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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/August 2013
Tammuz/Av/Elul 5773

Roots Series
Highlights of the Annual Meeting
Meet Our New Board Members
Congratulations High School Graduates!
Habitat For Humanity Walk
Hebrew School Scholarship Fund
Another successful Give and Go!
News from the Hebrew School
Tisha B'Av Service
Next Newsletter
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

Roots Series

by Marilyn Weinberg

Friday July 12
7:00 p.m.

We resume our wonderful "Roots" series in July with a presentation by Ruth Benedikt. She has several fascinating stories, but will focus on her mother. She has shared the following: "My grandfather was Principal of the High School in Woodbine, New Jersey when it was the first secondary education program in agriculture in the United States. The Woodbine colony was established by the Baron DeHirsch Foundation to assist Jewish immigrants to leave the slums and sweatshops of New York City and become farmers. In its time, Woodbine was unique in the country because of its all-Jewish self-governing council. My mother was only a child when her family lived at Woodbine, but she had a lot of faith in the value of having Jews become farmers. In the early 1930's, at the heart of the Great Depression, my mother and father bought a dairy farm in southern New York as part of the same mission–to show the gentiles that Jews could earn a living by hard physical labor and could produce some of the basic of consumer needs."

I can't wait to hear the rest. I hope you can make it!

Highlights of the Annual Meeting

by Lynn Frank

The annual meeting was held on June 2, 2013 at the synagogue. Twenty-four members attended.

  • The Cantor presented an overview and accomplishments for the year. He highlighted his professional development seminar, special speaker, Rona Zlokower, the Ada Greenblatt dedication, and the many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
  • Barbara Leeman gave an overview of the Hebrew School and highlighted the many events, graduates and current state of the Hebrew School.
  • Barbara Leeman was recognized for her outstanding efforts in coordinating the Give and Go at Bowdoin College.
  • Maurie Libner, on behalf of Lee Leiner, reported on the building committee and its many improvements at Minnie Brown and the Synagogue, including: new carpet, bathroom floors, maintenance repairs and beautification. There was some discussion about further repairs and upgrades required for both buildings.
  • Andy Hagler reported on the state of our Jewish Cemetery. Please contact him if you would like to purchase a plot or arrange for a burial.
  • Robert Gersh presented our financials for 2012-2013 and our budget for 2013-2014, which was accepted. There was concern expressed for keeping up with our expenses and the need for further fundraising. For specifics, please contact Robert.
  • Denise Tepler presented the membership numbers, which have remained steady. If you know of anyone who is interested in joining the synagogue or anyone we can reach out to with membership information, please contact Denise. We need new members to continue to grow!
  • Denise Tepler also reported on our involvement this year in social justice. Synagogue members were involved with the Tedford Shelter, Walk for Habitat for Humanity, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention and Mid-coast interfaith counsel. If you would like to help in anyway with any of these nonprofits or if you have additional ideas for mitzvahs, please contact Denise and she can direct you to the proper liaison.
  • Lenore Friedland spoke on the many outstanding events that the Chai Committee has worked tirelessly on throughout the year. The Chai committee is looking for more participants to help with the many preparations that are needed for the various holidays. Please consider volunteering your time as many hands make less work!

Meet Our New Board Members

by Marty Fox and Todd Gandler

Marty Fox was raised in the Norwich, Connecticut area and went to college in Boston. He worked primarily in the Lakes Region area of New Hampshire and is presently retired, living in Wiscasset. His work involved product development for four companies. He married his wife Thyle in 2001, and has three daughters, two stepdaughters, and five grandchildren. Thyle and Marty live on Buckwheat Blossom Farm, where Amy (Thyle's daughter) and her husband Jeff operate a horse driven organic farm. Serving on the board at Temple B'Nai Israel in Laconia, New Hampshire for twenty years perked his interest in learning about Beth Israel's operation.

Todd Gandler was originally from the Albany, New York area. He graduated from Northeastern University in May of 2006 with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. The following month, he and his wife Teresa were married in Albany, New York and immediately moved to Maine, their dream of many years.

After settling into a home in Brunswick their first son, Alva was born in November 2007. The following summer Teresa worked at Acadia National Park and Todd was blessed with five months of staying home with Alva, while they all enjoyed Mount Desert Island. He also trained to be a residential energy auditor at that time. Shortly after their return from Bar Harbor, Todd began working for the People's Regional Opportunity Program (PROP) in Portland as an energy auditor in the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income families. (Last year PROP merged with Youth Alternatives–Ingraham creating The Opportunity Alliance where he still works.)

In 2010 their second son Samuel was born (named after Todd's great uncle Samuel Agins, a cantor in Hudson, New York). It was around this time that Todd began to feel that something was missing in their lives. And he began to feel the need to return to Judaism after nearly twenty years. They found the Beth Israel synagogue in Bath and decided to visit one Saturday morning. While the Saturday morning service wasn't the best outing for an infant and a three year old, they found comfort in the welcome they received from the Cantor. Since then, Todd has been going to the Saturday morning services, the kids are attending Hebrew school (well, Sam enjoys running around the Minnie Brown Center!), and Teresa enjoys studying with Cantor Leeman weekly.

Congratulations High School Graduates!

by Lynn Frank

Mazel Tov!

Sam Leeman graduated from Morse High School. He will be attending the University of Rochester in the fall.

Ethan Blatt graduated from Mt. Ararat High School. He will be attending Babson College next January.

Habitat For Humanity Walk

by Marilyn Weinberg

On May 5th a group from Beth Israel joined a large number of community teams to participate in a 5K walk around Bath to raise money for the local Habitat For Humanity. Over 21 teams participated and with your sponsorship Beth Israel raised almost $2,000. Your generosity was wonderful. It was the first year we participated in the project and we made a great impression on everyone. Thanks to Denise Tepler for helping to organize our participation and fundraising. And thanks to Sheldon Tepler, Lenore Friedland, Matt and Karen Filler, Marilyn Weinberg, Todd, Sam and Alva Gandler for their willingness to walk on that beautiful day in Bath.

Hebrew School Scholarship Fund

by Robert Gersh

Our Congregation has a Hebrew School scholarship fund to help needy students with the cost of their tuition. Many of our Hebrew School's students have directly benefited from this scholarship fund. We would like to continue to provide financial help to those students who need it, but our fund is almost depleted. We therefore invite those in our community to make contributions to replenish our Hebrew School Scholarship Fund. The Hebrew School gives our children a foundation to their Jewish identity and helps ensure the future of our Congregation. You can make a real and positive difference in our congregation by making a donation to this 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. Be sure to write "Hebrew School Scholarship Fund" in the memo section of your check and enclose a short note stating your intentions. Your contributions are 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.

Marty Fox, Thyle Sharter, and Don and Mara Giulianti answered our previous call and made contributions in May 2013 to this very worthy cause within our Congregation. Won't you please join them and make your own contribution? Thank you for your support.

Another Successful Give and Go!

by Barbara Leeman

Each spring, our community awaits Bowdoin's famous "Give and Go" sale. As the 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 are donated and then collected, sorted and sold by volunteers (us).

This was another successful year for the "Give and Go" and the local non-profits. There were 16 organizations selected to help. The profits are distributed to each organization based on the number of hours they contribute. We are not yet sure exactly how much Beth Israel has earned, but I am pleased to report that we had 11 different people who were able to volunteer their time to help at the sale. 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 most worked more than one shift. They also had the opportunity to get some incredible bargains in the process.

This year the sale was held at Cooks Corner next to Shaw's (in the old Fashion Bug location). The space was much smaller than in the past. There were mixed feelings about this change initially, but ultimately the sale was a success. Since not everything would fit in the space, it provided the means to "re-stock" before each sale, therefore offering new items for each sale. This has been a good fundraiser for Beth Israel. Keep your eye out for the announcement to volunteer next year and consider signing up for a shift. It's a real blast!

Thank you to the following people who all worked at the Give and Go this year: Campbell Clegg, Marty Fox, Susan Horowitz, Nonny Soifer, Jill Standish, Denise Tepler, Marilyn Weinberg, Wanda Wu, Sam, Arielle and Barbara Leeman.

News from the Hebrew School

by Barbara Leeman

Our Hebrew school year ended on May 22 with friendship and good cheer. The Jewish holidays very much dictate our calendar. It is with a sense of comfort that we bring in the Jewish holidays each year with our students. While we are busy learning Hebrew, prayers, songs, etc., our lessons inevitably revolve around the holiday calendar. As we finish out our 5773 (2012-2013) year, our heartfelt thanks go to our teachers: Marina Singer, Alina Shumsky, Susan Horowitz and Cantor Daniel for their expertise and enthusiasm in teaching our students. They prepare lessons each week, and instill a love of Judaism into each of our students. And to each of our families, who make it a priority to bring their kids each week, after a long day, Mazel Tov! You are to be commended. We are lucky to be able to count on our parents who help each year to plan extra activities for our kids above and beyond the curriculum. We hope your kids benefit in ways that are not even obvious.

Class Shabbat Service and Graduates

Our last class Shabbat service was held on May 3. It is always a treat not only for the students to demonstrate their learning, but also for those of us in our seats to pray along with them. Preceding each service, we have a Shabbat meal with Zmirot (singing). These potluck dinners and services are always open to our whole congregation. Ethan Boll and Nadia Leiner led special parts of the service while also presenting graduation speeches and reflections about their Hebrew school years. Tov Meod (very good job)! Both Ethan and Nadia move into Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation following Hebrew School.

Lag B'Omer

Running around on the library lawn is not exactly what people imagine when you say you're going to Hebrew school, but on May 1 that is exactly what our students did. Following their classes, they played games, had races, brought a picnic, and of course had our "famous" ice cream party (Thank you Sreden family for providing delicious Dot's ice cream). Special thanks also to Anna Boll who made the games exciting and fun for everyone. Especially for those of us watching as we laughed seeing the kids do silly spins with their heads on a bat. All this was in honor of Lag B'Omer.


The giving of the Torah to the Jewish people may arguably be one of the most important of our Jewish holidays. Our students observed Shavuot together on May 15.


Our youngest group met on May 5 for their last class of 5773. In addition to the games, puzzles, and learning fun Marina Singer provided, these students had a chance to make their own Havdallah "kits." This included a braided candle, and a spice box (B'somim box). They were very patient and creative while we struggled to make the wax a bit more pliable. The decorated B'somim boxes were filled with cinnamon sticks and cloves. If you have young children (4–5 years old) and are ready to help them start their Jewish education, please email: to get ready for next year.

Minnie Brown Center

Each year the Minnie Brown Center sprouts beautiful flowers. New flowerbeds are created, and the facade of the building is nurtured. This all comes from Susan Horowitz's efforts. For those of us who don't have a "green thumb," this is especially appreciated. She usually gets the kids involved, but often spends additional time outside of school hours tending to and managing the growth. Todah Rabah!

Next Year

More information has already been posted on our website to prepare for next year, including the 5774 (2013-2014) calendar at Our first day back is Wednesday, September 11, 2013. For those new to our community, looking to join our Hebrew school, other forms can be found at and can be forwarded to Beth Israel Congregation 906 Washington St., Bath, ME 04530 or to Have a fantastic summer filled with sun, exercise and Jewish learning.

Tisha B'Av Service

by Maurie Libner

A service for Tisha B'Av will be held on Monday, July 15, 2013, at 7:00 pm. We will read from Acha, the Book of Lamentations. The service will be conducted by congregants, while Daniel and Barbara are in Israel.

Next Newsletter

by Marilyn Weinberg

Since Rosh Hashanah begins on September 4 this year, our next newsletter will be issued in mid August. It will have full details of the High Holiday schedule. All the information will also be posted on our website at

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Listing the birthdays and anniversaries of those in our immediate family creates a wonderful opportunity for our community/shul family to have an excuse to celebrate with each other. We have listed the few that we have. If you notice that someone in your family isn't listed, please send along all information to Barbara Leeman so that they can be included with the next issue of the newsletter.

July Birthdays July Anniversaries
4 Hannah Leeman   13 Sharon Bouchard &
4 Aviva Feinberg     Maurie Libner
8 Margaret Brann   23 Marina & Steve Singer
8 Linda Silberstein   26 Lenore & Jay Friedland
11 Becca Lewis   27 Jennifer DeChant & Lou Ensel
13 Matthew Filler      
17 Adaia Shumsky      
18 Judy Weisman      
21 Marina Singer      
22 Jay Friedland      
30 Seth Lobis      
31 Cecily Cooper      


August Birthdays August Anniversaries
10 Emma Miller   11 Judy Wolfe & Bob Lobis
12 Joe Cooper   17 Ruth & Ed Benedikt
14 Lou Ensel   20 Evelyn & Mort Panish
15 Henry Raker   22 Joe & Jill Cooper
16 Arielle Leeman   30 Virginia Van Slyck & Jim Raker
31 Marilyn Weinberg      


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

Members of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Barbara and Robert Lenox in loving memory of his mother, Milly Lenox
  • Marc and Crissy Swartz in loving memory of his sister, Lauren Beth Dunleavy
  • Sharon Drake in loving memory of her father, Edward Kravitz
  • Marty Fox and Thyle Sharter in support of the Congregation's Hebrew School Scholarship Fund
  • Donald and Mara Giulianti in loving memory of his father, Nicholas Giulianti
  • Donald and Mara Giulianti in support of the Congregation's Hebrew School Scholarship Fund
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in loving memory of his father, Edward Friedland
  • Marina and Stephen Singer in loving memory of her father, Victor Shapiro and her brother, Samuel Shapiro
  • John and Marilyn Darack in loving memory of his mother, Marion Darack
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in loving memory of her mother, Lucille Hershenhart
  • Mitchell Manin and Joyce Bellevue in loving memory of his mother, Annette (Channah) Manin
  • Janice Povich in loving memory of her husband Donald Povich and her father Harry Goldstein
  • Mort and Evelyn Panish in loving memory of their friend, Bertyl Metz
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver in loving memory of her mother, Jean Malman Becker

Friends of Beth Israel Congregation

  • Moriah Moser and Daniel Morgenstern in loving memory of his father, Frederic Morgenstern
  • Jerrold Lurie in loving memory of his parents, Phillip and Celia Lurie
  • Arnold and Elaine Cogan of Portland, Oregon