by Marina Singer
There will be Chanukah supplies available for sale beginning Wednesday, November 19th and every Wednesday between 3:30 and 6:00 pm through the 17th of December. If you need extra draydles or chocolate coins, let Marina Singer know by the middle of November.
We will have a large supply of Chanukah cards, bags, wrapping paper and decorations this year at excellent prices.
News from the Hebrew School
by Barbara Leeman
Hebrew school began on Wednesday September 10th. It is always nice to have the kids back, allowing the Minnie Brown Center to come alive. Our Hebrew school schedule includes time for Judaica, which includes Bible, Jewish holidays, and Jewish history; and time for Hebrew language instruction, including reading, writing and speaking. Before going to classes, our entire school assembles for a short prayer service. We continue using the new child-friendly prayer books that Cantor Daniel put together last year. They include many parts of the morning (Shacharit) service. In the past we have focused on the afternoon (Mincha) service, so this is a wonderful way to introduce the kids to the Shabbat morning service. We assemble again at the end of the school day, and gather upstairs for Jewish Song, incluiding Israeli Folk, prayer and holiday melodies.
Children's Cemetery Rededication
Just after school began, we had our first opportunity for a mitzvah project. We couldn't think of a better mitzvah than to give without ever expecting anything in return. That is what a few students did by helping to clean up and rededicate the children's section of the Jewish cemetery in Portland. The overgrowth was removed. Cantor Daniel led the rededication ceremony, and stones were placed on the graves of those who died. Sand from the Land of Israel was also sprinkled. Darrell Cooper, the head of the Jewish burial society, provided the gloves, rakes, and inspiration to make this meaningful mitzvah happen. Thanks to all who came out on this rainy day.
High Holiday Youth Services
Besides the classroom instruction our students receive, Denise Tepler led our Youth service on Rosh Hashanah and Jim Raker led the Youth service on Yom Kippur. Both were well attended, and the kids listened closely and jumped at the opportunities to participate. We thank both Denise and Jim for their thoughtful and interesting leadership of services, and for engaging our young people to participate.
In honor of Sukkot, the children have had an opportunity to build and decorate a beautiful sukkah. Our school sukkah was put together on Sunday, October 12th. Many thanks go to Campbell Clegg whose expertise helped put the frame together in less than ten minutes. Many children came to help and add decorations with care. That following Wednesday, October 15th, our school had a busy day with the observation of Sukkot. Cantor Daniel gave the students an interesting description of what the lulav and etrog represent, we sang Sukkot songs, went to the synagogue to read the Torah portion for Sukkot (each of the children were given an Aliyah), and then we returned to the Minnie Brown center to enjoy a delicious snack in the sukkah. Our Gan class, stayed behind and made edible Sukkahs. Can't beat that.
Our Simchat Torah celebration was held on October 22nd. Each of the groups (men, women and children) was each called up to receive the honor of an Aliyah. A highlight of the Simchat Torah observance is a series of seven ceremonial processions around the synagogue in which people take turns at carrying the Torah scrolls. Called hakafot, which means encirclement, it is the vehicle for the expression of joy with the Torah. Hakafot is also referred to in traditional Jewish weddings, where it signifies the bride's circling the groom seven times. Many regard the hakafot of Simchat Torah as wedding circuits, symbolizing the marriage between Israel and the Law.
Everyone danced around the shul with the Torahs, waving flags, singing and rejoicing as Cantor Daniel led us in many different joyous songs. Everyone that wanted was able to hold the Torah, and our last hakafot was brought outside. The rain stopped in plenty of time for us to enjoy the fresh brisk air. A potluck dinner followed, with good spirit.
You may be familiar with the story of Flat Stanley, a boy who became flat and was able to travel the world by mail. Alina Shumsky, one of our Hebrew school teachers thought it would be a neat activity for our Hebrew school to do a variation of Flat Stanley, called Flat Schmuel. On the first day of school, each child colored in a Flat Schmuel cutout. The following week they brought in addresses to send it to friends or family around the world, with the request that Schmuel be included in family life there, and that photos of Schumer's visit are returned to us. Flat Schmuel might participate in Jewish worship/ritual, as well as in everyday activities. As the pictures return, we will be creating a bulletin board depicting the breadth and diversity of Jewish life outside our own community.
Welcome to our Newest Families
We welcome the Foye, Levy and Pietraho families to our school. Kate and Colin Foye have three children, and live in Bath. We are thrilled to welcome back Kate who used to teach at Beth Israel many years ago. Leslie and Josh Levy have two children and moved to Brunswick just a few years ago. Jennifer and Thomas Pietraho also with two children come in from Brunswick to join our Gan (kindergarten) class. We of course welcome back our returning families as well. We are thrilled to be back, learning and making new friends.
Welcome Back Teachers
We welcome back our wonderful teachers who return from last year. Alina Shumsky and Cantor Daniel, split the Hebrew and Judaica classes and work with our older kids (4th-6th grade) classes while Marina Singer and Susan Horowitz split the Hebrew and Judaica portions of the younger classes (1st-3rd grade). Our school is lucky to have such qualified and caring teachers. Our newest teacher, Kate Foye works with our Gan class meeting every other week. Beth Pols is also helping the Gan class. What a lucky group to have two such talented teachers.
Student Teachers Bring Great Energy
We are fortunate to have such talented student teachers. This is the 4th year we have Michael Brodsky helping our students, and Hannah Leeman's second year. Michael helps with the older students, and Hannah helps with the younger kids. Both bring wonderful spirit and knowledge to our school.
Tot Shabbat Services
Our Tot Shabbat services continue this year, welcoming our youngest members, to join in for our very short (one-half hour) service. Four tot Shabbat services have been scheduled throughout the year. We are very excited about keeping this as a regular option for families with very small kids. This service is designed for kids from 1-8 years old; however anyone is always welcome to join in.
Monica Blatt led the first Tot Shabbat on October 17th. Monica's enthusiasm and spirit is completely contagious. Every book she reads to the kids, comes completely alive. A limited number of prayers were introduced to the kids. Some lively singing and a story about Sukkot kept the kids completely consumed. We took a "field trip" down to the Minnie Brown center to have our Oneg in the sukkah. Everyone enjoyed being together on a clear night. Many thanks go to Monica for getting the Tot Shabbat's off the ground this year.
Our second Tot Shabbat takes place on December 19th to help us welcome Chanukah. Please let anyone who has small kids know about this special service.
Hebrew School Wish List
We thought we would start a wish list this bulletin, for our Hebrew school. We will add to this list as ideas come up. As we all clean our homes, we may find things that the school will find useful.
New Hebrew School Library
A special thank you to those families that have already donated stories to our new Hebrew school library. We will have fun reading and translating the Hebrew stories for the kids. We are in the process of cataloging these books, and making them available to the kids for borrowing.
Special ThanksOur many thanks go to those parents who have already been so involved and helpful with so many of the extras we normally take for granted.
A special thank you to the Boyd family for delivering our "new" refrigerator to the Minnie Brown center, and for "making it fit" too. Removing the old one was a big help too.
Thanks also to those parents who stay during the prayer service, or come early to hear the singing leave with nachas and joy at the excitement with which the kids begin and end their lessons. Our teachers are clearly capturing their attention and we all are grateful.
In the coming weeks and months, each of the Hebrew school classes will have a chance to demonstrate their accomplishments by leading a Friday night Shabbat service. We encourage every member of our congregation and greater community to attend these special services. Your attendance and support will inspire our students to continue their effort towards a quality Jewish education. Please mark your calendars for our first one on December 12th. This will be our oldest group.
On December 17th our Hebrew school, will celebrate Chanukah, and will join the community wide Chanukah party on December 21st. Please mark your calendars. More information on that will be passed along as it is available.
For anyone who is interested, there is a parent group that meets at 4:30 pm during Hebrew school, once a month. The next meeting will be November 12th. Please consider coming to join us. We look forward to a year of learning and fun.
Flowers for the High Holidays
Our appreciation to the following for contributing to the lovely flowers for our holidays
The Building Committee Update
by Peggy Brown
Our two buildings, the synagogue at 862 Washington Street and the Minnie Brown Center at 906, are cared for by a small group of volunteers who do their best to keep things in repair and looking good. Here are some of the smaller jobs we do
Over the years we've taken care of some bigger projects as well. The big renovation of the community room at the synagogue was one of those projects. We've had new roofs put on both buildings, had the interior of the synagogue painted, cleaned up the flooded basement of the Minnie Brown Center. We've replaced the stained glass windows at the Minnie Brown, replaced the carpet in the sanctuary and updated the security system at the synagogue. New furnaces have been installed in both buildings.
This year has been no different. Last spring we had Northeast Security install a full fire alarm system at the Minnie Brown Center. (We happen to know it works, too, because a small child, in the building for the book sale during the Bath Heritage Days, made a mistake and pulled the alarm. The fire department came a calling to find that all was well.) Soon the old concrete steps at the synagogue will be replaced. This project will be a big one. The old stairs will be demolished and removed. Then a new precast cement staircase will be put in place. The new stairs will not be as steep and will have a center rail. There will be a wider platform at the top and an intermediate landing about half way up. We should be seeing that work begin in early November.
Thanks go to our small but dedicated group of building committee members and volunteer helpers
We welcome anyone interested in joining us in this important work for the good of the community.
Donations and Welcomes
We would like to thank the following people for their donations