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Volume 155, Number 9

Nisan/Iyar 5774

April 2014

Community-Wide Yom Hashoah Commemoration Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. We invite you to join us for a community Yom Hashoah commemoration taking place here at Congregation B’nai Israel. We will be joined by synagogues from Fairfield, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Westport, and Norwalk to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day. The evening will consist of two components:

who study and protect it, or those who would seek to distort its very existence? And finally, what is our responsibility once we know the truth? Learn more at www. (You do not need to stay for the film—you can just come for the service if you like.)

7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.: Yom Hashoah service: “Passing the Torch.” Join us as we come together in prayer and song to remember and pass on the stories of the Holocaust to the next generation to carry forward. Cantor Blum is organizing a community-wide adult choir that will sing at the Yom Hashoah 8:15 p.m.–9:45 p.m.: Screening of film The Soap Myth service. Anyone interested in joining the choir for the evening should contact Cantor Blum at 203More than a half century after World War II, at the 336-1858. desperate urging of a passionate survivor, a young investigative reporter finds herself caught between Please consider attending this special and notable numerous versions of the same story. Played out against event. the backdrop of deadline reporting and journalistic integrity, the critically acclaimed The Soap Myth by **If you need a ride to this program, please contact Jeff Cohen asks, Who has the right to write history: Rabbi Evan Schultz at 203-336-1858 or eschultz@ those people who have lived it and remember, those and he will try to arrange one for you.

One Temple! One Book!

Monday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Join us in discussing Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, the provocative new book about Israel about which many have been talking. Copies are available for purchase in the main office, while supplies last. The cost is $20.00.

Chag Sameach—Happy Passover!

Sincere Sympathy We extend our sympathy to the bereaved families of: Marion Koski, mother of Gene Koski Martin Goldfield Florence Preminger, mother of Richard Preminger Irene Correnti, mother of Melanie Kooris and sister of Sidney Fialk Florence Nabel David Engelson, grandfather of Scott Yurdin and Michael Feinstein

Interfaith Passover Seder with St. John’s Church of Bridgeport

Thursday, April 17, 7:00–9:30 p.m. Join us as we share and teach some highlights of the Passover Seder and learn from our Christian friends about the holiday of Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper. We will give a tour of the synagogue at 7:00 p.m. and begin the Seder at 7:30 p.m. Tapas-style snacks and Passover desserts will be served. Please contact Lynn Lynch at 203-336-1858 or for more information. We look forward to seeing you!

Welcome! Welcome! A warm welcome to our newest members. We look forward to their participation in our many programs and hope their affiliation will enrich not only their lives, but that of our congregation as well. Adam and Christine Schwartzstein, Jacob and Julia Mill Plain Road, Fairfield Nicole and Kevin Batson, Michael, Andrew, and Jacob South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield Sandy Friedman Charcoal Hill Common, Westport Larry and Gina Bliss, Lainie and Sadie Tahmore Drive, Fairfield

B’nai Israel Book Group Thursday, April 17 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Temple book lovers are invited to join an ongoing group. We meet in the temple library the third Thursday of every month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The next meeting will be on April 17. For more information, contact Sue Shane at 203-345-4539. We look forward to seeing you!


2710 Park Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06604 (203) 336-1858 The Bulletin of Congregation B’nai Israel is published every month except July. James Prosnit, D.D. .................................................................... Rabbi Evan Schultz ............................................................................... Rabbi Arnold I. Sher, D.D. ..................................................... Rabbi Emeritus Sheri E. Blum, D.M. ................................................................ Cantor Ramon Gilbert, D.M. ................................................ Cantor Emeritus Ira J. Wise, R.J.E. ............................................. Director of Education Robert H. Gillette, R.J.E. ....................................... Educator Emeritus Alexa Cohen .............................................. Early Childhood Director Abby Rohinsky ..................................................... Director of Facility Officers Mindy Siegel ......................................................................... President Samuel Rosenberg ....................................................1st Vice President Michael Blumenthal ...................................................... Vice President Shari Nerreau ................................................................ Vice President Richard Walden ............................................................ Vice President Lori Underberger .................................................................. Treasurer Lawrence Levine ................................................... Assistant Treasurer Julie Pressman ....................................................................... Secretary Donna Tauss .......................................................... Financial Secretary Mark A. Kirsch ............................................. Immediate Past President Affiliates Jim Greenberg ................................................. Brotherhood President Maddy Lippman & Elizabeth Maisel .............. BIFTY Co-Presidents

What’s happening at temple? Get Happenings, our weekly email! Send your request to

From the Rabbi’s Desk

Celebrating and Fostering Leadership—Professional and Lay The Jim Abraham Education Fund

One of my favorite “left side of the page” readings from our prayer book Mishkan T’filah was written by Paula Ackerman, a woman who some consider the first female rabbi in the United States. Although she was never ordained, she performed “rabbinical functions” in congregations in Mississippi and Florida in the middle of the last century. (In 1972, Sally Priesand was the first woman to be formally ordained.) The quote from Paula Ackerman speaks about the need to create an inspired and informed Jewish leadership—not only rabbinic, but also lay. She wrote, “We need Jews more conversant with the thought and teaching of Judaism, to whom Judaism is no cold remote theology and Hebrew learning a matter of mystical ignorance…. We need a reassertion of faith and a reawakening of interest in a cultural heritage that is all too rapidly being relegated to the exclusive possession of graduates of rabbinical seminaries.” Her concern expressed decades ago is still a concern today. While fostering identity and positive relationships is a prime focus of the education we provide at B’nai Israel, a central goal of our Religious School and Adult Learning courses is also to raise the bar on what Jews know. We strive to cultivate future Jewish leaders (adults and children) with a solid understanding of Jewish traditions and thought, because we believe that those are tools necessary to respond to a rapidly changing Jewish community. Clearly one does not need to be a rabbi or cantor to live an educated Jewish life or to lead and inspire others.

your Jewish learning to the next level.” Over the past decade or so, through the generosity of our FieldsNussbaum Fund we have been able to give stipends to dozens of our college students who have taken courses in Jewish Studies. In addition, the Gillette Fund and the Bifty Scholarship Fund have helped provide camping and Israel opportunities for worthy teens. This year we’re able to add an additional opportunity to the mix. We’re pleased to announce the Jim Abraham Education Fund for Jewish Leadership. It’s a unique opportunity established through the generosity of Barbara Abraham and many of Jim’s friends and will help create a cadre of “Jim Abraham fellows.” Such leadership grants will be used to support and encourage young adults who display significant interest and seriousness in their approach to Jewish values and education. Through the program, we’ll be able to send some high school and college students, as well as those in their twenties, to leadership academies, conferences, song leading institutes, and Israel programs of academic merit that are committed to the perpetuation of liberal Jewish values. We’re on the lookout for worthy recipients and worthy programs.

Rabbi Ethan and Cantor Alison

And while we’re hoping to cultivate Jewish leaders who will not necessarily become rabbis and cantors, we still take pride in the achievements of those native sons and daughters who are going on to lead the Jewish people in professional ways.

Join us at Shabbat Services on Friday, April 18, when our prayer leaders will be soon-to-be Rabbi Ethan Prosnit and soon-to-be Cantor Alison Lopatin (daughter of Richard and Gail). Both Ethan and Alison will be ordained from Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion. It will be an opportunity Aside from the “in-house” offerings and verbal for them to say thank you for scholarships that encouragement, we’ve also been blessed to be able to the Fields-Nussbaum Fund provided them and an offer some financial assistance to students who wish to opportunity for us to celebrate two future leaders of enhance their Jewish knowledge and learning in other Reform Judaism! venues. Such scholarships have helped some pursue careers as Jewish professionals, and others have simply Rabbi James Prosnit been a way for us to say “we love that you are taking B’nai Israel will host a very special Yom Hashoah observance—see the front cover for information.


News From B’nai Israel

Brotherhood News

Pesach is nearly upon us, so that means we can all look forward to the annual Brotherhood Matzo Brie Breakfast on Saturday, April 19 at 9:00 a.m.! Two services will take place that morning: the regular 8:00 a.m. service and the new “Third Service” at 9:45 a.m., so feel free to attend either one and enjoy the breakfast either before or after.

Also, if you are not a member and wish to join Brotherhood, please feel free to send a $40.00 check made out to B’nai Israel Brotherhood to:

Our 8:00 a.m. Shabbat morning service is a treasured part of B’nai Israel, known for its spirituality, camaraderie, and informality. It is a great combination. If you are looking for a way to get more involved in synagogue life, perhaps attending the Shabbat morning service is the perfect place to start…of course followed by our weekly Brotherhood Breakfast. Everyone is welcome! If you are interested, and would like to talk about it beforehand, feel free to contact me anytime at the e-mail address below.

We thank all of our members for their continuing support.

B’nai Israel Brotherhood 2710 Park Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06604

L’shalom, Jim Greenberg, Brotherhood President

Spring Empty Nester Outing! Come visit Connecticut’s Capitol City with us on Sunday, April 6 Tour the oldest public art museum in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford. View a superb collection of contemporary, European, American/Hudson River School, and decorative arts. Join us for a private docent tour from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at a cost of $7.00 per person. There will be time before and after the tour to visit the outstanding gift shop and visit other exhibits.

We’ll follow up the tour with dinner at one of the hottest, upbeat, and eclectic restaurants in Hartford, Trumbull Kitchen (part of the famous Max Restaurant Group). Dinner fee will be divided among the attendees. For reviews of Trumbull Kitchen and more, go to www. For directions and more information on the Wadsworth, go to We hope you’ll join us! Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, April 6. RSVP to Marcia Falk at by March 28.

Adult Roundtable April 3 and the first Thursday of each month, at 12:30 p.m. This group holds a discussion about current events for anyone who wants to go deeper than the deadlines and enjoys expressing their own opinions and hearing those of others. Facilitated by Gloria Katz. Join us on the first Thursday of each month and bring a sandwich, your opinion, and an open mind.


Items of the month: instant hot and cold cereals

From Rabbi Schultz

Finding Time for Jewish Spirituality—in Your Automobile?

For many of us, our car is our sanctuary. Some of us spend hours a day in the car, either commuting to work or driving around town on various errands, pickups, dropoffs, or 12-hour trips to North Dakota to see grandma. Some of us are primarily alone in our cars, while others drive with others, either adults or kids of various ages. My oldest child already tries to dictate what we listen to in the car (I really thought that didn’t happen until they were older, but we have listened to “Puff the Magic Dragon” at least 50 times this week), but I still manage to get in a little bit of NPR or my favorite CD when Koby isn’t paying attention. However, on Fridays at 5:00 p.m., on my way back to synagogue for services, I always try to listen to some of my favorite Jewish recordings. It helps bring me to the right space to enter into Shabbat.

So, first offer: I’m happy to chat with anyone reading this and help craft a CD with some beautiful prayer melodies for you to listen to in the car either on your own or with your families or friends. Second offer: If you want to see what’s out there, some fantastic musicians have put together CDs with both weekday prayer melodies and Shabbat prayer melodies. Here are a few of my favorites:

• Dan Nichols: Kol HaShabbat, Voice of the Sabbath Acoustic guitar and band, many prayers from the Friday night liturgy. • Noam Katz: Drum in Hand Many of the morning psalms, all using the hand drum and African beats. • Debbie Friedman: As You Go On Your Way: Shacharit—The Morning Prayers Classic Debbie Friedman, always a wonderful way to start the morning. Recently I spoke with a congregant who commutes an • Noah Aronson: I Am Awake hour each day for work, and she mentioned that she Soulful singer Noah Aronson is a young prodigy. We wanted to try praying just a little bit every morning. now sing his Barchu in services. “Are there any CDs with the morning service?” she asked me. While there are some great ones out there, All of these CDs can be downloaded at www.oysongs. I responded that we could chat more about what she com or found on iTunes. was looking for and craft a CD for her with melodies that she would like on the way to work in the morning. I really enjoyed the experience of creating the CD, and this congregant now has an opportunity for Jewish prayer for a little while she’s in the car on the way to work. I made a copy of the CD for myself, and now I listen to it in the car with Koby as well (when he doesn’t scream for “Puff the Magic Dragon”). It is a Enjoy this opportunity to transform your car into a nice way, if you can’t make it to prayer services on Jewish prayer space for a little while each week! Friday or Saturday (which of course we hope that you will!), to pause and connect and give thanks for the Rabbi Evan Schultz day that was and will be.

Happy Passover!


From the Early Childhood Education Center

Why Do Synagogues Need Preschool? Recently one of my colleagues at a Reform synagogue that shall remain nameless asked for some help answering a question that seems to “rear its ugly head every single year” from the Board of Directors: “Why do we need a preschool?” Her first thoughts brought her to the obvious reasons of connecting families early to each other and to our temple community, to help them form a strong Jewish individual and family identity, to nurture the relationship with our clergy, to participate in events,  to become active in the community,  and to further educate their own families—but what else? This director posed the question to the rest of the early childhood education/Reform Judaism community. How would we answer? Some responses appear below: “How about because the community is commanded to educate its children in the Torah? Now, I am not a Torah scholar, but that’s what I learned growing up and continue to hear from clergy.”

necessary value (and maybe indirectly combat antiSemitism.... or plain ignorance).” “I think the idea of using Mark Rosen’s research is a great one. I heard him present some of his research last summer and basically this is what I got out of it: When parents have young children, it is a window of opportunity—a small one. This is the time that their lives are changing, and they are open and looking to make connections with other people with young children. They will go somewhere, and often they will go to the place that gets them first and that is where they will stay. If an interfaith family calls a church and a synagogue and the church responds before the synagogue, they’ll go to the church. Where I live, it does not have to be an interfaith family. When the JCC closed the preschool, most of the families, including Jewish ones, went to a nearby church.” “Ron Wolfson’s book “Relational Judaism” could be helpful. He writes that we need to move away from transactional Judaism. We have to start realizing that getting Jewish families involved with other Jews is good for the Jewish people. Even if they don’t join Jewish organizations at this time, they might later.” 

“Also, not in a Jewish framework but in an early “And how about education is the key to Jewish survival. childhood and economic framework, James Heckman Wow, what a question!!” may be helpful. He is a Nobel Prize–winning economist who says that if we want to get the country out of debt “How about: the young families and their children are we need to invest in early childhood education. Great the future leaders of our congregation, if we nurture stuff.” them. Otherwise if we miss the entry point into our synagogues, rarely do we get the chance to reach out I feel very lucky to have the support of the B’nai again. Young families need us as their entry point.” Israel Board of Directors as well as the staff here for our preschool. As our school grows, so does their “I also think that there’s another important value. In commitment to provide high-quality Jewish early our area, the Jewish community is spread out, there’s childhood education. From the maintenance staff, no “Jewish neighborhood.” We always have non-Jewish who keep our school safe and clean, to the clergy, who families in our program (about 15%), even children of enrich the children with Jewish knowledge through clergy of other faiths, and thus I think that it has helped stories and songs, to the education and administrative us build an excellent reputation within the greater staff, who make room for all our varied programming community. It is not only the Jewish community that throughout the building, the ECEC is proud to be an we serve, but the whole community, by demonstrating important part of the B’nai Israel family. the need to value children and families in our society. Our early childhood programs can exemplify a very Alexa Cohen, Director


Items of the month: instant hot and cold cereals

From the Education Center

Teach for the Jewish People In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” That led to many initiatives, including the Peace Corps. Teach for America could be seen as the grandchild of that thought from 53 years ago.

And religious school is still the place where 90% of all American Jewish children get most of their formal learning. And when we do it right, it is fabulous. • At the end of the day, real learning involves motivated learners, an engaging teacher, and words of Torah. Technology is a wonderful tool for making that happen, but it is not a replacement.

Teach for America ( is a pretty interesting organization. They “recruit a diverse group of leaders with a record of achievement who work to expand educational opportunity, starting by teaching for two years in a low-income community… [and] provide intensive training, support, and career development that helps these leaders increase their impact and deepen their understanding of what it takes to eliminate educational inequity.” The idea is that they are calling upon all of us to take responsibility for making sure all children have a chance to learn. The goals are noble.

Our school is changing. Over the past two decades we have made serious commitments to inclusion, experiential learning, and an integrated (Hebrew and Jewish Studies) curriculum, and we are beginning to take on technology as an important point of contact with learners.

I want to invite you—again—to consider something similar. I want you think about teaching for the Jewish people. And you don’t have to travel far to do it, like in the Peace Corps. A lot has been written about the fate of synagogues and religious schools. Since the Pew report came out earlier this year, the blogosphere has been on fire about the tenuous future of the Jewish people. Here’s what I think I know: • Synagogues and schools will change to meet the needs of their communities. They always have, they always will. • There is not, and has never been, one best way to transmit Jewish knowledge, commitment, and connection to the next generation. Every one of our kids is different from one another, and we cannot manufacture Jewish adults as if they are widgets on an assembly line. We need to reach each one where he or she is. • Jewish early childhood education is superb. Jewish day schools offer a lot. Jewish summer camps are awesome. Group trips to Israel are unbelievable. Adult Jewish learning is critical.

Our school is a community. And it is part of the community of our congregation. Currently 95% of our Religious School teachers are members of B’nai Israel. I am proud of this because it adds a lot of value when our students see their teachers at services or temple functions. And I cannot measure the value of hearing one student say to another (as I have more than twice!), “Evan it is so cool that your dad is my teacher!” We welcome professionally trained teachers. But I am also looking for adults in our congregation who are passionate about being Jewish and passing that passion on. I am looking for members who like kids and are able to listen to as well as to speak with them. We can help you develop teaching skills. We can help you learn the content. We are looking for folks who have Hebrew skills as well as those who don’t. And we are looking for occasional substitutes as well as teachers willing to commit for a whole year. Ask not what your synagogue and the Jewish people can do for you—hopefully you know that already—ask what you can do for the Jewish people and your synagogue. Teach for the Jewish people. L’shalom, Ira J. Wise, Director of Education

B’nai Israel will host a very special Yom Hashoah observance—see the front cover for information.


B’nai Israel Gala Is May 22-Please Join Us! Jon and Cleo Sonneborn—Four Decades of Worship, Time, Energy, and Support

grown in the same period.

Temple members for nearly four decades, Jon and Cleo Sonneborn of Easton say the B’nai Israel community has allowed them each to grow in different ways—perhaps, in fact, just as much as their three children (Sam, Jon Leo, and Jessica) have

“When we were younger, the family retreats at Camp Eisner were particularly meaningful. I loved the focused themes of each and the chance to mix and get to know new friends, many of whom have become old friends,” says Jon. “Now the most meaningful Jewish event is my Shabbat celebration with Cleo each week. We often attend 6:00 services on Friday night followed by dinner with various friends,” he adds. Both Jon and Cleo are former B’nai Israel Board of Trustees members and frequently enjoy educational and social events at temple. “We joined B’nai Israel in 1976 at a time when we were starting to think about religious school education for our young children. As with most things Jewish in our life, Cleo was the driving force here. I was brought up in a ‘classic’ reform Jewish family. Our involvement with religion was going to High Holiday services at a synagogue where services were held in a huge rented hall in White Plains,

and where we sat as far away from the bema as possible. That, plus going into New York for the Passover Seder at my grandparents, was it,” Jon says. An avid cyclist and walker, today he makes time to explore spirituality. “Every year on Yom Kippur, I walk to services from Easton. It takes all morning. It has come to be a very special time for me to reflect on where I am. Every year I try to take a slightly different slant in my focused inner exercises.” For Cleo, a Jew by choice, B’nai Israel has been the place that shaped her view of Judaism. “As a convert, I had limited experience in Jewish life, so my sense of Jewishness has grown and changed. I continue to question and assess my political, practical, and emotional connections to Judaism on a regular basis. My sense of Judaism doesn’t follow some imaginary continuum of weaker to stronger (or stronger to weaker); rather, it fluctuates, waxes, and wanes. My sense of Jewishness isn’t a destination, but very much a journey!” The community aspect of B’nai Israel is a complement to the spiritual peace Cleo finds. “I love the anticipation of entering the building, knowing that I will see so many friends and familiar faces. I love the smiles and greetings. Worship services are a respite, a chance to let down, shake off the thoughts and cares of the week.” Her advice to new members: “Get involved! Attend services, educational talks, join a havura. Do whatever interests you, but try something. Or start something!”

Amy and Glenn Rich—A Synagogue Shopping Trip Stopped at B’nai Israel and Never Left For Amy and Glenn Rich of Trumbull, a “synagogue shopping trip” conducted after they arrived in Connecticut in 1995 quickly led them to join B’nai Israel and to an active temple leadership role for Amy almost from the start. “I remember Glenn and I were walking out of the JCCS after hearing Rabbi Prosnit speak at an event. I knew we needed to check out that guy’s temple,” says Amy. A Board of Trustees member, past president of the congregation, and active participant in several area Jewish organizations,

Amy came from a Conservative environment and was refreshed by Reform Judaism’s inclusive nature. “Because I became a Bat Mitzvah in a Conservative congregation at a time when girls did not chant Torah, the cantillation class I took with Cantor Blum a few years ago became a memorable experience. The ‘final exam’ for the class was chanting at an 8:00 a.m. service. As I started chanting, I felt my grandfather’s spirit watching and smiling over my shoulder. Learning cantillation gave me a new connection to Judaism and a new and very meaningful way to participate in services,” says Amy. “My parents gave me the gift of a great Jewish foundation, but my years at B’nai Israel have allowed me to make it more personal and meaningful,” she adds. Continued on page 9


Happy Passover!

Adult Jewish Learning at Congregation B’nai Israel What Phase of the Moon Are You In? Rosh Chodesh—Women’s Group With Rabbi Suri Krieger Thursdays, April 3 and May 8 at 7:30 p.m. The waxing and waning of lunar cycles has been a guiding force for women throughout the ages, both literally and spiritually. Since the Jewish feminist movement reclaimed Rosh Chodesh in the 1970s, women have been gathering on a monthly basis to acknowledge and celebrate. The form of this celebration has taken on many faces...ancient text, contemporary outreach, food, and fantasy. Sunday Morning Forums: Health and Wellness at B’nai Israel Bright Pink Invites You to a Brighten UpTM Educational Workshop Sunday, April 6 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Join us for a one-of-a-kind educational workshop that educates men and women on the basics of breast and ovarian health, provides concrete strategies for living a proactive lifestyle, and offers tools to assess your personal risk for these diseases.

The workshop will be held in the Pavilion at B’nai Israel. RSVP to Rabbi Evan Schultz at 203-336-1858 or ESchultz@ For more information on Bright Pink, go to Please join us for this continuing series

on health and wellness here at B’nai Israel. All are invited to attend these communal meet-ups! Free babysitting will be available—RSVP to Rabbi Schultz at 203-336-1858 or if you would like a babysitter. The Future of Judaism? Monday Midrasha, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. Our congregation was founded 155 years ago and was structured to meet the needs of Bridgeport’s Jews just before the Civil War (or for our Southern-born members, the War Between the States). B’nai Israel has evolved and reinvented itself many times over since then. Each generation sees the world differently and finds its own ways to seek connection, spirituality, and community. Let’s have a frank conversation about what we and our children will need to fulfill us Jewishly in the 21st century. With Ira Wise. Jews Under Islam Part II: Maimonides, Egypt, and the Crusades Lifelong Learning, Fridays April 11, 18, and 25 at noon Our next stop through history will be a closer look at the life, times, and ideas of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known alternately as Rambam or Maimonides. There is an old saying: “From Moses (the guy in Exodus) to Moses (Rambam) there was no one like Moses.” His teaching and leadership did much to set the course for the Jewish people, and his impact is still felt today. Join Ira Wise in unpacking what Maimonides has to teach us today.

Amy and Glenn Rich—A Synagogue Shopping Trip Stopped at B’nai Israel and Never Left Continued from page 8

For Glenn, attending a relaxing Friday night service together with Amy has become very important. “I look forward after a long hard week to the familiar services. I relax in the warm atmosphere of the service and the chance to spend Shabbat with good friends,” Glenn says. “I have also found many of the Friday night lectures after services to be very rewarding. Rabbi Norman Cohen’s recent discussion on hineni and Torah was the most moving and really hit home. It was a great example of how Torah can truly relate to our lives.”

Although Glenn was raised as a Jew, he says he had no Jewish knowledge or sense of identity until much later in life. “I have changed over the years from a cultural Jew to someone who now has a strong Jewish identity,” said Glenn. Amy and Glenn have two children: Mollie, who has begun college, and Alex, who is now in graduate school. What’s Glenn’s advice for new families that join the temple? “This is a welcoming community. It’s a great place for kids to build a Jewish identity. B’nai Israel can be a part of your extended family.”

Items of the month: instant hot and cold cereals


Donations Please note that only contributions of $10.00 or more will be acknowledged with a card and Bulletin listing. Rabbi Prosnit Discretionary Fund Jon and Diana August in appreciation. Elaine and Juda Chetrit and family in memory of Eli Teller. Andrea and Dan Chusid in appreciation for the baby naming of our daughter, Sophie. Phyllis Feld in appreciation to Lisa Knicos. Muriel Mann in memory of husband, Herbert Mann; in memory of mother, Mary Zamelsky Plotkin; in memory of father, Barnet Plotkin. Barbara and Gilbert Saltman in celebration of temple artists. Rachel and Paul Schwartz in honor of the naming service of granddaughter, Sophie Tova Chusid, and with appreciation of Rabbi Prosnit. Miriam Spero in memory of beloved husband, Robert Spero. Marc and Maggie Walowitz in honor of the engagement of Jaclyn Siegel to Asher Epstein. Dr. Norman and Marilyn Weinstein in memory of Dr. Stuart Jacobson’s mother. Howard Weisman and Nina Silberman in memory of Beverly Weiss, mother of Michael Weiss; in memory of Phyllis Weisblatt, mother of Adam Weisblatt. The Yaffie family in loving memory of our mother, grandmother, and greatgrandmother, Mildred Skydel Seigel. Rabbi Schultz Discretionary Fund Anne Tranquilli-Bausher and Benjamin Bausher in appreciation to Rabbi Schultz. Jennifer and Larry Klein in appreciation of Sam’s Bar Mitzvah. Patti and Samuel Rosenberg in appreciation of Rabbi Schultz. Music Fund Mel and Jacque Garelick in honor of Cantor Blum’s 20th anniversary. Joni and Michael Greenspan in honor of Bill Greenspan’s special birthday. Ruth and Eric Gross in memory of Marion Koski, mother of Gene Koski. Jennifer and Larry Klein in appreciation of Sam’s Bar Mitzvah.


Enhancement Fund Mark and Barbara Edinberg in honor of the engagement of Jessica Sonneborn to Chris Maltauro. Michael and Joni Greenspan in honor of Sidney Greenspan, father of Michael Greenspan. Bernard Levine in memory of father, Herman Levine. Florence Nabel in memory of brothers, Jacob and Lionel Nabel. Judy and David Pressler in support of Ellen Kadden. Bernice Rosch in memory of my dear father, Harry Miller. Richard and Becky Rosen in memory of Marion Koski, mother of Gene Koski. Bruce and Lori Skyer in memory of Florence Preminger, mother of Richard Preminger. Sylvia Prosnit Adult Education Fund George and Chris Markley in loving memory of Irene Correnti, mother of Melanie Kooris and sister of Sidney Fialk. Nursery School Scholarship Fund Stacy and Rob Giglietti in memory of David Engelson, grandfather of Michael Feinstein. Religious School Enrichment Fund Amy and Glenn Rich in memory of Florence Preminger, mother of Richard Preminger. Rabbi Arnold Sher Social Action Fund Audrey Bernstein in memory of mother, Julia Mellen. Ilse Levi in memory of beloved sister, Betty May. Evelyn Locke, Paul, Jessica, Andra, Fred, and families in memory of Marjorie Olschan. Jan and Denny Magid in honor of Joshua Bloch’s high school graduation. Beth and Randy Reich in honor of Ellen Cohen, with thanks and appreciation.

Vision Loan Reduction Fund Michael Rosenberg in honor of Samuel Rosenberg’s birthday. Patti and Samuel Rosenberg in honor of Ros Gordon’s birthday and Torah reading. Jim Abraham Education Fund for Jewish Leadership Samuel Miller in memory of mother, Zelda Miller. Jonathan Sonneborn in memory of grandfather, Leo Sonneborn. MAZON Myrna Kaufman in memory of mother, Florence Newman. Prayer Book Fund John and Ronnie Dubrowin—a donation. Judith and Stanley Lessler in memory of Claire Lessler Alpert. Alan H. Weinstein Scholarship Fund Joni and Michael Greenspan in memory of Phyllis Greenspan. Gillette Judaic Enrichment Fund Marsha and Bob Gillette in memory of Harriet Miller, wife of Samuel Miller. Judith Brav Sher Family Education Fund Elaine and Juda Chetrit in memory of Florence Preminger, mother of Richard Preminger. Arnold and Doris Tower Fund Jane and Bob Hillman in honor of Steve and Ellen Tower, with sincere thanks for being such wonderful friends. Evelyn Locke and family in memory of Bernard Gerber, father of Janice Jacobs. David and Lee Lester Kesher Project Evelyn, Jessica, Andra, and Fred Locke and families in memory of David Simley.

What’s happening at temple? Get Happenings, our weekly email! Send your request to

SHABBAT SERVICE SCHEDULE (Fridays at 6:00 p.m. where indicated, preceded by an Oneg Shabbat at 5:30 p.m.)

Friday, April 4 5:30 p.m. Mishpacha Shabbat 6:00 p.m. Service Torah Portion – M’tzora, Lev. 14:1-15:33 Haftarah – II Kings 7:3-20

Friday, April 18 6:00 p.m. Service —service leaders will be Rabbi Ethan Prosnit and Cantor Alison Lopatin Torah Portion – Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach, Exod. 33:12-34:26 Haftarah – Ezekiel 37:1-14

Saturday, April 5 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Torah Study 9:30 a.m. Young Families Havurah 11:00 a.m. Bar Mitzvah of Ethan Rodier, son of Steven and Roni Rodier

Saturday, April 19 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Torah Study 9:30 a.m. Young Families Havurah 9:45 a.m. Service (Third T’filah) [please note special time!] Friday, April 25 6:00 p.m. Service with the Junior Choir Torah Portion – K’doshim, Lev. 19:1-20:27 Haftarah – Amos 9:7-15

Friday, April 11 6:00 p.m. Service Torah Portion – Acharei Mot, Lev. 16:1-18:30 Haftarah – Malachi 3:4-24 Saturday, April 12 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Torah Study 9:30 a.m. Young Families Havurah 11:00 a.m. Bar Mitzvah of Jacob Kapteina, son of Jennifer and Christopher Kapteina

Saturday, April 26 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:30 a.m. Torah Study 9:30 a.m. Young Families Havurah 11:00 a.m. Bar Mitzvah of Jason Dachman, son of Gary and Jill Dachman

TLC/Temple Loving Care at B’nai Israel The Union for Reform Judaism Web site has an insightful article that I wanted to pass on to you. The link for the entire article is &item_id=82566. Here is the beginning section:

the warm, caring embrace of a community that celebrated and acknowledged your new child or new job and mourned the loss of your health, or your child’s divorce. So whether the committee’s name is Mitzvah Corps, or Beth Tikvah Caring, or Helping Hands, its existence is an asset that supports synagogue involvement.

Why a Caring Committee Is Worthwhile by Harriet Rosen, co-author of Becoming a Kehillat Chesed Wishing everyone good health and great Whatever its name, synagogues with strong, vibrant Passover seders! Caring Committees prosper. Members reach out to Liz Nigrosh, 203-268-9044 or congregants to rejoice, support, and mourn life’s major milestones and its smaller ones.  These committees are membership retention centers. It’s hard to leave

B’nai Israel will host a very special Yom Hashoah observance—see the front cover for information.


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B’nai Israel will host a very special Yom Hashoah observance—see the front cover for information.


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Merkaz 8th Grade Information Session Tuesday, April 1, 7:15 p.m., Rodeph Sholom Merkaz Community High School for Judaic Studies will be holding its annual 8th Grade Information Session on Tuesday, April 1 at 7:15 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 2385 Park Avenue, Bridgeport. All Jewish 8th graders and their parents from Eastern Fairfield County are invited to hear about Merkaz from the students who are a part of it!

Students who have recently moved to the area, or are in grades 9–12 and interested in joining Merkaz, are also encouraged to attend. For more information and to be placed on our mailing list for registration information, contact Marjorie Krubiner, director, at 203-450-5303 or, or Margery Verlezza, program manager, at

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Temple Bulletin, April 2014  
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