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					                                      The Star
    March April 2009
    Adar Nisan Iyyar 5769

                            Newsletter of Temple Beth Torah
                            Wethersfield, CT
                            Vol. 13 No. 4
  Special Interest
                            Message from Rabbi Seth Riemer
                            Purim is coming!                   3. One effect of the global      But the value of that story
  • Message from                                                  warming climate reality       applies well beyond the
    Rabbi Seth              As we rev up our engines for          is colder and snowier         boost in morale it gives us
    Riemer                  the celebration at TBT,               winter weather                as Jews. Twenty-five years
                            please keep in mind that,             (prompting anti-              ago Elie Wiesel observed (I
  • Tree of Life            underlying the festival’s lively      scientific-minded folks       am paraphrasing, from
    Fundraiser              silliness, there is a deadly          to turn up the heat in        memory) that the entire
                            serious aspect. Purim                 their effort to defeat        world, living under the
  • Remembering             madness likes to upend the            sound environmental           shadow of nuclear
    Helena Kavalier
                            normal order of things—to             policy).                      holocaust, has become, in a
                            poke holes in our                                                   sense, Jewish. Applying
                            assumptions about what is          Disparate as these data are, Wiesel’s point more
                            (or ought to be) true. This        they share a certain             narrowly to the Purim story,
                            topsy-turvy holiday exercise       terrifying whimsicality. We      we can see that the planet
                            pops out, like a Jewish-           might be tempted to              as a whole is like the Jews
                            accented jack-in-the-box, to       conclude, from the evidence who faced degradation and
                            remind us that the                 at hand, that life makes no      death in Shushan. Can
                            presumably rational and            sense, and the world is          humanity muster courage
                            coherent world we live in is in    destructively crazy. A better and ingenuity—as Esther
Individual Highlights:      fact far from it.                  way to approach the chaos        and Mordechai did—to
                                                               confronting us is to think of    confront the menace that
  Message from the Co-      Consider, for example, these       Mordechai and Esther.            looms so powerfully on so
  Presidents       2
                            important and undeniable,                                           many fronts:
                            although absurd, facts:            When faced with near-            environmental, financial,
  Golden Book      5                                           certain destruction, they        political and spiritual?
                            1. American taxpayers              contrive an effective survival
                               recently funded, to the         strategy. Although they see Our global community has a
                               tune of $440,000, a spa         that the cards are not in        chance now to turn back the
                               retreat vacation of AIG         their favor, they work           insane tide of greed, hatred
                               executives who took time        prudently with the hand          and violence, which is ready
                               off to relax as the             dealt them. They cooperate to engulf all. So many
                               national (and global!)          with each other. They            people are filled with
                               market system teetered          refuse to give up. Instead       pessimism—the belief that
                               on the brink of collapse.       of succumbing to victim          nothing can be done. And
                               (Talk about fiddling while      status, they turn the tables     there are statistics and
                               Rome burns!)                    on their enemies and             professional opinions
                            2. Most nations have               emerge triumphant. We in aplenty to back up that grim
                               scolded Israel for fighting     the Jewish community take        conclusion. Ah, but such
                               back against rocket             pride in their ability to outfox high and mighty theories
                               attacks from Hamas-             a murderous foe. We note, mask moral cowardice.
                               controlled Gaza (self-          with satisfaction, our tribe’s   Remember the message of
                               defense being viewed as         repeated ability to withstand Purim: crazy though it may
                               a right for some, a crime       adversity and stop a threat. seem, hope is a better
                               for others).                                                     option than despair.
 The Star                                                            Page 2 of 6
So, as we at TBT put on our                  excuse for copping out. Take some
costumes, get out our groggers,              time to hope—not just in word but in
bake our hamantaschen and brush              deed.
up on our Purim-torah, let’s not forget to
hope. Times are tough, but (as               Happy Purim!
Mordechai told Esther) that’s no             Rabbi Seth

Message from the Co-Presidents
Dear friends,                                Saturday, March 21.

There is a lot of exciting activity coming   Then, believe it or not, our annual TBT
up at TBT over the next few months!          Community 2 Passover Seder will be
By the time this newsletter comes out,       Thursday, April 9 . We will definitely
we will have had our Dinner and              need 1 or 2 people to step forward and
Dialogue fundraiser event on Feb.            organize this Seder. As you well know,
28 . We thank Debbie Ellenberg-Gray,         Passover is all about the details (and
Deb Trueax, and Lani Langlois for the        tradition, of course!), so please volunteer
hours of work they put into planning         if this sounds like the kind of thing you’re
and coordinating this very special           good at. We do order most of the food
evening.                                     from The Crown, so it’s not a big cooking
On Monday, March 9 at 7pm, please
be sure to join us at TBT for our Purim      Later in April, on the 24 , our teen
shpiel and Megillah reading. Susan           emissaries from Israel will be joining us
Reuben and Rabbi Seth are                    for an Israeli potluck supper and
collaborating on a creative and witty        Shabbat services.
program – sure to have you laughing
and singing and having a great time!         May will be a big B’nai Mitzvah month at
As always, costumes are encouraged           TBT! Sam Hammer and Danielle
for all!                                     Bromberg will each be celebrating their
                                             big day.
We are so pleased to report that
attendance at Shabbat services and           We welcome all of our TBT friends to join
our once-a-month Torah Study                 us at services and for a special Oneg
sessions has been strong. We hope            Shabbat on Friday, May 1 , in
you will continue to come and                celebration of Sam’s becoming a Bar
participate – the more, the merrier!         Mitzvah that weekend.
Our next Torah Study is scheduled for
                                             Deb and Joe

Tu B’Shvat Seder
Tu B’Shvat is the Jewish New Year for Trees. We celebrated this occasion with
our annual Seder. 30 members and friends attended this event on the 15 day of
the month of Shvat, under the bright full moon. We sang songs and each took a
turn reading from our booklet. The fruit platters were full of colorful, delicious fruit.
Thank you to each family for bringing fruit to share – Gold, Nevins, Ellenberg, Gray,
Hammer, Schlein, Riemer Checknoff, Reuben, Wahnon Ferrebee, Trueax, James,
Alpert, London.
One of the side benefits of the Seder is we see how the children have grown and
improved their reading skills each year.
Page 3 of 6                                                             The Star
Helena Kavalier 1906 - 2009
Helena Kavalier lived a long, active         shop and was the editor of the Star in the
and caring life. I’ve known her since        days of the typewriter.
1965. She was a major part of
Temple Beth Torah for many years.            Helena never complained about
She attended Shabbat services                anything. She always felt just fine. She
regularly, as well as every other            was always attending classes and
event at TBT. She was a retired              learning about new topics. She was a
public school teacher when I met her         volunteer in the Wethersfield Public
and a nurse before that. She taught          Library.
in our Hebrew School and ran a play
group for pre-schoolers. My children         Helena always appreciated everything. If
were in that program. I remember             you did her a favor, you were sure to
the little pockets she crocheted as          receive a homemade gift from Helena as
gifts for the kids. She presented a          a Thank you. I recall receiving Hadassah
Judaic gift to every Bar and Bat             Mother’s Day bagel boxes from Helena,
Mitzvah child at the Temple                  even though I am sure that I was not her
Helena wore many hats. She was a
founding member of the Temple.               We should all learn from this special
She became TBT historian. As the             woman and try to leave a legacy as
corresponding secretary, she                 special as hers. She will be missed.
handled Golden Book and Book
Fund contributions. She ran the gift                                 Cecile Bronfin

  Pictures from Helena Kavalier’s 100 birthday party. Dancing with Cy Levine; Surrounded by family.

    Jewish Film Festival March 14 – 23
    The Hartford Jewish film Festival presents 23 funny, poignant and powerful films which
    will challenge, inform and entertain you. The films are scheduled in the evening from
    Monday – Thursday and all day on Sunday in several area theaters. To see the
    schedule go to

    Felicia Shpall’s 4th Yahrzeit
    In memory of Felicia, our late Rabbi, her parents, Mark and Laraine Shpall will be
    hosting an evening event on March 27. More details to follow.
The Star                                                             Page 4 of 6
Hannah Horowitz chosen to lead Harvard Band
                       Hannah Horowitz, daughter of Ralph and Maureen
                       Horowitz, is a sophomore at Harvard University. She
                       auditioned for and was chosen Student Conductor of the
                       Harvard University Band. Hannah had to take 3 conducting
                       classes, do a presentation and put together an original
                       musical arrangement for a band performance.

                       Hannah is majoring in Earth and planetary sciences with an
                       emphasis on the environment. She also plays the flute in
                       Harvard's Bach Society Orchestra and is secretary of the
                       Harvard Democrats. Hannah is a 2007 graduate of
                       Wethersfield High School where she was section leader
                       and drum major for the Marching Band. Hannah is the
                       granddaughter of Angeline Armillei.

   This Old House of Worship
   The building committee reports that the tower over TBT’s front vestibule has
   been needing attention. While the tower’s top has had a new rubber roof
   installed, the sides are aged and water comes through in hard rains. Thank
   you to John Gray for having his roof guys address the leaks.

   Inspection of the upper area revealed a lot of debris and the absence of
   insulation over the ceiling. John further volunteered to clear the debris and
   install batting between the ceiling joists. So on a recent Saturday morning,
   John, with Phil and Ralph assisting, completed those tasks.

   Hopefully we’ll be snugger and dryer. Next job is replacing the ceiling tiles and
   painting. Volunteers?
                                                     Phil Lohman

   Carol’s trip to Cuba
   In January 2009 Carol Gershenson traveled with her brother and his
   synagogue to Cuba. A limited number of visas are given each year for
   humanitarian trips to Cuba. They brought clothes to donate to the people
   there and they visited Jewish historical sites during their stay on the island
   nation. An article on her trip will be in the next edition of the Star. If you’d like
   to hear more, just ask Carol.

   Oneg Sponsors Needed
   Every week we like to complete our Friday evening service with an Oneg.
   These are sponsored by members. Our calendar of sponsors is empty for the
   rest of the year. The menu is easy – cake or cookies, fruit and a challah. The
   juice and tea is in the kitchen already. The sponsor sets up a table using a
   Temple tablecloth and afterwards takes the tablecloth home to wash. Lani
   maintains the calendar so contact her at with the date
   you’d like to cover. Thanks.
 Page 5 of 6                                                          The Star
                                   Golden Book
  Temple Beth Torah                In Honor of
                                                                           By Adele Henowitz & Family
                                                                           By Ina & Frank London
                                   RABBI SETH RIEMER'S                     By Rhoda & Fred London
      130 Main Street
                                   Installation                            By Rita & Harold Nevins
   Wethersfield, CT 06109
                                     By Marcia & Arthur S. Meyers          By Jane Ross
      (860) 529-2410
                                                                           By Toby & Steven Ross
                                   To BARBARA & BRUCE                      By Mira & Barry Schlein
     Rabbi Seth Riemer
                                   KAPLAN                                  By Linda & Howard Siegel
                                      "Thinking of You with Fond           By Rose Solomon
                                   Wishes For Good Health and
                                   Happiness in the New Year--We        In Memory of
    Deb & Joe Hammer
                                   Miss You"                            LYNN LEVINE
    Co-Vice Presidents:
                                      By The Congregation of               By Helen Michaels
     Judy & Marty Gold             Temple Beth Torah
         Treasurer:                   By The Hammer Family
       Barry Schlein                                                    In Memory
   Recording Secretary:                                                 REVA SCHNEPS
                                   Wishing a Speedy Recovery to            By The Congregation of
     Carol Gershenson
                                   LEO ROSEN                            Temple Beth Torah
  Corresponding Secretary:
                                    By The Congregation of                 By Judy & Marty Gold
       Rhoda London
                                   Temple Beth Torah                       By The Hammer Family
                                    By The Hammer Family                   By Rhoda & Fred London
   Mira Schlein – Trustee
  Ralph Horowitz – Trustee                                                 By Rita & Harold Nevins
                                   Yahrzeit for DAVID H.
  Maribeth Abrams - Trustee
                                     By Rhoda & Fred London             PRAYER BOOK FUND
      Committee Chairs:
  Cecile Bronfin – Education                                            In Memory of
                                   In Memory of                         HELENA KAVALIER
  Lani Langlois – Sisterhood
                                   POPPY AL ELLENBERG                      By Leslie Levine
 Deb Ellenberg Gray – Ways
                                       By Debbie & John Gray
          and Means
 Bruce Kaplan – Men’s’ Club                                             YARTZEIT DONATIONS
                                   In Memory of                             By Dorothy Daley in memory
    Phil Lohman – Building
                                   HELENA KAVALIER                      of her son, Lee
   Susan Sackler Reuben –
                                      By The Congregation of                By Marlene Ellenberg for
                                   Temple Beth Torah                    husband Al
 Debra Trueax – Membership
                                      By Joan & Gerry Berg                  By Tillie Sitcovsky for
  Linda Levinson – Publicity
                                      By Ruth & Harold Brainin          husband Lou
Harold Nevins – Memorial Park         By Cecile & Barry Bronfin &
Barbara & Bruce Kaplan -High       Family
                                      By Alice Burstein                 DONATONS TO THE
                                      By Marlene Ellenberg              MEMORIAL PARK
                                      By Sam Goodman                    Marlene Ellenberg
                                      By Debbie & John Gray
        Star Editor:
                                      By Elsie Hale                     Barry and Mira Schlein
   Susan Sackler Reuben
                                      By The Hammer Family
      Leonard Slutsky
                                   Prizes for gift card purchases
    Next issue – May/June;         We will be awarding Stew Leonard cookbooks to the first 12 people
      Deadline April 15
                                   who purchase at least $500 of any store gift cards this year (5769).
                                   Our winners so far are –
                                           Judy Gold, Susan Sackler Reuben, Monica Gold, Mira
                                   Schlein, Deb Jainchill, Cecile Bronfin and Deb Hammer.

           Website:                Other families who have purchased cards this year and are in the   running: Alpert, London, Langlois, Koplin, Bromberg, Horowitz,
                                   Goldberg, Cyr, Rome, Trueax, Leon, Kaplan, and Smith.
                                   Contact Susan Sackler Reuben to place your order.
                             The Star                                                      Page 6 of 6

                                                             Insurance Alternatives, Inc.
                                                             Jeff Brown, Account Executive

                                                             Quote line (860)404-0010
                                                             Fax (800) 678-4491
                                                             Service (800) 617-6214

                                                                      P.O. Box 967, 321 Main Street,
                                                                          Farmington, CT 06304

      Purim Megillah Reading March 9 at 7 p.m.
      Join us for the most fun Jewish holiday of the year. Dress in costumes and make lots of noise when
      H*m*n’s name is said. Actors will be needed for the Purim shpiel – no experience needed, contact Rabbi

      2nd night Passover Seder coordinator needed
      We are looking for a leader or two for this community Seder. We need someone who can coordinate the
      volunteers, delegate tasks: order food, collect RSVP and payments, set-up and clean up. Let Deb
      Hammer know if you want to show your organization skills and help make this event happen on April 9.

   130 Main Street
Wethersfield, CT 06109

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