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WordsEtz Chaim from


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Mid-Summer 2018

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Words The Rabbi From

The Hebrew month of Elul begins on August 12th this year. Elul is the 12th and final month in the Jewish calendar and it is the month preceding Rosh Hashanah. Elul is a month that connects the past year with the coming year — a time when we reflect on where we stand and where we should be going. It is called “the month of repentance,” “the month of mercy” and “the month of forgiveness.” Elul follows the two previous months of Tammuz and Av — months of tragedies to the Jewish people. In Tammuz, the Jews sinned with the golden calf; on the first day of Elul, Moses ascended to Mount Sinai for a third time for a 40-day period until Yom Kippur, when he descended with the second set of tablets and G‑d’s word of joyful, wholehearted forgiveness. The first time Moses ascended was to receive the first tablets; the second time was after the sin of the Golden Calf, to ask for forgiveness; and this third time was to receive the second set of tablets. These were days when G‑d revealed to the Jewish people great mercy. Since then, this time has been designated as a time of mercy and forgiveness, an opportune time for teshuvah — repentance.

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The four letters of the name Elul are an acronym for the phrase in “Song of Songs” (6:3): “I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.” “I am to my beloved” — we approach G‑d with a desire to return and connect. “And my beloved is to me” — G‑d reciprocates with Divine expressions of mercy and forgiveness. We will all be standing before G-d in judgment in the following month. Now is the time to begin preparing for that event. Give some thought as to the events in your life over the past 11 months. I am sure that we have all engaged in activities that have made us proud. Resolve to continue in those efforts and perhaps to do even more in the coming year. Are there things that we could have done better? Have we treated our loved ones and even others in our lives the way that we would like to be treated? This may be the most important concept of all at this time of year. We are told that G-d will forgive our transgressions at Rosh Hashanah, but those committed against our fellow man and woman can only be forgiven by those individuals themselves. Take this time to make amends, to ask forgiveness from those whom we may have wronged, and arrive at Rosh Hashanah thoroughly prepared for this most auspicious period.

—Rabbi Gary Berenson

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Words Contributing about

RECENT DONATIONS IN HONOR OF KOLTON BRINN NAMING Steven Brinn IN MEMORY OF BERNARD BAROUCH Sam Barouch IN HONOR OF DAUGHTER DELANEY’S BAT MITZVAH Aaron and Romy Weiss IN HONOR OF LYNN AND MATTHEW GOLDFARB Burt and Barbara Epstein IN HONOR OF THE MARRIAGE OF KATHERINE & BEMNET MORGAN Lisa and Stephen Schiffman IN MEMORY OF STEPHEN HIRSHON Arthur B. Wein Charitable Foundation Maria Glaser Barry Isenman and Margaret Gavigan John and Mary Teresa Gavigan Stan and Denise Levy Bradley C. McCurtain Marvin Silver and Laura Black George Weichun and Marsha Keskinen Irwin and Susan Singer IN MEMORY OF ARTHUR JACOBSON Irwin and Susan Singer IN MEMORY OF FRANCES KAY Allison and Rush Brown IN MEMORY OF JERRY ROBINOV Jacqueline Robinov IN MEMORY OF RUTH SATALOFF Allison and Rush Brown IN MEMORY OF SHAMSON & FANNIE SIVOVLOS John and Faye Gmeiner

IN HONOR OF IRWIN SINGER Ted Fleischaker and Ivan Howard TO KIDDUSH FUND Stanley and Doris Pollack Edward Schultz Deena Weinstein TO KIDDUSH FUND IN MEMORY OF BLANCHE & GEORGE SCHWARTZ Lisa Schwartz Schiffman IN MEMORY OF GERALD ROSEN Molly Cinamon and daughters Toby Rabold and Jane Corbman IN MEMORY OF JERRY SHERRY Irwin and Susan Singer Ted and Ivan

Remember that a donation to Etz Chaim in honour of a mitzvah, in memory of a loved one or for any other purpose both helps your shul, and is a great way to add recognition to an event. To donate, please contact Rabbi Gary Berenson at the address, e-mail or phone below. And thanks to those who have given their generous support!

Etz Chaim Synagogue 267 Congress St., Portland, Maine 04101 Phone (207) 773-2339 info@etzchaim-portland.org Bulletin Edited By: Ted Fleischaker & Ivan Howard

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Words The Kitchen From

This is that time of year when even my Grandma Gertrude would try and steer clear of the kitchen. Of course, Grandma had an un-air conditioned house built after World War I, which in Louisville, Kentucky, where every Summer is hot, hazy and humid, was pretty miserable in August. Grandma also spent some years in Central Illinois and Kansas --- neither known for cool Summers. So grandma used her oven only sparingly in the Summers. Alas, no roasts or comfort food like her legendary Winter meatloaf. Instead, we ate a lot of tuna salad, egg salad, hot dogs (which she got from Timperman’s Market or Charlie Simon’s Kosher Deli or Greenwald’s, all in her neighbourhood). Only occasionally would she turn on the broiler for a hamburger, or use the stovetop for some canned soup. But there was one thing that could be counted upon when the heat blazed outside: Grandma would go down to the “cool” basement, bring up a crock and we’d head for the old Louisville haymarket to get the “makins” for dill pickles. Grandma and her cousin, Theresa (pronounced “Tressah”) Fleischaker, would informally compete to see who made the most and best pickles. And I can say it was always a close, close contest. The above memory was sparked this hot, humid Summer here in Portland when husband Ivan came home one day to announce, “I am going to make dill pickles!” Grandma’s and Theresa’s were always “half done” and that made the memory even stronger as he said his would be half done, too. Sadly, try as I might, I have been unable to find a copy of the Grandma Gertrude recipe. I do have a crock just like hers (my sister got the original, but Ivan has one his Grandma Dora owned) so we had the vessel, just not the recipe. Enter what Theresa and Grandma Gertrude never had: The Internet. After a search, Ivan found his perfect recipe at https://www.perfectpickler.com/vegetable-fermentation-recipes/garlicky-dill-pickles-half-sour-pickles/ though he has made a few changes I’ll include. While it’s not quite what I recall Gertrude and Theresa’s Page 4

tasting exactly like, these look and are very close. I do, however, need to add that my husband LOVES garlic, so unlike grandma, who limited hers, or did not even use any, Ivan doubles the number of toes this recipe calls for, resulting in wonderful pickles, but with breath to remind everyone he’s enjoyed them! Stay clear at services!

With that windy prelude, here’s the recipe from PerfectPickler.com If you try them, think of Gertrude, Teresa and their world without air conditioning. Garlicky-Dill Pickles (Half Sour Pickles) Fresh brine, dill pickles, also known as “half sours,” because the pickling brine uses salt without boiling vinegar, are also known as “kosher dills.” Garlicky-Dill Pickles (Half Sour Pickles) are uncooked, and preserved by refrigeration. Rarely is there a source to buy these Old World masters. “Pickle” comes from the Dutch “pekel,” meaning to brine. Brine means a solution of water and salt. Prep Time: 15 mins Jar Size: 2 quarts Turn to the next page for a full ingredients list and the recipe Ivan uses or go to the web for the original.

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Ingredients (You may double or even triple the recipe as Ivan loves to do!) 2 lbs fresh pickling cucumbers 8 cloves, fresh garlic, whole or sliced 2 cups fresh dill (Whole Foods has it, but don’t use dried dill) ⅓ cup table salt 4 cups tap water Brine: 4 cups spring water + 2 Tbsp. Celtic Sea Salt® or other premium brand (Ivan uses Malden). Optional: 2 Tbs pickling spices (Here is just one blend you can make ahead: 1 tsp. each: mustard seed, celery seed, dill seed (not dill weed), coriander seed, and cracked peppercorns, crushed bay leaves). There are also many brands of “pickling spice” in supermarkets. Directions Dissolve table salt in 4 cups of tap water. Soak whole cucumbers in salt solution for 30 minutes (place a small saucer on top to keep submerged). Discard this brine. Rinse cucumbers and gently pack into jar. Smash garlic cloves, remove husks and add to jar. Rinse dill, crush lightly (roll with rolling pin) and add to jar. Make brine by dissolving salt in water (TIP: put room temperature water & salt into another jar, secure lid and shake vigorously). Pour brine over vegetables; gently wiggle jar to release all air bubbles. Continue filling until approximately ½ inch below the lip of the jar. Press brine overflow cup into jar until just level with jar rim. (TIP: you may want to do this with jar in your sink as some brine should spill over). Allow cup to float as you clean off veggie/seasoning debris from jar rim to ensure good seal. Twist on lid until just hand snug. Pour tap water into airlock to the max line and gently twist into lid. Place in cool location (68-74 degrees) and wait patiently for 4 days! Note: perfectpickler.com sells and offers all manner of devices and supplies, so if you don’t have it, or can’t find it locally, check their site. Imagine what Gertrude or Theresa would say if they knew! Oh, and for those with good memories, yes, we did have a speaker who gave a pickle-making demonstration at Etz Chaim’s Friday services a couple Winters ago. You’re in a pickle if you don’t get to services!

Do You Work For A Company Which Offers Matching Gifts? Many Businesses In The Portland Area Will Match Gifts Given To Non-Profit Organizations, Some Dollar-For-Dollar And Others More. Before You Donate To Etz Chaim, Check With Your Company’s HR Department And Ask If They Will Match To Make Your Donations Go Even Further!

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Etz Chaim Service Schedule

Everyone is welcome to join us for regular services held at Etz Chaim all year round... And now (ta-da!) we have Friday Kabbalat Shabbat services every week, too! Here’s the new weekly run-down: ­ Kabbalat Shabbat. — Before you head out or go home to take your shoes off & rest after a long week, stop by Etz Chaim this Friday evening at six for a 45-minute mostly English informal service to welcome the Shabbos. It’s the perfect way to get in the mood for this most holy day of the week. Note that our guest speaker service the 2nd Friday of each month at 7 p.m., is on break but will be back after Yom Kippur. We have some great guest speakers lined up, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, join us every Friday evening at six all Summer long, then head home for a great Shabbos dinner with the family! — Shabbat Morning — Saturdays at 9.30 we have a full Torah service all year long, followed by Portland’s best Kiddush lunch. Come and learn with us, then stay for a nosh. — Monday Evening we have Minyan at five all year long. Join in for a great end to the work day or to remember a friend or family member with Kaddish. We need ten or more, so stop in and be counted! Service lasts 30 minutes, so please join us this or any Monday. Regardless of which day or days you attend, we hope to see you soon at services!

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Words Our President

turns out that his own mother-in-law had been a passenger on the St. Louis under Captain Shroeder just a few months before the infamous 1939 voyage and had been safely brought from Germany to New York City.

I’ve been thinking recently about what an amazing set of resources resides within our congregation. Each of us has fascinating experiences, connections, relationships, and areas of knowledge that it would be great to share with the rest of us.

I was grateful to David for sharing this bit of personal history with the congregation. I suspect that each of us have similarly interesting stories. The more time we can spend together, the more we can each be enriched by our interactions with our fellow congregants.


This notion was reinforced a couple of Saturdays ago when I was listening to Rabbi Berenson’s d’var torah. He alluded to the notorious tale of the MS St. Louis. Most of us have heard about the incident: how the ship, carrying nearly 1000 Jewish refugees, left Nazi Germany in 1939, bound for Cuba. But Cuba refused entry, and no other nation would allow the Jews to disembark. Eventually, as Rabbi Berenson reminded us, the vessel was forced to return to Germany, where the passengers faced certain annihilation. I found myself nodding; I felt I knew this story of “the voyage of the damned,” which has become emblematic of the world’s indifference to the fate of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Starting this Summer, Etz Chaim is offering even more opportunities for involvement. We’re now holding Shabbat services every Friday at 6 p.m. The format will be similar to our regular monthly Friday night services but without a guest speaker. I hope you can join us, help make a minyan, and perhaps share some stories or fun facts. B’shalom,

— Marshall Tinkle

But one of the congregants in the back (David Handwerker, our stupendous shofar blower for the High Holidays) respectfully disagreed with our rabbi. Most of the Jews on the St. Louis survived, he said. What made him think so? Well, he had done careful research on the incident. The German captain, Gustav Schroeder, made heroic efforts to ensure that none of the passengers had to go back to Germany. Instead, he negotiated for the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Netherlands to accept all of the passengers. It’s estimated that over two-thirds of them ultimately survived the war. Captain Shroeder is honoured at Yad Vashem for courageously saving the Jews of the St. Louis. But how many people knew the real story other than David? And what led him to look into this history? It WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 7



Etz Chaim

Etz Chaim, formerly an Orthodox congregation, is now an egalitarian, unaffiliated synagogue enjoying a resurgence in membership. All are welcome to attend services on Monday Evenings, Friday Evenings and Saturday Mornings, and for special holidays, throughout the year. Lifecycle ceremonies such as bar/bas mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, baby namings, and vow renewals all take place here. Contact us if you would like us to host your special event. Etz Chaim is located in the Downtown Portland Historic District, on the peninsula at the foot of Munjoy Hill. The neighborhood housed so many Jewish families at the turn of the twentieth century, that it was commonly referred to as “Jerusalem of the North.� Established in 1921, Etz Chaim is celebrating its 97th year of continuous service to Jews in Greater Portland and beyond.

Maine Jewish Museum Current Exhibitions The Maine Jewish Invites First Friday Art Walk:Museum August 3, 2018, 5pm-8pmYou To Check Out Our CURRENT Exhibition: July 12 to August 31, 2018 exhibits!


Memories of WWII

Getting Wind of It

Spiegel Gallery

Third Floor Sanctuary Jessica Lantos, Curator

Fineberg Community Room

Nancy Glassman

Henry Pollard

Sam Gelber

Maine Jewish Museum

267 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 773-2339 Monday - Friday 10am-4pm + Sundays 1pm - 5pm or by appointment mainejewishmuseum.org Nancy Davidson, Curator

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Try Etz Chaim On Saturday!

We rush around all week long, so isn’t it time for a little break? Consider joining us Saturday morning for services, followed by the best oneg in Portland (Challah & Wine included). It all gets underway at 9.30 a.m., and we generally wrap up by 11.30, in time to enjoy some great friendship and food. Everyone’s invited, we have no dress code, plus it’s a great way to learn Torah, discuss Jewish topics with friends and to get a break from the work-a-day world. See you Saturday! WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 9

PLAN AHEAD FOR THE HIGH HOLY DAYS! Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Sunday, September 9th this year, and ends at sunset Tuesday the 11th. Etz Chaim will have services on Sunday night, as well as morning services both Monday and Tuesday. Watch our website or check the High Holy Days newsletter for information on times and guest speakers. All are welcome‌ NO Tickets required. Yom Kippur Begins at sunset on Tuesday, September 18th and ends at nightfall on Wednesday the 19th. Etz Chaim will have a Kol Nidre service on the 18th, and all-day services on the 19th, including a guest speaker. The day will conclude with a break-the-fast in our community room. Watch for information on times and speakers. All are welcome‌ NO Tickets required.

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Our very own art curator and Etz Chaim member, Nancy Davidson celebrated her 80th Birthday recently with a 100+ of her closest friends in the synagogue garden for a special tea. Along with a huge cake, a pair of wild socks (who knew?) Nancy received the special gift of a ticket to go with Rabbi Berenson and the shul tour to Israel next Spring, which was on her bucket list! Happy birthday young lady!

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Profile for EtzChaimSynagog

August 2018 Etz Chaim Synagogue Newsletter  

August 2018 Etz Chaim Synagogue Newsletter