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Volume 153, Number 6

Tevet/Shevat 5772

January 2012

Celebrate Shabbat Shira with Special Guests Kol B’Seder Temple Israel & Congregation B’nai Israel’s Combined Adult and Junior Choirs

Friday, February 3, 7:00 p.m. Shabbat Shira 5772 - A Shabbat of Song Celebrating 40 years of music from Rabbi Dan Freelander and Cantor Jeff Klepper as Kol B’Seder, and remembering the legacy of spirituality and music from Debbie Friedman. Kol B’Seder’s and Debbie’s melodies are woven into the fabric of American synagogue music. Join us at Temple Israel of Westport. Shabbat Shira 5772 will be a memorable experience! For information, contact Temple Israel at 203-227-1293 or Congregation B’nai Israel at 203-336-1858.


Welcome! Welcome! A warm welcome to our newest members. We look forward to their participation in our many programs and hope their affiliation will not only enrich their lives, but that of our congregation. Carlo and Susan DeMaio, Jacqueline and Nicholas Kings Highway East, Fairfield

Sincere Sympathy

We extend our sympathy to the bereaved families of:

Sherman Small, father of Lynne Paushter Muriel Sofian, mother of Lisa Hurlbert Philip Meshberg, father of Emil and Sam Meshberg Bob Derwallis, father of Tim Derwallis Harvey Fried, father of Lisa Verchin Leo Kestenbaum, father of Joshua Kestenbaum Harold Green, father of Lewis Green

Sharing Our Joy Congratulations to Dianne and Lou Landman on the engagement of their son, Adam, to Melissa Rosensweig. Congratulations to Nicole Wilson-Spiro and Michael Spiro on the birth of their son, Noam, born November 17.

In This Issue From the Rabbi’s Desk ............................................. 3 Young Families Havurah ........................................... 4 From Rabbi Gurevitz ............................................... 5 Early Childhood Center ........................................... 6 Family Education ...................................................... 6 From the Education Center ...................................... 7 Volunteer Spotlight ................................................. 8 Adult Jewish Education ........................................... 9 Donations ........................................................... 10-11 High Holy Days Appeal ........................................ 11 Shabbat ....................................................... back cover

James Prosnit, D.D. .................................................................... Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz, Ph.D. .............................................................. 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 Elaine Chetrit ...................................... Director of Family Education Alexa Cohen .............................................. Early Childhood Director Abby Rohinsky ..................................................... Director of Facility Matthew Rosen ............................................................. Youth Advisor Officers Mark A. Kirsch ..................................................................... President Mindy Siegel ........................................................... 1st Vice President Shari Nerreau ................................................................ Vice President Samuel Rosenberg ........................................................ Vice President Richard Walden ............................................................ Vice President Michael Blumenthal ............................................................. Treasurer Stuart Horowitz ..................................................... Assistant Treasurer Julie Pressman ...................................................................... Secretary Kelly Reznikoff ................................................... Financial Secretary Amy Rich .................................................... Immediate Past President Affiliates Jim Greenberg ................................................. Brotherhood President Molly Blumenthal & Michael Kalmans ........... BIFTY Co-Presidents

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What’s happening at temple? Get Happenings, our weekly email! Send your request to lynn@congregationbnaiisrael.org!


From the Rabbi’s Desk

Inviting Someone We Love to Become a Jew A similar article in 1998 attracted much attention and several interested congregants. How do we, or should we, invite someone we love to become a Jew? As a Jewish partner, as an in-law, as a rabbi, as a synagogue— how encouraging of conversion should we be? Let me begin by stating that we have long been committed to “outreach” to interfaith couples, and we will remain so. As a congregation we have been enriched by those mixed-marrieds who have found their way to our door. I trust that all of our interfaith couples would say that they have found a welcome home here at B’nai Israel. I can assure them that none of that will change. At the same time, I wonder, have we been so successful in making the non-Jewish partner feel welcome in the temple that we’ve actually put up barriers to conversion? Have we inadvertently sent the message to those who are searching that conversion to Judaism is not necessary, because there’s little a non-Jew can’t do in the synagogue anyway? I believe that some (perhaps a small percentage, but nonetheless some) of the non-Jews now connected to B’nai Israel would consider choosing Judaism if the question or the opportunity were presented in an honest and straightforward manner.

Hence this month’s column. Jews have long been squeamish about proselytizing. Perhaps it is our long history of being the target of missionary zeal that has led us away from the pursuit. If, however, we believe that our faith and tradition are meaningful and life-enhancing, then why should we not want to share them? Jewish partners tell me, “I don’t want to pressure her” or “I could never convert so it would be unfair for me to ask him.” There are certainly times and relationships when that is so. But an invitation to consider is not pressure or coercion. Sometimes it is the Jewish partner’s ambivalence with his or her Judaism that is the primary obstacle to a non-Jew’s conversion. Relationships are built on challenging one another to consider avenues of growth and change. For some individuals and some families, the choice of Judaism may be a vital and important step. As the secular year begins, let me extend an invitation to anyone who would like to discuss this further. Both Rabbi Gurevitz and I would welcome the chance to listen to your concerns and questions. If several people express interest, then we would like to begin some form of an introduction to Judaism informational class. We would be honored and happy to talk to anyone about pathways to the richness of living a Jewish life. Rabbi James Prosnit

B’nai Israel Connects With CONECT Picture a room filled with at least 1,000 people of every conceivable faith tradition—Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Pentecostals—old and young and every age in between, of all colors and backgrounds and political persuasions, all gathered together with one purpose: to make Connecticut a better place to live. Unlikely? Impossible? Perhaps, but that is precisely what happened on the evening of November 30, when more than 1,300 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on the East Side of Bridgeport to create a brand-new organization called CONECT: Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut. CONECT is a nonpartisan, multifaith organization of more than 25 diverse congregations throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties, which have organized as one community to effect change in the areas of social and economic justice and policies for the common good. We can take pride in the fact that B’nai Israel is one of the three synagogues that are founding members of CONECT, as are Congregation Beth El of Fairfield and Temple Israel of Westport. CONECT’s Founding Assembly on November 30 was attended by large delegations from each of the founding organizations, including 26 members of B’nai Israel, as well as observers from

other congregations that are contemplating joining this exciting coalition. Also in attendance were numerous dignitaries, including Governor Dan Malloy, State Treasurer Denise Nappier, State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. Their presence reflects a recognition that this new organization has the potential to exert significant power and to effect meaningful changes. The organization has been in formation for the past two years, during which clergy from the various member congregations, including our own Rabbi Prosnit, have engaged in a lengthy and careful planning process. Now that the organization has been officially launched, it will begin tackling some of the issues on its agenda, including issues relating to affordable health care and insurance, educational equity for all students in Connecticut, and predatory lending and banking practices. We will continue to keep the B’nai Israel congregation informed of the work and accomplishments of CONECT in the months and years ahead. George Markley Want to know more about CONECT? Check out its web site at http://www.weconect.org/.

Food of the Month: peanut butter and jelly

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Mazel tov to Rabbi Nicole Wilson-Spiro and husband Michael Spiro on the birth of their son, Noam, who joins their family to much joy. Welcome Noam! From the Young Families Havurah This month we begin reading the second book of the Torah, known as Exodus or, in Hebrew, Shemot. Exodus, which literally means “journey out” in Greek, better summarizes the book, which focuses on Israel’s famous departure from Egypt. The title Shemot, which means “names,” is taken from the second word of the book. The Hebrew custom of entitling each book of the Torah by its first or second word, however arbitrary, demonstrates the Jewish approach to Torah in which each word, even each letter, evokes a world of significance. What is the import, then, of labeling this book “Names”?     

for himself.” The Israeli poet Zelda alluded to this midrash in her iconic poem “L’khol Ish Yesh Shem”  (loosely translated as “Each of us has a name”). It begins, “Each of us has a name/given by God, and given by our parents.” It then moves through all the other aspects of our lives that help form our identity: our appearances, our enemies, our loves, our work, even our death.

In Jewish shared consciousness, the Exodus from Egypt is viewed as a sort of birth or rebirth of our people. We commemorate the Exodus during the holiday of Passover each spring, the time for rebirth in the natural world, by eating fresh green leaves (parsley) and eggs. And of course, as every parent knows, birth brings with it a focus on names. Before the birth of our son a few months ago, my husband and I deliberated endlessly about what name we should give him. Of course on some level, we knew it was somewhat silly. Any of the names we were considering would have been lovely. But on another level, it felt very important. We were determining how people would first encounter our son: a first impression, sometimes before they even met him. We knew we wanted a Hebrew name, and an Israeli friend of ours recommended a wonderful Web site for those of you who read Hebrew: http://www.babyworld.co.il/bba/birth/names/wizard/ step1.jsp. There we were able to narrow our search for Hebrew names based on origin (“Biblical,” “from nature”), first letter, even number of syllables. Once we found a name we liked, we did a search on Google and Facebook to see what surfaced. It turns out we are not alone. According to the recent New York Times article, “What’s in a Name? Ask Google,” many expectant parents—64%—vet names on Google to make sure they are neither too common nor too exotic. They also use search engines to avoid unfortunate associations: “A quick search can help ensure that a child is not saddled with the name of a serial killer, pornography star or sex offender” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/fashion/ google-searches-help-parents-narrow-down-baby-names.html?_ r=1&scp=1&sq=names%20google&st=cse). Jewish parents focused on the importance of their children’s names long before Google. Tanhuma Vayak’hel 1, a rabbinic midrash written between the fifth and seventh century, contains this gem: “There are three names by which a person is called. One which his father and mother call him, and one which people call him, and one which he earns for himself. The best of all is the one that he earns

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As Zelda’s poem makes clear, not every name for our children will be bestowed as lovingly as the ones we select as their eager parents. Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” a guide for selecting a name, explained in the Times article why parents tend to avoid overly common names: “When you name your baby, it’s a time of dreaming. No one stops and thinks, ‘What if one day my child does something embarrassing and wants to hide from it?’” The unbridled optimism of expectant parents is, along with a beautiful name, one of the first and best gifts we give our children. We know as we cradle them in our arms that they are capable of infinite beauty and kindness, that they have the potential to save the world, or at least rid it of cancer. Child-rearing, like the Exodus from Egypt, is at its core an act of hope. We trust that our flawed selves, our families, our communities, our fragile ecosystem will be able to sustain and nurture our children. And we pray, as in the midrash, that the names they earn for themselves will make us proud and make them happy.     Rabbi Nicole Wilson-Spiro Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/youngfamilieshavurah or http://bit.ly/ youngfamilies.

Learn about one of our terrific volunteers on p. 8!


From Rabbi Gurevitz

The Choosing Choosing to become Jewish can be a funny thing. At least it is when you are listening to Rabbi Andrea Myers share her stories of her journey to Judaism and eventually to becoming a rabbi. I first met Rabbi Myers at a Jewish-Christian-Muslim conference in Bendorf, Germany. She was not yet studying for the rabbinate, and I too was two or three years away from applying to rabbinical school. I enjoyed meeting this effervescent young woman as we engaged in fascinating and sometimes challenging conversations with Christians and Muslims from Europe, America, Canada, Israel, and the West Bank.

our third “Shabbat by the Book” speaker on Friday, January 20, to talk about that book, The Choosing: From Silent Nights to High Holy Days.

In between the serious conversations, attendees entertained one another each evening with music, song, and story. Andrea did two things that I still remember so well, now approximately 13 years later. She played a mean slide guitar, and she told stories that had us all in stitches. These were not invented stories but personal stories about her life and her family. The product of a Lutheran father and Italian Catholic mother, Andrea’s personal journey eventually led to her choosing Judaism. That conference may have been the first time that Andrea told some of her stories about the kinds of interfaith interactions that can happen within one family. After the laughter and rapturous applause that she received that evening, she has been telling them ever since and, a few years ago, she was encouraged to turn the stories into a book. Rabbi Myers will be

The face of Judaism and the faces of the Jewish community are rich and diverse. It is important to me that everyone in our community is recognized for who they are and what they bring to the community—Jewish and non-Jewish, male and female, with and without children, partnered and single, and the many identities we each possess along a spectrum of sexuality, ethnic identity, and more. We all have a spiritual home here. Hearing Rabbi Myers share her stories can encourage each of us to share our own and recognize the significance of our own spiritual journeys…wherever they may take us. I hope you will join us for our Shabbat dinner and program on January 20.

I guarantee that everyone will enjoy Rabbi Myers’ visit. But if you live in an interfaith family, have non-Jewish relatives whom you celebrate the holidays with, have chosen Judaism, or have ever thought about converting to Judaism, Rabbi Myers is not to be missed. Rabbi Myers is married to Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, Associate Rabbi at Rodeph Shalom, New York City (where Rabbi Prosnit was once the Associate), and her engaging, moving, and entertaining memoir also speaks of a journey that includes coming out, embracing the fullness of one’s identity, and raising a family.

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

Brotherhood News Welcome back from what was hopefully a nice holiday break with family and friends! Back in December, Brotherhood organized a fun afternoon at The Bridgeport Sound Tigers hockey game. While the home team lost in a thrilling game, the highlight of the day was our own Angela Capinera and Eric Newman donning the mid-period puck costumes in a race to the goal!! We also participated in the annual Teddy Bear Toss, in which we were given stuffed animals to throw onto the ice when the home team scored their first goal. All were then collected for distribution to kids in the hospital during the holidays. Thanks to all the spirited congregants and friends who attended the game. Brotherhood welcomes special pledges to honor a moment in your life, to remember a loved one, or just because. Our special breakfast program includes lox, whitefish salad, and a few other extras outside our normal breakfast fare. If you wish to sponsor a Special Brotherhood Breakfast, please see Steve Verbil each

Shabbat or contact Jim Greenberg at jim@unionmachinery.com. To all men in the B’nai Israel community—your membership is the single most important contribution you can make to ensure the continued success of our efforts. Each and every man in our community can make a difference. Please be sure to make your contribution this year. If you wish to join Brotherhood, please send a $40.00 check made out to B’nai Israel Brotherhood to: B’nai Israel Brotherhood 2710 Park Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06604 At Brotherhood we measure our success by the mitzvahs we make and the joy they bring…whether you are already a member, or are looking for a fun and productive way to get more involved in temple life, come on out and lend a hand in the company of some really great guys who love to have fun! Drop me an email anytime for more information. L’shalom, Jim Greenberg, Brotherhood President jim@unionmachinery.com

Have you heard about CONECT? See p. 3 for information.

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From the Early Childhood Center Twelve adorable stuffed bears departed from the New York URJ offices on Wednesday, September 28 to launch the New Year, 5772. Known as the “Traveling Mitzvah Bears,” the 12 bears will visit more than 100 URJ Early Childhood Centers in congregations located throughout the United States and Canada, helping young children to learn about the Jewish value of Hachnasat Orchim—hospitality/welcoming the guest. Each bear will travel to six or seven early childhood centers throughout the school year, accompanied by the book Bim and Bom (written by Daniel J. Swartz), which has been donated by the PJ Library. In addition, a journal will be shared for the children to record their experiences during the preschool visits. 

I am so proud to announce that “Sadie” the Traveling Mitzvah Bear will be visiting the Early Childhood Center at B’nai Israel from March 26 to April 16. We are the only program in Connecticut that Sadie (or any other bear, for that matter) will be visiting! Come and visit us anytime! Fondly, Alexa Cohen, Early Childhood Center Director)

Family Education at B’nai Israel Happy and Healthy New Year to all!! Resolve to be at B’nai Israel to meet new people, greet old friends, and enjoy meaningful family celebrations and events. Mishpacha Shabbat Friday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. Join other B’nai Israel families for this month’s fun and spirited Shabbat gathering, which will be focusing on the themes of Tu B’Shevat—a day to celebrate the New Year of trees and recognize our connection to the earth. We’ll be engaging in a fun Tu B’Shevat activity, and in appreciation of the tasty variety of fruits that grow on trees we will be preparing a “tree-licious” fruit salad together. As always, our Mishpacha Shabbat includes dinner, service, story, and joyous celebration. We provide the main dish. You bring a side dish or dessert. $5.00/adults, $2.00/ children. RSVP to Elaine at 203-336-1858 or echetrit@ congregationbnaiisrael.org by January 17. Family Education in the Religious School           Religious School Mitzvah Day Sunday, January 22, 9:30 a.m.–noon    The B’nai Mitzvah Thirteen Mitzvot students are sponsoring a “Mitzvah Day” for students in Gan and Kitot Alef, Bet, and

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Gimel (K–3) classes. The students will learn about agencies in our community and engage in hands-on mitzvot activities to support their efforts. They will make hand-knotted scarves and blankets for the Center for Women and Families, prepare lunches for Project Hope, paint sun catchers for residents at the Jewish Home for the Elderly, and write letters and put together care packages for Project from the Heart. Parents are invited to stop in from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to learn about the agencies and discover ways that families can volunteer and contribute to the important work that each of these agencies is doing.  We will be collecting much-needed items to donate to the organizations, including: • new or gently used winter coats, mittens, gloves, hats, boots, and scarves • canned foods and other nonperishables • toiletry items  Please join us on Sunday, January 22 and help make a difference!

Learn about one of our terrific volunteers on p. 8!


From the Education Center

Shalom Chavurah! Some exciting things are happening in our Religious School. About once a month, our students come together for the Chavurah program. A little more than three years ago, three parents came to the Religious School Committee with a challenge. Their Kitah Hey (5th grade) students had just received the notice of when they would each become B’nai Mitzvah. The parents each discussed with their child whom they might like to invite. In each case, they said they had very few if any temple friends they wanted to invite. The challenge they gave us was to introduce a way to help change that situation. In the Mishnah, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachia said we should acquire both a teacher and a friend. In both cases, commentators tell us, he was talking about learning Torah. The best way to learn is with a friend—in dialogue. The Hebrew word for friend is chaver. President Bill Clinton ended his eulogy for Yitzchak Rabin in 1995 by saying “Shalom Chaver—Goodbye friend.” Shalom also means “Hello.” So at the urging of those three parents, we created the Chavurah (friendship) program. It began as a monthly gathering of Kitah Vav (6th grade) students the following year. It was led by many of their parents, under the leadership of Jennifer Diamond and Kim Sherman, two of the parents who conceived the idea. Each month the children were placed into different small groups and played lots of getting-to-know-you games. When it was time for Kitah Vav students to go on retreat, many of those who had previously felt little connection with their classmates chose to attend. Last year we expanded the program, with each of the three Kitot that meet on Thursdays playing their own games, led by their own parents. This year, we have adjusted the program. Kitah Daled (4th grade) students are still focused on getting to know one another through mixers and ice-breakers. Kitah Hey kids are bringing some of

their classroom learning about Israel into the creation of six pieces of art that will hang in the school wing. Each team of students is beginning to design their piece based on their conceptions and connections to the land and people of Israel. Six adult artists in our congregation will then execute their ideas in outline form on large canvases. The students will then use those outlines to complete their piece, using a variety of different media. Kitah Vav students are also getting creative. Last month they met with staff from Habitat for Humanity and their Youth Build program and learned about Maimonides’ ladder of tzedakah (http://bit.ly/vmW3cy). They learned that the highest form of tzedakah is helping others to help themselves. And they learned that new owners of Habitat homes have put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity— they help build their own and others’ houses. Next our students will build and decorate bookcases, which will then be installed in newly completed homes built by Habitat. So far the following parents have volunteered this year or have signed up for later in the year: Val Bogner, Jen Diamond, Terri Epstein, Danielle Forma, Heidi Gassel, Stacy Giglietti, Scott Hurwitz, Miriam Kelliher, Debra Kortmansky, Deborah Lipshitz, Marci Manton, Amy Newman, Debbie Portnay, Jocelyn Powning, Julie Pressman, Kelly Reznikoff, Julie Rosenbaum, Diane Rubinstein, Mara Schwartz, Kim Sherman, Nina Silberman, Ann Small, Lisa Verchin, Robin Wachs, Amy Warman, Alan Wegener, and Patti Wunder. Join them by contacting me at iwise@congregationbnaiisrael. org. Thanks to all our volunteers! L’shalom, Ira J. Wise

Food of the Month: peanut butter and jelly

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Spotlight On Our Volunteers

The Right Person in the Right Place This month’s Volunteer Spotlight member has been at our temple for many years. In fact, his parents and grandparents were members starting back in the 1930s. Allan Shumofsky is a staple at Congregation B’nai Israel. When you come to any of the High Holiday Services, you will most likely see his smiling face greeting you. I know I do! Allan has lived his entire life in Fairfield, leaving only for four years to go to college. He met his wife, Claire, and bought their starter home here. Professionally, he has had several careers but for the past 25 years he has been a certified CPA. He has two daughters and four grandchildren. Where does he find the time to volunteer? I guess you could argue it’s in his blood. Allan is one of the first half dozen Bar Mitzvahs that took place in our building. He was also a member of the first confirmation class at our current location. He got married to Claire at our temple 47 years ago. Both his parents served on the Board, and his sisters were each President of the Youth Group. Claire was the librarian for both the temple and the Religious School. The Shumofsky family is really part of our congregation’s heart and soul! Allan got involved in temple volunteering because of the tradition his parents had started: He followed in his parents’ footsteps in the early 1980s, when his lifetime friend Marty Burger asked him to be on the Board. That was just the beginning. In his years as a volunteer Allan has been on the Building Committee, has worked on the Cemetery Committee selling plots, and has been on the House Committee for 25 years. He also has served as the Assistant Treasurer and the Treasurer.

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One of Allan’s most rewarding volunteer positions was serving as the Financial Secretary. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it is not always a fun job— it’s the debt collector. In fact, Allan’s mother warned him never to take on a job like that because “nobody will like you!” Allan took the job anyway and found that in the face of some difficult financial situations he would sometimes get a smile from the very members he was “hounding.” That confirmed Allan’s belief that he was doing the right thing! Most recently, Allan has partnered up with Jim Hagani to organize the High Holidays greeters and ushers. This is no small task. There are multiple time slots, with multiple services, multiple job duties, and two locations for services! Just the type of thing a numbers man would enjoy. Allan was asked to work with Jim because he knows how things operate. Let’s face it— after so many years of commitment, it’s fair to say that Allan knows this place like the back of his hand. In fact, they stopped asking him to give tours to prospective members because he would sometimes take them to the boiler room! When I asked Allan how someone could get started as a volunteer, he responded, “I see things that need to be done and then I do them.” In other words, he doesn’t always wait for someone to ask him. He takes it upon himself to solve problems that other people don’t always see. He isn’t shy about his ideas, and I think he would encourage others in our congregation not to be either. A fond memory that Allan told me about involved one year when during High Holiday Services he was sitting in his seat, looking around at the ushers and volunteers and thinking, “The right people are in the right places.” Clearly, Allan is in the right place, and our congregation is extremely fortunate to have him here. Laura Lehrhaupt

Have you heard about CONECT? See p. 3 for information.


Adult Jewish Learning at Congregation B’nai Israel Adult Roundtable Thursday, January 5 at 12:15 p.m. This group holds a discussion about current events for anyone who wants to go deeper than the headlines and enjoys expressing their own opinions and hearing those of others. Facilitated by Gloria Katz and Dorothy Blaustein. Join us the first Thursday of each month and bring a sandwich, your opinion, and an open mind. The Prophets: Who Were They, and What Is Their Message for Us? Lifelong Learning—Fridays, January 20 and 27; February 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 10:00 a.m. Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz presents this six-part series at The Watermark, 3030 Park Avenue, open to the whole community. We’ll be introduced to several of the major and minor prophets of the Bible, learn about the times in which they lived, and uncover the meaning of their messages back in ancient times and for us today. Co-sponsored by Watermark University. The Choosing: A Rabbi’s Journey From Silent Nights to High Holy Days Shabbat by the Book—Friday, January 20 6:00 7:15

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Kabbalat Shabbat Shabbat Dinner (Reservations and a fee are required for dinner only—please contact Lynn in the office for further information.) Program

This is a very special Friday night series in which we focus on authors connected to B’nai Israel with new books and powerful things to teach. This month we are joined by Rabbi Andrea Myers, who has served congregations from the Rocky Mountains to the Borscht Belt. She lives in New York City and is married to Rabbi Lisa Grushcow. Her recent memoir chronicles her life as a young Lutheran girl from Long Island, to coming out at Brandeis University, to her conversion to Judaism, the rabbinate, marriage, and family life. This program is sponsored by Kulanu, the GLBT outreach group of Congregation B’nai Israel. Parent Learning Circle Sunday, January 22 at 10:30 a.m. The Parent Learning Circle (PLC) provides community and friendship and is a wonderful way to accompany your Gan–Kitah Gimel (K–3) children on their journey into Jewish learning and living. We will follow the curriculum in parallel with your children.

PLC will help you feel better prepared to answer your children’s questions about Judaism, God, birth, death, and much more. You will also gain confidence in helping your child to celebrate Shabbat and the holidays. For the first 20 minutes of each meeting, we will learn letters of the Hebrew alef-bet together, just like our children do on Sunday mornings. Join us for the whole session, or drop in at 10:50 to participate just in the Jewish living conversations. With Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz. Apples and Oranges: A Brief Introduction to Comparative Religion Midrasha Mondays, January 23 and 30; February 6 and 13 at 7:00 p.m. When we engage in comparative religion we may learn something about the “other.” We may help build bridges between people of different faiths, but we almost always end up learning a great deal more about ourselves. Through the lens of Jewish-Christian, Jewish-Muslim, and Jewish-Buddhist comparative exercises we’ll have the opportunity to experience these possibilities for ourselves. With Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz. Rosh Chodesh Group Biblical Women Role Models—for Better or for Worse Thursday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. Join Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz for a new series of Rosh Chodesh monthly women’s gatherings that weave the stories and personalities of the women of the Bible with insights from our own lives and experiences. Rabbi Suri Krieger will be a guest leader for several sessions this year. Rabbi Krieger blends music, art, text study, and discussion that promise to be lively and enriching. Understanding Judaism: A Guide for Enquiring Minds Sunday, January 29 at 9:45 a.m. This series addresses questions and trends in Judaism and is appropriate for all levels of adult learner, Jewish and non-Jewish, whether you are an experienced student, someone looking for a way in to learn more about Judaism for the first time, or somewhere in-between. Join us for parts 1 and 2 of “Behind the Bima”: Navigating the Prayer Book.

Learn about one of our terrific volunteers on p. 8!

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Donations Please note that only contributions of $10.00 or more will be acknowledged with a card and Bulletin listing. Discretionary Fund–Rabbi Prosnit Mark Abrams in memory of grandmother, Anna Abrams; grandfather, David Stein; and sister, Susan Abrams Petro. Jeffrey Ackerman and Andrea Goodman–a contribution. Anonymous contribution Leona Attenberg in loving memory of sister, Sonia “Sonny” Weintraub. Hilda Belinkie in loving memory of Al Belinkie. Laura and Bruce Braverman in honor of the ordination of Jonathan and his marriage to Erin Gleeson. Bobby Bresler in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch; in memory of Arlen Nickowitz, husband of Gail Nickowitz; in honor of the marriage of Jonathan and Erin. Judy and Larry Condon in appreciation and in honor of Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah. Jerry and Dale Demner in memory of Jerry’s mother, Jessie Demner, and his sister, Lorraine Hirsch. Sylvia Edelson in memory of father, Morris Gordon. Linda Epstein in loving memory of her grandmother, Lilyan J. Ullman. Phyllis Feld in honor of Rabbi Prosnit. Anne Flaxman in memory of David Goby, husband of Ilene Goby; in memory of father, Alton Merrill Bob Ford in honor of Clergy Appreciation Day. Alfred and Jeannette Goldreyer–a contribution. Charles and Carol Gursky in loving memory of their parents. Marvin and Joann Gelfand in memory of sister, Edith Gelfand. Jack and Sandy Germain in honor of granddaughter Taylor Berlin’s Bat Mitzvah. Sheila Feld Gordon and Charles Gordon in loving memory of parents, Lois and Ben Feld. Carole and Harold Greenbaum in honor of granddaughter, Talia Greenbaum. Jim and Lisa Greenberg in honor of Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit’s installation. The Hagani family in appreciation and in honor of Lauren’s Bat Mitzvah. The Kadden Family with thanks. Dr. Edward and Anne Kamens in memory of parents, Rose Gelfand and Aaron Gelfand. Brenda and Justin Kreuzer in memory of their mothers, Juliet Furman and Virginia Kreuzer; in appreciation of Cantor Blum’s beautiful singing during the High Holy Days. Beth Lazar in appreciation of Rabbi Prosnit’s Shabbat morning Torah Study Class. Aleksey and Raisa Ledvich and family in memory of father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Eli Goldshteyn. Aleksey and Raisa Ledvich in memory of grandmother, Feiga Vengerovskaya. Stanley Lessler in memory of David Lessler. Lee Lester in loving memory of her beloved son, David Lester. Joan and Bernie Lipin in honor of Wendy and Jeff Bender’s anniversary; in memory of Ruth Bender, mother of Jeff and Wendy Bender. David and Sarah Lubarsky–a contribution. Alice Madwed in loving memory of mother, Frieda Ente. Muriel Mann, Eileen Dobensky, and Luise Burger in loving memory of Herb Mann, and thanks to Rabbi Prosnit for his kindness and compassion,

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Elliot and Susan Markowitz in memory of Philip Meshberg. Florence Nabel in appreciation and in memory of Jacob Nabel. Roberta Pabian in loving memory of brother, Jay Alexander. Phil and Karen Rabin in appreciation of time spent on the New Year with the Prosnit family and the friends from the Israel trip. Paul and Gertrude Reisman in loving memory of mother, Hermine Reisman. Suzanne Saletan and Hank Widrow in memory of Joni Greenspan’s father; in honor of the Bat Mitzvah of Ann and Harvey Bornstein’s granddaughter; in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Phyllis and Lou Corriset’s grandson. Sandra Schachter in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch. Ellen Sheiman in loving memory of mother, Sylvia Unger; father, Milton Unger; brother, Martin Unger; and grandmother, Helen Breiner Schine. Rita and Dan Shichman—congratulations to Selwyn and Marcia Cohen on their daugher Jessica’s marriage. Elaine and Marc Silverman in honor of the marriage of Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit to Erin Gleeson. The Small/Paushter family in memory of Sherman Small. Barbara Solomon in memory of her beloved father, Michael Kramer. Lori, Dan, Shira, Marisa, and Ally Underberger in honor of Jonathan Prosnit’s ordination and the marriage of Jonathan and Erin. Sylvia Washton and the Orr family in loving memory of Nathan Washton. Carol West in appreciation and in honor of the marriage of Dustin and Jessica Rabine. Lorrie and Randy Wexler in honor of the marriage of Jonathan Prosnit and Erin Gleeson. The Yaffie family in loving memory of father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Bernard H. Siegel; in honor of the engagement of Josh Gross, son of Eric and Ruth Gross; and in memory of Brian Mendell, grandson of Brenda Kendall.

Bob Derwallis, father of Tim Derwallis; in memory of Leo Kestenbaum, father of Joshua Kestenbaum. Kathy and Patrick Dizney in honor of our granddaughters’ naming—Ryan, Rachel, Hannah, and Cameron—for Havurah. John and Linda Levi for Havurah ark. Elona and Michael Logue for Havurah. Audrey, Ira, Harper, and Ethan Wise in celebration of Nicole Wilson-Spiro and Michael Spiro’s new baby boy.

Discretionary Fund–Rabbi Gurevitz Joanne and Tim Derwallis in appreciation. Eintracht Cemetery–in appreciation for conducting memorial service. Bob Ford in honor of Clergy Appreciation Day. The Kadden family with thanks. Beth Lazar in appreciation of Rabbi Gurevitz and Rabbi Krieger and their spiritual leadership of the Women’s Rosh Chodesh group. Florence Nabel in appreciation and in memory of Jacob Nabel. Nancy and Irv Silverman in appreciation to Rabbi Gurevitz. Debbie and Michael Weisman in honor of the engagement of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Gross’s daughter Deborah Blumberg to Jonathan Adler. Lorrie and Randy Wexler in memory of Miriam Lipp, mother of Alan and Susan Kasson. Florence Yasser in loving memory of her sister, Evalyn Akin.

Sylvia Prosnit Adult Education Fund Judi, David, and Jordan Beier in honor of the marriage of Jonathan Prosnit and Erin Gleeson. Donna and Michael Tauss in memory of Susan Panisch, my first study partner. Rozanne Cohen Lancia and Anthony Lancia in memory of Brian Mendell, son of Gary Mendell and grandson of Brenda Kendall and Ellen Stern.

Judith Brav Sher Fund Juda and Elaine Chetrit in memory of Muriel Sofian, mother of Lisa Hurlbert; in memory of Harvey Fried, father of Lisa Verchin; in memory of

Enhancement Fund Alice Fitelson in memory of Brian Mendell. Estelle Glass in memory of Gussie Wind. Janet Jurow in memory of her sister, Marion Edith Keller. Lisa and Jim Greenberg in memory of mother, Doba Mazo. The Kadden family in honor of Midge Vas Nunes’s birthday; in memory of Miriam Lipp, mother of Alan Kasson; in memory of David Goby, husband of Ilene Goby; in memory of uncle, Sigi and aunt, Adele Kadden. Eli and Katerina Kharaz–a contribution. Beth Lazar in loving memory of her uncle, Fred Greenberg. Edwin and Evelyn Locke–a contribution. Sylvia Neigher in memory of mother, Lottie Haber, and aunt, Sybille Racz. Alan and Harriet Nelson in memory of David Goby, husband of Ilene Goby. Martha Reich-Orenstein in memory of Melvin Orenstein, Libbie Katz, and Max Katz. Bernice Rosch in loving memory of mother, Sophia Miller. Jody Webber in loving memory of parents, Lois and Benjamin Feld. Gillette Judaic Enrichment Fund Jane and Jerry Pressman—Mazel Tov to Phyllis Plotkin on her milestone birthday; in memory of Brian Mendell, son of Gary and Janet Mendell. Karen and Ken Ferleger in memory of Brian Mendell, son of Gary Mendell.

Widows/Widowers Group—thank you to David and Colette Carasso for their inspiring talk on growing up as Jews in Egypt; in appreciation to David Pressler for his inspirational presentation “Looking in Order to See.” Nursery School Enrichment Fund Laura and Bruce Braverman in honor of Gail Weinstein’s service, dedication, and love of B’nai Israel and its Nursery School. Serena and Arnie Sher in memory of Brian Mendell, grandson of Kitty Mendell. Etz Chaim Living Torah Fund Judith and Stanley Lessler in loving memory of Sophie R. Bretholtz.

What’s happening at temple? Get Happenings, our weekly email! Send your request to lynn@congregationbnaiisrael.org!


Donations Please note that only contributions of $10.00 or more will be acknowledged with a card and Bulletin listing. Music Fund Carol and Nate Barsky in appreciation to the choir on High Holy Days and to honor Carol Gursky on her special birthday. Judy, David, and Jordan Beier in memory of Celia Mehl. Bobby Bresler in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch. Judy and Larry Condon in honor of Dylan’s Bar Mitzvah and in appreciation to Cantor Blum. Rosalind Gordon in memory of Samuel Ruskin. Bob Ford in honor of Clergy Appreciation Day. Jack and Sandy Germain in honor of the Bat Mitzvah of granddaughter Taylor Berlin. The Hagani family in appreciation and in honor of Lauren’s Bat Mitzvah. The Kadden family in appreciation to Cantor Blum. Lee Lester in memory of her beloved son, David Lester. Alice Madwed in honor of grandson, Josh. Jackie and Jeff Madwed in honor of Taylor Berlin’s Bat Mitzvah. Barbara Panisch in memory of Brian Mandell, grandson of Brenda Kendall. Adele Ruderman, Norma Dembroff, and Ilse Schott Ellen Sheiman in honor of Cantor Sheri Blum and a thank you for the honor of chanting and for all she does for the synagogue. Ann Small in honor of Jake’s Bar Mitzvah. Stephanie Swafford in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch.

Slepian Floral Fund Estelle M. Glass in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch; in memory of Brian Mendell, grandson of Brenda Kendall. Judy and Barry Kramer in memory of Susan Panisch, daughter of Barbara Panisch.

Religious School Enrichment Fund The Hagani family in appreciation and in honor of Lauren’s Bat Mitzvah. Sally Kenler in memory of Dr. Jaime Simkovitz, father of Dr. Philip Simkovitz; in memory of Brian Mendell, son of Gary Mendell.

Rabbi Arnold Sher Social Action Fund Ellen and Larry Dinkes in memory of Brian Mendell, son of Gary Mendell; in honor of the Bat Mitzvah of Lauren Hagani, daughter of Jim and Andrea Hagani. Ilse Levi in memory of her mother, Leni Strauss. Barbara Liberman in loving memory of her father, Ed Nowitz. The Madwed family in honor of the anniversary of Josh’s Bat Mitzvah; for the Alabama project. Anne Nowitz in loving memory of her beloved husband, Edward Nowitz; in honor of the birth of Lucas James, son of Melissa and Jason Wasnewsky. Spiritual Journeys Group in honor of and with thanks to Bari Dworken.

MAZON Bari Dworken in appreciation of all my friends. Myrna Kaufman in memory of mother-in-law, Dorothy Smith. Ilse Levi–a contribution. Lori, Dan, Shira, Marisa, and Ally Underberger in memory of Jaime Simkovitz, father of Philip Simkovitz, and in memory of Diane Nigrosh, sister of Mark Nigrosh.

Prayer Book Fund Laura and Bruce Braverman in memory of cousin, Susan Panisch. Penny, Jennifer, Miriam, Lori, and Cheryl in memory of Dr. Jaime Simkovitz, father of Philip Simkovitz and husband of Martha Simkovitz.

Lee and David Lester Kesher Project Lee Lester in memory of her beloved son, David Lester; in honor of the birth of Max Weisman, grandson of Debbie and Michael Weisman, named in memory of Debbie’s honorable father, Max Frauwirth; in loving memory of dear friend, Miriam Kasson Lipp.

Rabbi Martin Library Fund Ruth Green and Claire Shumofsky in honor of Carol Gursky’s special birthday. Vision Loan Reduction Fund Robert Ford in memory of Jesse L. Goldbaum. Ellen and Jack Kadden Patti and Samuel Rosenberg in memory of mother, Frania Rosenberg.

Nursery School Scholarship Fund Julie and Steve Pressman in memory of Murray Miller, father of Robin and Greg Miller. Religious School Scholarship Fund Larry and Ellen Dinkes–a contribution. Charles Fried Keshet Fund Denise Fried in memory of Bernard Levowich, father of Joni Greenspan; congratulations to Debbie and Michael Weisman on the birth of their first grandchild, Max; in memory of Sharon Balogh’s aunt. Arnold and Doris Tower Fund Stephen Tower in memory of Arnold Tower and Bitsy Tower. Please note that these pages reflect donations received for the months of December 2011 and January 2012.

High Holy Days Appeal Pillars of the Congregation Jonathan and Cleo Sonneborn Benefactors of the Congregation The Hagani family Anne and Mark Kirsch Fran and Rob Morris Amy and Glenn Rich President’s Circle Andrea Goodman and Jeff Ackerman Luise and Edward Burger Steven and Susan Klein Linda and Gene Koski Michael Rosenberg

Patti and Samuel Rosenberg Lawrence and Marcy Shinbaum Dr. and Mrs. Martin Waldman General Contributions S. James and Edith Baum Val Bogner and Linda Torzsa Lori and Brad Chervin Irene Correnti Jerome and Dale Demner Gary and Gail Felberbaum Myrna Kaufman Alice and George Kelly Dianne and Lou Landman George and Chris Markley Food of the Month: peanut butter and jelly

Kenneth and Nora Mayerson Judy and Mike Meshken Alan and Harriet Nelson Jack and Karin Newman Marjorie Olschan Steven and Julie Pressman Matthew and Nancy Ruben Barbara and Gilbert Saltman Rita and Dan Shichman Esther Spiegel Julie Strauss Laura Sydney-Pulton Daniel and Lori Underberger

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

Friday, January 6 6:00 p.m. Service Torah Portion – Va-y’chi Gen. 47:28-50:26 Haftarah – I Kings 2:1-12

Saturday, January 14 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:15 a.m. Young Families Havurah 9:30 a.m. Torah Study

Saturday, January 7 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:15 a.m. Young Families Havurah 9:30 a.m. Torah Study

Friday, January 20 6:00 p.m. Service 6:30 p.m. Mishpacha Shabbat Torah Portion – Va-eira Exod. 6:2-9:35 Haftarah – Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

Friday, January 13 6:00 p.m. Service Torah Portion – Sh’mot Exod. 1:1-6:1 Haftarah – Isaiah 27:628:13; 29:22-23

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Friday, January 27 6:00 p.m. Service Torah Portion – Bo Exod. 10:1-13:16 Haftarah – Jeremiah 46:13-28 Saturday, January 28 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:15 a.m. Young Families Havurah 9:30 a.m. Torah Study

Saturday, January 21 8:00 a.m. Service 9:00 a.m. Brotherhood Breakfast 9:15 a.m. Young Families Havurah 9:30 a.m. Torah Study

What’s happening at temple? Get Happenings, our weekly email! Send your request to lynn@congregationbnaiisrael.org!

Bulletin January 2012  

Bulletin January 2012