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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

March/April 2012
Adar/Nisan/Iyyar 5772

Cantor's Message
Purim Celebration
Dine Around
The 7th Annual Community Forum on Jewish Medical Ethics
Community Passover Seder
Special Family Shabbat
News from the Hebrew School
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Welcome to New Members

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

Cantor's Message

by Cantor Daniel Leeman

Why is G-d Missing?

Purim is a terrific holiday with delightful costumes and carnivals. Even the Megillah reading (the Book of Esther) includes a raucous celebration with joyous chanting and merry noise making. We celebrate with joy by giving gifts to the poor and by sharing food with our friends. The cultural and rabbinic restraints regarding public alcohol consumption are somewhat relaxed during Purim day. It's really meant to be a giant party, as we remember our heroine and hero, Esther and Mordecai, and their glorious story.

Surprisingly, G-d's name is never mentioned in the entire Book of Esther. Some say that the narrator of the dramatic story may have felt that the merrymaking would be so extreme through the years, that he/she feared that the public's demeanor may not be dignified enough to permit the mention of G-d's name amidst the costume craziness and extreme partying. Others felt that some gentiles might profanely treat a “book” that tells of the complete triumph of the Jewish people over its enemies. Perhaps the narrator feared that G-d's name might be desecrated if it were contained in such a “book.” I think that whatever the reason really is, it is clear that even though G-d's name may be missing, G-d's presence and power to intervene in the lives of our people pervades the entire story. We sense that G-d's protecting love is so powerful that no mention of G-d's name need be mentioned at all.

Mordecai made a famous statement in chapter four to Esther. He indicated to her that if she failed to act at this critical time to save our people, our salvation would come from another source. Mordecai really made the warning to Esther to encourage her to be a catalyst for change. She was afraid to act for fear of reprisals, once revealing her identity.

Her inspirational and heroic actions were in fact what saved us! Mordechai's confidence was as much in the worthiness of our people, as in G-d's saving power. He believed in our people so strongly that he demonstrated an abiding trust in the future, whether Queen Esther had the strength of character to act on our behalf or not. His incredible confidence is palpable even until today.

May we all be blessed this year to feel Mordecai's confidence at Purim. May Hashem continue to bless us and guard us with wisdom, good health, happiness and prosperity. May the Jewish people continue to be privileged to be a blessing to our communities here in Maine, throughout the nation, to Israel and throughout the world. Let us all remember Psalm 121: Verse 4: "The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers, nor sleeps" Hag Sameach! Happy Purim to all!

Purim Celebration

Please join us on Sunday, March 11th for our community Purim carnival.

Come in costume.

10:00-11:00 a.m. - Megillah reading at the Synagogue
11:00 a.m. - Parade of costumes to the carnival
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. - Purim carnival at the Minnie Brown Center

Loads of games, lots of new prizes, hamantaschen, pizza, drinks and fun for kids of all ages.

Questions? Contact Susan Horowitz.

Dine Around

by Barbara Lenox

Thursday, March 8, 2012
6:30 p.m.
The Inn at Brunswick

Please join the Beth Israel women for our next outing. The Inn at Brunswick is located across from Bowdoin College on Main Street. There is plenty of parking next to the Inn. For further information and to confirm your reservation, please call Barbara Lenox. The Dine Around is a wonderful way to network, share, and simply enjoy the friendship and sisterhood of our Beth Israel family.

The 7th Annual Maine Community Forum on Jewish Medical Ethics

by Marilyn Weinberg

Sunday, March 25, 2012
9:30 a.m.
Beth Israel Synagogue

The 7th Annual Maine Community Forum on Jewish Medical Ethics will be held Sunday morning, March 25th from 9:30-11:00 a.m. at the Synagogue at 862 Washington Street in Bath. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m. for light refreshments.

We are honored to have Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor and Rabbi Carolyn Braun of Temple Beth El in Portland join our panel of Jewish clergy. They will be reviewing medical cases and applying Jewish approaches to ethical dilemmas.

Presenting the vexing medical cases this year, we are privileged to have Dr. Charles Blatt, a specialist in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine and the Director of Research at the Lown Cardiovascular Center in Brookline, MA, and Herb Paris president emeritus of Mid Coast Hospital.

The entire Maine community is invited to attend and participate in the discussion with panel members. Admission is free to all. Donations are accepted. We look forward to seeing you there. We want to thank Dr. Hal Sreden for organizing the event this year.

Community Passover Seder

Saturday, April 7th, 2012
5:00 p.m.

You are invited to join family and friends for a potluck Community Passover Seder.

Reservations required by April 1.
Please e-mail

To cover expenses:
$5 per person/$10 per family for members
$10 per person/$20 per family for non-members

Special Family Shabbat

by Marilyn Weinberg

Friday, March 23, 2012
5:30 p.m.
Beth Israel Synagogue

In place of our regular Friday night service, we will be having a special Family Shabbat program at 5:30 p.m. at the Synagogue.

There will be pizza and veggies to eat, with drinks and a dessert provided by Allan and Jennifer Kaplan. This will be an opportunity for families with young children to get together, sing songs, have a story read to the children and say the Shabbat blessings. It will be a nice way to relax at the end of a busy week and to introduce our children to Shabbat customs.

Contact Barbara Leeman at if you might be coming so we can order enough pizza.

News from the Hebrew School

by Marina Singer

Zahav Class

The 6th grade is working with Cantor Dan on Genesis, reading in Hebrew and English and discussing each passage. They are also developing their expertise and comfort with the Hebrew language by reading stories written in Hebrew by Morah Alina.

Lavan Class

This class had a unit on the Jewish calendar and presented their findings to the Hebrew School. They continue to study the Torah and learn about Bible heroes, and are working on their Hebrew by reading stories in Hebrew created by Morah Alina. The class will be leading the Friday night service on March 2nd along with the Kachol class, so they have been working hard to improve their knowledge and ease with the Friday evening prayers at school and at home using a CD created by Cantor Dan.

Kachol Class

This class was busy these past months studying about Tu B'Shevat and creating a beautiful tree displaying many of the fruits of this holiday. Presently they are studying Purim and creating puppets for the holiday festivities.

Gan Class

This class has been meeting once a month at the Synagogue, learning about the holidays. Chanukah was great fun with latkes being fried by the parents, while the kids heard stories, played games and did art projects. January brought Tu B'Shevat and Noah's Ark fun. The kids got to learn about and taste many of the fruits associated with the holiday, while hearing stories, singing songs, (the parents all knew the Floody, Floody song), and just enjoying each other's company.

Prayer Time

On Wednesdays, the students have a 20-minute prayer service at the start of each Hebrew School session to help familiarize them with the prayer service. The Lavan class got to show what they have been learning this past week by leading each of the prayers. Good practice for the March 2nd Shabbat service.

We gratefully acknowledge that the Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) of Southern Maine's Annual Campaign financially supports the Beth Israel Congregation Hebrew School. For more information about the JCA go to their website ( or call them at (207) 772-1959.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

March Birthdays March Anniversaries
3 Donny Giulianti   15 Jennie & Campbell Clegg
4 Robert Lenox      
8 Teresa Gandler      
9 Andrew Schoenberg      
10 Monica Blatt      
11 Nicholas Giulianti      
12 Ethan Blatt      
12 Tobyn Blatt      
13 Jennie Clegg      
13 Corey Coutu      
17 Dana Malseptic      
23 Ben Raker      
27 Noah Sreden      
28 Campbell Clegg      


April Birthdays  
2 Lisa Tessler      
5 Nadia Leiner      
7 Sumner Blatt      
8 Mort Panish      
9 Susan Horowitz      
9 Jessica Lewis      
29 Matt Miller      

Welcome to New Members

  • Steve Cohen
  • Jim Adolf, Michele LaForge, and their daughters Josie and Maggie


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Robert Gersh and Susan Horowitz in celebration of Chanukah
  • Gary Torow in memory of Morris Torow
  • Janice Povich in memory of her mother, Lillian Goldstein
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in celebration of Chanukah
  • Lisa Tessler and Mark Ireland in celebration of Chanukah
  • Andy and Deborah Hagler in celebration of Chanukah
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in celebration of Chanukah
  • Linda Silberstein and Larry Loeb in celebration of Chanukah
  • Dr. Matthew Budd and Rosalind Gorin
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in loving memory of Robert's father, Fred Lenox
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in loving memory of Barbara's mother, Freda Selig
  • David and Shifra Kossman
  • Dr. Irwin and Lori Brodsky
  • Dr. James and Virginia Raker in memory of Harry Raker
  • Joan and Jeremy Fields in memory of David Fields
  • Lynn Frank in memory of her father, Dean Milkes
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in memory of Frances and Marvin Weinberg and in honor of the birth of Benjamin Miller Hansen, grandson of Rea Turet and Sandy Polster
  • Abraham and Adai Shumsky in celebration of Tu B'Shevat
  • Karen and Matthew Filler in memory of her parents Frances and Gerald Feldman

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Ronni and Joe Kirsch in memory of Selma Blatt
  • Paul and Lillian Karass
  • David and Judith Falk
  • Greg and Lynda Kelly in memory of Ann and Harold Lempert
  • Brenda and Peter Fides
  • Sonya Rosenfield in memory of Selma Blatt
  • Joanne Rosenthal and Josh Katz in honor of the birth of Benjamin Miller Hansen, grandson of Rea Turet and Sandy Polster
  • Darrell Cooper in celebration of Tu B'Shevat