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.
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 Kudlik, 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.
Apr 2016 The Arc – (Berland)
Spring has arrived –yes, it snowed for the first day, but it’s spring nonetheless. Which, of course, means that Passover is on the way.
Chanukah is great. So is Purim –thank you to our miraculous Clergy, our extraordinarily talented Teen Band led by Cantor Appelbaum, our energetic and ubiquitous Director of Youth Programming, Dr. Jodi Mishkin-Michaelson, our incredible teachers, kids, parents, Sisterhood and Brotherhood volunteers and our tireless office and maintenance staffs for making last weekend’s Megillah reading and Purim Carnival so successful, and so much fun!
Still, I think there’s no holiday or festival we celebrate that is more wrapped in individual “nostalgia”than Passover. We each have our own special Passover memories and associations –tastes, smells, the comforts of family near and extended. Yet for all of us collectively, as Jews, Passover is the eight-day period we devote every year to remembering our release from slavery and the beginning of our fitful and meandering forty-year journey to the land promised to our forbearers. After 400 years of captivity, the offspring of Jacob –of Israel, the second-born twin who finagled the first-born’s blessing for himself and then “wrestled with God”until dawn –had grown into a people. But it took four decades for that people to mature into a nation able to take, and worthy to possess, the land that had been covenanted to it. We are reminded of our deliverance from bondage throughout the Torah and in our weekly prayers, but Passover refocuses our attention on it.
Skip ahead a few millennia. Viewed even through a narrow lens, the birth of the modern State of Israel took longer than the ancient journey from Egypt to Canaan –from August 29, 1897, when Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, to May 14, 1948, the day David Ben-Gurion announced the Declaration of the Founding of the State of Israel. From the ashes of the Shoah and the devastation wrought upon our people and so many others by the forces of bigotry and hatred, Israel was reborn, a haven for freedom and democracy, civil and religious, in the long-troubled and long-fought over cross-roads of the world. The homeland of our people.
We have always had our enemies. As the joke goes, the theme of every major Jewish holiday is “They tried to kill us. We survived. Now, let’s eat.”
The latest threat to our existence is “BDS,”the seemingly anodyne acronym for a world-wide campaign to bring about the death of Israel as a Jewish state and to destroy everything that Israel stands for. The “Boycott, Divest and Sanctions”movement is well-organized and well-funded, and it aims to destroy Israel as a Jewish state and as a refuge for our people, not only by closing off world markets to Israeli goods, services and know-how, but by challenging the Jewishness of our children and their commitment to the State of Israel and the principles for which Israel stands.
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Feb 2016 The Arc – (Berland)
5776 is proving to be another highly successful year for Temple Beth Torah, with a wide variety of religious, educational, charitable and social action activities and fun events for every segment of our congregational community. Thank you to everyone who helped make all of this possible through your membership, your contributions to our Kol Nidre drive and to our many other funds and fundraisers, and your active participation in the life of our congregational community. We are especially honored to have been selected by UJA – Federation of New York as one of only six pilot synagogues in the “Learning Tool for Thriving Synagogues”project that is being conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies of Brandeis University, a project about which you will be hearing much more in the weeks ahead. With the secular year 2015 behind us, I want to wish everyone the best for the year ahead.
All of us are dedicated to ensuring that Temple Beth Torah will always be a place of comfort, compassion, community and excitement. Above all else, we treasure your membership and your commitment, and we hope you will continue to take full advantage of everything our Temple has to offer.
With all the best wishes from the Board of Trustees, our staff, and, especially, our clergy,
Shalom in the year ahead,
Dec 2015 The Arc – (Berland)
First, although everyone will have received an individual note, a sincere thank you, once again, to the many who contributed to our annual Kol Nidre appeal. Tzedakah, and especially tzedakah given to help to sustain one’s synagogue and its work, is one of Judaism’s highest and most cherished values, and it is one of the reasons we have survived as a people over the millenia. So again, thank you for your generosity and support.
Second, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those slain and to those injured in the recent Paris terrorist attacks and in the ongoing assaults upon our brothers and sisters in Israel. We will continue you to keep you informed of ways both to support relief efforts in Israel and around the world and to express solidarity with Jewish communities everywhere.
Third, please take advantage of the many, many educational, ritual, cultural and social events our Congregation has to offer. There is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than joining with members of your own community to learn, pray and celebrate. And it’s fun.
Fourth, consider becoming part of our Temple leadership. Join one of our committees – see the list on our website, TBTNY.org. No matter what your interests and your availability, there’s at least one that’s right for you. Or help out with a special project. Or both. You’ll get to work, and to share your skills, with some terrific people. And you’ll be helping your Temple, your community and the world.
Finally, but by no means any less importantly, have a very Happy Chanukah and a happy, healthy and fulfilling new year.
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)
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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Sept 2015 The Arc – (Berland)
I say this every year. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – summer always seems to end too soon. Back to work, back to school, back to the routines of every-day life. But then, of course, the New Year is upon us, bringing the joyousness of Rosh Hashanah and the solemnity of Yom Kippur. And so it’s not so routine at all.
The past year was a truly extraordinary one for Temple Beth Torah. It was a year of continuity and growth, of familiarity and innovation, of keeping old traditions and making new ones. We installed and celebrated Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz, for 18 years our spiritual treasure, as our new Senior Rabbi. An innovative speakers program, ADEPT, was created and became an instant success –thank you George, Stan, Henry and the entire committee. We held our first multi-temple Golf Outing –thank you Andy, Rich and everyone else on the committee –and our crack office staff. The Erev Purim Casino Night was phenomenal –thank you Rich, Gerry, all of the members of the Fundraising Committee and everyone else who helped out. We set out to raise enough money to buy an ambucycle for United Hatzalah and quickly exceeded all expectations –thank you Marilyn, Ken, everyone who participated and everyone who contributed. We expanded and re-energized our social action and community outreach programs –thank you Ken, Jim, Janice, Mary, Randi and everyone else who was, and is, involved in these efforts. Under Cantor Appelbaum’s leadership, and abetted by our Music Director , Joe Graffeo, the Choir, Youth Band and Adult Band made service after service uniquely beautiful and inspiring. Rabbi Wiesenberg continued to transform our religious school and youth programs into models for all of Long Island. Rabbi Gellman, in his new role as our Rabbi Emeritus, conducted a uniquely thought-provoking and learned series of talks and lectures, as only he can. And we welcomed a new, family-run caterer, Gala Events, and they immediately transformed the ballroom into one of most eye-catching in the metropolitan area.
The list of the many others who pitched in and made all of these things possible and successful is long, and grateful thanks are due to each of them as well. And I could go on and on.
Best of all, we are poised to take all of this to the next level in the year ahead, 5776. The year is already off to a great start –our Second Annual Mutli-Temple Golf Outing , held in late July at the Hamlet Country Club in Commack, succeeded beyond all expectations, completely sold out both for golf and for dinner –thank you Andy, Rich and the entire golf outing committee. The new Director of our David Joshua Berg Nursery School, Jennifer Fusco, has been onboard for barely a month and already great things are happening and the school is growing. As I write, contributions are pouring in for our annual Half Hollow Hills Backpack Drive and for Help Suffolk Day, two of our long-standing community undertakings –thank you to Mary, Randi and Renee and to your many helpers. There’s so much more to come –speakers, celebrations, festivals, opportunities for Tzedakah and Tikun Olam, inspiration, socializing and learning. Watch your email for invitations and announcements. Check out our website. Read the fliers your kids bring home from Religious School, Youth Group and JTV.
Please be part of it all. None of this would be possible without your generosity and all of it is much more valuable and rewarding with your participation. The work of building and maintaining a community is never done, and doing things as a community is especially fulfilling and satisfying. Please be there with us.
Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy, peace-filled and sweet New Year. I look forward to seeing you.
May 2015 The Arc – (Berland)
It seemed as if winter was never going to end, the thermometer refusing to cooperate with the calendar. But whatever the outside temperature may have been, here at TBT the climate could not have been better. March and April were especially activity-packed months, with – to name just some of our many events – wonderful Shabbat services, religious school shabbatons and Shabbat Rock; phenomenal Tot Shabbats; a well-attended, Mardis Gras-themed Casino Night fundraiser that was tremendous fun (and a great opportunity to meet Jennifer Fusco, who will become our Nursery School Director on July 1st); our always-incomparable Purim Carnival; the return of Rabbi Emeritus Marc Gellman to conduct his first – and truly compelling – Scholar-In-Residence program here at TBT; and an inspirational two-day series with noted Mussar scholar Alan Morinis. Thank you to everyone who helped make all of this happen: our tireless clergy, faculty and staff; our kids, parents, committee chairs, members and volunteers; and our friends and visitors from throughout the community. The activities, events and special services didn’t stop there, with Passover bringing with it a Women’s Seder jointly organized by TBT and Regional Hadassah and led and crafted by Rabbis Moskowitz and Wiesenberg and Cantor Appelbaum; a Multi-Cultural Community Seder at the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center in Wyandanch; and, of course, our customary TBT Second Night Seder, which has become a family tradition for many of our members.
As I write our Ambucycle campaign is well underway, and our April 17 Yom Ha’Shoah service and all night vigil was extraordinary – it is always a moving, solemn occasion, as we commemorate the millions who perished in the Holocaust, especially the children whose names we read throughout the night and into morning.
Among the many upcoming special events at TBT are three more installments of our Adult Education and Entertainment Program (“ADEPT”), with comedienne Marjorie Wolf speaking on May 8, author Andrew Kane on June 3, and Vince Russo on Elder car law on June 16; the return on June 5th – 7th of Rabbi Gellman for what will surely be another stimulating and thought-provoking Scholar-in- Residence weekend; the Emunah service and sermon (delivered this year by Steve Kowarsky); and a special Shabbat service and program on June 19 to honor Zelda Miller, who, after over 20 years, will be retiring as Director of our David Joshua Berg Preschool. There’s also Graduation/JTV Honors on Friday, May 15, Confirmation on Tuesday, May 26 and Nursery School Graduation on Thursday, June 11 and our annual Golf Outing on July 27. And that’s just a sampling of the many fun, educational and fulfilling things going on at TBT.
As I’ve said before, without the participation and financial support of our members, the many programs, events, activities, social occasions and acts of tikun olam, tzedakah and gemilut hasadim that make TBT such a special place would not be possible. Again, on behalf of the entire congregation, thank you for your generosity. I encourage everyone to become involved in our congregational life and temple governance. We will be holding our Annual Congregational meeting in June, and I hope to see you there. Further details can be found in this issue of The Arc and on the Temple’s website – TBTNY.Org – or by contacting the Temple office at 643-1200. And remember, you are always welcome to attend our Board meetings, which are open to all congregants and are normally held on the fourth Monday of each month, usually starting at 7:30 pm. (Monthly agendas can be obtained from the Temple office.)
Enjoy the rest of the year and summer.
Best regards, and l’shalom, to all, Sandy
Mar 2015 The Arc – (Berland)
First, a deep and sincere thank you, once again, to everyone who responded to this year’s Kol Nidre Appeal. Temple dues and fees cover only a portion of our expenses; for the rest, we depend on the generosity of our Congregants. Without your support, we simply would not be able to provide the many programs and services that play such an important part in the lives of our members and which make our Temple such a special place. We’re a place for worship, education, cultural experiences, socializing, community action, fun and enlightenment. A place where kids, teens, parents, grandparents and extended families and friends celebrate their most important life cycle events and achievements. And a place for comfort and solace in time of loss. Again, thank you for your Kol Nidre contribution and please join us not only for our upcoming fundraisers – all of them truly fun events that also bring with them the personal fulfillment and satisfaction of tzedakah (our March 7 “Mardi Gras” – themed, pre-Purim Casino Night is a great example) – but also for the many other events, programs, special dinners and activities we have planned in the coming months – and, of course, for our very special Shabbat and holiday services.
Second, we invite you to become involved – and if you’re already involved, even more involved – in the operation and governance of our congregation. Start out by joining a committee – there’s a list on our website, or you can call me or any of our other officers and Board members. Head a committee. Form a new committee. Help organize an activity. Share your ideas. Attend our Board meetings – they’re open to all congregants and are normally held on the fourth Monday of each month, starting at 7:30 PM. (Check the Temple’s website, TBTNY.org, for any changes, and contact the office in person or by phone – (631) 643-1200 ext. 2 – to obtain a copy of the monthly agenda.) Help make our Temple community even more vibrant, exciting and welcoming.
We want YOU!
PS: We’re always looking for help creating and improving each issue of the ARC and keeping our website current, attractive and effective. Contact Robin or David Pinkowitz, our Website Editor –- go to “Contact Us” on our website.
Feb 2015 Special Announcement: Zelda Miller – (Berland)
To the Temple Beth Torah Community,
After serving our Temple community for over two decades, Zelda Miller, Director of our David Joshua Berg Nursery School, has announced that she will retiring at the end of the current academic year. Zelda has been part of our Nursery School from its founding, over twenty years ago – first as a teacher and then as only our second Nursery School Director – and has provided a generation of our children not only with the foundational social and academic skills that have served them so well in life – as they have grown, literally, from toddlers to adolescents and into young adulthood – but also with some of their earliest and most formative exposures to Jewish culture, religion and values. Even as we wish Zelda and her husband, Alan, all the best in what we know will be a very active retirement, one filled with grandchildren, travel and many wonderful simchas, we know she will be much missed by her Temple Beth Torah family.
We will be honoring Zelda and her many contributions to our Congregation in the months ahead, culminating in a special celebration in the spring, the details of which we will be announcing shortly. Please stay tuned.
To read more, click here
Jan 2015 The Arc – (Berland)
The year 5775 has been an extraordinary one for Temple Beth Torah. Thank you for your contributions to our Kol Nidre drive and to our many other funds and fundraisers.
As the secular year 2014 draws to a close and 2015 begins – we can’t control the Post Office’s delivery of our mail, so I’m covering our bases – I wish everyone the best for the year ahead. Our Temple will always be a place of comfort, compassion, community and excitement. Please join us for our services and for our many, many other family, adult and youth activities; make us the go to place for your family’s simchas; and please take advantage of the many other things we have to offer. We treasure your membership and wish you the very best of everything in the year ahead.
With all the best wishes from the Board of Trustees, our staff, and, especially, our clergy,
Shalom in the year ahead,
Nov 2014 The Arc – (Berland)
On Friday night, October 17, in a huge outpouring of love and support, our Congregation installed Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz as our fourth Senior Rabbi, succeeding Rabbi Marc Gellman, who had served in that role for 33 years. It was a beautiful service, with performances by the TBT Band, under the direction of Cantor Sarene Appelbaum and Dr. Joseph Graffeo, including a very special musical piece prepared for the installation by the Cantor and Dr. Graffeo. In addition to the Rabbi’s children, Ari and Shira, and her husband, Rabbi Steven Moskowitz, speakers included our own Rabbi Rachel Wiesenberg, Gila Hadani-Ward of the Union for Reform Judaism, who presented a letter of congratulations from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the President of the URJ, and special guest Rabbi Howard Shapiro, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach and (among many other things) a lecturer at Florida Atlantic University’s Life Long Learning Society.
The Oneg Shabbat that followed the installation service was a tremendous opportunity for further com-munity building and served that purpose extremely well, as did the dinner-dance on Saturday night. And Sunday’s Mitzvah Fair, held right after Mishpacha University, was a great success, raising money for Larger Than Life, with whom we’re partnering to provide TV’s for a pediatric oncology B’nai Zion Medical Center in Haifa. Big thanks to the installation committee and to everyone who pitched in to make these events so rewarding, satisfying and, frankly, fun.
By the way, it’s not too late to subscribe to the Scroll of Honor that will commemorate our Senior Rabbi’s formal installation. Please contact the Temple office for details.
We are truly blessed to have Ravsusie as our Senior Rabbi. There is no one more committed to the spiritual health and well being of our congregation and no one more connected to every facet of our congregational life.
Stay tuned. There’s much, much more planned in the months ahead.
Oct 2014-a Rabbi Susan Heneson Moskowitz Installation – (Berland)
At this point in our service, and in our program tonight, I want to say a few words about Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz.
I’m a lawyer, so I’m going to give just the facts. Rabbi Susie grew up in the Baltimore area. After graduating from Randallstown High School, she went on to Duke University. In 1986, following her graduation from Duke, she entered into the five-year program in Rabbinic Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cinncinati, including a year of study in Jerusalem. She was ordained in 1991 and became assistant rabbi at Temple Beth El of Great Neck.
She went on to become Family Educator at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Plandome, where she implemented one of the first UJA-Federation Continuity grants.
And then, in 1996, she joined Temple Beth Torah as our Rabbi Educator. When I first met Rabbi Susie, our kids were in pre-school together. She and my wife, another Susie, and several other parents, often shared car-pooling duties. From time to time I pitched in, albeit very rarely. Susie did everything she was called upon to do as our Rabbi Educator, and much, much more. In those days, her day job was to educate our kids as Jews. Off the clock, her responsibilities were to her family. She did all of that, flawlessly. Shira and Ari, who are here tonight, beaming for their mother, are testaments to that, and Steve has dome pretty well, too.
And like the cream that inevitably rises to the top, our Ravsusie has risen to the Rabbinic top as well.
To read more, click here
Oct 2014-b Kol Nidre – (Berland)
Good Yontif – and Tzom Kal – an easy fast.
Did you read the “Elul” stories that Rabbi Moskowitz emailed to the Congregation daily in the month leading up to the New Year? These were very personal stories from congregants, many of them from childhood, each a reminiscence about the high holidays and their emotional reverberations. Each was wonderfully unique, touching and illuminating. We each have our own backstory. But what struck me and, I think, everyone who read them was how familiar they seemed. That despite our differences, despite how far we individually may have come, we’ve all emerged from common ground, our roots entwined in so many ways.
Look at how many people are here tonight. There will be at least twice as many tomorrow – three times as many when you include the family service.. I think that we, collectively and individually, understand that we are part of a cherished, ages-old community of shared values and beliefs, and that we are coming together now, as we do (at least) every year – and many of us much more often than that – to assert our membership in that community and to receive nourishment from it. Atonement, yes, but nourishment, too. It’s our community.
Unfortunately, the Jewish community at large is increasingly at risk. And we need to do our part in addressing that risk.
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Sept 2014-a The Arc – (Berland)
Shalom. I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and refreshed as the relative leisure of summer fades into memory and school and work schedules kick back into high gear. Summer always seems to end too soon.
This year, the season has been bittersweet. On the sweet side, Rabbi Moskowitz has moved smoothly and confidently into the role of Senior Rabbi, setting the wheels in motion for great things in the coming year. Summertime Shabbat services, in the Dubner Courtyard and under the stars, were beautiful, inspiring, and well attended, and our wonderfully talented congregants Hannah DerAris and Brandon Kaplan, Jodi Siegel, Steve and Jiya Kowarsky, and Debbie Fratello and Sheryl and David Haber filled in admirably for Cantor Appelbaum, who spent part of the summer studying in Jerusalem.
Grateful thanks to Mary Resnick Chan, Randy Bender and Janice Hassenfeld for representing TBT so well over the summer with the community service projects they organized and led, and to everyone who pitched in. Grateful thanks, as well, to Cindy Kaplan and Aimee Goldstein for the mid-July reception they conceived, planned and hosted in honor of Rabbi Moskowitz at Jewel Restaurant, a hugely successful event that brought together nearly two hundred congregants, friends and well-wishers for a wonderful evening; Kudos to Cindy, Aimee and everyone who contributed to this wonderful occasion. In addition, the new caterer, Gala Event NYC, is now fully up and running.
Still more is scheduled for the fall, including our first-ever multi-synagogue Golf Outing, set for October 6, in partnership with the South Huntington and Dix Hills Jewish Centers. And on October 17, at a very special Friday night service, Rabbi Moskowitz will be formally installed as our Senior Rabbi; planning is well under-way for a weekend of unique festivities to celebrate this joyous occasion in the life of our Congregation, so please mark your calendars for October 17, 18 and 19.
On the other side of things, summer has seen Israel under siege as never before short of all-out war. While the Iron Dome, thankfully, has spared Israel the huge number of casualties Hamas’s rocket onslaught would otherwise have produced, far too many lives have been lost on both sides of this needless conflict, a conflict cynically provoked by a Gazan regime that evidently has as little regard for the lives of its people as it does for Israel’s. Israel needs our support as never before, and under Rabbi Moskowitz’s leadership, we have joined with other local synagogues to help raise money for critical, badly needed ambulances and other live-saving equipment. But more is needed, and in the coming weeks we will be alerting you to many other opportunities to help out and to show your support for Israel in this difficult time.
Surely, the events in the Middle East are a stark reminder of the essential role our Temple community plays in our lives. I hope you and your family will take advantage of everything we have to offer in the year ahead – not just the warm and welcoming Shabbat services that our incomparable clergy lead throughout the year, but our fabulous holiday celebrations, social gatherings, Youth Group, JTV, Sisterhood, Men’s Club, Mishpacha University, speakers’ program, adult learning, TLC@TBT and other social action and Tikun Olam activities, Torah study, social networking, and much, much more. We are here for you. Please join us, please get involved, and please invite your friends and neighbors to do so as well.
Again, I hope this finds you well and ready for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing you at our High Holiday Services and throughout the year. Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy, peace-filled and sweet New Year.
Sept 2014-b Board Installation – (Berland)
Clergy, board members, friends –
Community. It’s fitting that tonight’s parsha, Ki Tavo –literally, “when you enter” (the land), is the one that coincides with the installation of both our Temple Board of Trustees and our JTV Board. After 400 years of enslavement and 40 years wandering in the wilderness – four hundred and forty years of exile, deprivation and rootlessness – the Israelites, our people, are on the verge, at last, of returning home. They are instructed to celebrate the enormous blessings they have received – and to be generous to the Levites, who will oversee the place of worship, and to the “stranger in [their] midst,” to the fatherless and the widow” – to all who are in need. The downtrodden host that left Egypt with only the things they could carry on their backs and hold in their arms, has, at last, been delivered into a land of milk and honey, a place of enormous bounty. But they must never forget their origins and their history, or their obligations to others. Celebrate, yes. But then give back. And give forward.
So from a mass of oppressed, dehumanized slaves; to a nomadic but stiff-necked people; to, at last, a nation, a real, rooted community. They must rejoice for the blessings they’ve received, but each must also do his or her part to support the community, their community and to care for those in need.
And that is what you, our trustees, and you, our JTV board members, do, day in and day out, year after year.
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