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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2010
Tammuz/Av/Elul 5770

President's Message
Our Thanks
Annual Membership Dues
Book Club
Head Stone Ceremony for Minnie Brown
News from the Hebrew School
Give and Go
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 Robert Gersh

Thanks to the departing Board Members and Welcome to the New Board Members!

At the Congregation's Annual Meeting on June 6, 2010, we thanked three dedicated Board members who were departing the Board after reaching their term limits. They are Lenore Friedland, Marilyn Weinberg, and Peggy Brown. We appreciate their many years of devoted service to the Congregation and wish them well! The Congregation then approved the following three new Congregation members to take their place on the Board: Monica Blatt, Lynn Frank, and Dr. Robert "Bob" Lenox. Let's meet the new Board members!

Monica Blatt

I was born in Connecticut and attended a Jewish day school from kindergarten through grade eight. My family flip flopped from being members of an Orthodox synagogue, to a Conservative one, and then back to Orthodox. I guess you could say that I grew up in a "culturally traditional" Jewish home. We did not go to synagogue every week, but my mother always lit the Shabbat candles and you were in big trouble if you mixed up the meat dishes with the dairy ones! I am the youngest of five children, all born within seven years, and the only girl. By the time I came of Bat Mitzvah age, my parents were burnt out on the whole throwing of the Bar Mitzvah thing. They offered to take me to Israel on a trip instead of having a Bat Mitzvah and I jumped at the opportunity. We went with a group from the Day School that I attended and did a brief service at the top of Masada instead! No presents...but what an awesome experience!

I came to Maine to attend Bates College. While in college, I was a Hebrew School teacher in Auburn. In my junior year of college I attended the University of Edinburgh and studied Hebrew, Modern Arabic and Linguistics intensely with the plan of going into Middle Eastern diplomacy. After coming to the realization that I am not the type that would do so well having to wear a veil and not talk much, I returned to Bates as a senior shopping for a major. I ended up with a degree in rhetoric and stayed and worked in Maine the year after graduation to "buy time to figure it all out." During the tail end of that year, I met my Jewish, Maine native husband to be on the one and only blind date I had ever gone on. After two weeks of dating, we decided to get married! We have lived together in Brunswick for 21 years and have three sons, Sumner age 18, Ethan age 15 and Tobyn age 10. Shortly after moving to Brunswick, I was recruited as a Hebrew School teacher for our synagogue, which I continued to do until life got much too hectic being a full-time teacher in the public schools and raising the boys. With one son headed out the door for college, it's time for me to give a bit more of myself to Beth Israel. I look forward to connecting with our present members and reaching out to the community at large.

Lynn Frank

I was born in Corsicana, Texas, a city of about 20,000 people, one hour south of Dallas. (Contrary to popular belief, there are Jews in Texas.) My family belonged to a Conservative synagogue about the size of Beth Israel. There was also a reform temple in town to uphold the Jewish tradition of differing opinions. I became a Bat Mitzvah at thirteen, but was not allowed to hold or read from the Torah. My family kept kosher at home, even though the closest butcher was in Dallas. And yes, my family was in the rags business as the result of an oil well that went dry in twenty-four hours. My father's store had a Torah in the back room, so that a minyan could be held there on Saturday mornings.

I have lived in Brunswick for twenty-five years. I am currently the Jewelry Buyer for Day's Jewelers. I have two daughters, Emily, twenty-four and Kaela, twenty-two. Both daughters had their Bat Mitzvahs at Beth Israel. I previously served on the Board and as head of the Chai Committee when the Temple turned seventy-five years old and we had a Grand Celebration! I'm looking forward to serving on the Board again and welcoming new challenges.

Dr. Bob Lenox

Born and raised in Massachusetts, I spent most of my summers in Maine, where my family eventually built their home in Ogunquit. Growing up in Newton, Massachusetts afforded me the opportunity of attending and graduating Hebrew College (Prozdor) during my high school years. Barbara and I raised our two daughters in Burlington, Vermont where we were both were active in Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, a Conservative congregation of approximately 400 families; and where I was a member and chairman of the Education Committee for a number of years.

Over the years I spent the majority of my career in academia, and after a period within the pharmaceutical industry, have been actively engaged in biopharmaceutical consulting. We returned to Maine whenever we could, being drawn in part to the Portland area where my father and Barbara's mother were born and raised. We purchased our current home in 2003 when we began attending Beth Israel services, moving here permanently in the spring of 2009. I look forward to joining the Beth Israel Board and contributing to this special Jewish community.

Our Thanks

by Marilyn Weinberg

On Friday, June 11, our Shabbat service was dedicated to all those people who have contributed to the life and revival of Beth Israel Congregation. The plaques for our new windows were displayed and a new plaque honoring those who made substantial contributions to the capital campaign was presented. We had a great turnout and the service was lovely.

We want to thank all of you for your generosity to Beth Israel. Contributions, both large and small, make a difference. It is important that each one of you be noted and thanked.

Capital Campaign Donors

  • Selma Blatt
  • Margaret Brann
  • Irwin & Lori Brodsky
  • Peggy Brown & John Martell
  • Campbell & Jennie Clegg
  • Jeff Cohen & Nancy Heiser
  • Michael & Rachel Connelly
  • Sadye Davis
  • Sharon Drake
  • Adele & Barry Faber
  • Irving Fisher
  • Lynn Frank
  • Jay & Lenore Friedland
  • Donnie & Mara Giulianti
  • Tonia Gould
  • Michael & Ellen Hagler
  • Andy & Deborah Hagler
  • George & Margaret Isaacson
  • Josh Katz & Joanne Rosenthal
  • Stan Lane & Norma Dreyfus
  • Rosaline & April Lasher
  • Lola Lea
  • Daniel & Barbara Leeman
  • Lee Leiner & Lisa Trembly
  • Robert & Barbara Lenox
  • Daniel & Susan Levey
  • Maurice Libner & Sharon Bouchard
  • Larry Loeb & Linda Silberstein
  • Jerrold Lurie
  • Tim & Johanna McDonough
  • Diane Moyer
  • Mort & Evelyn Panish
  • Herb & Harriet Paris
  • Sandor Polster & Rea Turet
  • Albert & Doris Povich
  • Janice Povich
  • Jim & Virginia Raker
  • Chinka Rosenmann
  • Irl & Gail Rosner
  • Walter & Rita Rubin
  • Paul Skydell
  • Steve & Marina Singer
  • Richard Smith
  • Robert P. Smith
  • Hal & Mary Sreden
  • Steve Stern & Arlene Morris
  • Sheldon & Denise Tepler
  • Karen & John Totman
  • Marilyn & Fred Weinberg
  • Marty & Janet Wilk

Window Donors

  • The Blatt & Field Families
  • Irwin & Lori Brodsky
  • Peggy Brown & John Martell
  • Jeff Cohen & Nancy Heiser
  • Michael & Rachel Connelly
  • Adele & Barry Faber
  • Jay & Lenore Friedland
  • Donnie & Mara Giulianti
  • Stacey & Cristina Giulianti
  • The Horowitz Family
  • Jerry & Sharon Goldsmith
  • Liza & Aaron Greenwald
  • George & Margaret Isaacson
  • Stan lane & Norma Dreyfus
  • Maurice Libner & Sharon Bouchard
  • Larry Loeb & Linda Silberstein
  • Steve Stern & Arlene Morris
  • Herbert & Harriet Paris
  • Irl & Gail & Judith Rosner
  • Leslie & Doris Shaw
  • Barbara & Barret Silver
  • Marilyn & Fred Weinberg
  • Judith Weisman

Annual Membership Dues

by Robert Gersh

At its June 23rd meeting, the Board developed and unanimously passed a New Progressive Dues Structure to begin with the August 2010 through July 2011 season. An introductory rate for the first year of membership was adopted as a financial incentive to encourage non-affiliated Jews to get to know the Congregation and try it out. The Board hoped that they would choose to remain members at the regular rates after they had experienced one year of membership. The Board established new rates for members younger than 30 years of age to encourage them to become and remain members of the congregation. The Board determined that the under 30-years-old population of adults, particularly young couples and families, were under-represented in the Congregation and were a desirable demographic group to attract to ensure that the Congregation remained vibrant and the Religious School healthy. The Board also established a special low annual rate of $100 for full-time students (with ID) to encourage local unaffiliated students, such as those at the Hyde School in Bath or at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, to join and participate in the congregation. Lisa Tessler agreed to use her personal network to investigate a stronger Hyde School connection for the Congregation.

1. Introductory Membership Rate for First Year Members:

(Applies to both families and individuals but does not include the full time student rate.) 50% Discount from regular dues rate for first year only. Religious School tuition rates will remain at the regular rate. Congregation Policy also remains in effect that the families of students enrolled in Religious School must be congregation members.

2. Family Membership:

Family Membership (Under 30 years old): $350
Family Membership (Between 30 years and 65 years old, including 30 years old): $700
Family Membership (65 years old and older): $600

3. Single Membership:

Single less than 30 years old: $250
Single (Between 30 years and 65 years old, including 30 years old): $475
Single 65 years and older: $375

4. Full-Time Student Membership:

Special Full time Student with student ID: $100

Book Club

by Barbara Lenox

The Beth Israel book club recently met to discuss the book Climbing Jacob's Ladder by Alan Morinis. Although no one really cared for the author, we all had a lot to say about the book and the subject, an introduction to Mussar, a soul searching self help practice. It was a lively discussion.

Our next book selection for July is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. This is the fictionalized story of the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Velodrome d'Hiver in the city, then transported to Auschwitz. The story is told through the eyes of Julia Jarmond, an American writer, who has lived in Paris for twenty years. Her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel'dHiv' roundups, and she discovers a connection to the apartment her family plan to move into. It is an absorbing, fast summer read. We will meet Thursday, July 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Minnie Brown Center.

Our August meeting will be a wonderful chance to enjoy a delicious meal by Denise Tepler, who did the Healthy Cooking workshop for Passover, and a chance to discuss the book, Miriam's Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich. We will also have a chance to share some of our own family recipes and memories. The meeting is planned for August 19th, with details to follow. Come join us and enjoy your fellow Beth Israel readers.

Any questions or suggestions, call Barbara Lenox.

Headstone Ceremony for Minnie Brown

by Robert Gersh

There will be a headstone ceremony for Minnie Brown on Sunday, July 11, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. at the Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Portland. The address for the cemetery is Hicks Street (off of Warren Avenue), Portland, ME 04103. Given Minnie Brown's generous posthumous contributions to the Beth Israel Congregation, congregation members are invited and encouraged to attend. Thank you.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Our Hebrew school year has once again come to an end. We are very proud of our students, and we have high hopes and expectations for the future. Our Hebrew school schedule includes time for Tphillah (prayer), Judaica (Bible, Jewish Holidays, and Jewish History), Hebrew language instruction (reading, writing, and speaking), and music instruction (Jewish melodies for holidays, prayer, and Israeli folk). This is much to cover in a two-hour period, once a week. We pack in as much as we can.

Class Shabbat Services

Our Gan class (kindergarten class) and our Bet/Gimmel class led our service on May 14th. Their wonderful energy was contagious. Preceding our service, we had our Shabbat meal with lots of zmirot (singing). This wonderful group of kids is our future, and a very bright future it will be. The Gan class members are Isaac Daniel Ensel, Aviva Feinberg, and Sid Pols. The Bet/Gimmel class was led by Ethan Boll, Sam Gallimore, Nadia Leiner, Julia Pols, Abigail Sreden and Zoe Sreden.

Photo Show

A Photo Show will be created of our school year. Please keep an eye out for it in July at our synagogue website.

School Pictures

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 (that they may see as part of the photo show), can request one at


The kids donated all year to a Tzedakah fund, and during the month of May, they voted on the recipient of their Tzedakah dollars. This year the winner was Mount Sinai Children 's hospital.

Israeli Dancing

In honor of Yom Ha 'Azmaut (Israel Independence day) Lisa Tessler, a new member of our Beth Israel Board of Directors and wonderful dance instructor, came to teach some Israeli dances to our students on April 14th. Lisa made it easy for everyone to join in, and introduced some new dances, along with the old favorite, the "Jewish Chicken Dance." Many thanks Lisa for a lively fun way to bring our school year to an end.

Lag B'Omer/Shavuot

Our Lag B 'Omer celebration was held on May 19th, our last day of school. Despite rain, Campbell Clegg always makes it fun for the kids. With some potato catching games, and races, the kids laughed and enjoyed the day. We paraded down the street to our sanctuary, to have our Shavuot service. A potluck dinner followed by ice cream made for a nice end-of-year party. Special thanks to Campbell.

Special Thanks

The end of the year is always a great time to thank our teachers for all their efforts. Our teachers, Cantor Daniel, Alina Shumsky, Marina Singer, Susan Horowitz and Beth Pols, prepared thoughtful lessons each week, and instilled a love of Judaism into each of our students. Many thanks again to you all.

Our parent committee helps each year to plan extra activities for our kids above and beyond the curriculum. Many thanks.

Also special thanks to Susan Horowitz for once again bringing her youngest classes outside to plant flowers at the end of the school year, as a mitzvah to help beautify the school. They indeed look great.

Next Year

Next year 's school calendar is already posted on our Beth Israel website.

Wish List

  • Please save as many egg crates as possible, and bring to the Minnie Brown center when school begins (or before).
  • Please look through your cabinets for dry foods that you bought but won 't likely use, and donate them. Our students will continue next year to collect food/dry items to bring to the food bank. The food pantry has mentioned that the following items are most helpful: pasta (in boxes), canned pasta, canned meat, bottled juice, cereal, coffee (regular) and diapers (disposable). However, all items are accepted and appreciated. There is a box placed in the hallway of the Minnie Brown Center for the collection of the items.
  • Remember to bring in any gently used or new Jewish children 's books or Jewish children 's videos for our lending library.

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 1st. A complete calendar is available at

Have a great summer!

Give and Go Sale Raises Approximately $1500 for Beth Israel

by Barbara Leeman

Each spring, our community awaits the "Give and Go." As Bowdoin College 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). This year, the "Give and Go" raised approximately $48,000 dollars for area non-profits. There were 25 organizations selected that helped work over 2500 hours. The profits are distributed to each organization based on the number of hours they contribute. Each hour was worth approximately $14 this year. Each year that amount changes. We are happy to say that Beth Israel volunteered over 100 hours and will receive approximately $1500 for our efforts.

I am so pleased to report that we had 28 different people who were able to volunteer some time to help Beth Israel. Each of the people below not only helped to raise money for Beth Israel and slow down the waste that fills the Brunswick landfill, but also had the opportunity to get some incredible bargains in the process. This was an easy fundraiser, one that I hope Beth Israel can participate in again next year. When you see the announcement next year, please consider signing up for a shift. You 'll be amazed at how much fun you will have.

Thank you to the following people who all worked this year at the Give and Go: Angela Black, Allegra, Chris, Donnie, Morgan, and Quin Boyd, Peggy Brown, Campbell and Rachel Clegg, Steve Cohen, Fiona Duncan, Laurie, Rachel and Sarah Gallimore, Donny Giulianti, Susan Horowitz, Stan Lane, Barbara, Hannah and Sam Leeman, Barbara Lenox, Ann Lewis, Aaron Rideout, Tammy and Kristen Shirley, Rea Turet, Marilyn Weinberg and Dennis Westman.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

July Birthdays July Anniversaries
4 Hannah Leeman   23 Marina & Steve Singer
8 Margaret Brann   26 Lenore & Jay Friedland
8 Linda Silberstein   27 Jennifer DeChant & Lou Ensel
11 Becca Lewis      
18 Judy Weisman      
21 Marina Singer      
22 Jay Friedland      


August Birthdays August Anniversaries
10 Emma Miller   17 Ruth & Ed Benedikt
14 Lou Ensel   20 Evelyn & Mort Panish
15 Henry Raker   30 Virginia Van Slyck & Jim Raker
16 Arielle Leeman      
31 Marilyn Weinberg      


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Sharon Drake in memory of her father, Edward Kravitz
  • Janice Povich in memory of her husband, Don Povich
  • Janice Povich in memory of her father, Harry Goldstein
  • Don and Mara Giulianti in memory of his father, Nicholas Giulianti
  • Don and Mara Giulianti in memory of her mother, Bertha Berman
  • Marilyn and Fred Weinberg in memory of Lynn Frank 's sister,
  • Cheryl Milkes Jerome Moore
  • Jim Raker and Virginia Van Slyke in memory of his father, David Raker
  • Mort and Evelyn Panish in memory of friend and Holocaust survivor, Bertle Metz
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in memory of her mother, Lucille Hershenhart
  • Norma Dreyfus and Stanley Lane in memory of her father, Morris Goldberg
  • Marina and Steve Singer in memory of his mother, Bessie Singer

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Daniel Morgenstern in memory of his father, Frederic Morgenstern
  • Jerrold Lurie in memory of his parents Phillip and Celia Lurie
  • Marji Greenhut in memory of her mother, Sylvia Greenhut
  • Sheila and Ray Lucente
  • Jill and Joseph Cooper