we can't help have a somewhat sad feeling that our Hebrew school year has also come to an end. Seeing each of these kids together each week, praying, studying, creating, and singing is such a joy. 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 14th. A complete calendar will be sent out over the summer.

Class Shabbat Services

Our Aleph class (kindergarten class) led our service on May 20th. Their wonderful energy was contagious. Preceding our service, we had our Shabbat meal with lots of zmirot (singing). Lauri Gallimore our Aleph class teacher, and Deb Hagler who has been helping this class each week, each read a story for the kids during the sermon.

School Pictures

School and class pictures were taken during May. Copies were sent to each family through email. Anyone else interested in a copy, please feel free to contact me.

Photo Show

Just as last year, I have created a Photo Show of our school year. This is purposely not being published on our Beth Israel website, because our policy states that photos will be published onto the web only with the parent's permission. Since many of the photos are group shots, it made publishing these impossible. I will be sending this out to all Hebrew school families. If you would like a copy through email and you are not on the Hebrew school mailing list, please contact me and I will be happy to send it along.

Tzedakah

The kids donated all year to a Tzedakah fund, and during the month of May, they voted on the recipients of their Tzedakah dollars. This year the winners were Hadassah and the Tedford Shelter. Just as last year, we are very pleased that their choice was split amongst one local charity and one in Israel. There is so much to say about these two charities, but to very briefly summarize, below is a bit more information.

Hadassah works to improve the quality of life for all the people of Israel and to strengthen Jewish life in the United States. Hadassah is about people, about changing lives, about Tikkun Olam--making the world a better place. Young Hadassah International is composed of a global network of dynamic men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 who work to raise funds for, educate others about, and establish medical and scientific exchanges with the Hadassah Medical Organization, the premier medical center in the Middle East.

Tedford Shelter works to end homelessness in midcoast Maine by providing, in collaboration with others, shelter, housing, and services to those in need. They work to help people become more self-sufficient and advocate for change so that no one faces the prospect of being without a home.

Israeli Dancing

In honor of Yom Ha'Azmaut (Israel Independence day) Lisa Tessler, a member of our community and competent dance instructor came to teach some Israeli dancing steps to our students. Lisa made it easy for everyone to join in, and managed to combine the youngest and oldest students in a wonderful joint dance. Many thanks Lisa for a lively fun way to bring our school year to an end.

Lag B'Omer

We celebrated Lag B'Omer on June 1st our last day of school, by having outdoor games and an ice cream party following Hebrew school, on the Patten Free library lawn across the street. Campbell Clegg had a variety of fun games for the students to enjoy, including potato sack races, and a favorite, catch the potato on the fork. Some families brought a picnic dinner and relaxed on one of the few clear rain-free nights of the month. Our thanks to Campbell for organizing and running this fun day.

Our Graduates

Our 6th graders led our Shabbat service on June 3rd. Each led a Hebrew part, and described something about that prayer. Whether it be something they liked about it, or why it is placed in a particular spot in our service, or what the meaning of it is, etc. Each student was also asked to speak 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. Our graduates include; Morgan Boyd, David Brann, Michelle Brann, Patrick Connelly, Rachel Gallimore, Nina Maris, Ian Powell, and Micaela Tepler. Some of these students have already begun their Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons. Mazel Tov!

Special Thanks

The end of the year is always a great time to thank our teachers for all their efforts. Our teachers: Rachel Connelly, Lauri Gallimore, Tinker Hannaford, Alina Shumsky, Marina Singer, Cantor Daniel and Neal Urwitz prepare thoughtful lessons each week, and instill a love of Judiasm into each of our students. Our student teachers, Allegra Boyd, Alec Brodsky, Michael Brodsky, Noah Lumsden, Jane Martell and Alexis Osmun 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.

A special thanks goes to Terry Winneg who will be moving in July. Terry has helped our school for the last three years, and she will be missed. We wish Terry, husband Robert, and kids Kaela and Sarah the very best as Robert moves onto his next military post in Rhode Island.

Along with Terry, a special thanks to Campbell Clegg, Susan Horowitz, Chris Schoenberg, and Linda Osmun (the other parent committee members) who all year came to plan extra activities for our kids above and beyond the curriculum.

Last day of school

Our last day of school was June 1st. More information will come to prepare for next year. To get a jump on enrollment, please print and fill out last years enrollment form at: http://www.bethisrael-maine.org/enrollment_form.pdf. Forms can be forwarded to Beth Israel Congregation 906 Washington St. Bath, ME 04530.


Recipe Exchange

This month we are starting a new column in the newsletter. It's the Recipe Exchange. Anyone can share one or more of their favorite recipes with other members and we'll publish one or more in each issue. In order to participate, please send your recipes to Dan Levey. This month, Sharon Drake submitted one of her favorite recipes. Its her Mom's recipe, Esther Goldberg. It sounds delicious.

Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cabbage
  • lean ground beef
  • eggs
  • 1 cup of raw white rice
  • large onion
  • 2 large cloves of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • large can of tomatoes
  • 1 cup plain sugar
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup of water or white vinegar

Directions:

  • Remove core from large heads of cabbage and place cabbage in enough boiling water to cover.
  • Boil 5 minutes .
  • Separate leaves that are softened enough to roll and replace cabbage into boiling water, repeat until you have removed all the large leaves.
  • Cut remaining small cabbage into bottom of large roaster.
  • Mix lean ground beef with beaten eggs,
  • Add 1 cup RAW white rice, chopped large onion and 2 large cloves minced garlic (I use a garlic press); # teaspoons of salt and one of pepper (or to your taste)
  • Place 2 heaping tablespoons (or more) of mixture on cabbage leaf and form into roll, bringing both sides in, stem part up and top part down, place roll seam side down on cut up cabbage in bottom of roaster.
  • Continue this procedure until meat mixture is used up. You can use more meat mixture when leaves are nice and large.
  • Mix LARGE can of tomatoes with 1 cup plain sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice, season with l teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  • Cover with tomato mixture.
  • I add a cup of water or white wine also as rice absorbs liquid and the cabbage burns because of the sugar, etc.
  • Tightly cover roaster in tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
  • Check for extra liquid needed and doneness, cover and cook another hour.
  • Check again and if not slightly browned, remove tinfoil and bake another 15 minutes or so.
  • If roaster is large enough it should be done, but if not just cook it longer.
  • I always serve it with a large bowl of mashed potatoes and a salad.
  • Of course remember to taste the mixture after the first hour as to seasoning.
  • Also it is good to make this early enough to let it stand at least 4 or so hours or even do it a day ahead.

Annual Meeting Chai Report

by Lenore Friedland

Thanks to all Chai committee members: Daniel Leeman, Marilyn Weinberg, Channa Eberhardt, Norma Dreyfus, Jill Standish, Dan Levey, and Janice Povich. Without their help, our accomplishments this year would not have been possible.

  • High Holidays - Cantor Daniel Leeman did a beautiful High Holiday service. Thank you to Nathan Dinzes and Robert Gersh for their help.
  • A special thank you to the Boyds, Brodskys and Weinbergs for volunteering their backyards for the Sukkot Progressive dinner.
  • Passover Seder was attended by 63 people - an overwhelming success thanks to all the hard work of Mariyn Weinberg. She and Daniel Leeman led a beautiful seder.
  • A Prayer Book Committee was formed. The committee narrowed down the selections to two prayer books for consideration. During the month of January, Daniel did services alternating the Siddur Hadash and Sim Shalom prayer books. In early February, the congregation came together to discuss the positive and negative attributes of the books and to choose the one they felt was a better fit for our congregation. The Siddur Hadash was chosen. Daniel Leeman did an excellent job in portraying the positive aspects of both books.
  • Trash to Treasure Auction was held in February. Andy Schoenberg was our auctioneer. Everyone who participated had a wonderful time. Thanks to all who donated items to be auctioned off, the Hebrew School moms who baked desserts, and those who donated food for brunch, and all who bought items, we made over $800 and had a great time.

Our Speaker Program, which started last year, continued this year in mid-October. Whether our speakers were from our shul or not, young or old, spoke of Jewish topics or not, they were all wonderful and knowledgeable and inspiring. The speakers were:

  • Neil Urwitz of Bowdoin College,
  • Sandy Polster spoke after the presidential election on exiting polls and the role of the media.
  • Manli Ho spoke of her father, Dr. Feng Shan Ho, Chinese Consul General to Vienna during WWII, and his role in helping Jews escape the Holocaust by issuing visas to Shanghai at his own peril. His bravery and commitment was an inspiration to all that came to hear his story.
  • Denise Tepler spoke of her role on the MSAD 75 school board, and her input to the policy made by the board on the celebration of religious holidays in the public school.
  • Robert Gersh of the BNAS spoke of growing up Jewish in the military.
  • Gabe Seder, who attended the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine gave us incite into the peace process of the camp.
  • Dr. Abraham Peck, The Director of the Academic Council for Post Holocaust Christian, Jewish and Islamic Studies at the University of Southern Maine spoke to us for Yom Ha-shoah The son of two Holocausts survivors, Dr. Peck is actively involved in numerous programs devoted to meaningful dialogue and creative social action programs between American and International Jewish communities and the Christian, African-American, German and Polish communities.
  • Kayla Frank and Maya Tepler spoke about the formation of the Young Judea program in Mid Coast Maine.

Next year's goals

  • Continue the Speaker Program - which has been successful in its goal of improving service attendance
  • Consider another fundraising auction
  • Have a dialog between our synagogue and other religious groups

New Members and Contributions

Welcome to new members
  • Morty and Evelyn Panish
We'd like to thank the following people for their donations
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in memory of Morris Scher
  • Lucille Hershenhart and Peggy Brown in memory of Harold Hershenhart
  • Walter and Rita Rubin in memory of their parents, Rose Fingerhut and Samuel Rubin
  • Rea Turet and Sandy Polster in memory of her father Maurice Turet
  • Matt and Karen Filler in memory of their parents Morris Filler,
  • Gerald and Frances Feldman
  • Sharon Drake in memory of her father, Ed Kravitz
  • Marina Singer in memory of her father Victor Shapiro
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland, in memory of Edward Friedland, Father.
  • Dan and Susan Levey in memory of her father, Milton Applebaum
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in memory of Lucille Hershenhart
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in memory of Lucille Hershenhart
  • Jay and Joanie Isenberg
  • Dan and Barbara Leeman
  • Anonymous

Obituary

As it appeared in Times Record and Portland Press

Lucille W. Hershenhart of Harpswell, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 28, 2005 surrounded by her loving family and beloved cats Fritz and Daisy.

Born in New York City September 10, 1924, widow of Harold Hershenhart, Lu graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hunter College and received her Master's Degree in Library Science from State University of New York.

She held various positions while raising her three girls,including librarian at Albany College of Pharmacy, Union College, Sienna College and Plainview Library, Long Island, N.Y.

She is survived by daughters, Adrienne Casler and her husband Michael of Niskayuna, N.Y., Peggy Brown and her husband John Martell of Harpswell, and Gail Brown of Pasadena, Calif.; stepdaughter, Alyce Hershenhart; a brother, Robert Wernick and his wife Anne Ackerman of San Francisco, Calif; sisters-in-law, Carol Newman of Columbia, Md., and Roberta Cohrssen of Arlington, Va.; three granddaughters, Elizabeth Casler, Simone Martell and Jane Martell; nieces, Judith and Deborah and many dear relatives and friends.

Lu will be remembered for her sense of humor, lifelong love of learning, and her lively artistic spirit. She especially enjoyed her art group where she had treasured friends. Lu's family extends heartfelt gratitude to the nurses and caregivers at CHANS, the Highlands, Neighbors and especially the care giving team who blessed Lu and her family with their help and compassion.


Letter of Appreciation

by Peggy Brown and John Martell

Dear Board of Directors of Beth Israel Congregation:

First, I want to thank the Board and the entire Beth Israel community for the support we felt at the time of my mother's death. I can't tell you how much the entire family appreciated the way members came forward to help us during the difficult time. The demands of care-giving meant that we had to neglect our other obligations and many people did extra work in order to fill the void. This, too, is something for which we are very grateful.

I'm also writing to let the board know how wonderful Daniel was in helping us in the days immediately following Mom's passing. Daniel came to meet with me and my sister, Adrienne, the day after Mom died. He impressed us with his compassion, his sensitivity to our issues, his understanding of our mother and his general knowledge and goodness. During the time he spent with us we felt we had his undivided attention. It was an amazing meeting that my sister and I agree, we will never forget.

For those of you who were able to attend the memorial service, you know what a superb job Daniel did. I have heard from many people, including those from outside the congregation, how moved they were by Daniel's words and how well he captured the essence of Lucille's life. It was very important to her that Daniel be the one to perform the service and we feel that she got exactly what she had wanted. Our family will always remember how Daniel rose to the occasion and helped us to honor Mom's memory in a truly meaningful way.