President’s Message

President's MessagePresident's Message

Been a Temple member for 18 years, being on the Board of Trustees for nine years serving in different capacities: Financial Secretary prior to becoming President and was Education Chair for seven years as well as sitting on various committees.

Became an Adult B’nei Mitzvah in 2011. Has a Masters Degree in School Psychology but no longer practices.  

Married to Ira Newman for 24 years and have two boys Alec and Ethan who both attend Binghamton University.  Enjoys baking, photography, family time, our dogs and being with friends.  

My favorite part about TBT is our amazing Clergy and the incredible sense of community Temple Beth Torah provides.


Dear TBT Family,

As we continue our Shelter in Place, more and more of us have all been forced to deal with and accept this new reality and work through it the best way we can.  I know many of us are dealing with a lot of stressors and difficulties on many levels.  I was up with my kids Sunday night at different times with each of them, helping them cope with their personal struggles during this pandemic.  Our dogs are even feeling what we are feeling.  We hang onto how our world will reopen in phases and grasp for hope while being cautiously optimistic.  I continue to find ways to honor myself, whether it is time with my family, walks with Ira and the dogs, facetime with friends and family, puzzles and organizing old pictures.

Today I think of our Mission Statement:

TBT is a vibrant Reform Jewish congregation committed to inspiring acts of loving kindness, while merging traditional values with contemporary ideals to cultivate a thriving and nurturing community.  Large enough to serve a diverse, multigenerational community with various educational and social opportunities, yet intimate enough to promote close ties between the clergy and our congregation.  We are committed to the development of the Jewish identity and spiritual growth of our members and future generations through Torah, Worship and Tikkun Olam.

Temple Beth Torah, where meaningful experiences take root and grow.

Despite being a temple without walls, our mission remains the same and am thankful to all of you that continue to maintain the integrity of our mission.  We need your help, more than ever, to continue our mission today, tomorrow and into the future.  We stand by our community and we thank you for standing by us. 

We are making our second round of connecting with our congregants.  These connections have helped us identify who is in need of support, who is happy we called to just check in and those who said “how can I help”.  Thank you to the Board of Trustees for making connections and keeping our mission alive!  

Thank you to those that have donated to the COVID Relief Fund to help our congregants and staff in need along with providing meals for first responders in our community.  Thank you to our volunteers that have stepped up to be shoppers for those in need in our community.  

  • Please reach out to our Social Action Committee if you are ready to shop and help others in our community.  
  • Ways to contribute to the fund: Call Kathy at 631-643-1200 x 310 to contribute by Credit Card, send a check to the office with COVID-19 Relief Fund in the memo line or Venmo @vanessa-newman-7.

This is what Team TBT is all about!

Look forward to seeing you at our special Yom Hashoah service, Friday April 24, 2020.

Stay safe and healthy
Vanessa Newman

Aug 2016 The Arc – (Nussbaum)

It’s been a fun, busy summer here at Temple Beth Torah. Brotherhood sponsored a trip to a Long Island Duck’s game. Thank you to David Pinkowitz and Alan Kreit for making it happen. We also had a fabulous, if a bit wet day raising money for Sunrise Day Camp with our friends at South Huntington Jewish Center. A tremendous thanks to Andy Sherman and the rest of his committee for not only pulling off another great outing and raising money for such a great cause, but for also strengthening our bonds of friendship with our neighbors at SHJC. Special thanks are due to Daryn Perry for running a successful blood drive to help fill New York’s depleted banks. A standing ovation to Sheryl and David Haber who once again opened up their barn for the annual Haberfest which was an incredibly memorable night. Sisterhood had a gorgeous day to enjoy their pool party which was graciously hosted by Jill Hochheiser in her beautiful backyard, Karen Tenenbaum hosted a wonderful Women’s Retreat. We also had the special treat of praying with Cantor Appelbaum as she led Friday Night Services while Rabbi Moskowitz was studying in Israel. While we are so fortunate to have a Rabbi who always inspires and challenges us, we were so incredibly lucky to see another brilliant side of Cantor Appelbaum as she spoke so eloquently about tolerance and patience.

Summer isn’t over yet. There are still plenty of opportunities to make us a part of your summer. Rabbi Moskowitz is back from Israel and we are all excited to hear about her trip. Come study with her at her Tangents class, or enjoy the mental and physical spirituality of her Yoga class. We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi Wiesenberg back from maternity leave, as she is already working closely with Jodi Mishkin to give our kids another exciting year filled with new programs, many that came from brainstorming with the parents. The office is also working hard getting ready for the High Holidays. Please return your ticket requests promptly, so we can plan properly.

As you can see, there is no summer break at TBT. Even Pikachu has stopped by as TBT is excited to be a Pokémon Go PokeStop! Join us! Come be a part of the TBT experience. Whether worshiping, learning, raising money for special causes, or just having fun with your TBT family, I guarantee you will find a warmth and joy here that fills up your heart.

Rich Nussbaum

Jun 2016 The Arc – (Berland)

As my term as President of TBT draws to a close, I want to thank everyone who has helped make the role so rewarding and fulfilling. The list is long, starting with our Rabbi Emeritus, Dr. Marc Gellman, who has been an extraordinary friend, mentor and spiritual guide throughout my term; Senior Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz, whose warmth, intelligence, insightfulness and friendship, and ability to connect with everyone, have made the job a pleasure; Rabbi Rachel Wiesenberg, a brilliant educator, Rabbi and role model to our young people; Cantor Sarene Appelbaum, whose beautiful and inspiring voice, amazing musicianship and ebullient spirit, combined with her depth of knowledge, unparalleled teaching skills and sincere caring make her a unique and uplifting treasure to our Congregation; Jen Fusco, the Director of our David Joshua Berg Nursery School, who has with her skill, intelligence and openness breathed renewed life and joy into our nursery school program; Dr. Joseph Grafeo, our virtuoso Music Director, who, in concert with Cantor Appelbaum, keeps everything we do in the sanctuary at a level of musical perfection; Dr. Jodi Mishkin-Michaelson, our incomparable Director of Youth Engagement and technology wizard extraordinaire; our multi-talented and versatile Office Manager, Kathy George, who, among so many other things –and so capably abetted by Robin Farbman and Patti LaSorsa – keeps our fiscal and administrative ship on an even keel (and always does it with a smile); Rick K, our Chief of Maintenance, and his crew –Lenny, Uri and Danny – who day in and day out keep all the physical parts moving smoothly; our Religious School Administrator, Ronnie Wolff, who somehow makes the complicated logistics of our religious education program seem simple; Hilarie Carrieri, our new, but already indispensable, pre-school assistant; our faculty; our officers, trustees, sisterhood and Brotherhood leaders, committee chairs and committee members; our Youth Group and JTV leaders and participants; and our many, many volunteers, from every segment and every age group of our Temple community. And our members, without whom none of this would be possible. And, of course, my wife, Susan, who has been there for me always, and our children – Stephanie, Alex, Sky and Grant – who have been more than tolerant of the demands I have made upon them these past two years and who have always pitched in whenever I’ve asked.

It has been a privilege to serve the Congregation in this period of continuity, transformation and growth. Together, we’ve made the transition successfully, keeping old traditions and making new ones, honoring those who had the vision, energy and determination to build this place, this house of worship and learning, and to sustain it for all these years, even as we embrace new generations of congregants, leaders and clergy, all seamlessly. Our Congregation is truly a family, and like a family, we’ve grown from generation to generation –l’dor v’dor –respecting those who came before even as we give way to those who succeed us. From maturity and wisdom and experience to youthful energy and initiative and new vision.

Have there been challenges along the way? Absolutely. Yet working together, we’ve met them. It’s no coincidence that we’re growing and prospering. It’s because of the diligence, vision and sacrifices –of time, energy and, yes, money –the intensity of effort and the caring of so many that we are where we are. None of this has happened over night. It’s the result of years and years of hard work and commitment. And, as much as anything, love and inspiration.

The results are clear, not just in the physical side of things –shortly, you’ll see a new awning and upgraded entryway, and other physical improvements (and many infrastructure fixes and upgrades that are just as significant even if not so visible) – but, more importantly, in the functional life of our Congregation –more, and more meaningful, engagement and involvement for every age group and across the spectrum of what we do –worship, learn, celebrate, reach out, give back, and grow. Again, thank you for affording me the privilege of serving you and of being your partner in so many good and worthy things.