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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

September/October 2012
Elul 5772 - Tishri/Heshvan 5773

Welcoming Guests
Hebrew School Open House
Flowers for the High Holidays
Selihot Service
High Holiday Youth Services
Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon
Yom Kippur Break Fast
Sukkot Celebration
Simchat Torah Celebration
Youth Activities and News from the Hebrew School
Dine Around
Tzedakah Corner
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

Welcoming Guests

by Cantor Daniel Leeman

According to tradition, Abraham was a passionate host and was continually welcoming guests to his tent. He has become the exemplar of what it means to be an avid host. At some point in our lives, most of us have been the grateful recipients of gracious hospitality and know how it feels. This summer, while traveling, Barb and I experienced kind hospitality first hand.

After years of only seeing a bit of the two coasts, Barb and I decided to traverse our diaspora homeland and see the US from the eyes of those living in the heart of the country. What better way was there to do it than traveling by motorcycle on what the great American novelist, John Steinbeck, called "the mother road," the old Route 66. It’s a road from Chicago to Los Angeles, and includes the states of Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

In the process of riding along the oldest highway in America, I marveled at the quality of the newer roads, our amazing telecommunications systems that allowed us to stay continuously connected, our financial system that provided us machine access to funds from home, and the use of one language. We were amazed that we could always find a reliable source of fuel and motor oil everywhere we went; and we found consistent supplies of everything else we needed, at the ubiquitous giant chain stores.

We marveled at the terrific people we met along our way and each place we stopped. They were intelligent and kind and their histories and cultures were fascinating. We met tourists from all over the world, as well as many “locals."

But, the highlight of the trip was when we were welcomed at shul. One Shabbos along our way, it was 108 degrees and we needed a relief from the road. We found a sweet synagogue in St. Louis, and spent a few wonderful hours observing Shabbos with our fellow Jews at B'nai Amoona.

Arriving just as the service began, we found about twenty people praying in the small chapel, not far from the main sanctuary of a huge, newer building. Immediately, we felt right at home. The Friday evening prayer leader was Rabbi Joseph Davidson, originally from Colorado. He was emeritus, filling in for the current Rabbi who was in Israel. After the service, he greeted us graciously, as the entire Friday evening minyan gathered around to welcome us. As we were leaving the sanctuary at the conclusion of the service, one of the lovely couples invited us home for a delicious Shabbos dinner. We talked and sang zmirot (songs) late into the evening and had a wonderful time learning about one another's lives and families. This couple clearly succeeded in performing the mitzvah of "hachnasat orchim," the welcoming of guests.

As we read about the recession and how we are supposed to be falling behind the whole world on so many levels, it was heart-warming for us to traverse our nation, and realize, first hand, what prosperous, intelligent and wonderful Americans live peacefully throughout our great country. We especially appreciated what a blessing it was to feel the warmth and kindness of our fellow Jews in a new place.

Our community has a great tradition of this same type of hospitality. Here, at Beth Israel in Bath, especially in the summer, we often welcome visitors "from away" to our Shabbat services. It is always wonderful to share our stories, as we gather for our delightful Oneg Shabbat after services. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a core group of people who are always ready and willing to share a Shabbos meal (or any meal for that matter) with newcomers exploring our region? I think the ripple effect is a grand example of how our precious mitzvot make for a better world.

As the High Holidays approach, we are often blessed with a number of first time visitors. Take the time to chat with someone you haven't met before. Invite them home, or to our potluck luncheon or "break fast." It is often these little things that can make a big difference in our lives.

Hebrew School Open House

by Denise Tepler

Sunday, September 9
2:30–4:30 p.m.
Minnie Brown Center

Thinking about a Jewish education for your children?

Please join us for an open house at Beth Israel Congregation 's Hebrew School on Sunday, September 9, 2012 from 2:30–4:30 p.m. at the Minnie Brown Center.

Have a snack, tour our facility, meet teachers, current students and parents. We offer pre-school through Bar/Bat Mitzvah education for Jewish youngsters. Synagogue tours, membership, and Shabbat and High Holy Day services information will be available. Find directions and more information on our website:

Flowers for the High Holidays

by Marina Singer

If you are interested in contributing toward the synagogue flowers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, please contact Marina Singer. Please include the names of the people who you would like to honor or remember.

Your donations for the flowers should be sent to Beth Israel Congregation, Attn. Robert Gersh Treasurer, 906 Washington Street, Bath, ME 04530.

Selihot Service

by Marilyn Weinberg

Saturday, September 8
9:00 p.m.

This year's Selihot Service will take place Saturday evening, September 8th, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. It is a one-hour healing service of song and prayer. It will begin with a brief lesson about some of the laws regarding words of kindness. Please make every effort to attend.

High Holiday Youth Services

by Barbara Leeman

Monday, September 17
Wednesday, September 26
11:00 a.m.
Minnie Brown Center

The service is designed for children aged 7-11 years old, but others should feel free to join in. An announcement will be made at the adult service just before 11:00 a.m., so that you are reminded to walk your child to the Minnie Brown Center. You can either stay with your child, or rejoin the adult service. Your child will be brought back to the adult service at the conclusion of the youth service if you are not there. Those with younger children are encouraged to stay. A snack for the children will be provided (only on Rosh Hashanah). Please contact Denise Tepler or Barbara Leeman for more information.

L'Shana Tovah Umetukah, a sweet and a good new year.

Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon

by Marilyn Weinberg

Monday, September 17
1:00 p.m.
Minnie Brown Center

Rosh Hashanah is the time when we all come together as a community. Our High Holiday potluck community luncheons have been a great success that we hope will continue for many years.

We will begin our Rosh Hashanah luncheon at the Minnie Brown Center immediately following morning services on Monday, September 17, at approximately 1:00 p.m. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with each other and share some delicious food for which our members are known. We will then go together for a Tashlicht service at the waterfront in Bath at approximately 2:00 p.m. You can drop off a "non-meat" dish at the Minnie Brown Center before you come to services.

Yom Kippur Break Fast

by Marilyn Weinberg

Wednesday, September 26
7:00 p.m.

This year our annual potluck break fast will begin 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 25th or 26th of September. The break fast will be held at the synagogue.

Sukkot Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

Sunday, October 7
12:00-2:00 p.m.

On Sunday, October 7, from 12:00–2:00 p.m., we will celebrate Sukkot with our annual Community Potluck Progressive Sukkot celebration. We will share food and bless three different sukkahs. We will be sending out a separate flyer soon with all the details. We have a great day planned, so mark your calendars now.

Simchat Torah Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

Wednesday, October 10
5:30 p.m. service
6:30 p.m.

Pot Luck Dairy/Vegetarian Meal (Pizza will be provided. Please bring a salad or dessert item to share.)

We will be celebrating Simchat Torah this year on Wednesday, October 10. We will have our Simchat Torah service at 5:30 p.m. followed by a potluck dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.

This holiday is a celebration of the Torah and you will have a chance to march with the Torah as we make our way around the sanctuary seven times. There will be singing and dancing as we proceed. It is not only a great time for adults, but also a great time for children to come, as they will receive an honorary aliyah as the Torah is read.

Youth Activities and News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Hebrew School begins September 12th at 4:00 p.m.

For all current members, and previous students, be on the look out for emails and website updates. For anyone new and interested in information, please send your name, phone number, or email address to

Family Shabbatot

Family Shabbat services return to Beth Israel congregation. These "family style" Shabbats take place at 5:30 p.m. and are designed for families with young children, although all ages are welcome to attend. We learn some prayers, sing songs and listen to a story. Services last approximately thirty minutes, and they are a great way to introduce young children to our Jewish community.

The first Family Shabbat of the year will be held on November 16th. This program takes the place of our regular Friday night service.

Kindergarten/Preschool Classes

Our Kindergarten/Preschool class (Gan) will begin September 30th at 2:00 p.m. On this day, our Gan class will join our older students, and will build our community Sukkah. Our Gan class 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 be meeting once a month. If you are interested in enrolling your child, please email or call 443-4606 so that we can get an accurate count of class size.

Open House

For all those interested in learning more about our Hebrew school, there will be an open house, on Sunday, September 9th, at 2:30 p.m., 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, talk to our teachers, and hear about our programs. We look forward to meeting you. It will also give our current students a chance to reconnect with their teachers, and hear some details of the curriculum for the upcoming year.

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.

Join the Sukkot Fun

Our Hebrew School family will be building our community/school Sukkah behind the Minnie Brown Center on Sunday, September 30th at 2:00 p.m. We'll be putting up the frame, and making decorations. Please come and fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of helping to build and beautify our Holiday Sukkah. Everyone is welcome. Sukkot is a reminder that it isn't really the brick and mortar, or plaster and wood that protect us.

Dine Around

by Barbara Lenox

Thursday, September 13, 2012
5:30 p.m.
Best Thai II Restaurant

Please join the Beth Israel women for our next outing. Best Thai II is a new restaurant located at 23 Elm St. in Bath (around the corner from Dot 's Ice Cream Shop). For further information and to confirm your reservation, please contact Barbara Lenox. The Dine Around is a wonderful way to network, share, and simply enjoy the friendship and sisterhood of our Beth Israel family.

Tzedakah Corner

Hebrew School Scholarship Fund – Thank You
by Robert Gersh

I would like to send out a special thank you to Barry and Adele Faber, Shira Gersh, and Marcia and Lenny Klompus for answering my previous newsletter requests and making contributions toward the Hebrew School Scholarship Fund. The fund helps needy students in our Hebrew School with the cost of their tuition.

The Fabers were the first to respond to the call with their donation. My daughter Shira took some of her saved Bat Mitzvah money to sponsor one child 's tuition in gratitude for her own Hebrew school education. Marcia and Lenny Klompus took their generosity even further by establishing a perpetual annual gift of two scholarships in memory of their late son, Jeffrey Robert Cherner. Jeffrey was the great grandson of Rosa and Nathan Povich, grandson of Dorice and Ben Mensh, and cousins of Bath residents Janice and Don Povich. Jeffrey loved children, his religion, and Maine. Therefore, Marcia and Lenny feel that this perpetual gift is a fitting tribute to Jeffrey and his life. Marcia and Lenny know that Jeffrey would be extremely pleased to have his name on these scholarships.

If you would like to contribute to our Hebrew School Scholarship Fund simply make your check payable to Beth Israel Congregation and mail it to Beth Israel Congregation, Attn. Treasurer, 906 Washington Street, Bath, ME 04530. Please write "Hebrew School Scholarship Fund” in the memo section of your check and enclose a short note. Your contribution is tax deductible and will be recognized in the Congregation newsletter, unless you wish to remain anonymous. Please contact our Treasurer, Robert Gersh, if you have any questions.

Toda Raba to Arielle Leeman
by Lisa Tessler

On behalf of the entire congregation, the Board wishes to express sincere gratitude to Arielle Leeman for her recent and very generous contribution to our congregation. Arielle chose to donate a portion of her bat mitzvah gifts to purchase additional chumashim for the synagogue, which are much needed. Arielle, we applaud you for your wonderful accomplishment on the day you became a bat mitzvah, and toda raba from all of us for your thoughtful tzedakah!

Tree of Life Legacy Society
by Lisa Tessler

Initiated by the Board of Directors in Summer 2012, the Tree of Life Society honors the important legacy that community members establish when they choose to make a testamentary gift to support Beth Israel Congregation after they have passed on.

A testamentary gift is powerful in that it makes a firm statement about one 's vision and core beliefs. Anyone can leave a legacy, however large or small, and have an impact on the future of the synagogue and our community. Whether it involves supporting the Hebrew School, beautifying the synagogue, or assuring the continuity of our wonderful Chai Committee programs, every commitment matters.

Those who wish to provide a lasting expression of their values by including Beth Israel Congregation in their estate plans may contact Board member, Lisa Tessler, or any of the executive officers for more information, and are encouraged to discuss their thoughts with family members and seek advice from their professional advisors. Beth Israel Congregation is a tax-exempt, non-profit under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Charitable bequests can play an important role in tax-efficient estate planning. If you have already made provisions to benefit the congregation in your estate plan, kindly let us know so that we can express our appreciation for your philanthropy.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

September Birthdays September Anniversaries
6 Beth Westman   3 Linda Silberstein & Larry Loeb
12 Abby Sreden   29 Lisa Tessler & Mark Ireland
12 Zoe Sreden      
20 Zelda Clegg      
20 Lola Lea      
23 Jeremy Fields      
23 Eydie Rose Kaplan      
27 Sam Gandler      
28 Diane Gilman      


October Birthdays October Anniversaries
8 Beth Pols   12 Jennifer & Allan Kaplan
14 Evelyn Panish   29 Beth & Dennis Westman
17 Allan Kaplan      
21 Barbara Lenox      
22 Shira Gersh      
22 Jacob Schoenberg      


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Norma Dreyfus and Stan Lane in memory of Dr. Morris Goldberg
  • Janice Povich in memory of Donald Povich and Harry Goldstein
  • Sharon Drake in memory of Edward Kravitz
  • Donald and Mara Giulianti in memory of Bertha Berman
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver in memory of Milton Silver
  • Joan and Jeremy Fields in memory of Arthur Blatt
  • Gordan and Monica Blatt in memory of Arthur Blatt
  • Barry and Adele Faber for the Hebrew School Scholarship Fund
  • Marina and Steve Singer in memory of their mothers, Henrietta Shapiro and Bessie Singer
  • Betsy Atkins in memory of her parents Jacob Robert Fishkind and Barbara Marilyn Fishkind (Bronstein)
  • Michael and Ellen Hagler in memory of David Goldman
  • Marc and Crissy Swartz in memory of his mother, Janet Swartz
  • Michele Riley in memory of Paula Travers
  • Shira Gersh for the Hebrew School Scholarship Fund
  • Arielle Leeman for purchasing more Chumashim in gratitude for her recent Bat Mitzvah
  • Richard W. Smith in memory of Jacob Smith
  • Sandor Polster and Rea Turet in memory of Martin Polster, Rosaline Libert Lasher, and Lillian Turet
  • Marilyn and Fred Weinberg

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Denise Linet in memory of Abraham Linet
  • Marcia Klompus in memory of her father, Benjamin Mensh
  • Marcia and Lenny Klompus for two perpetual Hebrew School scholarships given in memory of her son, Jeffrey Robert Cherner, who was also the grandson of Dorice Povich Mensh and Benjamin Mensh
  • Ansel and Zira Schiffer
  • Joseph and Merna Guttentag