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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

July/Aug 2015
Tammuz/Av/Elul 5775

President's Message
Summer Schedule
Shabbat Under The Stars
Minnie Brown Center to Host Bowdoin International Music Festival
Board Members
Beth Israel Religious School 5776
Facilities Improvements
Committee and Members
Cleranup Day
Host a Bowdoin College Student
Meet Teresa Gandler
JCA Annual Award
Birthdays and Anniversaries
New Address

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

As I begin my second year as president, I want to thank all of you who served on the board and the Strategic Planning Committee. This year has been one of hard work and commitment by many. In addition, we had so many members attend all three community forums that shaped the development of the strategic plan. In May the board officially adopted the plan. Because of your input we felt the plan truly reflects the needs and direction of our Beth Israel community.

The enthusiasm at the annual meeting was heartening. We presented our implementation plan for the coming year. There are so many upcoming changes and opportunities that are both challenging and exciting. We have set up several new committees to move things forward.

The new Religious School Task Force has already met and will be exploring the latest in Jewish education and organization. You will be hearing more from them as we proceed.

The Affiliation Task Force will be meeting soon. Their job will be to gather information about the different movements within Judaism and setting up information sessions for the congregation. We will be asking which "denomination," if any, best fits with Beth Israel and how can they help us.

Our active Chai Committee has taken on the task force dealing with religious services. We are already brainstorming new ideas for upcoming services. We will he having different clergy visiting us throughout the year as well as having members and friends lead services with interesting speakers sharing the pulpit.

Marty Fox is heading up our very active Facilities Committee. One of their tasks is to evaluate each building with long range and short range needs. The list is long.

Our final committee is the Fundraising Committee. Moving forward in a new direction is challenging in that it requires both a personal commitment to programs as well as a financial commitment. We had two members stand up and pledge money at our annual meeting. We hope you will join them. Our dues bills will be going out in early July. Please consider pledging over and above your regular dues level to help make our little synagogue continue for many years to come.

Do you want to join a committee or do you have more questions about our future direction? Contact Marilyn Weinberg at

Summer Schedule

by Lenore Friedland

The Chai Committee has been working hard planning summer events. Our summer schedule includes:

  • July 10 - Robert Gersh will be leading Friday night services at the shul at 7:00 p.m.
  • July 17 - Shabbat Under the Stars on Orr's Island at 6:30 p.m. at the Lenox's home, weather permitting
  • July 24 - Todd Gandler will be leading services at the shul at 7:00 p.m.
  • August 7 - Shabbat Under the Stars in South Bristol at 6:30 p.m. at the Filler's home, rain or shine.
  • August 14- Maurie Libner will be leading services at the shul at 7:00 p.m.
  • Nonny Soifer will be our speaker at this service.
  • August 21- Sheldon Tepler will lead Friday night services at the shul at 7:00 p.m.
  • August 23- Barbecue and Pool Party at the Friedland's home in Brunswick - watch for evite invitation coming soon. If you know of potential new members, we want to make sure they are invited. Please contact Lenore at 729-0805

The more diverse our group is, the happier we are. We are always open to new ideas. If you would like to join us and help plan exciting events and programs, please contact Lenore Friedland at 729-0805.

Shabbat Under The Stars

by Marilyn Weinberg

Friday, July 17
6:30 p.m.
Bob and Barbara Lenox

Friday, August 7
6:30 p.m.
Matt and Karen Filler

In keeping with a summer of new Beth Israel Adventures, we will be hosting two "Shabbat Under the Stars" programs this summer. Taking services outside seems like a perfect way to celebrate Shabbat. In each home we will have a brief prayer service and D'var Torah, and then have time to connect with each other over dessert.

On Friday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m., we will gather at Bob and Barbara Lenox's house on Orr's Island.

On Friday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m., we will gather at Matt and Karen Filler's house in Damariscotta.

We will send out an email reminder and directions to each home.

Minnie Brown Center to Host Bowdoin International Music Festival

by Teresa Gandler

Wednesday, July 29
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Minnie Brown Center

Minnie Brown Center will host a free concert featuring the extraordinary students of the Bowdoin International Music Festival on Wednesday, July 29 at 1:00 p.m. The concert will feature the conservatory and graduate students who are attending the Festival's six-week summer study program to hone their performing skills in preparation for a life in music. The students, who represent more than 20 countries and 85 states, will perform a mix of classical repertoire, including solo and chamber music. The program will be varied, and will be announced on site.

The mission of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, which was founded in 1964, is to prepare gifted young musicians from around the world for a life in music through study with world-class artists, and to present classical music in concerts performed to the highest artistic standards. Over its 50-year history, the Bowdoin Festival has established itself as a vital force throughout the music world. Visit the Bowdoin Festival on the web at or call 725-3895.

Board Members

by Marilyn Weinberg

We were so pleased that Karen Filler, Nonny Soifer and Stan Lane were elected to the Beth Israel Board at our annual meeting on June 7. They bring to us years of experience and new energy. Karen serves on many boards in the mid-coast area. Somehow she has been able to find enough time to take on the job of treasurer of our congregation. You will be hearing more from her over the next few months. If you do see her, stop and thank her for doing this mitzvah. Stan and Nonny have both served on the board in previous years. We are so glad they have decided to return.

We want to give thanks to three retiring board members who have given lots of time and energy over the years. Lisa Tessler, Campbell Clegg and Hal Sreden have all served two three year terms and will take a little time off from active board life. They have all volunteered to help out when we need them. Thank you.

Beth Israel Religious School 5776

by Rachel Connelly

It's planning time for Beth Israel's Religious School staring this fall! The Religious School Task Force has met and is diligently working on staffing/planning for the upcoming school year. To plan effectively, we need to know how many children will be attending. Please contact Rachel Connelly to let the Task Force know which of your children will attend. We expect the first day of school to be September 9.

Facilities Improvements

by Marty Fox

Part of the Strategic Plan is to establish a Facilities Plan for Maintaining and Improving the Synagogue and the Minnie Brown Center. During the Strategic Plan inquiry period there were about 35 members comments and 12 non-member comments. The Building Committee would appreciate more specific input from members and non-members on how to improve the facilities. For example, there were some comments on improving the entrances to both the Synagogue and the Minnie Brown Center. If there were specific ideas about how to update the entryways, we would welcome them. There were also several comments about improving handicap access to both buildings. Your input is welcomed.

Please send your ideas to Marty Fox, Building Committee Chairperson.

Committee and Members

by Marilyn Weinberg

Listed Below are the committees and chairs and a list of all the wonderful volunteers who stepped up to volunteer. Thank you. We still need people to help with Fundraising and Membership/Outreach. Contact Marilyn Weinberg at to add your support. You can really make a difference.

Religious Education Task Force Members

  • Rachel Connelly (chair)
  • Teresa Gandler
  • Susan Horowitz
  • Marina Singer
  • Denise Tepler

Religious Service Task Force (Chai) Members

  • Lenore Friedland (chair)
  • Marilyn Weinberg
  • Barbara Lenox
  • Marty Fox
  • Susan Horowitz
  • Teresa Gandler
  • Marina Singer
  • Jill Standish
  • Crissy Swartz
  • Janice Povich

Affiliation Task Force Members

  • Jeff Cohen (chair)
  • Steve Baseman
  • Stan Lane
  • Norma Dreyfus
  • Robert Lenox
  • Jay Friedland
  • Karen Filler

Facilities Task Force Members

  • Marty Fox (chair)
  • Todd Gandler
  • Robert Gersh
  • Fred Weinberg
  • Lee Leiner
  • Peggy Brown
  • Chico Swartz
Fundraising Task Force:
Need members and chair
Membership/Outreach Task Force
Need members and chair

Cleanup day

by Marilyn Weinberg

On a rainy Sunday morning, June 28, 21 people gathered at both the Synagogue and Minnie Brown to work on our first building cleanup day. Thanks to the organization of Marty Fox and the building committee, jobs were divided up. Armed with cleaners, paper towels, mops, tools and multiple vacuum cleaners, we all went to work. Three hours later the kitchens were in order, closets cleaned out, and baseboard heaters were updated. Even the balcony at the synagogue got a good cleaning. Mopping, washing and scrubbing were all done with good cheer. It was an amazing group effort. A huge thank you to everybody who participated.

Host a Bowdoin College Student

by Nancy Heiser

One of the items in Beth Israel's newly adopted Strategic Plan calls for greater connection between members of the synagogue and the Bowdoin College community. A way to do this is to participate in the Bowdoin Community Host program, something my husband and I have really enjoyed doing.

Jeff Cohen and I have acted as "host family" to three Jewish students, at different times over the years. We've invited the students to holiday meals, outings, shopping trips, and the like. We only get together a few times a semester, but the students, usually from far away, appreciate the opportunity to leave campus and enjoy High Holy Days or Passover celebrations in a nearby home.

The application for both students and prospective hosts asks for religious preference. In that way we have been paired up with Jewish students, for the duration of their time at the college. The program is very popular, and Bowdoin usually has more students than hosts. Students remain on campus and do not live with their hosts.

Below is a little more from the Community Host webpage. The contact at Bowdoin is Kathleen King, administrative assistant, at 725-3879 or

For more information, go to

"The Community Host Program at Bowdoin aims to create a home away from home for students of all class years and from as far as Nepal to as near as New Hampshire. The program can help ease the transition to college life for new students, meaningfully connect students and community members, and offer international students and teaching fellows a view of American life and culture. Although international students have priority, the program is open to any Bowdoin student when host families are available.

During the 2014-15 academic year, over 250 students were paired with more than 179 hosts in the greater Brunswick area. The individual relationships between hosts and students involve social get-togethers, outings, meals, phone calls, and companionship. Many students and their community hosts have become life-long friends."

Meet Teresa Gandler

by Marilyn Weinberg

Starting in early July you will be getting emails and messages from Teresa Gandler. We are so pleased that she has accepted the position of administrative assistant at Beth Israel. She will be doing all of our mailings, organizing events and working on publicity. We gave her a very long list of things to be accomplished and she wasn't fazed at all. She brings a bundle of energy and creativity to this position and we look forward to having her working for us.

Teresa grew up outside of Chicago, IL and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also completed graduate work at Tufts University, earning a Certificate in Museum Studies while working at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and interning at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. She currently lives in Brunswick and works at Maine Maritime Museum coordinating special events.

Teresa and her husband Todd have two boys who attend Hebrew School at Beth Israel. Teresa volunteered to paint the Western Wall mural in the basement of Minnie Brown, and has been coordinating facility rentals for the Minnie Brown Center. She is also part of the Chai committee and looks forward to working as administrative assistant for Beth Israel Congregation.

JCA Annual Award

by Marilyn Weinberg

Shira Gersh, daughter of Robert Gersh and Susan Horowitz, was awarded the Robert J. Agger Memorial Award and scholarship by the JCA at the JCA's Annual meeting held on June 18, 2015.

The Robert J. Agger Memorial Award is presented to a graduating high school senior who has displayed sportsmanship, leadership and athletic ability throughout his or her high school career.

Congratulations Shira. Your parents and the congregation are very proud of your accomplishments.

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 is not listed, please send along all information to Lynn Frank, so that they can be included with the next issue of the newsletter.

July Birthdays July Anniversaries
4 Hannah Leeman   13 Maurie Libner &
8 Linda Silberstein     Sharon Bouchard
9 Aaron Greenwald   22 Joe & Jill Cooper
13 Matt Filler   23 Steve & Marina Singer
13 Michael Hagler   26 Jay & Lenore Friedland
17 Adaia Shumsky   27 Lou Ensel & Jennifer DeChant
18 Judy Weisman      
21 Marina Singer      
22 Jay Friedland      
31 Cecily Cooper      


August Birthdays August Anniversaries
12 Joe Cooper   11 Bob Lobis & Judy Wolfe
14 Lou Ensel   17 Ed & Ruth Benedikt
16 Arielle Leeman   20 Mort & Evelyn Panish
31 Marilyn Weinberg   31 Aaron & Liza Greenwald
31 Isla Tefft      

New Address

by Marilyn Weinberg

We have decided to have all of our mail go to a Post Office box at the Bath Post Office.

From now on, please address all synagogue correspondence to:

Beth Israel Congregation
PO Box 244
Bath, ME 04530


We would like to thank the following people for their donations

  • Maxine Gersh in loving memory of her husband, Fred Gersh, her sister, Ellen Leavy, and her mother-in-law Ida Gersh
  • Sheila Lucente in support of Beth Israel
  • Lynn Frank in loving memory of her sister, Cheryl Milkes
  • Ruth Benedikt in support of Beth Israel
  • Stephen Cohen in support of Beth Israel
  • Ruth Benedikt for the Cantor's Fund
  • Jay and Lenore Friedland in loving memory of his father, Edward Friedland
  • Sharon Drake in loving memory of her father, Edward Kravitz
  • Janice Povich in loving memory of her husband, Donald Povich
  • John and Marilyn Darack in loving memory of his mother, Marion Darack
  • Norma Dreyfus and Stan Lane in loving memory of her parents, Dr. Rose Goldberg and Dr. Morris Goldberg
  • Denise and Sheldon Tepler in support of the Strategic Plan
  • Daniel Morgenstern and Moriah Moser in loving memory of his father, Frederic Morgenstern
  • Marina and Steve Singer in loving memory of her father, Victor Shapiro and her brother, Sam Shapiro
  • Andy and Chris Schoenberg in loving memory of his mother, Elayne Schoenberg
  • Jerrold Lurie in loving memory of his parents, Phillip and Celia Lurie
  • Mort and Evelyn Panish in loving memory of their friend, Bertyl Metz