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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

May/June 2015
Iyyar/Sivan/Tammuz 5775

President's Message
Strategic Planning Session 3
Shavuot Observance at Beth Israel
Upcoming Bat Mitzvah
Annual Meeting
Special Service to Honor Our High School Graduates
Bath Food Bank
Passover Seder
Birthday 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 Marilyn Weinberg

There are so many reasons to be joyful for this spring. Of course having the snow finally melt is certainly one of them. Having 50 members gather for a beautiful Passover Seder in April is definitely another. We recently welcomed the members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick during a Yom Ha'Shoah remembrance service. The oneg they provided for us was just wonderful. Again, what a joy to see the sanctuary filled with both members and guests. The conversations we shared with them were special. In the history of our congregation, we have always tried to be part of the greater Midcoast community. These types of activities just enhance this perspective.

Meanwhile our strategic planning team has been busy. On March 22 the team and board members met for a full day of study and discussion. After tabulating over 100 survey responses with over 400 individual comments, our team is putting together a summary for the community. On May 3 we will hold our third community forum on strategic planning. You will receive a summary of the data and comments. And you will be presented with the initial draft of the plan. All of you will have an opportunity to participate and contribute in the development of the final plan at this time. The plan will have little meaning or value without your input and support.

Check out the calendar. There is something happening each weekend in May. In June we will have our Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 7. This will be an important meeting for our congregation. The final Strategic Plan will be presented. The financial considerations for the plan will make the upcoming budget presentation a must for you to attend. I am excited about our potential. With your energy and support our little synagogue will have a bright future.

Strategic Planning Session 3

What kind of Jewish community do you want Beth Israel to become?

Its time to see the Plan

Sunday, May 3
Minnie Brown Center

9:30 a.m. - Brunch
10:00 a.m. - Meeting

Shavuot Observance at Beth Israel

by Daniel Leeman

Saturday, May 23
9:30 a.m.

As we have just completed the beautiful spring festival of Pesach, we now begin the countdown to the festival of Shavuot. This process, known as the counting of the Omer, is done each evening during the spring. We count daily, for seven full weeks, in anticipation of this special holiday.

Our observance this year will feature the Bat Mitzvah celebration of Abigail and Zoe Sreden. When we think of the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, it is easy to be reminded of Abby and Zoe, who are identical twins. Each will be reading excerpts from the Torah portion in Exodus that contains the Ten Commandments. As this festival is the annual remembrance of the time of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, this is a very special time in our annual Jewish calendar of holidays.

In honor of this occasion, for their Bat Mitzvah speech, Abby and Zoe will be giving a special presentation of the various beautiful laws and customs of this unique spring harvest festival. Everyone is welcome to come and join us for our special Shavuot Service this year.

Upcoming Bat Mitzvah

by Beth Pols

Saturday, May 9
5:00 p.m.

The family of Julia Pols welcomes you to share their joy as she is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.

Julia is a 6th grader at Brunswick Junior High. She plays field hockey, skis in the winter and does spring track. She plays the trumpet in the band and the wind ensemble and sings in the chorus and the school choir. She loves to act and sing in plays and musicals as well. Julia enjoys reading, sewing and art. Her Bat Mitzvah project has been to spend time volunteering in a kindergarten classroom after her school day ends. She reads to and with students, and also helps them with math or writing. She chose this project because she loves school and learning and wanted an opportunity to help young learners feel the same way.

Annual Meeting

Please join us on
Sunday, June 7
Minnie Brown Center

9:30 a.m. - Brunch
10:00 a.m. - Meeting

Don't miss this opportunity to express your point of view about our new strategic plan and the direction our synagogue will be taking.

Join the discussion of our proposed budget and our financial challenges.

Come and enjoy the good food and the company!

Special Service to Honor Our High School Graduates

by Marilyn Weinberg

Friday, May 29
7:00 p.m.

Join us on Friday, May 29 for a special Shabbat service to honor our graduating seniors. This year we have five young men and women graduating from area high schools. Shira Gersh, daughter of Robert Gersh and Susan Horowitz, and Sophie Sreden, daughter of Hal and Mary Sreden are both graduating from Morse High School in Bath. Jacob Hagler, son of Andy and Deb Hagler, and Julian Ireland, son of Mark Ireland and Lisa Tessler are both graduating from Waynflete School in Portland. Jacob Schoenberg, son of Andy and Chris Schoenberg is graduating from Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

All five of these students had their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at Beth Israel. This time they will be moving on to new challenges and adventures. We wish them the best and look forward to hearing of their success.

Julian Ireland
Julian Ireland is the son of Lisa Tessler and Mark Ireland. Julian is completing his senior year at Waynflete School in Portland and will graduate June 12 as the school's Poet Laureate. He has particularly enjoyed recent courses in astrophysics, Medieval and Renaissance art history, and women in Islam, and is a lead member of Waynflete's Writers' Guild. Julian plays tenor saxophone in both the Waynflete Jazz Combo and Ensemble. This past fall, he co-captained the cross-country team with his fellow Hebrew School classmate, Jacob Hagler, and is serving as captain of the track team this spring. Julian will attend Oberlin College in the fall.

Jacob Hagler
Jacob Hagler is the son of Deb and Andy Hagler. Jacob will graduate from the Waynflete School June 12. While a student at Waynflete, Jacob played on the JV soccer team, the nordic skiing team and the cross-country team that he co-captained this year with his longtime friend and fellow Beth Israel Hebrew School graduate, Julian Ireland. He is currently the co-captain of the varsity baseball team. Last year, Jacob received a baseball coach's award in recognition of his enthusiasm and willingness to help out in any role. Jacob has been a member of Waynflete's Jazz Band since his freshman year and this year was the lead guitarist in the Jazz Combo Ensemble. He received a Judges' Choice award at the High School Jazz competition held at the Berklee College of Music this January, and helped to lead the group to a second place finish in the Maine State Jazz competition. Jacob loves science and math and has participated on Waynflete's math team and Science Olympiad team for the last three years. This year he has served as captain of the Science Olympiad team and is privileged to take his third trip, this time to Nebraska, to compete in the National Science Olympiad Championship with his state championship team! Jacob will attend Colby College in the fall. His long-time pet snake, Parseltongue, will remain in Harpswell.

Shira Gersh
Shira Gersh resides in Bath with her brother, Avi, and her parents, Susan Horowitz and Robert Gersh. Shira will graduate from Morse High School June 14. She is the 2015 Morse High School recipient of the Maine Principal's Award in recognition for her academic excellence, outstanding school citizenship, and leadership. Shira has received many other academic and musical awards including the Semper Fidelis Award and the Smith College Book Award. Shira is a member of the National Honor Society and participated in varsity field hockey, varsity lacrosse, intramural floor hockey, MOHIBA, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Rock Band, Wescustago Youth Chorale, District III Honors Band, and All-State Honors Orchestra. Shira has volunteered her time at our congregation's Hebrew School, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Bath Middle School assisting Robin Kenison with her middle school band, and ushering at her father's Vox Nova Chamber Choir concerts. Shira enjoys cross-country skiing, ice-skating, watching Netflix, singing, and playing music. Shira plans to attend Brandeis University this fall. She is also looking forward to going on a Birthright trip to Israel sometime in the future.

Sophie Sreden
Sophie Sreden, daughter of Mary and Hal Sreden, will be graduating from Morse High School in Bath on June 14. During her four years at Morse, she has been involved in a number of school and community activities, including: Jazz Band, National Ocean Sciences Bowl academic competition, and served as chapter president of the National Honor Society. Active as a coach and referee for youth sports, she was a standout four-sport varsity athlete. She played four years of varsity soccer, serving as captain her senior year. She earned all-conference honors in swimming and honorable mention in basketball. Captain of the lacrosse team in her junior year, she was first team all-conference, player of the year and academic all-American. As part of the 2014 state select team, she represented Maine at the National State Tournament in Maryland. She was named to the Portland Press Herald "25 Players to Watch" in 2014 and 2015.

Recipient of the Clarkson Leadership Award and RPI Medal, Sophie will attend the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She will be one of six incoming freshman to join the women's lacrosse team.

Jacob Schoenberg
Jacob Schoenberg is the son of Chris and Andrew Schoenberg. Jake will be graduating from Mt. Ararat High School on June 14. Jake has been a three-sport athlete throughout high school. (varsity lacrosse, football, swim team, and track). His main sport is lacrosse, and he was recruited to play at Keuka College, but likely will be remaining closer to home at USM. He is also interested in music and plays multiple instruments. After volunteering four weeks last summer clearing trail for the SCA and the AMC in NJ and NH, he will be leading a crew to clear trails for CREA in Topsham for his senior capstone project (as soon as the snow melts!). He is hoping to take some sailing, hiking and canoe trips, along with working this summer. He will be heading to college in the fall, majoring in marketing. He has not yet made the final decision as to which school he will attend.

Bath Food Bank

by Barbara Leeman

Tuesday, June 2
Friday, June 5
4:30-7:00 p.m.

Beth Israel Congregation has been given the opportunity to do a mitzvah and help those less fortunate. The Bath Area Food Bank, has agreed to include us on their schedule for 2015. They are open on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each organization that volunteers covers two different shifts during a week. We have been given June 2 and June 5. We need 56 adults, and the shift is from 4:307:00 p.m. Students (age 13+) are also welcome to join their parents. In fact on June 5, the timing will be perfect, so that you can actually do two mitzvot in one evening, by coming to services where we will bring in Shabbat together. Please let me know if you are interested and your schedule allows by sending an email to

Passover Seder

by Lenore Friedland

Beth Israel had a beautiful and meaningful Seder on Saturday night, April 4, the second night of Passover, led by Cantor Daniel Leeman. Fifty members, their families and many friends of Beth Israel participated in reading our lovely Haggadah, joyously singing, breaking matzo together, providing and sharing a delicious meal that was beautifully presented and lovingly prepared.

Thank you to The Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick and The United Church of Christ of Bath for the beautiful arrangement of flowers for the head table, as well as the lovely flowers that adorned each individual table. This wonderful annual celebration could not be done without the participation of many helping hands. We sincerely appreciate everyone pitching in to help make it a delightful evening!

Birthdays and Anniversaries

May Birthdays May Anniversaries
6 Daniel Giulianti   21 John & Marilyn Darack
9 Steve Singer   25 Barbara & Robert Lenox
11 Stephen Cohen   27 Susan Horowitz & Robert Gersh
12 Rachel Schoenberg   29 Mara & Donny Giulianti
12 Connie Povich   31 Beth & Benet Pols
17 Jacob Kaplan      
18 Heather Gilman-Davis      
18 Annie Norman      
19 Ruth Benedikt      
20 Arthur Davis      
24 Alex Greenberg      
28 Allen Norman      
30 Ana Kelly      
31 Marilyn Darack      


June Birthdays June Anniversaries
1 Lenore Friedland   7 Marilyn & Fred Weinberg
3 Mara Giulianti   7 Peggy Brown & John Martell
8 David Povich   14 Karen & Matt Filler
16 Isabella Pols   14 Barbara & Daniel Leeman
28 Rea Turet   14 Connie & David Povich
      16 Todd & Teresa Gandler
      18 Monica & Gordon Blatt
      22 Christina & Andrew Schoenberg


We would like to thank the following members and friends for their donations:

  • Gary Torow in loving memory of his mother, Ann Torow
  • Sheila Lucente in support of the Hebrew School
  • Reginald and Tinker Hannaford in loving memory of Ed Benedikt
  • Lynn Frank in loving memory of her father, Dean Milkes
  • Barbara and Robert Lenox in loving memory of her father, Mishael Selig
  • Marilyn and Fred Weinberg in celebration of the birth of their granddaughter, Lillian Ann Weinberg
  • Lynn Frank in loving memory of Ed Benedikt
  • Denise and Sheldon Tepler in loving memory of her father, Moshe Ben Gedalyah
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in loving memory of her grandmother, Sonia Wernick
  • Sheila Lucente in celebration of Purim and Passover
  • Doris Povich in loving memory of Eva and Morris Povich
  • Ellen and Michael Hagler in loving memory of her mother, Sarah Goldman
  • Robert Gersh and Susan Horowitz in loving memory of his father, Fred Gersh
  • Linda Silberstein and Larry Loeb in loving memory of her father, Joseph Silberstein
  • Donald and Mara Giulianti in loving memory of his mother, Elaine Giulianti
  • Karen and Matt Filler in loving memory of her parents, Gerald and Frances Feldman and his parents, Morris and Gladys Filler
  • Marc and Crissy Swartz in loving memory of his father, Albert Swartz
  • Margaret Brann in loving memory of her mother, Helen Ruth Charney
  • Peggy Brown and John Martell in loving memory of her father, Harold Hershenhart
  • Rea Turet in loving memory of her husband, Sandor M. Polster and her father Maurice Turet
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in loving memory of his mother, Mildred Lenox
  • Marc and Crissy Swartz in loving memory of his sister, Lauren Beth Dunleavy