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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2007
Tammuz/Av/Elul 5767

Judaism 101: Coming to a Community Near You
Meet the Board
The Caring Committee Needs You
News from the Hebrew School
Youth on Board
School Pictures
Tisha B'Av
Wedding Announcement

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

Judaism 101: Coming to a Community Near You

by Daniel Leeman

The National Jewish Outreach Program ( was founded at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald. Rabbi Buchwald was born and raised in the Bronx in a community where he was one of the few observant Jews. He used to love to teach his neighborhood Jewish friends about what he learned about Judaism from his parents and from his teachers in yeshiva. This love grew into a passion for teaching Jewish subjects to beginners. Now he does this all over the United States, and in some thirty-five foreign countries. You've probably heard his radio spot with the catchy theme song: "coming to a community near you...Shabbat Across America," and Read Hebrew America, a crash course in reading Hebrew.

My wife, Barbara, attended Rabbi Buchwald's now famous Beginners Service in NYC back in the late 80's. It got her excited to learn more about Judaism and be more involved in Jewish activities. I can safely say that Rabbi Buchwald helped bring us together. His teaching inspired Barbara to attend a Hannukah party I hosted in Manhattan. We met there in 1990 and later married.

This fall, after the Holidays, as part of our developing adult education program here at Beth Israel in Bath, we're going to run one of his famous crash courses in basic Judaism. It will take place on Sunday mornings, beginning on October 7, 2007 (after the High Holy Days) and run for five consecutive weeks at 10:00 am on Sunday. This free, high-energy, five-week lecture series is open to the public and provides a basic introduction to Jewish philosophy and observance, covering these topics: Belief in G-d, Prayer, The Sabbath, Jewish Observance and Sexuality. The course accents the upbeat and positive aspects of Jewish life, and encourages participants to seek further Jewish education. Over 77,000 people across the United States alone, have already taken this course.

I'll be the coordinator and will be offering Rabbi Buchwald's course outline at the Minnie Brown Center over bagels, coffee and orange juice. So come along for only an hour on Sunday mornings this fall, and bring a friend or family member.

Meet the Board

Who are the members of our Beth Israel board? What drives them to volunteer their time and talents? In the upcoming issues of the newsletter, we will feature biographies from your Beth Israel board. Perhaps, as you get to know them, you will become more active, attend a service, say "hello" during an oneg, or volunteer your time.

Rea Turet

I was born in New York City. At age four, I traveled with my parents while my father was the theatrical press agent for the show "Anna Lucasta" which starred Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. My mother and grandmother and I moved to Miami Beach in 1948 so my mother could divorce my father. Back in Sunnyside, Queens, I went to PS 150, until my mother married Sidney Lasher, an insurance salesman and we moved to Yorktown Heights in Westchester County. My father remarried but continued to be the road press agent, touring with Broadway shows. I spent summers in Fire Island Pines with my father and stepmother.

At Syracuse University, I was a drama and journalism major and had a fabulous time for four years which included civil rights marches, acting in plays, student government, a semester in Florence, Italy and editing the arts section of the college newspaper.

After graduation in 1964, I moved to New York City and worked for NBC. NBC denied me a promotion because "I was a girl." So I quit, and went on aliyah to Israel where I spent two months on an Ulpan outside Haifa. I moved back to Manhattan and worked at McCann Erickson, advertising agency. I met Sandy Polster through a college friend, where both were working on the New York Post. Two years later (1970) we were married under a chupa in Battery Park.

In 1972, I received an MBA from Baruch College, and we found land in Durham Maine. In 1973, we built a small house on eighteen acres. We spent weekends commuting up to Maine. In 1976, Sandy went to work as a writer on the Evening News with Walter Cronkite. I was at Royal Insurance Company in the marketing department, and eventually became an insurance underwriter.

We lived in Chelsea and bought our 1832 landmarked house, on the corner of 21st Street and Ninth Avenue in 1976. Our daughter Rebekah was born in 1979. After a year and a half of being a working mother, we decided that it made more sense for me to stay at home. In 1986 Sandy went to NBC and became the editor of Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. We kept commuting up to our house in Maine, which had two rooms added on. In 1992 we put the New York house up for sale, and decided to retire and move to Maine permanently.

Rebekah went to Greely High School, Wheaton College and is now in New York City, an account executive with a public relations firm specializing in wine. I got a second masters in American and New England studies at University of Southern Maine. Sandy wrote media columns for the Bangor Daily News, and briefly was the executive editor of the Brunswick Times Record. I worked at Maine Historical Society, Delorme and recently retired from Maine Maritime Museum. We live with Charley, a black lab, and Kitty, a gray cat in Durham.

We joined Beth Israel Congregation in 1995. I was the chair of the Chai Committee, joined the board, became the recording secretary. Since 2000, I've been the treasurer.

The Caring Committee Needs You

by Susan Horowitz

Under the weather? Need a ride? How about a strong back to help move something unwieldy? Had a baby and would just like a home-cooked meal?

We at Beth Israel are happy to announce the formation of the Caring Committee, a group dedicated to helping out those in our community that need a little help every now and then.

Do you know someone who needs to get somewhere and is without transportation, or someone who is ill or who needs a little TLC? Even a joyous occasion, like the birth of a baby can leave a family in need of some nourishment. I am making a list of those who are willing to help out in any way they can, even if on a limited basis. If you have a car, but don't cook, that's OK. Cook, but can't deliver, that's OK too. Available only once in a blue moon, we'll still take you! Whatever type of assistance you can offer, we will happily accept it.

Most importantly, we need to be notified if there is someone in our community who needs assistance. I am creating a list of those who are able to help, and if I get a call or e-mail that there is someone in need, I will go down my list until I find someone willing and able to supply the type of assistance needed.

Please call me or e-mail me. I want to hear from those of you able to lend a hand and those of you who are in need or know someone who is in need.

We have a wonderful community here, and now we have the opportunity to help each other when times demand it!

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

The end of our Hebrew School year brings a time of reflection. What is Hebrew school all about? Is this another activity on our children's list, to enhance their youth? Do we need to make it FUN in order to convince our children that it's worth their time? Is it about FUN? Do our children really know WHAT fun is?

There are many ways to show enthusiasm, and have fun. I believe having a deeper understanding for where our people came from, and what we've overcome is FUN. Having enough literacy to be able to read and comprehend the prayers in our weekly service is FUN. Sharing a smile with a classmate, as a Bracha is recited is FUN. Mastering a new prayer for a class service is FUN. Having the confidence to go home and help your family observe holidays, in a more meaningful way, is FUN. Doing more mitzvot, and understanding why the Torah commands us so, is FUN.

With just a few hours a week, we try to accomplish so much. We know that striving to create fluent, Hebrew speaking Torah scholars, with a depth of understanding and commitment to our Jewish customs and values, is a high goal to set. Yet we always strive to reach that. The commitment that our families make to bring our students to classes each week, contributes to the success of our program. So many of our parents also give generously of their time to help our school. The commitment that our teachers make to provide a quality Jewish education is heart-warming. So when our kids say, they want to have fun, what will your response be?

Special Thanks

The end of the year is always a great time to thank our teachers for all their efforts. Our teachers: Anna Boll, Susan Horowitz, Cantor Daniel, Alina Shumsky, and Marina Singer prepare thoughtful lessons each week, and instill a love of Judaism into each of our students. Our student teachers, Alec Brodsky, Michael Brodsky, Noah Lumsden, and Jane Martell 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 to; Campbell Clegg, Deb Hagler, Susan Horowitz, and Marie Pressman who came all year to parent committee meetings to plan extra activities for our kids above and beyond the curriculum.

Class Shabbat Services

Our Aleph and Bet classes led our service on May 18th. Their wonderful energy was contagious. Preceding our service, we had our shabbat meal with lots of zmirot (singing). Marina Singer is the Hebrew teacher, and Anna Boll is the Judaica teacher for these classes. The service was merged with our last Tot Shabbat. Thank you Anna and Marina for inspiring our youngest students. Those in the Aleph class are: Tobyn Blatt, Ethan Boll, Avi Gersh, Isabella Pols, and Leah Totman. In the Bet class, we have: Isaac Boll, Sullivan Boyd, Zelda Clegg, Nicholas Hagler, Arielle Leeman, Emma Miller, Sadie Pressman, Henry Raker, and Noa Sreden.

End of the Year Events

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: Coastal Humane Society, and Mid Coast Hospital. Below is a bit more information.

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

Our Lag B'Omer celebration was held on May 9th, by having our outdoor games following Hebrew school, on the Patten Free library lawn across the street. Our "Master of Fun," Campbell Clegg, led the kids again in a fun filled afternoon. Some brought a picnic dinner and relaxed outside.

Our last day of school was May 23rd. We observed Shavuot at our synagogue building, and walked down the street, and had an ice cream party. Shavuot is the time when the Jewish people received the Torah. The physical freedom from bondage came at Passover, but it wasn't until we received the Torah that we were truly spiritually free.

Next Year

More information to prepare for next year will be mailed to families in August. Some forms will also be made available in July, at Forms can be forwarded to Beth Israel Congregation 906 Washington St. Bath, ME 04530 or to

We wish everyone a healthy, productive and enjoyable summer, and we will eagerly look forward to our students return in the fall. Our first day back will be Wednesday, September 12th. A complete calendar will be sent out over the summer.

Have a great summer!

Youth on Board

by Marilyn Weinberg

Two years ago we voted to add a youth member to our synagogue board. Alec Brodsky has served on the board for the last two years and has been a wonderful addition. I think he found the discussions interesting and we valued his comments and ideas on a variety of topics. He also kept us abreast of any teen activities. Alec is heading off to Dartmouth this fall and we would like to fill that position to make sure that youth representation continues on the board.

Any member of our congregation who is currently in high school is welcome to apply for the position. Please write a letter describing your interest in the synagogue board and send it to Marilyn Weinberg. We appreciate your thoughts and opinions. You can make a difference.

School Pictures

by Barbara Leeman

School and class pictures were taken. Pictures will become a part of our school photo show. Any parent that would like to have a copy of any class picture or any other candid photo, can request one from me. The photo show will be available at our synagogue website of Look for it sometime in July.

Tisha B'Av

by Daniel Leeman

The solemn fast day of Tisha B'Av occurs Monday evening, July 23rd. At 7:00 pm in the Beth Israel sanctuary, we will be holding an evening service to commemorate the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people on this day. These include the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem, among many others. The service will include the reading of the book of Lamentations, Eichah, and will take approximately one hour. Please come, and help make a minyan for this important service.

Wedding Announcement

by Marilyn Weinberg

Marilyn & Fred Weinberg are very happy to announce the upcoming marriage of their daughter Rachel Weinberg to Alan Mecklenburger on September 2, 2007. In honor of this occasion, we would like to invite the congregation to an oneg following the Shabbat evening service on Friday, August 31. Rachel and Alan will be there along with Alan's parents, Rabbi Ralph and Ann Mecklenburger from Fort Worth, Texas. Please share our simcha as they receive a special blessing from Daniel.


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in memory of Lucille Hershenhart, mother
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in memory of Edward Friedland, father
  • Susan and Dan Levey in memory of Milton Appelbaum, father
  • Jerrold Lurie in memory of Philip Lurie
  • Janice Povich in memory of Don Povich, husband
  • Janice Povich in memory of Harry Goldstein, father
  • Andy and Chris Schoenberg, in honor of Rachel Schoenberg's bat mitzvah

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Steve and Irene Gardiner in memory of Faye Tobolson, friend
  • Dr. Daniel Morgenstern and Moriah Moser in memory of Frederic Morgenstern, father
  • Dorothy Rubin, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Frances F. Perry, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • SOS B. Flower Fund, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Elizabeth Johnson, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Dorothy Kingsbury, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Barbara N. Bailey, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • George Schoenberg in honor of Rachel Schoenberg's bat mitzvah
  • Ruth Belchez and Peter Dessereau