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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

January/February 2013
Tevet/Shevat/Adar 5773

Cantor's Message
Tu B'Shvat Community Seder
Holocaust Study Program
Media Power Youth
Community Chanukah Party
News from the Hebrew School
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

Cantor's Message

by Cantor Daniel Leeman

All of us are stunned by the horrors in Newtown Connecticut. There is no way to understand G-d's purpose in such tragic times. Words of comfort to parents who've lost young children in such a senseless way seem empty.

Yet, through it all, we are all grateful to see the outpouring of support for the families of the victims. We are grateful for first responders, medical professionals, neighbors, and clergy from all religious backgrounds; who all came together to express compassion and love.

Judaism teaches us to respond to injustice by not only speaking out, but through action to "repair the world" (Tikkun Olam). There are many complicated and nuanced injustices that were revealed and expressed by this act of unspeakable evil. Let us all ask G-d to give us the insight and wisdom to first understand them, and then to help effect a change in our society. These may include security in our schools, weapon controls, new strategies for mental illness, more expectations for parenting, a more responsible culture with regard to digital media. May we keep the strength and determination to make these changes meaningful that they may endure. Let us not allow the tragic deaths of the victims in Connecticut to have been in vain.

Come to the Beth Israel Tu B'Shvat Community Seder

by Marilyn Weinberg

January 25, 2013
5:30 p.m.

Let us join together for a Tu B'Shvat Seder followed by a potluck dinner (no meat, but fish is OK).

Celebrate the New Year of the Trees. Sing songs and learn more about this Jewish environmental holiday!

We are supposed to eat fruits and grains grown in Israel. If you can bring something containing barley, dates, figs, grapes (or raisins), pomegranates, olives or wheat that would be great. Almonds and carob are also good options. Contact Marilyn Weinberg at by January 16 to reserve your space. There will be a fee of $5.00 per person or $10.00 per family to cover our costs.

Holocaust Study Program

by Alina Shumsky

Minnie Brown Center
January 23-April 10, 2013
5:15–6:30 p.m.

We are in the process of exploring if there is any interest in a new holocaust study program to be offered at Beth Israel this winter. The program is called Echoes and Reflections, and was created jointly by The Shoah Foundation, Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Museum, and The Anti-Defamation League.

The program is introductory; rather than emphasizing didactic study, as it is meant as a vehicle for exploration and discussion. The curriculum uses primary archival documents (e.g., official documents, letters, diary entries, photographs) and DVD testimonies (selected from the Shoah collection) to facilitate exploration, enabling participants to develop their own insights.

A lot of planning went into the archival materials chosen, making this program truly incredible and not to be missed. We may supplement this curriculum with films, historical fiction, and/or biographical or autobiographical readings done as a group. Group members can decide on these together. We want to hear about your interests—great ideas are welcome.

When: 5:15–6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning January 23 until approximately Yom Hashoah, April 10.

Where: Minnie Brown Center or Beth Israel Synagogue (depending on size of class).

Who: Anyone interested in the topic. While this offering is oriented toward adults, students may attend if they have completed their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

What it will entail: Looking at the archival material before class so that we can discuss it together. Also, reading of any books we choose for discussion.

Cost: Anticipated to be around $160 per participant. This includes the curriculum binder and DVD. If more than one member of a family participates there is no need to purchase multiple binders, so additional family members can participate at a reduced rate. Financial aid is available if needed.

How to join: E-mail your interest to We would appreciate hearing from you by January 9.

We would love to see you there!
Alina Shumsky
Barbara and Daniel Leeman

Media Power Youth

Beth Israel Synagogue
April 7, 2013
11:00 a.m.

The Chai committee is in the process of planning an event on Sunday, April 7 at 11:00 a.m. at the Synagogue. Rona Zlokower, the Executive Director of Media Power Youth in Manchester, New Hampshire will present and lead a discussion on the increasing influence of media on children's health and behaviors. We will keep you posted as we finalize our plans.

For more information about Media Power Youth, please visit their website:

Community Chanukah Party

by Lenore Friedland

What a wonderful turnout for the Chanukah party!

Hustle and bustle, varied and delicious food, delightful aroma from latkes being fried by Susan Horowitz and Donnie Boyd, the din of many conversations, new friends and old friends, along with Matt Schreiber's accordion playing made for most enjoyable pot luck dinner. That was followed by the lighting of many beautiful menorahs, Chanukah songs led by Daniel and then some lovely music by Matt along with festive dancing through the aisles of the sanctuary. Thanks to all who made the evening so enjoyable and to the Ferstenberg's for supplying the jelly donuts.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

We've been busy at Hebrew school, learning Hebrew, prayers, culture, customs, and songs. In December, we also had some time for a little Chanukah fun.

Special Shabbatot
Our first Family Shabbat for 5773 was on Nov 16, 2012. It was a sweet evening with a few families who brought their young kids for dinner, a short service, and lots of ruach (spirit), and singing.

This year our school will lead three Shabbat services. The first one will be on February 1, 2013. Please join us as we share peaceful moments bringing in Shabbat together.

Although our school calendar shows that February 24 is the Purim carnival, we've decided to do something a bit special this year together as a community. More information will follow by email.

Our youngest group continues to meet one Sunday each month. The next Gan (kindergarten group) meets on January 27. For more information, please email

We accept new students throughout the year. If you find that your son or daughter is ready for Hebrew school, and would like additional information, please contact us at

Birthdays and Anniversaries

January Birthdays January Anniversaries
2 Daniel Leeman   21 Diane Gilman & Arthur Davis
6 Barbara Leeman   27 Michele & Ed Riley
7 Julia Pols      
9 Mark Ireland      
15 Isaac Daniel Ensel      
17 Stacey Giulianti      
20 Eric Arthur Ensel      
25 Robert Gersh      
27 Gabriel Malseptic      


February Birthdays
1 Virginia Van Slyck      
2 Katherine Raker      
5 David Brann      
5 Michelle Brann      
11 Lynn Frank      
14 Ross Lewis      
15 Jim Raker      
17 Julian Ireland      
26 Sam Raker      
27 Avi Gersh      
27 Sandy Polster      
28 Christina Schoenberg      


We would like to thank the following people for their donations

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Michele Riley in memory of her father Abraham Travers
  • Richard Cohen and Elizabeth Gouverneur
  • Joan and Jeremy Fields in memory of Ruth Fields
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver in memory her father Samuel Becker
  • Gary Torow in memory of his father Morris Torow
  • Janice Povich in memory of her mother Lillian Goldstein
  • Betsy Atkins in memory of her father Jacob Robert Fishkind

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Estelle and Irwin Metviner
  • Susan White in memory of Abraham Shumsky
  • Carolyn Foster in memory of Abraham Shumsky
  • Sheila Lucente
  • Larry Chernikoff anand Allison Beck
  • David and Shifra Kossman