red_bullet Home
 Strategic Plan
 Donation Form
 Yizkor Book Form
 Contact Us
 Gift Shop
 Building Renovation
 Memorial Boards
 Sunshine Committee
 Committees (other)
 Candle Lighting Times
 Torah Readings
 Yahrzeit Calendar
 Hebrew School
 Picture Gallery
 School Calendar
 Bar/Bat Mitzvah
 Jewish Calendar
 Hebrew Date
 Sept./Oct. 2017
 Newsletter Archives
 Local Sites
 Jewish Maine



Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

May/June 2010
Iyyar/Sivan/Tammuz 5770

President's Message
Shavuot Service
Book Club
Give and Go
Annual Meeting
Special Shabbat Service
News from the Hebrew School
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project
Birthdays and Anniversaries

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

President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

Our community Passover Seder was wonderful. As 88 voices joined together to sing Dayanu, I felt a tremendous joy to be a part of our wonderful congregation.

The word "dayanu" comes to mind as we plan for our special Shabbat service on June 11th to thank and honor all of our members and friends who have contributed their time and money to the life of Beth Israel.

Loosely translated dayanu means, "it would have been enough." Any big project is never done alone, nor is it done all at once. It takes many small steps. In order to make a difference we each don't have to do the whole thing. It is enough to just take one small stepÉeach step little by little makes the whole.

We had over 50 members and friends who contributed to our capital campaign. We had 22 different families "buy" windows for our synagogue. We had over 30 members volunteer to serve on our board over the last ten years. In addition, countless individuals bring food for our onegs, attend services and volunteer at the Hebrew school.

Each one of you has the potential make a difference at Beth Israel. Many of you already have and will continue to do so. You don't have to be on every committee or donate thousands of dollars to be important in our little shul. It just takes one small step. And so we say "dayanu" for all you do and contribute. I hope you will be able to come to our special Shabbat service on Friday, June 11th to give us an opportunity to personally thank all of you.

Shavuot Service

by Marilyn Weinberg

There will be a brief Shavuot service on Wednesday, May 19th.

At 5:00 pm the children from the Hebrew school will arrive and have an opportunity to look at the torah. At 5:30 pm there will be a special service, which will include the kaddish prayer for your loved ones. A potluck dinner will follow. It is customary to eat dairy on Shavuot.

Book Club

by Barbara Lenox

Although our last meeting was small, we all agreed that we really enjoyed The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva. This is a fast-paced book filled with international terrorism and intrigue. This is the first book in a series about Israeli intelligence operatives.

Our next meeting will be our usual third Thursday of the month, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. at the Minnie Brown Center. Our May selection is Strange Haven: A Jewish Childhood in Wartime Shanghai by Sigmund Tobias. This is the personal account of Sigmund Tobias and his parents as they fled Germany in 1938 and relocated to Shanghai along with eventually seventeen thousand other Jewish refugees. Shanghai was one of the few cities in the world that offered shelter without requiring a visa. This book offers a fascinating glimpse of life for these foreigners. If you have trouble finding the book, please contact me for help. We have a few copies to lend out.

The following ideas have been offered for possible future meetings: renting a movie, re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank (as most of us have read this book at one time in our lives), The HAJ by Leon Uris, a book first published in 1984 about a Palestinian Arab family caught up in the area's historic events of the 1920s-1950s. As always, we need suggestions and recommendations from everyone to find exciting and relevant books to read. Your comments are welcomed.

Give and Go

by Barbara Leeman

Bowdoin College's big end of the year student move-our program is soon approaching. Many non-profits have heard about this fundraiser, and there is considerable competition to get shifts. Beth Israel has been awarded and needs to fill the following shifts.

  • Monday, May 31 from 9-12 pm (3 needed)
  • Friday, June 4 from 9-12 pm (1 needed)
  • Monday, June 7 from 9-12 pm (2 needed)
  • Monday, June 7 from 3-5 pm (2 teens + 1 adult needed)
  • Wednesday, June 9 from 9-12 pm (3 needed)
  • Wednesday, June 9 from 1-4 pm (3 needed)
  • Wednesday, June 9 from 3-5 pm (1 teen needed)
  • Friday, June 11 from 10 am-1 pm (1 needed)
  • Sunday, June 13 from 10 am-done (3 needed)

If you find you are available, and want to do a mitzvah, please email or call.

Many people were able to give of their time generously last year. We earned over $1000 for Beth Israel. This was really wonderful, since everyone put in only a few hours each. Some had so much fun; they took more than one shift. I hope many will consider helping this year.

For those less familiar with what the "Give and Go" is... 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). Depending on how many volunteer hours we are able to provide, will determine how big a percentage of the profits come back to Beth Israel. The whole community benefits. For those of you who have participated before, you know it is a lot of work, but a great way to raise money for our congregation while also keeping a lot of usable goods out of the Brunswick landfill. It also provides great deals for people in the community.

Please contact me as soon as you know that you can make a commitment to help.

Annual Meeting

by Marilyn Weinberg

Please join us for Beth Israel Congregation's Annual Meeting on Sunday morning, June 6th. Brunch begins at 9:30 am and the meeting will begin at 10:00 am. Your input is vital in determining the future direction of our shul. How do we survive while our investments earn just a little over 1% and expenses continue to rise? The answer is in your hands.

The meeting will be held at the Minnie Brown Center

Special Shabbat Service

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Friday, June 11 at 7:00 pm our Shabbat service will be dedicated to all those people who have contributed to the life and revival of Beth Israel Congregation. The plaques for our new windows will be mounted and a new plaque honoring those who made substantial contributions to the capital campaign will be hung. We will also be honoring all those who have served on the Beth Israel board over the years. We hope all of you will come to share in this joyous occasion.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Another great year at Hebrew school is starting to wind down. It is a time to consider what has worked, and what new projects we would like to include for next year. Please send along any comments or suggestions to

Purim Carnival

Purim began with Cantor Daniel reading the Megillah. The Story of Esther is always accompanied by our enthusiastic students drowning out the name of Haman each time it is read. Cantor Daniel read chapters of the Megillah in both English and Hebrew, engaged everyone with questions, and enthusiastically led everyone in joyful singing.

Each year the kids parade in costume, first around the shul, and then down Washington Street to the Minnie Brown Center, where they have games, face painting, crafts, and refreshments. There is also a shaloch manot exchange where each of the children can fulfill the mitzvah of "sending portions one to another" as Mordechai instructed. Traditionally, shalach manot are delivered through a messenger and not given personally. Therefore we "sent" these "bags" at the Purim carnival for the children to exchange.

Many thanks go to Susan Horowitz, who planned and organized the carnival and to her many helpers. The Wednesday before the carnival, the kids also made their own Hamantashen at Hebrew school. All the kids enjoyed tasting their efforts. We thank all involved.

Class Shabbat Services

In March, our Daled class led our Shabbat service. Each of the students learned new Hebrew prayers and helped make our Shabbat service special. The members of the Daled class are Avi Gersh, Nicholas Hagler, Isabella Pols and Leah Totman. As always, we enjoyed a wonderful Shabbat meal prior to the service with zimirot (Shabbat melodies). Our Daled class teachers are Alina Shumsky and Cantor Daniel. Mazel Tov to everyone!

Friday, May 14th, our Aleph/Bet/Gimmel class will lead our Shabbat service. This group has been practicing, and is sure to impress us with its knowledge. The members of this class are Ethan Boll, Sam Gallimore, Nadia Leiner, Julia Pols, Abigail Sreden and Zoe Sreden. The teachers for this group are Marina Singer and Susan Horowitz.

Tot Shabbat on April 30th

The last scheduled Tot Shabbat for this calendar year will be held on April 30th. We have been running this program for several years, and schedule about four Tot Shabbat services a year. It is a wonderful program for our youngest members (tots). If you know of any families with small children that you think would benefit from this, please let them know. If you have young kids of your own and have other suggestions, perhaps ones that you have seen in other synagogues, please send an email to to share your ideas.

Passover Seder

On March 24th, our school got into the Passover mood by having a model Seder. Cantor Daniel led the Seder and our students chimed in with many prayers and songs. With our new "youth friendly" haggadah, there was lots of good singing from the kids, great questions, Passover delicacies, and a terrific skit from Alina's Heh class. In fact, the Heh class even led everyone OUT of "Egypt." A special thanks to Deb Hagler who single handedly set up the whole room (flowers and all). Thank you to so many of our school families who all brought items in to complete our Seder plates and meal. Thank you all for making our school Seder a great start to the holidays.

Yom Hashoah Observed

On April 14th we honored the holiday of Yom Hashoah by discussing the Holocaust with our students. A special candle lighting ceremony was held to remember those whose lives were taken. The children had a chance to watch the movie "Paperclips." This very inspiring movie is about a little town in Tennessee whose residents decided it was time to learn about diversity. The students of Whitwell Middle School began collecting paperclips, hoping to collect 6 million representing each of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. They ultimately collected well over 20 million, and learned about the Holocaust in a very unique way from survivors, German citizens, and others who became interested in their project. This video was a great way for our students to see how other students their age honored the lives of those lost in the Holocaust, and how even today, we can still make a difference.

School Pictures

School pictures were taken on March 10th. Copies are available through email for anyone interested. Please send requests to

Israeli Dancing

In honor of Yom Ha'Azmaut (Israel Independence Day) we enjoyed an educational Israeli dancing session on April 14th. The kids have learned several basic Israeli dances over the last few years. Lisa Tessler expanded on those this year. This is a favorite event amongst our kids. Thank you Lisa for another great dancing lesson.

Lag B'Omer

We will celebrate Lag B'Omer on May 5th, by having our outdoor games following Hebrew school classes, on the Patten Free library lawn. Campbell Clegg will lead the kids in another fun-filled afternoon. An ice cream party will end the day. If we have rain, we will have our Lag B'Omer celebration on May 12th.

Shavuot/Last Day of School

Our last day of school for 2010 is scheduled for May 19th. This coincides with the holiday of Shavuot. Our plan for the day is to finish the school year in classrooms till 5:00 PM, at which time we walk to the synagogue, have a Torah lesson, followed by a Shavuot service at 5:30 PM, and by 6:00 PM we will be ready for a dairy potluck picnic dinner together. Parents of students, and all others, are encouraged to join us at 5:00 PM at the synagogue building.


The kids have been donating all year. During the month of May, they will vote on the recipients of their Tzedakah dollars. Don't forget to bring in your ideas.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project

by Jill Standish

We are the Sunday deliverers of food from Hannaford in Brunswick to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Project, located only steps from Hannaford. We now need more help from one person plus two others.

Every Sunday for the past five years, we have been delivering the food from Hannaford to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention. The volunteer time is for 60 - 90 minutes once every two months. It does take some strength for at least one member of the delivery team, but not too much and it's such a good mitzvah.

Please consider doing this because I would hate to see the wonderful helpers for 5 years burnout. They have worked so hard to keep this going.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

May Birthdays May Anniversaries
6 Daniel Giulianti   25 Barbara & Robert Lenox
9 Steve Singer   27 Michele & Matt Miller
12 Rachel Schoenberg   27 Susan Horowitz & Robert Gersh
15 Denise Tepler   28 Rea Turet & Sandy Polster
18 Heather Gilman-Davis   29 Mara & Donny Giulianti
20 Arthur Davis   31 Beth & Benet Pols
23 Jennifer DeChant      
19 Ruth Benedikt      
29 Ann Lewis      


June Birthdays June Anniversaries
1 Lenore Friedland   7 Marilyn & Fred Weinberg
3 Mara Giulianti   7 Peggy Brown & John Martell
16 Isabella Pols   14 Barbara & Daniel Leeman
19 Michele Miller   18 Monica & Gordon Blatt
28 Rea Turet   22 Christina & Andrew Schoenberg


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Linda Silberstein and Larry Loeb in memory of Joseph Silberstein, MD
  • Rea Turet and Sandy Polster in memory of her aunt, Jayne Bray Turet
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in memory of her stepfather, Harold Hershenhart
  • Don and Mara Giulianti in memory of his mother, Elaine Giulianti
  • Barbara and Robert Lenox in memory of his mother, Mildred Lenox
  • Marina and Steve Singer in memory of her sister, Grace Haigh
  • Marina and Steve Singer in memory of her father, Victor Shapiro
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in memory of his father, Edward Friedland

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Riva Gotlib in memory of Grace Haigh
  • Leslie and Doris Shaw
  • John and Melinda Ewing
  • Raymond and Sheila Lucente
  • Deb Smyth