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.

Oct 2015 The Arc – (Berland)


What do you say when the cycle of high holidays has reached its annual crescendo; the clouds part unexpectedly on Erev Sukkot to reveal an extraordinarily rare and beautiful eclipse of the harvest moon; and our reflective, uplifting and inspiring Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot services have left you feeling more fulfilled, complete, committed and connected –to family, friends, community and congregation –than ever before?

You say, “Thank you!”

Thank you to our Clergy –Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz, Rabbi Marc A. Gellman, Rabbi Rachel Wiesenberg and Cantor Sarene Appelbaum –for guiding us, prodding us, inspiring us and challenging us to be better people and better Jews.

Thank you to our remarkable Music Director, Dr. Joe Graffeo, and to our wonderful Choir – Diane Abramson, Ruth Broitman, Maxine Cohen, Debbie Fratello, Marge Goldin, Sheryl Haber, David Haber, Margie Jablon, Millicent Kugler-Keyser, Jiya Kowarsky, Marylyn Lieberman, Helaine Pomeranz, Joyce Tisman–for their hard work, beautiful voices and inspiring accompaniment to our prayers.

Thank you to our incredibly talented teen band –the “Repenters”–Lauren Kornfeld -vocals, Ethan Udell- guitar, Skyler Sands- bass, Max Wells -drums, Justin Wieder- piano –for their hard work and for making our Family Services perfect and appealing across the generations. Thank you to our masterful shofar blowers Alec Newman, Ed Katz, Jeff Kopman, Ruby Kopman, Safrah Levitan, Max Rosenfeld and Meredith Goldstein, who ushered in the New Year and then signaled the conclusion of Yom Kippur so beautifully, and without whom the High Holidays would not be the same. And to Marcus Miller, who sang so marvelously with the Cantor.

Thank you to past Presidents Frannie Freedman, Arthur Wasserspring and Charlie Holzberg who are the masters of complicated logistics, and who, with the help of our dependable and deft ushers, always make our High Holiday services flow perfectly and flawlessly.

Thank you to our administrative staff –Kathy George, Ronnie Wolf, Patty LaSorsa and Robin Farbman –and to our maintenance team –Rick Kudlik, Lenny, Yuri and Danny –who literally keep the place going seven days a week and work even harder –if that’s possible –getting us ready for and then during the High Holidays.

And thank you to the many, many others who work so hard all year to keep Temple Beth Torah the vibrant, stimulating and welcoming place that it is: our David Joshua Berg Nursery School Director, Jen Fusco; our Director of Youth Engagement, Jodi Mishkin Michaelson; our Librarian, Linda Saltzman; our Religious School and Pre-School faculties; our Temple and JTV officers and board members; our committee Chairs and committee members; our many, many adult and youth volunteers; and each and every one of our congregants. Without everyone’s hard work and dedication, none of the many things we do would be possible.

Again, we invite you to become ever more involved in the life of our Temple community.

And to all who have already contributed to this year’s Kol Nidre fund drive, thank you for your generosity. If you haven’t given yet, it’s not too late –just contact the Temple office.

L’Shanah Tovah –may the year ahead be a sweet one!


Oct 2015 Board Installation – (Berland)

Clergy, Rabbi Freelander, JTV and Temple board members –families, friends, congregants Shabbat Shalom –

Among other things, I have been asked to report on the state of our congregation. I am happy to report that the state of our congregation is good; actually, the state of our congregation is . . . I’m going to say “phenomenal,” but you can pick your own superlative.

Our finances are stable – in fact, we’re performing better than budget, in the positive way. Membership is steady, on some metrics ahead of last year, and better than previous periods. All good. And we are unquestionably poised for even greater things in the year ahead..

But more important, I think, than the dry statistics, is the fact that the vitality of our congregation, the level of engagement across all age groups, and the degree of member involvement in the life of our Temple community are all extraordinary.

Our speakers series, our Rabbis’ classes, our B’nai Mitzvah program, our Mishpacha University, our back pack drive, our participation in Help Suffolk Day, our work with the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, our food collection for the Mercy Inn, our annual rummage sale, our purchase of a fully equipped ambucycle for United Hatzalah, our fun fundraisers, . . . . I could go on and on. All extraordinary.

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Sept 2015 Kol Nidre – (Berland)

Good Yontif.

Sixty million – sixty million! – the figure is mind boggling. It was called to my attention recently, and at first I thought I must have misheard. The figure alone is hard to comprehend, but in context, it’s almost completely unimaginable: it’s the number of people around the world today who have been forced to leave their homes, who have been displaced by war, persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and, yes, flat out human cruelty. Half of these refugees are children.

Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Myanmar, Colombia, Nigeria, Congo. Et cetera. The names of these places are familiar. As is the debate over what to do about them. But while the range of responses to this growing mass of tragedies is both as complex and as simple as the things that cause them, one thing is clear: as human beings, and more specifically, as Jews who have so often during our long history been displaced and exiled and in need of refuge, respond we must. And in the weeks ahead, we will be coming to you with the many ways you can be of help in mitigating the effects of this growing, tragic, human crisis. It is our obligation.

Thankfully, we today, in this sanctuary – and it is a sanctuary – are spared the direct impact of the unspeakable horrors that are consuming so much of the world. We lead secure, comfortable lives. Sure, we have reason to kvetsch from time to time – some of our reasons are good ones, others not so much. But the reality is that we are, in fact, truly blessed, and we come together on this occasion not just to atone for our shortcomings and failings, but also to express gratitude and appreciation for all the good things, the abundance of good things, that we and our families have. That we today, here in this place, are blessed with comfort and security is an undoubted truth.

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