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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

September/October 2007
Elul/Tishri/Heshvan 5767/5768

From the Cantor's Desk
Meet the Board
News from the Hebrew School
High Holiday Notices
Tot Shabbat
Save the Date: Sukkot Celebration
The Bills are in the Mail
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project

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

From the Cantor's Desk

by Daniel Leeman

Study, prayer, and deeds of loving-kindness are the three pillars upon which the world stands. (Avot 1:2). One's synagogue and Hebrew School participation and attendance, together with careful and regular observance of Sabbath and Holidays provide abundant opportunities to implement this three-part life. There is no time of year more profound for preparing one's heart in prayer than the days leading up to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The new month of Elul began Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14th and 15th. According to the Aggadic Midrash, this is when Moses began his ascent of Mt. Sinai for the second time. Forty days later, Moses is said to have arrived back from the summit to deliver the Law to Israel. When the second tablets arrived, we willingly accepted them. The Midrash considers this 'second chance' to be the first Yom Kippur in history.

Just as we prayed at the base of Mt. Sinai as Moses transcribed the Torah, we recite the Selichot each year to prepare our hearts for the New Year. We traditionally begin late at night, a Saturday evening prior to Rosh Hashanah. (The term Selicha, the singular form, means 'forgiveness'.) This type of prayer has taken many fascinating forms and was originally established for fast days associated with times of crisis, such as drought.

As most of us are aware, there is an upcoming international summit between Israel and her neighboring countries, planned for by our own US government for this autumn. Together with the ongoing wars and the dangerous posturing of Israel's neighboring countries, one may be consider this time as one requiring special fervent prayers. (Mishnah Taanit, Ch.2: 1-4)

Some of the beautiful Selihot poems date back literally two thousand years, and have been recently examined and translated for our benefit. Cities throughout Europe in the last thousand years have developed their own books and traditions for this Selihot Night. We can develop our own. The music of the service has a special mode, sung only for these prayers and themes and at this season.

Let's bring in the New Year with a full heart. Rather than at midnight, we'll be starting our one-hour service at 9:00 pm, Saturday evening, September 8th at 862 Washington. Please come.

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.

Maurie Libner

I am 54 years old and I grew up as the oldest of four children, and the only boy, in a Reform Jewish family in Muskegon, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. Our town's only synagogue was Reform, but we had a significant number of conservative Jews who were members of the shul as well, including my wonderful Hebrew teacher, Mrs. Elisa Teles. I was bar mitsvah'd in Jerusalem in 1966, in a large synagogue, where I met several Israeli relatives.

After finishing college in Boston, I decided to go to law school and graduated from Boston University with my law degree in 1977. I joined a new labor law firm in Brunswick, Maine where I represented personal injury plaintiffs in tort and workers' compensation cases for nearly 18 years, before deciding to start a solo law practice in the same fields. I have been doing that now for 12 years.

Two years after moving to Maine, I met my wife Sharon Bouchard, a Brunswick native. She is a psychological examiner for the South Portland School Department. We have been married 27 years and have one daughter who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Some of my main interests and activities include: riding my motorcycles, taking my two dogs for walks, playing tennis, and going on adventurous vacations with Sharon.

After trying out temples in Auburn and South Portland over a period of almost 20 years, I decided to affiliate with Beth Israel because I felt most comfortable in a shul with people I knew, in my own community. I also enjoy the Conservative flavor of the services, which incorporates the Hebrew I love to hear and some of the traditional melodies. I joined the Board because I was earnestly asked to do so several times.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Hebrew School begins September 19th at 4:00 pm. Be on the look out for emails, and website updates.

Open House

For all those interested in learning more about our Hebrew school, there will be an open house, on Tuesday, September 18th, at 5:00 pm, at the Minnie Brown Center (906 Washington Street, Bath). This will be a great opportunity to take a tour of our school, hear about our curriculum, ask about our teachers, and hear about our programs. We look forward to meeting you. If you are new, or still deciding whether to send your child to Beth Israel Hebrew school, please try to come, or call 443-4606 to get more information. Enrollment forms are available at the website.

Kindergarten/Preschool Classes

Our Kindergarten/Preschool class (Gan) will begin September 19th 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 meet twice a month this year on Wednesday afternoons. Tuition will be $200 for the year. If you are interested in enrolling your child, please call Barbara Leeman so that we can get an accurate count of class size.

Last Hebrew School Year in Pictures

Pictures from our 2006-2007 Hebrew school year have been pulled together into the latest photoshow. Here is our Beth Israel Hebrew School in action. There are about 110 photos, so get ready for about five minutes of entertainment. The show has music that goes with it, so please don't forget to turn up the volume. Feel free to send the link to anyone who you feel may be interested in sending their children to our school, or anyone else who may be interested in our school. We take pride and joy in seeing our students in their many activities. We delight in seeing them learn and develop as all our teachers aspire to nurture their young Jewish souls. We want you to share in the vitality and varied activities that are taking place at our Hebrew school. Enjoy! To view the slide show, go to our web site and click on the Hebrew School picture.

High Holiday Notices

Book Change Volunteers Needed

On Sunday, September 9th at 10:00 am, we will be changing over the books and readying the synagogue for the High Holidays. If you could possibly help, please come. The more hands we have, the easier and faster it will be.

Yizkor Notices Due September 9th

Lola Lea has once again volunteered to do our beautiful Yizkor book. If you have not had a listing before and have loved ones you would like to have listed or if you have changes to make to last year's list, please contact Lola with the name of the person you would like listed and their relationship to you. There is a strict deadline of September 9th for this. If you had a listing last year, you will be called to ask if you want to continue. As always, please send your generous donation to our treasurer, Rea Turet.

Yahrzeit Dates Needed

It is our custom to remember our loved ones on the anniversary of their death and to say Kaddish for them on that day. If you have lost a loved one over the past years and would like them to be remembered, please send the dates of their passing, their name and relationships to you to Marilyn Weinberg. Their names will be added to our list and you will receive a written notice each year to remind you of this date. Note that the Yizkor book that Lola Lea is doing for the High Holidays is separate from this.

Flowers for the High Holidays

If you are interested in contributing towards the flowers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, please contact Marina Singer. You will be sending your donation for the flowers to Rea, and if you would like to, send the names of the people you are remembering or honoring with the flowers to Marina.

Jewish Calendars for Sale

We will have 2008-09 Jewish calendars for sale in the gift shop. Contact Marina if you are interested in buying one.

Yom Kippur Break Fast

This year our annual potluck break fast will begin at 7:30 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 21st or the 22nd of September.

Baby-sitting During the High Holidays

We will be offering baby-sitting in the Minnie Brown building during the mornings of the 13th and 22nd starting at 8:45 am. If you are interested, please call Campbell Clegg for details and reservations.

Tot Shabbat

by Barbara Leeman

Tot Shabbats are returning to Beth Israel. They take place at 6:30 pm and are designed for families with young children, although all ages are welcome to attend. We will learn some prayers, sing songs and listen to a story. Services last approximately 30 minutes, and are a great way to introduce young kids to our Jewish community. The first Tot Shabbat of the year, will be held during Sukkot, on September 28th. For this September service we will have our oneg in the synagogue's sukkah. We will come together again on Friday, October 19th. This program takes the place of our regular Friday night service. Our third scheduled Tot Shabbat service will be December 7th during Chanukkah.

Save the Date: Sukkot Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Sunday, September 30, from 12:00-2:30 pm, we will celebrate Sukkot with our Annual Pot Luck Progressive Sukkot event. We will share food and bless three different sukkahs. You will be receiving a special flyer with the details. We have a great day planned, so mark your calendars now.

The Bills are in the Mail

by Rea Turet

Membership dues and tuition notices were sent out recently. The Board voted not to raise the dues and tuition: they are the same as last year. If you cannot pay the full amount at once, we are always happy to accept partial payment: after all, $50 a month equals the $600 annual dues. Of course, if you have any problems, please let me or Andy Hagler know.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project

by Jill Standish

We have had such a successful time of helping the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project by picking up the food at Hannaford's every Sunday for two years. Participants sign up for one Sunday every two months. I can't say enough about the seven loyal food movers who have been so dependable about filling their jobs. What I can say is that we could use one more family. The job is relatively easy, it is over quickly, but workers have to be strong or have to work together with another adult. Please call me, Jill Standish if you think you'd like to do a mitzvah.


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Maurie Libner
  • Jill and Arnold Standish
  • Marilyn and Fred Weinberg in memory of Max Isacoff, father
  • Norma Dreyfus and Stanley Lane in memory of Morris Goldberg, father
  • Dan and Susan Levey in memory of Leo and Shirley Levey, parents
  • Rea Turet and Sandor M. Polster in memory of Rosaline Lasher, mother, Martin Polster, father, and Lillian Turet, step-mother
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in memory of Rosaline Lasher

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Harriet Greenblatt
  • Beverly A. Emero, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Adelle S. Rubin, in memory of Sylvia Katz, friend
  • Albert and Doris Povich in memory of Don Povich, brother
  • Suzanne and Saul Shenkman, in honor of Nadia Leiner's naming
  • Susan G. Lichtman, in honor of Hannah Leeman's Bat Mitzvah