May 2020 Bulletin

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May 2020 • Vol. 102, No 10 IYAR ~ SIVAN 5780 WWW.BETHELNR.ORG

Dear Friends, As we complete our second month of home quarantine and our beautiful synagogue remains closed, we are beginning to look to the future, when we will be physically united once again. Even though our Zoom channels are abuzz with learning, song, prayer, and countless multi-generational social activities, we are slowly, but surely, nearing the day when we will return to our beloved synagogue. This issue of the Beth El Bulletin continues our tradition of community building, as we support one another through all of life's journeys. Call us, email us, and join us online at for ongoing and updated opportunities to be together. David A. Schuck, Rabbi Mark Silver, President Erica Leventhal, Executive Director

Rabbi’s Message................................ page 2 Shavuot Schedule & Cheesecake........ page 7 Annual Congregational Meeting........ page 3 Virtual Learning 8

Zoomuseum Home Art 11 Condolences.................................... page 13


RABBI’S MESSAGE Dear Friends, There have been many reflections written since the onset of this pandemic that reference Viktor Frankl’s work on logotherapy, the methodology for psychotherapy that he developed. Frankl, a man whose family was murdered during the Holocaust and who himself survived Auschwitz and Dachau, believed that our search for meaning is the primary motivation for our lives (not pleasure or power, as Freud and Adler argued before him). Frankl integrated his experience in the death camps into this conceptual framework for psychotherapy in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl writes, We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms— to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. I am not in any way equating our experience of this pandemic . with the horrors of the Shoah, God forbid I do, however, want to amplify Frankl’s claim that we have the power to discover meaning in our lives even in the most challenging of circumstances. Religion, art, literature, other cultural phenomena, and relationships with others can assist us in making our lives meaningful amidst the suffering and isolation. While conditions remain grim, we can still insist that our lives have meaning despite the status quo and search for that meaning. This is a choice that we have agency to make, and in making it, we plant the seeds of hope. I have spent the better part of the last month pastoring to the needs of so many people who have suffered through a cruel set of circumstances. The source of their deepest pain is often related to the fact that our physical community has been upended by this pandemic. They can’t access the technologies that Judaism developed to enable us to experience order and meaning in illness, dying, and mourning. Our tradition emphasizes the importance of being present with our loved ones as they die, honoring their lives through funeral services and rituals (k’vod hamet), and transforming our grief into healing through shiva and kaddish (nihum aveilim). These concepts have been impossible for people to uphold because of the danger of physical proximity. Children are separated from dying parents. Spouses are missing funeral services of their beloved. Mourners sit alone in their homes without visitors. In short, each one of these mitzvot requires a community of people to actualize them, and right now, in-person community is unsafe.

Misheberach List

At many of our services, and now at our evening Mishnah study, we say a prayer for healing for those who are ill. Any name added to the Misheberach list will be automatically removed after one month. If a name needs to remain for another month, please reach out again to a member of the clergy.

So then what? We have been reading the chapters in Leviticus that instruct us in the challenges of tzaraat, a communicable skin ailment. Reading these verses in the time of COVID-19 has been moving, if not chilling. To me, the role of the Kohen, the priest, seized my attention unlike ever before. It wasn’t his job to function as a public health official or a facilitator of purification rituals that resonated, but rather, his responsibility to reintegrate those who suffered back into the larger community after their isolation came to an end. The Etz Chayyim humash that we use in synagogue says the following: “The role of the kohen was not simply to diagnose the ailment (and certainly not to treat it) but to reintegrate the person into the community as soon as possible. Religion sought to include, not to isolate, the afflicted person.” The image of the kohen walking the person who had been isolated back into the community is extraordinary. This walk from nature (illness and loss) to culture (meaning and communal support) is critical, and it must be done with tenderness, understanding, and a quiet wisdom. The conversations and silences on that walk can influence the reintegration of that person in very positive ways. These walks are sacred. We spend much of our time caught up in the latest news cycle: projections of virus modelling, the politics of this crisis, and the guessing game about what life will be like when this ends. But this generally adds to our anxiety and fear and changes very little, as these are all out of our control. Instead, it would be wise to focus our attention on what we can control. Here is what we can control: each individual who has been isolated during this crisis will need to be accompanied on that walk back from nature to culture, and we will need you to do this walk. You will each need to become Kohanim and walk people back into love, connection, and community. We will need you to cook meals, hold hands, make calls, show up for minyan, and support our sacred home. It will take significant financial generosity from a broad swath of our community, not just a select few, if we want Beth El to thrive again. I believe that we will do this. We will do whatever it takes to reintegrate all of our community members who have unduly suffered because of this pandemic. This will need to be an effort shared by everyone in our community, a once-in-a-generation effort. And I promise that if we set our hearts and minds to this project, we will discover the most profound meaning in our lives despite the devastation of this plague. We will need you to share your bread throughout the huts, comfort those who are broken, and walk people from nature back to culture. Tenderness. Understanding. Quiet Wisdom. When I imagine all of those walks, I am filled with a sense of hope and optimism that this plague will be transformed into an opportunity for sacred connection. Please prepare your sneakers for that walk, for the moment that you will be called upon to become kohanim. Stay safe and healthy, David A. Schuck


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE There is something else that made Passover uniquely meaningful for our community this year, and that is the way we have been supporting one another throughout this crisis. Although I normally try to avoid repeating myself, I want to reiterate one part of last month’s message: I want to thank you all for your efforts, your caring, your patience and perseverance, your support, and your courage at this difficult time. I appreciate so much our clergy team, our professional and support staff, our maintenance crew, our teachers, our lay leaders, and our congregants. Beth El’s response as a community has been amazing. We will get through this together. I want to make sure everyone knows that our lay leadership, clergy, and professional staff are simultaneously working two tracks—We are engaged in a wide range of activities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we are also continuing to work on regular shul business that needs to get done. The building is physically closed, but our people are all actively engaged in efforts on behalf of the shul. In this spirit, I want to call your attention to our Annual Meeting, which will be held as originally scheduled on May 13th, but will be conducted via Zoom. I encourage everyone to join together at this time. See you (virtually) in shul!


MAY 2020


Join us and learn with us!



A Approval of Minutes from December 11, 2019 Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting (Minutes can be viewed at A Good and Welfare A Koach Awards for 28 years of membership...............Robert Patchen A State of the Synagogue ......................................Mark Silver, President A Annual Elections A Recognition of Outgoing Board of Trustees Members A Financial Report ...............................................Barbara Cohen, Treasurer

Mark Silver, President


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Annual Meeting of the Beth El Synagogue Membership will take place, via Zoom to comply with current government mandates, on WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2020, AT 8:00 PM, preceded by learning with Rabbi Schuck. All members in good standing are eligible to attend and vote upon all matters duly presented at said meeting.

MAY 2020

Dear Beth El Family, On the last day of Passover, I suddenly realized it was time to write my next Bulletin article. Actually, I would have been a week late given our normal production cycle, but, as we all know, these are not normal times. I must admit, I had some difficulty coming up with what to say this month, since we have been messaging the congregation almost daily since March 3rd. But on that last day of the holiday, I did have some thoughts related to Passover. I realize that by the time you read these words, Passover may seem like a distant memory. Nonetheless, I hope you will indulge my reflections. In our last message before Pesah, we were looking for the right adjective to describe our wishes for the congregation for the holiday. Words such as joyous or happy were potentially uplifting, yet they felt jarring and out-of-place under the circumstances. We settled upon “meaningful.” One way that many people made Passover meaningful this year (I know there were others) was to relate the Passover story to our current situation. And I noticed two different—almost opposite—ways that people made this connection. Many referenced the Haggadah to help us think about current events. Just as we were enslaved in Egypt and not free, this year we are trapped in our homes and denied freedom of movement. And so, just as we say each year in the Ha lachma anya, “This year we are slaves, next year may we be free,” we have hope that next year will be better—that next year we may be free. Others took the reverse approach. Rather than using the Haggadah to frame our current experience, they used current events to shed light on the story of our people in Egypt. This approach suggested that our current plight can help us appreciate more fully how our ancestors suffered as slaves to Pharaoh. They used current events to make the familiar Passover story more vivid and relatable. Of course, one need not choose between these perspectives. They can be complementary.


KERUV* KORNER: MUSINGS FOR MAY . . . Many of us lucky enough to be relatively unscathed by the horror of the COVID-19 pandemic survive feeling, like our ancient forebears in the Exodus, profoundly grateful, with a renewed appreciation for all that we love and is beautiful in the world. I am grateful for the predictable rhythms of nature: the days growing longer, the barren trees bursting into flower, the song birds returning to sweeten my awakenings, the perennials poking up their heads and stretching toward the sunshine each in its turn. Thirsting for connection, I soak up the warmth and care—dare I say, the love— of each masked co-worker whose eyes smile from the appropriate distance as I enter my center, each patient I phone on my jam-packed schedule, every family member or friend who checks in by cell or email, and on my days off, the familiar faces of my Beth El family, vibrantly alive in their two-dimensional Zoom squares. Beth El is a remarkable source of strength and resilience for all of us in this challenging time. Experts teach that there are five critical elements to “Psychological First Aid:” 1. Safety 2. Calming 3. Self/Community Efficacy 4. Connectedness 5. Hope/Optimism.


Monday, May 11th • 7:00 pm • How does your child’s interfaith relationship affect your extended family and community? • Share your experiences and what you have learned? • What can we do better to encourage Jewish engagement? Facilitated by Shari Baum, L.M.S.W. WJCS Coordinator of Partners in Caring Via Zoom, hosted by Elise and Bob Schepp

(Zoom information will be provided when you RSVP)

R.S.V.P. to Elise Schepp at We’re announcing SOOOOO many NEW ARRIVALS. Questions? Contact Nina Luban at or Elise K. Richman at • Generously funded by UJA-Federation of NY • Sponsored by the Keruv Committee

*“Keruv” = to bring close, to draw near

Our clergy, staff and lay leadership, along with just regular members of our congregation at large, have provided all these elements by working closely with other community leaders, closing and cleaning the building in a timely manner, communicating honestly and regularly with all of us, and providing support, opportunities for virtual connection and the spiritual comfort and hope that are central to our Jewish traditions. The impact of the current pandemic is likely to be long lasting. As one expert put it, “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” but we are resilient and together will ultimately come through stronger for the experience. I don’t know to what extent the natural world or religious ritual reflects Divine will, but as with nature, I find Jewish ritual comforting: Cleaning and changing over for Passover, Seders rendered unusually meaningful, counting the Omer as my hair grows unmanageably long in commemoration of an ancient plague that coincides temporally with the modern plague that shuttered my hair salon before Pesah… All of these connect me to loved ones who have passed and encourage perspective. They invite much needed reflection as I look forward to Revelation on Shavuot. I pray that it will be a time of uplift for all of us, and all of humanity. Hope to see you in shul…soon! Elise Richman and Nina Luban, Keruv Co-chairs

A Note from the Director of Youth & Family Engagement . . .

As we get situated into our new ‘normal,’ I am super grateful for all of the times we’ve been able to spend—albeit virtually—together! This is a huge adjustment for us all, and it takes a toll mentally, physically, and spiritually. However, I am trying to find joy in our small moments together, and many of these moments give me energy to keep plowing through. Just this week, many of our teens watched a panel of five Beth El alumni, college-age students who came together for “What You Wish You Knew in High School and Jewish Life on Campus.” You can access this TED (Teen Educational Dialogue) Talk at Bringing together our alumni and current students, watching the collegeage students feel empowered to give back to our community, and the teens listening intently was inspiring. The power of our online community continues to grow­—from Teen TED Talks, Paint Night, sichot (conversations), lounge hang outs, and more; Religious School and Youth Community Kehillah; cooking programs with our elementary school and middle school students. It is incredibly special to come together in whatever ways we can. If you need anything in this challenging time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Beth El is also looking for volunteers to virtually help others. I am here to help too!. Stay tuned via email and through for details about our upcoming virtual programming that will engage our entire community. And as always, I’m available for a coffee date (virtual this time!) to chat about what our community can do for you. Sending health, optimism, compassion, patience, and joy to all of you in this time. B’ahava, Bekkah Gold, Director of Youth & Family Engagement


Sisterhood Scene The month of May this year brings three interesting holidays that we as Jews celebrate. It brings Lag BaOmer, Jerusalem Day, and Shavuot. How do these holidays interact with us as women? Shavuot is easy. One of the three pilgrimage hoidays along with Sukkot and Pesah, we read the Book of Ruth on this day. I am sure that you remember that Ruth was the non-Jewish daughter-in-law of Naomi, a poor widow who lost her two sons along with her husband in a land outside of Israel. She instructs hers daughters-in law to return to their peoples. The first one, Orpah, does but the second, Ruth, chooses to belong to her husband’s people and to become a Jew. She is rewarded for her loyalty by becoming the great-grandmother of King David. She is a woman whom we hold up as a paradigm of faith and loyalty. Lag BaOmer is the holiday where the Jews, despite the Romans’ edicts, chose to study Torah on the sly to keep their tradition alive. The students would go out into the forest to learn and would bring their arrows and bows with them. If their lookout heard the Romans

approaching, they would warn the studiers and hunting would begin. Study through the ages has kept the Jewish people alive in their traditions and nowhere is this more important than in the home where mothers through the generations taught and showed by their actions what Jewish education and tradition were all about. Yom Yerushalayim is the anniversary of the recapturing of Jerusalem and its holy places by Israel in the Six Day war. Women were not always the fighters, but they were the ones who kept the dream and the promise of a Jewish State alive amongst their children. My mom always taught us to put pennies in the tzedakah box to send to Israel so that one day there would be a strong state where we could visit and live if we so chose. May is Mother’s Day and the time when we celebrate all women, all mothers, and all Jewish women in history who nurtured us, taught us, and showed us what could be. As Henrietta Szold said, “My father’s daughter said and my mother’s daughter did.” Hodesh tov and have a good healthy month. Sandy Gruenberg, Sisterhood President


Monday, May 18th, 9:30 am,we will have a Zoom discussion of The Hare With Amber Eyes, by De Waal Questions? Contact arlene salman, 914-235-2485,


Wednesday, May 20th, 8:00 pm we will have a Zoom discussion of The Two Family House, by Lynda Cohen Loigman Questions, contact Erica Epstein,

Calling all Zoomers and Boomers: SMART (Seniors/ Mature/ Adults/ Retired/ Together) This is a difficult time and though we are separated, our virtual community is growing strong! While we cannot gather at Beth El there is so much we can still enjoy. Consider visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, https:// Just imagine a trip to Israel, no jet lag! Check out Ready to exercise? Check out a yoga class,, as well as the resources at Go4Life from the National Institute for Aging, Consider taking a short walk wearing a mask, of course, and remember to warm-up before exercising and hydrate, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Consider creating a Gratitude List. If you have already started this list, keep on going! At the start of each day, jot down and record one thing that you are grateful for. Place the paper in a small container for safe keeping. I know I am grateful for all of the events and programs at Beth El. Though life presents many challenges right now, focus on what is going right. Remind yourself that gratitude is about being aware of what you have, not what you don’t have. When we resume our get-togethers, we can bring our Gratitude Lists and be inspired by our strength and resilience. If you would like to expand your support network, Beth El is offering Support Group calls with Shari Baum, MSW, Beth El’s social worker, on Monday and Friday mornings, from 11:00 am - 12:00 noon. If you want to share in our sessions, or if you just want to chat, call 914-235-2700, ext. 256, or email me at For now, we have to rely on technology to connect with one another, and these modes of communication are challenging and new to many of us. If you would like to receive 1-on-1 support, or if you can offer support, contact Abby Wise, Hello May...bring us new hope and make our lives beautiful like spring flowers! Julie Rockowitz


Beth El’s Framework for Action

VISION ACTION TEAM Pillar 2: Halachic Pluralism

“Halachic pluralism” is a concept that took shape at Beth El during the 2018-19 Journey visioning process. The second of six guiding pillars that emerged from Journey is, in fact, charged with strengthening halachic pluralism at Beth El. So just what is this concept? Halachic pluralism recognizes that multiple religious practices in a community can all be faithful to halacha (Jewish law). Halachic pluralism upholds traditional egalitarian Judaism—daily minyan, Torah study, and the observance of mitzvot—and at the same time nurtures Jewish engagement by community members who do not identify as traditional. It maintains Conservative halachic Judaism as the source of religious practice at Beth El and, within that framework, seeks ways to meet the religious and spiritual needs of those at the edges of our community. It seeks ways to offer meaningful Jewish experiences both to current Beth El members and to potential members who might seek a home with us. In the March Bulletin, Pillar 1 shared some of the ways it is innovating to “strengthen our community of connected communities.” These include initiatives such as Beth El Interest Groups, Shabbat home dinners with themes, and Beth El’s increased use of social media to strengthen community. In this month’s Bulletin, Pillar 2 shares ideas about the two components of halachic pluralism: education and practice. Education. Pillar 2 wants to increase congregant opportunities to study the halachic process, bringing to light the evolutionary nature of Jewish law. Those who want to know more about halacha will be able to do so. Those with questions or concerns about halachic pluralism will have a place to bring them. Those who do

not find halacha relevant will have a chance to dig deeper. Classes on the halachic process are a goal of Pillar 2. We’ve also posted a D’var Halacha box outside Rabbi Schuck’s office to answer your individual questions about Jewish law. Slip your question into the box. On Shabbat mornings when time permits, Rabbi Schuck will respond. Practice. Prior to Journey Beth El was experimenting with non-traditional service alternatives. Niggun Halev and Libeinu, our musical services, and Kavannah, our meditative Shabbat morning opportunity, are now regularly occurring monthly alternatives to Beth El’s traditional Shabbat morning service. Pillar 2 will, under Rabbi Schuck’s guidance, continue developing new opportunities for spiritual engagement both for synagogue regulars and for those who do not connect with traditional Jewish life. The goal is a vibrant, welcoming, and non-judgmental prayer community rooted in halacha that offers many authentic entry points to prayer and study. By the time this article appears, you may have also heard about an idea that started taking shape in February: a non-traditional Friday night service at Monroe College for the growing downtown population of Jewish singles and young married couples. An experiment that brings a bit of Beth El to the (downtown) streets to explore what promise that might hold for future new community members. Who, Exactly, Is Pillar 2? We are currently Paul Bernstein, Nate Fisher, Dorothy Fox, Ted Keltz, and David Shechter. Join us! We are looking for ideas about events and activities intended to make halacha meaningful. Contact me (Jayne Peister) at peisterjs@, Pillar 2 Point Person.

Want to feature your committee or a member? Contact Marc Klee at


Few of us have witnessed a time when we’ve seen more illness, more upheaval, or more widespread anxiety than we’ve experienced in the past two months. Given this chaotic time, there is more of an urgency than ever to acknowledge the need for support for ourselves and for others around us. In light of this, we have tried to provide reinforcement to our clergy’s efforts in their heroic support of our community. Here is what that has and will look like: Support groups: • SMART groups – ongoing support group, led by Shari Baum, Julie Rockowitz • Support group for Health Care providers – led by Rabbi Schuck • General support group- led by Sarah Lieberman, from WJCS • Bereavement group – led by Beth El Clergy • Support group for parents of children with special needs led by Brenda Hoff Additional groups being formed soon. Stay tuned for more to come.

Supportive Listener Training Lay people in our community are being trained by Shari Baum to be supportive listeners for those in need of special support as determined by the clergy. The first training session was in April. Interested in joining this group? Notify Rebecca Wertheimer,, who will be starting a second list of those interested. We will schedule a second training when we gather a cohort. Mental Health Resources Please see our page on the Beth El Synagogue website, which has an extensive list of resources, including those specifically for COVID-19-related issues. Additionally, there are resources for parents with young children for this stressful time. Do not hesitate to reach out to our clergy, staff, or anyone from the committee. We are here, we are happy to listen, and we appreciate any additional contribution you’d like to make toward this effort. Marjorie Seidenfeld Naomi Adler. Abe Bartell.



Presented by Beth El’s Israel Affairs Committee

Beth El’s Israel Affairs Committee (IAC) is pleased to share cultural items of interest concerning Israel each month. IAC always welcomes new members. For more information about meetings and events, please contact either Tamar Tait at, or Bruce Gold at This month’s Israeli Cultural Connections column is presented by IAC member Phyllis Steinberg.

SECRET AMERICAN HEROES OF ISRAEL Many of us at Beth El Synagogue Center have been a witness to some aspect of Jewish history. In honor of our celebration this month of Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day, I chose to share my memories. Shortly after the State of Israel was established in 1948, the young country was in need of weaponry to be able to defend itself against its hostile neighbors. Often, soldiers who fought in World War II brought weaponry back with them when they returned home from the war. Some of this weaponry was collected secretly among the Jewish soldiers so that it could be smuggled to Israel. One of the locations where the weaponry was stored before it was to be shipped to Israel was in the attic of my grandmother’s house. As a young child I used to play among the unloaded weaponry. My uncle drove trucks loaded with the contraband to the ships waiting to sail to Israel. On one occasion he noticed that the truck traveling in front of him was stopped by federal agents. Unfortunately, someone had alerted the authorities. My uncle quickly turned his truck around and sped away and luckily was not arrested. However, the driver in front of him got arrested. Somehow

that driver fled to Israel and was able to escape prosecution, but he was never able to return to the United States, not even for his mother’s funeral. A movie entitled A Wing And A Prayer was made about a similar covert operation for Israel. It describes the heroic efforts of an American pilot named Al Schwimmer who also smuggled surplus rifles, machine guns, bullets, and fighter planes to Israel. He sourced many arms supplies in Czechoslovakia that had been left behind by the Nazis. (How ironic is that?) He bought B-17 bombers in the United States and got them to Israel, helping to form the Israeli Air Force. Turning himself in to authorities in 1950, he was convicted of violating the United States Neutrality Acts and was stripped of his civil rights and fined $10,000. Many Americans who wanted to help in the establishment and survival of the State of Israel made great efforts and personal sacrifice. Yishar koach to all of those brave heroes! Am Yisrael Chai! Shalom shalom,

Phyllis Steinberg

Israel Affairs Committee member



Please visit for web and Zoom links to join these activites and for updated lists of new activities. Weekly

Special Upcoming Events

Mishnah Yomit: 10 minutes of Mishnah study, daily (except Sunday, May 3, 7:30 pm, ZooMuseum (Home Art Gallery Showcase). Details, page 11, right column. Shabbat), at 9:00 am and 7:00 pm Creative Shachrit Service, Sundays, 9:00 am, with Rabbinic Tuesday, May 5 Fellows Jessica Fisher and Becca Weintraub. Spiritual, Relational, 9:30 am, Sisterhood Support Group, with Shari Baum 12:00 pm, Lunch & Learn, with Rabbi Zach Sitkin and Soulful Prayer over Zoom. Talmud Study/Virtual Daf Shevui, Sundays, 10:00 am. Study is in English from a text prepared by Josh Kulp of the Fuchsberg Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Receive this online, free, from (look for the Daf Shevui archives). Please register with Dorothy and Herb at so we can keep you informed of scheduling changes.

Wednesday, May 6, 7:30 pm, Beth El Support Group, facilitated by WJCS Social Worker Sarah Lieberman, LMSW. If the COVID-19 crisis is creating undue anxiety for you, we invite you to virtually meet. Registration is limited. RSVP to Abby, Thursday, May 7, 12:30 pm, Zoom 101: Introduction to Zoom, with Abby

Health Care Support Group, Sundays, 6:00 pm -7:00 pm

Monday, May 11 SMART Seniors Group, Mondays and Fridays, 11:00 am -12:00 pm 7:00 pm, Keruv’s Let’s Talk about It group, facilited by Shari Baum, Traditional Shacharit, Tuesdays, 8:30 am - 9:00 am, with Rabbinic MSW Fellow Jessica Fisher. Join us for a 30-minute traditional Shacharit 8:00 pm, Lag BaOmer Video Release “Watch Party” over Zoom to jump start our day with prayer, community, and Tuesday, May 12 connection. We will come together virtually for P’sukei DeZimrah 12:00 pm, Lunch & Learn, with Rabbinic Fellow Jessica Fisher and the elements of Shacharit that do not require a minyan. Those 8:00 pm, Open Beit Midrash, with scholar. who wish may join the Mishnah Yomit Zoom immediately after to Sunday, May 17, 8:00 pm, Singing as a Spiritual Practice learn for its own sake or in memory of a loved one. Fireside Chats with Beth El Staff, Wednesdays, 12:30 pm, and Monday, May 18, 9:30 am, Sisterhood Bagels and Books. We will Sundays, 4:00pm. Would you like to spend some time with our staff discuss The Hare with Amber Eyes, by De Waal. Questions? Contact members? Visit and click on the link Arlene, 914-235-2485. for a Fireside Chat. No appointments needed. These are open to the Tuesday, May 19 whole community for a schmooze, to answer questions, or just to 12:00 pm, Lunch and Learn, with Rabbi David Schuck see a friendly and familiar face and say a quick hello. 9:00 pm, Virtual Young Parents’ Happy Hour. Parents of schoolKabbalat Shabbat, Fridays (except May 29), 6:00 pm, with Beth aged children are invited to take a much needed break with us. El’s clergy, featuring singing and words of Torah. Hopefully it will Catch up with Beth El friends. uplift us and give us an anchor as we head into Shabbat. Wednesday, May 20, 8:00 pm, Evening Book Club. We will discuss Virtual Havdalah, Saturdays at the conclusion of Shabbat. Please TheTwo Family House, by Lynda Cohen Loigman. Questions, contact Erica Epstein, check for times. Tuesday, May 26 Open Beit Midrash, Thursdays, 8:00 pm 12:00 pm, Lunch & Learn, with Rabbi Zach Sitkin May 7th: Rabbinic Fellow Becca Weintraub and Rabbi Linden 4:00 pm, Learn to make Cheesecake, with Stephanie (good for all ages) May 14th: Rabbi Schuck and Rabbi Linden May 21st: Rabbi Sitkin and Rabbi Linden 8:00 pm, Tikkun Leil Pre-Shavuot, with Rabbi David Schuck May 28th: No OBM, Shavuot. Please see page 7 for details. Wednesday, May 27, 8:00 pm, Tikkun Leil Pre-Shavuot, with Rabbi Zach Sitkin

For additional Youth and Family programming, turn to pages 10, 11

Thursday, May 28 12:00 pm, Shavuot Yom Iyyun, with Rabbinic Fellow Jessica Fisher 2:00 pm, Shavuot Yom Iyyun, with Jack Klebanow 6:30 pm, pre-Shavuot Yizkor Service Check for more activities!

OUR NURSERY SCHOOL CHILDREN PLAYING AT HOME The Nursery School continues to push forward during these unprecedented days. We are happy to be able to celebrate joyous occasions within our community, such as the birth of a beautiful new baby as well as the birthdays of our children and staff. As was said in the beloved film, Fiddler on the Roof, “It’s a new world, Tevya!”

And so it is. We find joy in seeing the children carry over into their individual homes activities that are usually done at school, and we appreciate the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that is going on outside of our Nursery School walls.


Mira built a car!

Mira mixed colors. At right, Anaf Aleph celebrated Morah Jana’s birthday on their morning Zoom call.

Leonora and Etta made their very own seder plate.

Becca holding her new brother Noah for the very first time.

Addy and her grandmother baked challah together.








Some Kadima May Virtual Highlights (for 5th-7th Graders)

3 Cooking with METNY Kadima, 1:00 pm 11 METNY Kadima Kahoot, 7:00 pm 15 Beth El Kadima Virtual Lounge, 3:00 pm

METNY USY May Virtual Highlights (for 8th-12th Graders) 1 4 6 7 13 14 19 20 21 26 27

METNY Yoga, 5:00 pm METNY Coloring, 7:00 pm METNY Jews ‘n’ Jammies, 7:00 pm METNY Sophomore Bonding, 7:00 pm METNY Jews ‘n’ Jammies, 7:00 pm METNY Junior Bonding, 7:00 pm METNY Emek USY Board Installations, 7:00 pm METNY Jews ‘n’ Jammies, 7:00 pm METNY Senior Bonding, 7:00 pm METNY USY Board Installations, 7:00 pm METNY Jews ‘n’ Jammies, 7:00 pm

Some May Teen Virtual Highlights (for 8th-12th graders) You will find links to all of our online offerings at No R.S.V.P. required! Weekly Program: Sundays and Thursdays, 7:30 pm - 8:00 pm 1 Teen Virtual Sicha (Topic: Current Events), 3:00 pm (facilitated by Bekkah) 7 Teen Virtual TED Talk (Topic: Beth El USY Teen Leadership Board Interest Meeting), 8:00 pm 8 Teen Virtual Lounge, 3:00 pm 10 Teen Virtual TED Talk, 7:30 pm 16 Teen Virtual Havdalah and Hang, 8:30 pm 22 Teen Virtual Sicha (Topic: Current Events), 3:00 pm (Bekkah) 31 Beth El USY Teen Leadership Board—Virtual Elections

May Religious School Highlights

Tuesdays, Sikah (Baking), 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm 3 Virtual Religious School, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm 7 Virtual Religious School and Teen Learning, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm 10 Virtual Religious School, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm For details about METNY USY and Kadima virtual programming, 14 Virtual Religious School and Teen Learning, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm visit or 17 Virtual Religious School and End-of-the-Year Virtual contact Bekkah Gold, Showcase/Program, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm 21 Virtual Religious School, Last Session, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm Parents are invited to join for Kehillah every Thursday at 4:00 pm and every Sunday at 10:00 am.

Teen College Panel

Youth & Family Kehillah, Passover Edition, was a joyful, special morning. To join us for more youth programming virtually, check our schedule!


Some Reflections on “What You Wish You Knew in High School and Jewish Life on Campus” “So much great advice about college and high school.” —Ana Bernstein, Leffell School 2022 “Learning from Beth El alumni about what they wish they knew in high school and Jewish life on college campuses was unquestionably eye-opening. Hearing that even students at a school with a small Jewish community could feel truly connected and at home really emphasized how you are always able to practice your religion if you want to, even if you are one of a few. Hearing from our own alumni was special since they were able to offer specific tips and advice that were relevant to the resources we have access to today. Overall, this experience truly changed my outlook on how we, as high schoolers, can control both our academic and religious futures.” —Eitan Gotian, Leffell School 2022 “This was EXTREMELY HELPFUL. Forever grateful. So many words of wisdom. THANK YOU!” —Shira Rosencrantz, New Rochelle High School 2020 “Beth El alumni joined current Beth El teens on a panel to share honest advice about the transition to life beyond high school, discussing their Jewish and secular lives as college students. It was a wonderful way of getting some truthful and relatable pieces of advice. What better way than to learn from your older friends who are currently experiencing it!” —Jonah Seidenfeld, New Rochelle High School 2020

Beth El Celebrates May Birthdays Beth El would like to extend a “Happy Birthday!” to its members with a birthday in the month of May. If you have a May

birthday, but your name does not appear on the list, we are sorry for the omission and ask that you e-mail the synagogue at so that we can update our

Elizabeth Alderman Joseph Aronauer Judith Aronow Marcia Assor Alexander Babayev Revekka Babayev Rick Barlis Charlie Bases Judy Baumgarten Michele Bedell Steven Berkowitz David Blumenfeld Robin Bosworth Daniel Burton Orly Charrabe Dean Chhahira Thomas Cohen Beth Cohen Barbara Cohen Bernice Coll

Gloria Grobstein Susan Groner Jack Gruenberg Susan Hart Gary Heller Robert Hershkowitz David Herzog Nadine Jacobson Janet Jakoby Grace Kalfus Mitchel Kaplan Gillian Katz Donna Katz Maria Kessler Samuel Klein Sandy Klein David Klonsky Rita Krasik David Lacher Robert Levine

Sharon Cooper Aron Davidowitz Ann Davis Jay Diamond Daniel Efron Robert Ehudin Alison Enis Ryan Enis Carrie Ernst Goldberg Russell Fayer Daniel Feldman Herbert Fox Pamela Friedman Lea Gabbay Esther Glassman Tatia Goldberg Lynette Goldberg Neil Goldfarb Bari Goldstein Arthur Goldstein

Samuel Levy Michael Lewis Ira Lippel Andrea Lippel Addison Maidenberg Anita Malina Assaf Maliniak Marianne Mani Alan Marcus Nancy Mayerfield David Mendelson Mark Mildner Gerard Parker Robert Patchen Lisa Patchen Jeremy Platek Stuart Prager Hilario Ramos Arnold Reifer M Jacob Renick

records. Contact us if you do not wish to have your name appear on our birthday list. (The list reflects our adult members and post-bar/ bat mitzvah children up to the age of 21.) Jacqueline SpiegelBarry Richman Cohen Alyssa Ruttenberg Morris Stampfer Sherman Laurence Stein Mark Sadok Marcia Stern Barry Salman Daniel Straussberg Mark Salomon Marc Straussberg Henrietta Sanford Marjorie Schlosberg- Thomas Sullivan Robert Sussman Glick Talia Swartz Bette Schneidman Judy Wacht Noam Schuck Marc Wager Joshua Schulman Teresa Wager Rachel Schulman Ilisa Wallach Dana Schwarcz Jack Wertheimer Harriet Schwartz Frederick Wiener Jeffrey Schwartz Debbie Young Zachary Seiden Ira Shechter Diane Solomon Happy Birthday! Peter Spenser

MAY 2020







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For all of our online and virtual learnings, teachings, and activities, please visit

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Mazal tov to:

Nora Klion-Wolloch on the birth of granddaughter Meitar Yahav, and to parents Deena and Eliran Mesika and big brother Nittai; Judy Schmeidler and family on the bar mitzvah of her grandson Samuel Charles Schmeidler, and to parents Daniel and Rachel Schmeidler and sisters Celia and Meryl Schmeidler.

A Warm Beth El Mazal Tov to One and All!!

CONDOLENCES We record with sorrow the losses suffered by our members and friends and extend to them our deepest sympathies. Condolences to: Linda Mazursky on the loss of her brother Jay Agular; Heather Mazursky Horowitz on the loss of her uncle Jay Agular; The family of longtime member Bernard Freedman, on his passing; Avi Einzig on the loss of his father, Ernest Einzig; Susan Eichen Mittleman on the loss of her brother Glenn Eichen; Mindy Patchen on the loss of her brother Louis Palgon; Robert Patchen on the loss of his uncle Louis Palgon; Richard Chadakoff on the loss of his mother, Reita Saunders; Beth El Staff member Judi Scher on the loss of her father-in-law, Albert Scher; Marty Levitin on the loss of his wife, Elaine Levitin; Loretta Holland on the loss of her brother Cyril Wick; The Freedman family on the loss of their parents, Paul and Carol Freedman; The family of longtime member Sylvia Gottlieb on her passing; Stephen Herzberg on the loss of his father, Walter Herzberg; Marilyn Falow on the loss of her son Mark Falow; George Morris on the loss of his wife, Susan Morris; Robert Morris and John Morris on the loss of their mother, Susan Morris.

Parenting Support Group We are forming a group for parents of children ages 5-18 who have any sort of special need—be it a learning issue, a physical or intellectual disability, mental illness, long-term medical issues, etc. At the current time, we recognize that there are parents who may not previously have categorized their child(ren) in this way, but who may now need additional support. The immediate focus of the group will be on supporting our children through the current crisis. Moving forward, we will focus more specifically on parenting children with different needs in the context of the Jewish community. The group will be led by WJCS social worker Brenda Haas. It is limited to ten participants, who will be added to the group in order of response. For now, we will meet via Zoom. To begin, we will meet every other week for five weeks, beginning the first week of May. Questions? Contact Shayna Klopott ( or Brenda Haas ( Sign up at



The yahrzeit of the following deceased persons permanently inscribed on our Memorial Walls are observed on these dates: Mildred Bialo 1 Harry Goodman 17 Irna Patchen 1 Gisa Henner 17 Minnie Zucker 1 Kolman C. Davis 18 Rubin Neiman 2 Cellock Dreizen 18 Bertha Robbins 2 Stanley S. Hirsch 18 Louis Gordon 3 Gershon Newman 18 Nathan Lefkowitz 3 Seymour Rosen 18 Leonard B. Mendelsohn 3 Bradley Ruttenberg 19 Alexander Aaron 4 Harry A. Gordon 20 Anna Cron 4 Morris Lapin 20 Helen Grad 4 Vera Cooper 21 Samuel Jonas 4 Julius Messite 21 Max Gold 5 Joseph Wagner 21 Jack Schwartz 5 Beatrice Zoldessy 21 Morris Katz 6 Alex Lefkovic 22 Zelda Fately Clara Librett 7 22 Saul Friedler 7 Lyla Arkin 23 Abraham Mukamal 8 Morris J. Goldstein 23 David Satenberg 8 Abraham Katz 23 Herman Wechsler 8 Abraham Levine 23 Arthur Fischler 10 Michael Glick 24 Eileen Katz 10 Ida Gross 25 Ida Sarah Meyerson 11 Stella Scheinkman 25 Philip Turner 12 Rebecca Cohn 26 Isidore Louis Wolf 12 Claire Goodfriend 26 Leon Karp 13 Sylvia Meller 26 Harry Levin 13 Bernard Besen 27 Leonard Lewinsohn 13 Abraham H. Fab 28 Morris Michael 13 Joseph Simon 28 Cecelia Rosenberg 13 Philip Brustein 30 Florence Friedman 14 Lillian Cornick 30 Fredericka Kolins 14 Bess Hoffer 30 Miriam Osofsky 14 May R. Levinthal 30 Gertrude Greenberg 15 Dave Miller 30 Sadie Anderson 16 Henry Zoldessy 30 Harry Covkin 16 David Schaffer 31





Mark and Bonnie Sosin in memory of Paul Freedman; Serge and Sibel Malka in memory of Avraham Yshua Malka; Leslie and Stephen Jaffe in honor of Mark Rabinowitz for a full recovery; Jeffrey and Susan Mittleman in memory of Kennie Mittleman and Morton Eichen on their yahrzeits; Leslie Jaffe in memory of her father, Harry Chaefsky; Barbara and Jay Lerman in memory of Barbara’s father, Abraham Tussman, and mother, and Ed Schwartz. Louis Palgon, beloved brother of Mindy Patchen, Helen Tussman, on their yahrzeits; Laurence, Carla, Justin, Adam, and Robbie Stein in memory from Norma Strassler. IN MEMORY OF: of Ruth Stein on her yahrzeit; Dana Stein for Nancy Ruth Nitzberg, from Suzanne and Todd Morrie Stein on his yahrzeit, from Laurence, the recovery of all those in need; Jeff and Susan Carla, Justin Adam, and Robbie Stein. Brown. Mittleman with thanks to Rabbi Schuck for his Glenn Eichen, beloved brother of Susan comfort and support in connection with the illness Blanche Fried, from Carrie Fox and David Mittleman, from Susan Gelb. and passing of Susan’s brother Glenn Eichen. Shechter. Jay Agular, uncle of Heather Horowitz, from The tremendous Beth El leadership during the Sarah and Andrew Katz. COVID 19 crisis, from Jeff Swarz and Kathy Kafer. Rabbi Israel Renov and Syd Renov, from Rhona, The birth of a granddaughter to Elise and Barry Danny, and Jason Aronstein. Richman, from Barbara and Laurence Orans. Ernest Einzig, beloved father of Avi Einzig, from Our ten year Beth El anniversary, from Carrie Fox Rochelle Chaiken. and David Shechter. Elaine Levitin, beloved wife of Marty Levitin, In appreciation of our Beth El friends, from Judy from Rochelle Chaiken.

ENDOWMENT FUND Donation (Hametz) from Marc and Barbara Klee IN MEMORY OF: Melvin Getlan, beloved father of Rita Krasik, from Barbara and Marc Klee. Ernest Einzig, beloved father of Avi Einzig, from Barbara and Marc Klee.

PTA ISRAEL TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF: Ethel and Irving Wasson and Sally and Seymour Horowitz, from David and Barbara Horowitz.



Cindy Aaronson and Stan Arkow; Beth Breakstone and Ted Keltz; Felice and Steve Brostoff; Rae and Barry Charles; Rita Cohen; Sheila Cohen; Annette Fogelman; Lawrence Getzler; Debra Greenberg; Sandy Gruenberg; Helen Gruenfeld; The Guber Family; Geo Carl Kaplan; The Kaplowitz family; Rabbi Moshe and Kay Pomerantz; Elise and Barry Richman; Emily Rubin and Dan Feldman; Elise and Bob Schepp; Barbara Simon and family; Bernice Simon; Ruth and Marc Sininsky; Jeffrey Solomon; Shirin and Steven Stein; Bernard Sunshine; Sheila Tanenbaum; Tova Friedler Usdan; William Winters; Helene Wolloch.


HAMETZ DONATIONS Jay and Barbara Lerman Barbara and Marc Klee

SISTERHOOD MITZVAH FUND IN HONOR OF: Cindy and Ira Shechter on the birth of their granddaughter Lucille Judith Shechter, from Marcia and Hy Pryluck. IN MEMORY OF: Blanche Fried, beloved mother of Judy Conrad, from Cynthia, Jeff, and Tanner Glickman. Carol and Paul Freedman, beloved parents of Beth, Rachel, and Judy, from Marjorie Schlosberg, Marcia and Hy Pryluck, and Joyce and Michael Wechsler.

The bar mitzvah of Samuel Schmeidler, grandson Elaine Levitin, beloved wife of Marty Levitin, IN MEMORY OF: Ernest Einzig, beloved father of Avi Einzig, from of dear friend Judy Schmeidler, from Judy Shapiro. from Joyce and Michael Wechsler, and Marianne and Bob Sussman. Geralynn and David Reifer. IN MEMORY OF:

Bernie Freedman, from Geralynn and David My beloved son Andrew on what would have been Glenn Eichen, beloved brother of Susan Eichen Mittleman, from Joyce and Michael Wechsler. Reifer. his 54th birthday, from Judy Shapiro.


Louis Palgon, father of our beloved friend Mindy Jay Agular, beloved brother of Linda Mazursky, Patchen and grandfather of Robert Patchen, from from Joyce and Michael Wechsler. IN HONOR OF: Judy Shapiro. Louis Palgon, beloved brother of Mindy Patchen, Lester Zimmerman’s ninetieth birthday, from from Joyce and Michael Wechsler. DOROTHY FLEISHAKER Norma Wasserman. IN MEMORY OF:


Blanche Fried, from Debra and Edward Ackerman.


Paul and Carol Freedman, from Norma The eighty-sixth anniversary of my bar mitzvah, from Abe Walfish. Wasserman.

BERNICE FELDMAN NURSERY SCHOOL FUND IN MEMORY OF: Beatrice Newman, beloved mother of Paulette Katz, from Maxine and Jay Friedman. Jay Agular, beloved brother of Linda Mazursky, from David and Barbara Horowitz.


A donation was made by Stanley Liebowitz.

YOUTH ACTIVITIES FUND IN MEMORY OF: Melvin Getlan, beloved father of Rita Krasik, from Joel and Ann Davis.

Ernest Einzig, beloved father of Avi Einzig, from Joyce and Michael Wechsler. Susan Morris, beloved wife of George Morris and mother of Robert and John, from Geralyn and David Reifer, Marcia and Hy Pryluck, and Joyce and Michael Wechsler. T O D O N AT E T O S I S T E R H O O D ’ S MITZVAH FUND, contact Marcia Pryluck at, or mail your donation to 1255 North Avenue, B2O, New Rochelle, NY 10804. Donation minimum is $10. Make checks payable to Beth El Sisterhood.

Dear Sisterhood Members, It is with great sadness that I share the news of the deaths of Susan Morris and Carol Freedman. Both women were strong and steadfast members of our Sisterhood group. I would like to share memories of them with you. Carol was a stalwart member of Sisterhood for over thirty years. She was our Hadassah “go-to” person and relished the joint programs we shared. She was a lover of Israel; a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother; and a friend to all. I can still hear her voice inviting people to come up and light a candle and, of course, make a tzedakah donation for Hadassah. She will be greatly missed. Susan came later to Sisterhood and Jewish learning. She once told me that she didn’t have a Jewish education growing up, provided one for her boys, and wanted one for herself once she retired. She stuffed tea bag mailers, became a bat mitzvah, and planned luncheons and dinners for the enjoyment of others. There was always a warm hello and a smiling face at every meeting she attended over the years. Susan was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, and her peers will miss her viscerally. We might ask what can we do to honor their memories. Of course a donation to Beth El or Sisterhood is always appreciated, but here are two other ideas: 1. Are you crafty? Would you like to make a mask for yourself, a family member, or for a service worker? Call our member Susan Wolman, a seamstress extraordinaire, who can help you with instructions and suggestions. Phone 914-633-6991. 2. Donate to, a local organization that delivers fifty meals at a time from local restaurants to front-line workers at White Plains and New Rochelle Montefiore Hospitals, as well as others. This is a way to say thanks to those on the firing line. We are a powerful group of women who are kind and caring. We mourn the passing of two of our own. Stay well and stay in. Sandy Gruenberg, Sisterhood President

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Right now, it is more important than ever to stay connected to our co m m u n i t y. H e a d to to see all of our upcoming events and to watch some of our past programs.

MEMBER RESOURCES Beth El’s Social Worker: Shari Baum 914-761-0600, ext. 2145, Beth El’s Emergency Line 914-235-2700, dial * A member of the senior team will contact you within 30 minutes. Beth El Cares Hotline & Email 914-235-2700, dial 9 A hotline and email for needs that arise which are specific to the public health crisis. Someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Want to Volunteer? Email, write VOLUNTEER and your full name in the subject line. You will be added to our volunteer database. 15

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