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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

March/April 2007
Adar/Nisan/Iyar 5767

Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics
Purim Carnival
Winter Brunch a Success
Maine Jewish Film Festival
News from the Hebrew School
Hamentashen for Kids

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

2nd Annual Maine Community Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics

by Irwin Brodsky

The second annual Maine Community Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics will take place in Bath on Sunday, March 25th from 10:00-11:30 am at the Minnie Brown Education Center of Beth Israel Congregation, 906 Washington Street.

Rabbi Carolyn Braun of Temple Beth-El in Portland and Rabbi David Cantor of Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor will apply Jewish theological authority to complex ethical dilemmas posed by two clinical cases. The clinical cases will be presented by Dr. Robert Lenox of Harpswell, former Professor of Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania and Chairman of Psychiatry at University of Vermont, and Dr. Craig Hurwitz of Falmouth, former Director of the Maine Childrens Cancer Program and current Director of Pain and Palliative Care at Maine Medical Center.

All are welcome free of charge. Doors will open at 9:30 am for refreshments.

Purim Carnival on Sunday

The Purim Carnival takes place this Sunday, March 4th from 11:00-1:00 pm at the Minnie Brown center. After the Megilla reading at 10:00 am, participants will parade in costume from the synagogue to the Minnie Brown Center. There will be pizza and hamantaschen for sale as well as assorted beverages. There will be lots of games, including, but not limited to, Put the crown on Esther, fishing in Shushan, throw the beanbag in Mordechai's mouth, ring toss, and put out the candle. Balloon animals, and face painting will be available to all as well as a gift bag exchange and lots of fabulous prizes. Everybody wins at this carnival. Don't miss it.

Winter Brunch a Success

by Anna J. Boll

The warm sun shone, on Sunday, February 25th, melting the ice from the synagogue sidewalks. No ice breakers were required inside where 30 congregants and interested community members enjoyed a lovely brunch and each other's company.

Synagogue president, Andy Hagler welcomed new members into the congregation with sincerity and story. After around-the-room introductions we all departed with delicious food in our bellies, a bag of left-overs, and our hearts full of new friendships. Thank you to all who made the brunch a success.

Maine Jewish Film Festival: A Special Connection

by Marilyn Weinberg

Many of you received a brochure in the mail last week about the upcoming Maine Jewish Film Festival. As usual, there will be a wide variety of high quality and interesting films shown throughout the week. On Wednesday, March 21, you will have an opportunity to see "From Philadelphia to the Front," which was produced by my sister, Judy Gelles.

The film is a documentary about six Jewish men from Philadelphia who fought in World War II. You learn about their lives before, during and after the war and how their experiences changed them. My sister, and one of the men featured, will be there to talk about the film. To learn more information about her film as well as all the other wonderful films being shown that week, you can go to their web site ( or call them at 831-7495.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Apple trees planted in February

Despite the cold temperatures that January brought, we managed to hold a Tu B'shvat Seder during Hebrew school (following our congregational Seder). The special seder demonstrated how certain fruits can represent different types of personalities. Some with hard skins, some with hard pits, etc. Ask them to describe this for you. They mixed juices representing the changing seasons. The Aleph and Bet classes put on a selection of plays about fruits with a hard skin (showing how some people are difficult to get to know). These skits demonstrated through drama the different ways it might be difficult to meet someone new (shy, different language, etc.).

Each of the students planted parsley following the Seder, which we hope to harvest in time for passover. Many parents helped to make this a success. Our special thanks go to Deb Hagler who shopped for all the supplies we needed, Susan Horowitz who helped to set everything up with Deb, Campbell Clegg and Chris Schoenberg who were especially helpful to the kids planting the trees and to Anna Boll who directed and helped to inspire the creative and innovative skits. Many thanks to Cantor Daniel for leading the seder so wonderfully, and to all our teachers, and all others who chipped in.

Class Shabbats

Our next school shabbat will be 3rd/4th grade on March 16th with the Daled class. This class includes: Shira Gersh, Jacob Hagler, Julian Ireland, Elliot Pressman, Jacob Schoenberg, and Sophie Sreden. Each service begins at 7:00 pm. The class gathers earlier at 6:00 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 wonderful educational endeavors. Please mark your calendars.

Following the Daled class, will be the Aleph and Bet class (1st and 2nd graders) Shabbat service together on April 27th. The Aleph class includes: Tobyn Blatt, Ethan Boll, Isaac Boll, Avi Gersh, Isabella Pols, and Leah Totman. The Bet class includes: Sullivan Boyd, Zelda Clegg, Nicholas Hagler, Arielle Leeman, Emma Miller, Sadie Pressman, Henry Raker, and Noa Sreden. We are all looking forward to honoring these students, by giving them a chance to lead us in prayer.

Tot Shabbat during January

Our January Tot Shabbat was led by Hannah Leeman. The little ones enjoyed having someone closer in age leading them so nicely. Thank you Hannah for reading "Hanna's Shabbat Dress" and for helping to make Shabbat special for our youngest shul goers. Our next Tot Shabbat is scheduled for March 2nd at 6:30pm. The Shabbat service lasts just over an hour and includes a Shabbat story for the kids.

What's in store for March?

The Purim carnival, always a favorite event amongst the kids, is scheduled for March 4th. Lauri Gallimore and Susan Horowitz have been busy planning for this much loved, fun event. We will be making Hamantashen on February 28th at Hebrew school, and decorating Shalach Manot bags (special gift bags given by messenger to neighbors and friends) for the kids to bring home and fill with at least 2 food items. This custom is based on the Esther story. They will bring back the bag to exchange with other students on Sunday during the carnival. The Megillah reading begins at 10:00 am (at the synagogue). Bring your noisemakers. We will parade down in costume to the Minnie Brown center for the carnival (11:00 am-1:00 pm).

April brings Passover, and again we will have a school model seder. The Model Seder will be on March 28th, during Hebrew school (4:00-6:00 pm). For those younger kids not yet coming each week, please make time and feel free to join us.

For anyone who is interested, there is a parent group that meets at 4:30 pm during Hebrew School, the first Wednesday of most months. Our next meeting will be March 7th. Passover, Yom Ha'Azmaut, and Yom Hashoah will be on the agenda. Please consider coming to join us.

Hamentashen for Kids (Pareve)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes

These hamentashen are very easy to make and very forgiving of lots of handling. Make sure the edges are pinched almost completely closed to avoid spreading. A great first treat for kids to make.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the eggs, vanilla and oil in another bowl. Combine the mixtures in the larger of the two bowl and mix well. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.

Roll out the dough about 1/3 inch thick. Use a plastic cup to make circles about 3-4 inches in diameter. Add a spoonful of your favorite filling in the center of each round. Fold up the sides to make a three-cornered "hat." Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Happy Purim.

This recipe is by Joni Schockett from her article "Recipes for a Purim Celebration: Lentil Salad, Lentil Soup, Traditional Cookie Dough Hamentashen and Hamentashen for Kids" which can be found at:

Thank You for Your Donations

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation
  • Lillian & Paul Karass, Bath
  • Estelle & Irwin Metviner, Norwalk, CT
  • Dennis & Beth Westman, Brunswick
  • Jewish Community Alliance for their continuing support of the Hebrew School
Members of Beth Israel Congregation
  • Marilyn & Fred Weinberg, in memory of Marvin Weinberg, father; Frances Weinberg, mother
  • Peggy Brown & John Martell in memory of Sonia Wernick, grandmother
  • Jim Raker and Virginia Van Slyke in memory of Harry Raker, father
  • Rea Turet & Sandor M. Polster in memory of Maurice Turet, father
  • Cantor Daniel and Barbara Leeman