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Beth Israel Congregation


Beth Israel Congregation Newsletter

September/October 2015
Elul 5775 Tishri/Heshvan 5776

President's Message
Upcoming Special Holiday Celebrations
Flowers for the High Holidays
An Invitation
Family and Children's Services for the Holidays
Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon
Yom Kippur Break Fast
Community Sukkot Celebration
Simchat Torah Celebration
Religious School Taskforce Hires New Educator
Gift Shop Manager Opportunity
Engaging Bowdoin International Music Festival
Successful Shabbat Under The Stars!
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

President's Message

by Marilyn Weinberg

It's hard to believe that summer is already nearing its end and our High Holiday time is drawing near. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur provide us with time for personal reflection and an opportunity to renew our commitment for positive change. Although the strategic planning process was difficult at times, it gave us an opportunity to come together as a congregation and provide a time for reflection and hope - hope for better times in the year ahead.

The progress we have made so far is tremendous. So many of you have come forward to lead or attend services this summer. Our Affiliation Task Force is hard at work as is our building committee. The Religious School Task Force has hired an amazing educator and the teachers and families are excited about the upcoming year.

No one person gives a synagogue life. It only works when we all pitch in. Although our membership is not large, there is the benefit in a small shul in that each person plays a very important role. When you come to services on a Friday night or Saturday morning, you make a difference. When you bring food for an oneg, you make a difference. When you help out at a Hebrew School function, you make a difference. There are so many opportunities to make a difference in our synagogue and make a real contribution to the life of our congregation.

Each of us has different interests; different touch-points for connection to synagogue life. We have different levels of commitment to our practice of Judaism and different ways in which we want to make this world a better place. Beth Israel is here for all of you. We are an inclusive community and we welcome all who enter.

I look forward to seeing all of you during this upcoming holiday season.

L'Shanah Tovah

Upcoming Special Holiday Celebrations

by Marilyn Weinberg

We are so excited to have Cantor Jeff Warschauer and his wife Deborah Strauss come to Beth Israel to lead our high holiday services. To learn more about Cantor Jeff you can check out his web site at He has just finished his cantorial degree. He spent last year in Portland at Temple Beth El and is excited to be returning to Maine.

Deborah Strauss is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist and educator who has been active in the klezmer and Yiddish music scene for more than 25 years. She is a member of the Strauss/Warschauer Duo and was a long-time member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival.

Deborah will be joining Cantor Jeff in leading our High Holiday services and will be taking charge of our children's and family services.

In addition to our High Holiday services, Cantor Jeff and Deborah will fill their weeks here with music and celebration. Some of the special events they will be leading include:

  • Thursday, September 10, at 7:00 p.m. at the Synagogue is an opportunity for anyone with music in their hearts to work with both Cantor Jeff and Deborah in preparing a music program for Rosh Hashanah.
  • Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. we will have a special Havdalah service led by Cantor Jeff and Deborah at the synagogue. We will have refreshments and lots of time to meet and chat with Jeff and Deborah.
  • Friday, September 18, at 7:00 p.m. at the synagogue, Cantor Jeff will lead Shabbat evening services.
  • Sunday, September 20, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. we will have our first Mid-coast Jewish Music Jam at the Minnie Brown Center. This new event is still in the planning stages and we will get the final details out to you soon. We are very excited!

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 you would like to honor or remember.

Your donations for the flowers should be sent to:
Beth Israel Congregation
PO Box 244
Bath, ME 04530

An Invitation from
Cantor Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Straus

Come take an active musical role in this year's Rosh Hashanah evening service!

We will have an informal and fun jam session and rehearsal on Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 pm.

You! We invite absolutely everyone to participate, regardless of vocal or instrumental ability, previous experience or knowledge. Ages 0 to 120 are welcome. If you are someone who is shy about singing or playing, come anyway. We' will make it work, and you will have a great time!

Great music, fun, and spiritual fulfillment

The Synagogue

For more information, please contact Marilyn Weinberg:

Family and Children's Services for the Holidays

Led by Cantor Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss

Monday, September 14
4:00 p.m.
Minnie Brown Center

Wednesday, September 23
11:00 a.m.
Minnie Brown Center

Join us Rosh Hashanah afternoon at the Minnie Brown Center for a special event for children, families and anyone who would like to welcome in the New Year, 5776, with songs, stories, games, movement and creative prayer.

This will not be a typical Rosh Hashanah service! It's a hands-on, no-experience-needed gathering where we will celebrate a wide variety of Rosh Hashanah customs in an interactive and alternative way.

Come sing, dance, play a musical instrument, eat Rosh Hashanah treats and celebrate a sweet New Year with friends, old and new.

On Yom Kippur, Deborah Strauss will also lead a children's service at 11:00 a.m. at the Minnie Brown Center.

Rosh Hashanah Community Luncheon

by Marilyn Weinberg

Monday, September 14
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 opportunity to renew acquaintances.

We will begin our Rosh Hashanah luncheon at the Minnie Brown Center immediately following morning services on Monday, September 14, 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 23
7:05 p.m.
Minnie Brown Center

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. The break fast will be held at the Minnie Brown Center. You can drop off food any time at the Minnie Brown Center on September 22 or 23.

Community Sukkot Celebration

by Marilyn Weinberg

Sunday, September 27
12:002:00 p.m.
Around Brunswick

On Sunday, September 27, 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

Sunday, October 4
5:30 p.m. Pot Luck Community Dinner
6:30 p.m. Service

We will be celebrating Simchat Torah this year on Sunday, October 4. We will have a potluck dinner starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by our Simchat Torah service at 6:30 p.m. We are so fortunate this year to have Rabbi Simeon Maslin lead us in this special celebration.

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.

Religious School Taskforce Hires New Educator

by Rachel Connelly

The big news from the Religious School Taskforce is that the religious school is moving to Thursday afternoons. We will still meet from 4 to 6 pm at the Minnie Brown Center. School begins September 10 with a family program focused on Rosh Hashanah.

The congregation has hired Abigail Halpern to administer the school. Abby holds a Master's Degree in Judaic Studies with a concentration in Education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Cleveland, Ohio and has more than eight years of work experience in Jewish education. She lives in Portland, Maine and is also teaching at Beth El in Portland. Abby joins our returning teachers Alina Shumsky and Susan Horowitz. She will be teaching children of all ages and working with teachers to develop an innovative project-based curriculum. There will still be services to start each session and singing every week to end the day. We feel truly blessed to have her on board and are looking forward to a wonderful new year. Please contact Rachel Connelly as chair of the Religious School Taskforce for more information. We have the capacity for more children in all grades K-6.

Will you be dropping off your children and wouldn't mind staying around to help? Please let Rachel know. We could use you some weeks or every week, to supervise students as they work on their projects, tutor a student to catch up to the group in Hebrew or act as another pair of hands for art projects. We have an exciting year planned with Hanukkah and Purim plays, two school Friday night services, a model Seder and much more.

The Religious School Taskforce is also thinking about a monthly preschool program, but we need your help. Do you have preschoolers who would like to attend? Do you have music or art talents we could put to use? Send Rachel an email.

The Religious School Taskforce would love to add a few more people to our ranks and we will also be looking for religious school parents for a parent council, which will meet just four times during the school year. The current members of the Religious School Taskforce are Rachel Connelly, Marina Singer, Teresa Gandler, Susan Horowitz and Denise Tepler.

Gift Shop Manager Opportunity

by Marina Singer

Do you like to shop?

  • The Board of Directors is looking for a new Gift Shop Manager for Beth Israel Synagogue's gift shop, beginning in September. This is a volunteer position that can be shared!


  • An ability to use the computer to order items is helpful.
  • Job description: Oversee the showcase now located at Minnie Brown.
  • Order items for congregants such as Tallit, special gift items, mezuzahs, mezuzah scrolls.
  • Order and sell Chanukah decorations, chocolate gelt, dreidels, and other Chanukah related items for a few weeks prior to the holiday.
  • Order any needed items associated with other holidays during the year.


by Fred Weinberg

Synagogues360 presents interactive 360-degree panoramic photos of historic and exceptional synagogues around the world. Louis Davidson has developed it in conjunction with the Beit Hatfutsot Museum of Tel Aviv. He is an architect who travels the world with his wife photographing synagogues across North America, Europe and Asia from small, remote villages to cosmopolitan cities.

We are so pleased that Beth Israel has now been added to this collection.

Engaging Bowdoin International Music Festival

by Teresa Gandler

Minnie Brown hosted a free concert on Wednesday, July 29 featuring the students who are attending the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival. Many people came to enjoy their performance.

Successful Shabbat Under The Stars!

by Lynn Frank

We would like to thank Bob and Barbara Lenox and Matt and Karen Filler for hosting our Shabbat Under the Stars. We had a wonderful turnout for both services. It was an opportunity to enjoy a pleasant and spiritual evening with good company and delicious food.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

September Birthdays September Anniversaries
2 John Darack   3 Linda Silberstein & Larry Loeb
3 Marty Fox   29 Lisa Tessler & Mark Ireland
11 Doris Shaw      
12 Abby Sreden      
12 Zoe Sreden      
20 Zelda Clegg      
20 Micki Gersh      
23 Eydie Rose Kaplan      
23 Jeremy Fields      
25 Beth Eisman      
27 Sam Gandler      
28 Diane Gilman      


October Birthdays October Anniversaries
8 Beth Pols   7 Marty & Thyle Fox
14 Evelyn Panish   10 Mitchell Manin & Joyce Bellevue
15 Thyle Fox   12 Jennifer & Allan Kaplan
17 Allan Kaplan   22 Barbara & Stephen Baseman
18 Molly Tefft      
21 Barbara Lenox      
22 Shira Gersh      
22 Jacob Schoenberg      
25 Stephen Baseman      
26 Samuel Tefft      


We would like to thank the following people for their donations: m

  • Gordon and Monica Blatt in loving memory of his father, Arthur Blatt
  • Sheila Lucente in support of Beth Israel
  • Michele Riley in loving memory of her mother, Paula Travers
  • Barrett and Barbara Silver in loving memory of his father, Milton Silver
  • Marina and Stephen Singer in loving memory of her mother, Henrietta Shapiro and his mother, Bessie Singer
  • Betsy Atkins in loving memory of her mother, Barbara Bronstein
  • Marilyn and Fred Weinberg in loving memory of her father, Max Isacoff
  • Ellen and Michael Hagler in loving memory of her father, David Goldman
  • Ansell Schiffer in loving memory of Charles Schiffer, Renata Schiffer, Dr. Lottie Linder, Sadie Linder and a get well/speedy recovery to Zira Schiffer, Marcia Schiffer and Tom Leahy
  • Riva Gotlib in loving memory of the Greenblatt family
  • Donald Giulianti in support of Beth Israel
  • Janice Povich in support of Beth Israel
  • Barbara and Barrett Silver in loving memory of his mother, Rose Silver, her father, Samuel Becker, her mother, Jean Becker, and her brother, Robert Becker
  • Robert and Barbara Lenox in support of Beth Israel
  • Joseph and Merna Guttentag for the High Holidays and in loving memory of Samuel Guttentag, Sara Guttentag, Daniel Cohn, and Ethen Cohn Schatz
  • Marcia and Leonard Klomus in loving memory of her father, Benjamin Mensh, and in support of the Hebrew school scholarship fund in loving memory of their son, Jeffery Robert Cherner
  • Marilyn and John Darack in support of Beth Israel
  • Morton and Evelyn Panish in support of Beth Israel
  • Marty Fox and Thyle Shartar in support of Beth Israel and the Hebrew school scholarship fund
  • Rachel Connelly in honor of Mel Weiss for working on the Religious School Task Force
  • Lenore and Jay Friedland in support of Beth Israel
  • Fred and Marilyn Weinberg in support of Beth Israel
  • Steven Stern and Arlene Morris in support of Beth Israel
  • William and Marilyn Horowitz in support of Beth Israel
  • Donna Rubin in loving memory of her husband, Peter Rubin, her mother Mary Petlock, and her father Morris Petlock
  • Andy and Deborah Hagler in support of Rosh Hashanah and services led by Cantor Jeff Warschauer