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<strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong><br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


Leadership<br />


Rabbi<br />


Rabbi Emeritus<br />


Founding Rabbi<br />


Cantor<br />


Chief Operating Officer<br />


Director of Development<br />


Religious School Director<br />

Membership Director<br />


Youth & Camp Director<br />


Early Childhood Academy<br />

Director<br />


Administrative Assistant<br />


Controller<br />


BT2U Coordinator<br />

In this issue<br />

Messages 03<br />

From our Rabbi, Cantor, Co-<br />

Presidents, Director of Development,<br />

Chief Operating Officer, Early<br />

Childhood Academy Director &<br />

Director of Membership<br />

Lifecycles 13<br />

Officers<br />



Presidents<br />


Executive Vice President<br />


Immediate Past President<br />


At Large VP<br />


Early Childhood Academy VP<br />


Education VP<br />


Financial VP<br />


Membership VP<br />


Operations VP<br />


Ritual VP<br />


Ways & Means VP<br />


Youth & Camp VP<br />


Treasurer<br />


Secretary<br />

B’nai Mitzvah 14<br />

New Members and<br />

Candle Lighting Times<br />

/ Parashiot<br />

High Holy Days 5779<br />

Feedback<br />

Contributions & Yahrzeit<br />

Donations<br />

15<br />

17<br />

23<br />

News 28<br />

From Beth Torah Sisterhood, Scheck<br />

Family Religious School and Youth<br />

Groups.<br />

Donor Roster - High Holy<br />

Days 5779<br />

38<br />

2 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

A Message from Our Rabbi<br />

Pittsburgh<br />

Sermon Shabbat 11.03.18<br />

Last Shabbat morning around<br />

11:00am a volunteer whispered in<br />

my ear “there was an attack on a<br />

synagogue in Pittsburgh, they are<br />

saying at least 4 people are dead”<br />

I received the news like a sword in<br />

my chest!<br />

I have never been to the state of<br />

Pennsylvania, but I was born in<br />

Buenos Aires and the AMIA, the<br />

Jewish Federation, was bombed<br />

there and the Israeli Embassy was<br />

bombed there leaving between both<br />

attacks more than 110 dead and<br />

countless injured.<br />

And I revived all those terrible<br />

feelings of anger, impotence and<br />

sadness.<br />

I did not stay for Kiddush.<br />

I left for home as I wanted to be<br />

with my family and watch the news.<br />

Yes, the news on Shabbat!<br />

During this past week I was shocked<br />

by our sense of shock and surprise!<br />

This has happened countless times<br />

before! In recent years, right here in<br />

America:<br />

- Emanuel African Methodist<br />

Episcopal Church, South Carolina<br />

… nine black church members<br />

massacred by Dylann Roof.<br />

- Al Masjid Masque, New York City<br />

… the Imam and his assistant fatally<br />

shot on Aug 13, 2016.<br />

- <strong>Nov</strong> 5, 2017, 26 people killed<br />

at First Baptist Church in<br />

Southerland, TX.<br />

- Sept 25, 2017, one killed and<br />

seven injured at the Burnette<br />

Chapel Church of Christ,<br />

Tennessee.<br />

It has happened again and<br />

again! So how come now,<br />

suddenly, we are shocked? Why<br />

weren’t we shocked enough<br />

when those victims were black?<br />

Or Christians? Or as in an<br />

Orlando bar where the victims<br />

were Gay?<br />


We don’t know that hate speech<br />

leads to hate crimes???<br />

And yet I have been troubled<br />

this past week. While I was<br />

pleased with the response of<br />

the community when we called<br />

for a community vigil the other<br />

night, I found myself thinking<br />

about Charleston. Where was<br />

our voice when Dylan Roof<br />

opened fire in a church and<br />

killed nine African Americans<br />

three years ago? Sure, we shook<br />

our heads in dismay, rabbis gave<br />

sermons and people said, “How<br />

terrible,” but where were the<br />

vigils? Where were the local<br />

protests? And last year, when a<br />

gunman opened fire at Marjory<br />

Stoneman Douglas High School<br />

RABBI<br />


in Parkland, why didn’t more of us<br />

take to the streets and challenge<br />

public leaders regarding gun<br />

control? Why did it take an attack<br />

on a synagogue to motivate us to<br />

speak out and organize a vigil?<br />

I am not foolish, I know why we are<br />

shocked. It is because it almost hits<br />

home:<br />

We are a conservative shul, Tree of<br />

Life is a conservative shul.<br />

We gather Saturday mornings at<br />

9:30, they gather at 9:45.<br />

Continues on page 44<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


A Message from Our Rabbi<br />

“How long O Lord? The aftermath<br />

of the shooting in Pittsburgh’s<br />

Tree of Life”<br />

Ad Anah Adonai – How long O<br />

Lord – cried out the prophet – How<br />

long? How long must we endure<br />

these vile anti-Semitic attacks is<br />

the question on all our minds.<br />

It’s a painful cry that no Jewish<br />

community has been immune from<br />

since Pharaoh decided to enslave<br />

his Hebrew population in spite of<br />

all it had done from Egypt – saving<br />

it from famine and destruction.<br />

We all have opinions about what<br />

happened, why it happened, what<br />

might have triggered it. All have<br />

some validity, none can be proven<br />

right or wrong – every opinion has<br />

a kernel of truth we can learn from.<br />

The issue is too complicated and<br />

has a long, long history. What we<br />

need to do is look at our tradition<br />

and see what it teaches us and put<br />

it all in perspective. Tzay ulmad -<br />

let’s learn. In Moses’ Maimonides<br />

epic legal work called the Mishneh<br />

Torah he discusses the coming of the<br />

Messiah. He tells us that once the<br />

Messiah comes: “All the books of<br />

the prophets and all the writings will<br />

no longer be valid in the days of the<br />

Messiah except for Megillat Esther<br />

which will remain together with the<br />

five books of the Torah and the laws<br />

of the Oral Torah that will never<br />

lose their validity. Even though all<br />

memory of troubles will be dropped<br />

– but the days of Purim will remain.”<br />

Why even after the coming of the<br />

Messiah will we still read the book<br />

of Esther and still observe Purim?<br />

Because even when the Messiah<br />

comes you still need to look out for<br />

Haman!! That is how enduring anti-<br />

Semitism is. Even in the Messianic<br />

era we will have to keep an eye<br />

out for Haman There is a Rabbinic<br />

midrash which I believe explains<br />

this rather bizarre idea. The Rabbis<br />

say that if you are in the midst of<br />

planting a tree and someone comes<br />

and tells you that the Messiah has<br />

arrived, you should finish planting<br />

the tree and then go greet the<br />

Messiah. What are the Rabbis<br />

saying? I believe they are saying<br />

two things: a) don’t alter your<br />

lives – your work – your building<br />

for the future – because you think<br />

the Messiah has come. Because<br />

it’s probably a false alarm. b) Even<br />

if it is the Messiah you still need to<br />

plant trees, care for the world and<br />

build the future. Our partnership<br />

with God and our working to repair<br />

the world doesn’t end with the<br />

coming of the Messiah. The story<br />

of Esther will always be relevant<br />

because even if you think it’s the<br />

messiah – it probably isn’t – and<br />

even if it is people will still be<br />

people and Haman will still be<br />

lurking in the shadows. In other<br />

words, never, ever let your guard<br />

down. My fellow Jews – Jews have<br />

been attacked in France, in Belgium,<br />



in England, in Istanbul, in Argentina, in<br />

Morocco, in Italy and of course in Israel.<br />

Each time we are upset and horrified - Jews<br />

being attacked and killed for the crime<br />

of being Jewish. But for us this attack in<br />

Pittsburgh is psychologically more traumatic<br />

for many reasons. It’s simply more personal.<br />

Let me illustrate why. When they first read<br />

the list of the names of the victims – the<br />

very first name was Daniel Stein. For many<br />

years a fine elderly and gentle man sat over<br />

there – (pointing to seat) many a Friday<br />

night or Shabbat morning with his wife of<br />

many decades. She passed away a few years<br />

ago but he kept coming – now even more<br />

regularly – to say kaddish. The other year<br />

he decided to move away to be closer to<br />

family and we miss him. His name is Daniel<br />

Stein. For one moment I wondered if this<br />

could have been the same man as I didn’t<br />

remember where he moved to. It wasn’t<br />

him – it was a different Daniel Stein. This<br />

attack was more personal because this was<br />

here in America in a city where many of us<br />

personally knows people. My colleague -<br />

Rabbi Jonathan Berkun’s father and mother<br />

would have been<br />

Continues on page 48<br />

4 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

A Message from Our Cantor<br />

CANTOR<br />


A great miracle happened ALSO there<br />

Jews of the Dominican Republic – another Chanukkah story…<br />

By Clauss Bienen, Martín Katz y Rachel Reuter<br />

Revised by: Rabbi Manes Kogan y Hazzan Gastón Bogomolni.<br />

This year, it is the 80th anniversary of the Evian Conference.<br />

In 1938 the Evian Conference was held under the auspices<br />

of American President Roosevelt with the participation of<br />

32 countries, in order to investigate the possibilities of help<br />

for the emigration of Jews persecuted by Nazism. Only the<br />

Dominican Republic under the government of General Trujillo<br />

offers 100,000 visas for refugees.<br />

In the year 1939 the DORSA (Dominican Republic<br />

Settlement Association) was founded in New York under<br />

the administration of Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. Rosen (expert in<br />

agronomy) and Dr. Hextor (principal administrator of the<br />

Joint). DORSA acquires from Trujillo the lands of the former<br />

United Fruit Company in the north of the country. The lands<br />

are dry, arid and of little agricultural value.<br />

On May 10, 1940, the first group of refugees arrived in Sosúa.<br />

There were 35 mainly German and Austrian people. The<br />

DORSA paid the cost of the trip of approximately 18 days,<br />

from Genua -Italia- to Santo Domingo.<br />

The first settlers lived in the old houses of the<br />

Fruit Company and began to develop a European<br />

agriculture under the instructions of the Diplomat<br />

Agronomist Frederick Perlstein. They grew tomatoes,<br />

cucumbers, carrots and cabbage but couldn’t find a<br />

market for these products. They worked and lived<br />

under extremely rudimentary conditions. Many of the<br />

settlers, unaccustomed to local weather conditions,<br />

fell ill with malaria.<br />

In 1941, a hospital, a pharmacy, a building for<br />

administration, a small synagogue, a school with a<br />

library, a common dining room, dormitories for men<br />

and women were started. Houses were built only for<br />

married couples with children, all in wood and very<br />

austere.<br />

In the same year more refugees arrived: Germans,<br />

Austrians, Poles, some Dutch and French.<br />

Continues on page 53<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


A Message from Our Co-Presidents<br />

Fellow Congregants:<br />

A few months ago, through the miracle of Facebook, I caught up with an old<br />

friend, who then sent me a photograph. It was a picture taken at my then<br />

synagogue in Orlando, Ohev Shalom. The year was 1951. It showed about 25<br />

Sunday School children, encompassing grades K-2. At the top of the picture<br />

were the teachers and a big sign that said “HAPPY CHANUKAH!” Incredibly,<br />

there I was, far younger, at the far right in the second row. For me, it was an<br />

incredible picture, and it brought back some great memories!<br />

I think that for most American Jews of my generation, and perhaps continuing<br />

right up until today, our memories as children always contain thoughts of<br />

Chanukah. I got my first bicycle on Chanukah. In fourth grade I was gifted<br />

two great books that I still own, with a note from my mother wishing me a<br />

Happy Chanukah. I remember my beloved mom and dad, of blessed memory,<br />

so pleased with the smile on my face when getting my presents. I remember<br />

my grandmother, who made awesome blintzes and latkes! I am sure that all of<br />

you have similar memories. Forget that the Rabbis said that Chanukah was not<br />

a major thing. For me, who grew up with relatively non-observant parents in a<br />

largely Gentile environment, Chanukah was a very big deal – it’s what allowed<br />

us to match up with Christmas! It was fun! You got eight presents (even<br />

though by number 8 the gift was always very small)! G-d bless the Maccabees!<br />


I write all of this because by the time you read it Chanukah will be upon us and<br />

because I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for the good old days. When I was a kid we<br />

literally did not lock the doors at my house – no need. My friends and I rode<br />

our bikes around the neighborhood and beyond, and basically did what we<br />

wanted, so long as we were home by dinner. When I was 7, I was allowed to<br />

take the bus downtown to see a movie – by myself!<br />

I feel sad for what our world has become. The Pittsburgh shooting was another<br />

nail in the coffin of the world as I knew it. That world is gone – forever. However,<br />

we must keep going and adapt. Jews survive! Here at BTBRC we are working<br />

hard to keep you safe. I think you can be confident that we are laser focused<br />

on protecting all of our congregants. We are also, with your help, creating a<br />

culture of security where we all look out for each other.<br />

Thus, as Chanukah approaches let us count our many blessings. Let us<br />

celebrate, spin the dreidel, light the menorah, sing “Rock of Ages,” eat the<br />

latkes, and be happy just like it’s the good old days, in the safe haven of our<br />

beloved Beth Torah!<br />


Enjoy the Holiday,<br />

Mike Segal<br />

Co-President<br />

6 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

A Message from Our<br />

Director of Development<br />

In the Spirit of Chanukkah<br />

It seemed strange for a Talmudic sage to have asked ‘mi hanukah’<br />

“What is Hanukah?” Surely our sages were profoundly steeped in<br />

all the minutiae of Jewish lore. Since the Talmud alludes only to the<br />

miracle of the cruse of oil, and completely ignores the spectacular<br />

Maccabean triumph, we must seek an ancillary meaning. The miracle<br />

of the cruse of oil symbolizes the miracle of man’s invincible spirit in<br />

the face of adversity.<br />

There are occasions in life when the lamp of hope flickers low, and<br />

its “fuel” seems to have reached its nadir. The pit of despair yawns<br />

deeper and deeper. Failure seems inevitable, as it did with the<br />

Maccabees before their indomitable spiritual stamina enabled them<br />

to gain the ultimate victory. A rebirth of strength emerged from some<br />

spiritual subliminal profundities.<br />

It is at such a time when the miracle of the spirit becomes a reality.<br />

This is borne out in the redemptive experience of the author of Psalm<br />

130 who, when all seemed hopeless, cried out Mimaamakim kratiha<br />

haShem, “Out of the depth have I called You, O Lord.”<br />

Rabbi A. Alan Steinbach<br />


TO OUR ENTIRE <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> FAMILY. MAY WE REJOICE IN PEACE<br />


SECULAR YEAR OF 2019.<br />

Over the years, I have come across many articles that have become<br />

some of my favorites and the words below reflect one that enriches<br />

my synagogue life and I hope yours as well. Let’s make this “New<br />

Year’s Resolution” together.<br />

We may compare our synagogue to a wheel, with our executive<br />

officers and the board at the hub, the working committees as spokes,<br />

and the general membership as the rim. If any part of the wheel does<br />

not function properly, serious trouble results. On the other hand, if<br />

every part performs its task efficiently, we have one of the greatest<br />

inventions of mankind. Should any member consider himself more<br />

important than any other member, the alignment and symmetry of<br />

our organization is disrupted. If in a wheel one spoke is larger than<br />


the other spokes, the wheel has little value; or<br />

if the hub should expand beyond its limits, we<br />

then have an empty hoop, and no wheel can<br />

travel with a rim sans spokes.<br />

There are times when an organization (the<br />

wheel) will travel over rough roads and extra<br />

strain may demand lubrication. Nothing is<br />

more effective for this purpose than friendly<br />

cooperation. It reduces friction and supplies<br />

that “ingredient” which makes the difference<br />

between a well-oiled machine and a clanking<br />

mass which produces nothing but noise and<br />

discord.<br />

With this comparison in mind, let us all<br />

resolve to cooperate, and let us perform our<br />

part, whether it be at the hub, at the spokes,<br />

or at the rim. No part is so important that we<br />

can dispense with all other parts. No member<br />

is so insignificant that he will not be missed.<br />

Chag Chanukkah Sameach and a Happy<br />

Secular New Year.<br />

Marshall Baltuch<br />

Director of Development<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


A Message from Our<br />

Suzy Fischer Early Childhood<br />

Academy Director<br />

Our Early Childhood Academy is having another amazing year. All of our<br />

classrooms and filled and we have added additional rooms to meet the<br />

demand for our program. Our Suzy Fischer Early Childhood Academy has<br />

expanded to 19 classrooms, and growing.<br />

Our newly formed Parent Community, KOOLAM, has made a wonderful<br />

start this year with many fundraising and friend-raising events. Our<br />

weekly challah sales and Scholastic Book Fair has already raised funds.<br />

Our goal this year is to upgrade and enhance our playgrounds. Thank you<br />

to Sharon Lewen and Melanie Gorin, co-presidents of KOOLAM, for their<br />

commitment and leadership of this amazing ECA Parent Community!<br />

The Jewish holidays were enjoyed and celebrated by all our children with<br />

special events, Sukkah parties, food experiences, music and dance to<br />

enhance the beauty of the holidays and Create Jewish Memories for our<br />

children and families.<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember brings our favorite holiday, Chanukkah. We bring out the<br />

menorahs, candles, latkes and the joy of the holiday is felt throughout the<br />

school.<br />

Our Chanukkah De-Lights show on <strong>Dec</strong>mber 7th , is a wonderful way to<br />

conclude the first months of school and get everyone in the holiday mood<br />

as our pk2, pk3 and Jr.K children entertain their families with Chanukkah<br />

songs and dances!! Our Toddlers and Twos also get into the Chanukkah<br />

spirit and invite all their families for a special Chanukkah party on <strong>Dec</strong>ember<br />

5th!!<br />


The ECA Staff send<br />

their wishes for a<br />

Joyful Chanukkah to<br />

all our Beth Torah<br />

Families.<br />

8 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

A Message from Our<br />

Membership Director<br />

Dear Families,<br />

By the time you receive this issue many things have happened<br />

at BT since the last Beth Torah Times. We had experienced<br />

meaningful High Holy Day time. We shared many shabbatot<br />

and social and communal events, from family programs<br />

(FunFest) to Latin Concerts (Entrelazadas).<br />

We continue to enhance the Beth Torah experience by<br />

growing the number of opportunities we can take advantage<br />

of as a community. The Social Action volunteers expanded<br />

their actions by re-instituting the Mitzvah Day with lots of<br />

offerings to contribute to the well being of other (Jewish and<br />

non-Jewish) communities. A new initiative of a Culture Club<br />

offers added learning opportunities to nurture ourselves in<br />

different fields; architecture, Jewish History, theater, music<br />

appreciation and more. The all-year- round programs (Café con<br />

Torah, Partners in Torah, Rikudim, Yiddish Club) started again<br />

this year.<br />

Yes, life goes on. We are about to enter a new secular year<br />

(2019) and we must admit that we live in a dynamic world of<br />

constant impact and change. We, as American Jews are being<br />

impacted by sick minds of intolerance and hatred. Once<br />

again more than ever, we should remain united and connected<br />

amongst ourselves and to our communities. Take adavantage<br />

of the many opportunities we offer to remain strong against<br />

every storm.<br />


As always, please feel free to contact<br />

me at grascovsky@btbrc.org or<br />

305. 932.2829 x 7821 at any time.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Gaby Rascovsky<br />

Membership and Religious School<br />

Director<br />

10 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


Lifecycles<br />

Lifecycles<br />

“Life is lived with people.” Rabbi Ed Farber<br />


Liron and Jackob Dweck in honor of the birth of their<br />

daughter, Noa<br />

Miriam and Bruce Masia, on the marriage of their daughter,<br />

Alexandra (Ali) Lakofsky to Yehonatan Kor, son of Chedva and<br />

Avraham Kor of Rehavia Israel<br />

Sandra Cantor and Horacio Schutt, on the marriage of their<br />

daughter, Daiana Kucawca to Eli Tukachinsky<br />

Diane and Stephen Wander, on the marriage of their son,<br />

Josh to Alison Masterman<br />

Jan and Alex Hockman, on the recent marriage of their son,<br />

Jeremy to Cori Stone<br />

Renee and Jorge Lerman, on the recent marriage of their son,<br />

Benjamin to Tatiana Mesa<br />

Ilene and Moises Cohen, in honor of the birth of their<br />

daughter, Elizabeth and to the proud Grandparents, Lea and<br />

Salomon Cohen and Uncle Abe<br />

Jessica and Kevin Plotkin, on the birth of their daughter,<br />

Alison Daren and to the proud grandparents, Etta Birenbaum<br />

Epstein and Adrienne and Marc Plotkin and to Aunt Melissa<br />

and Uncle Oleg Zubarev<br />

Judy and Rich Berger, on the marriage of their son Jeremy to<br />

Chris Howard, son of Susan and Sheldon Howard<br />

Renata and Jeffrey Wolfe-Schlesinger, on the naming of their<br />

son, Daniel<br />


Wendy and Steven Kravitz, Ellen and Larry Elbrand and Marlene<br />

and Michael Olin and Families, in memory of beloved mother<br />

and grandmother, Shirley Kravitz<br />

Cheryl and Nelson Ferreira, Jeni, Matt, Kayla, Addison and<br />

Dylan Buchholz and Londyn, in memory of beloved mother,<br />

grandmother and great grandmother, Gerri Toth<br />

Bernie, Kristy and Adam Singer, in memory of beloved mother<br />

and grandmother, Rosalind ”Roz” Singer<br />

Bergman Family, in memory of beloved mother, grandmother<br />

and great grandmother, Joan Bergman<br />

Sandra Moskovitz, Rob and Evelyn Moskovitz, Dan and Susan<br />

Moskovitz, Bradley, Justin, Josie and Logan, on the passing of<br />

beloved husband, father and grandfather, David Moskovitz<br />

Judi and Bob Billig, on the passing of beloved brother, David<br />

Dobin<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


Mazal Tov to our<br />

B’nai Mitzvah<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember 3 RYAN ROTHENBERG<br />

Son of Shari & Jeff<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember 10 NOAH KURKIN<br />

Son of Mindy & Mark<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember 15 DYLAN WIGODA<br />

Son of Ruthy & Paul<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember 16 TALIA ROSENTHAL<br />

Daughter of Jeanne & Kerry<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 9 NOA BEN DAVID<br />

Daughter of Oranit & Eron<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 9 BRADEN PARRIS<br />

Son of Aileen & Steven<br />


Son of Fabiola & Brian<br />

January 12 CINDY HELLER<br />

Daughter of Carolina<br />


Son of Susan Fox & Conrad<br />

Simpfendorfer<br />

January 19 PARKER SANDERS<br />

Son of Kerri & Jeffrey<br />

January 21 MATTHEW GOLOD<br />

Son of Vanessa & Sebastian<br />

14 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Candle lighting Times<br />

for Shabbat and Parashiot<br />

<strong>Nov</strong>ember 24 VAYISHLACH 5:11PM<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 1 VAYESHEV 5:11PM<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 8 MIKETZ 5:11PM<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 15 VAYIGASH 5:13PM<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 22 VAYECHI 5:16PM<br />

<strong>Dec</strong>ember 29 SHEMOT 5:20PM<br />

January 5 Vaera 5:25PM<br />

January 12 Bo 5:30PM<br />

January 19 Beshalach 5:35PM<br />

January 26 Yitro 5:41PM<br />

Welcome our New Members<br />


















High Holy Days Feedback<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


18 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />



Q: We have our family Chanukah party each year. This year<br />

we invited our daughter’s brother in law’s family to our party.<br />

His wife is not Jewish and the children are being brought<br />

up with no particular religion at this time. Our tradition is<br />

to give each child their own menorah to light the Chanukah<br />

candles and recite the prayers. Is it appropriate to give all<br />

the children menorahs even if they aren’t being brought up<br />

Jewish?<br />

Dianne Dreidel from Davie<br />

A: Dianne it is perfectly alright to give all the children<br />

menorahs. The story of Chanukah teaches us about religious<br />

freedom. Invite others to share in the joy of lighting the<br />

menorah. If you expose the children from an interfaith marriage<br />

to the wonderful custom of Chanukah perhaps the memories will<br />

be happy and long lasting, and hopefully will help influence the<br />

non Jewish spouse and children to partake in Jewish traditions in<br />

the future. You need to make the interfaith couple and children<br />

feel welcome in your home when celebrating Chanukah and<br />

other Jewish holidays. Chanukah is a happy holiday with lots of<br />

ethnic foods, games, and songs; what better way to show the joys<br />

of Judaism to a young family.<br />

Dr.Keruv<br />

This column will be printed in the Beth Torah Times each<br />

edition.If you have a question, please email<br />

drkeruv@hotmail.com or<br />

Mail to<br />

Dr. Keruv<br />

Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus<br />

20350 NE 26th Avenue, N. Miami Beach, Fl. 33180<br />

20 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

REGISTER AT https://btbrc.shulcloud.com/form/mitzvahday.html<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


22 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

“...As my father planted for me before I was born,<br />

so do I plant for those who willcome after me.”<br />

- Talmud Ta’amit<br />

Contributions &<br />

Yahrzeit Donations<br />

Beth Torah gratefully acknowledges<br />

these gifts of Tzedakah, from<br />

March <strong>2018</strong> to August <strong>2018</strong><br />

The Officers and Board of Directors, Professional and Office staff join in expressing our<br />

Mazal Tov or Condolences to the following families:<br />


Received from…<br />

Diane and Stephen Wander, in memory of George Rodman,<br />

beloved father of the Rodman Family<br />

Goldstein-Okay Family in memory of beloved son, Alan<br />

Bernardo Selcer, in memory of beloved Moises Zaragoza and<br />

Samuel Zaragoza<br />

Raquel and Michael Scheck, in memory of beloved mother,<br />

Berta Berezdivin<br />

Phylis Meier, in memory of beloved father, Leo Simensky and<br />

beloved sister, Sandra Frank<br />

Phylis Meier, in memory of beloved Rebecca Simensky<br />

Ramsey and Henry Pevsner, in memory of beloved Ralph Baker<br />

and Pearl Barrett<br />

Herbert Goldberg, in memory of beloved son, Steven Goldberg<br />

Bob Shelley, in memory of beloved mother, Evelyn Shelley<br />

Burton Young, in memory of beloved mother, Clara Young<br />

Marta Jacofsky, in memory of beloved Carlota Dunayevich de<br />

Jacofsky<br />

Julio Barenboim, in memory of beloved Sara Barenboim<br />

Ramsey and Henry Pevsner, in memory of beloved Ruth<br />

Pevsner<br />

Annette Willis, in memory of beloved grandmother, Hannah<br />

Harriet Pearson, in memory of beloved Albert Johnson, Rose<br />

Johnson, Julian Pearson, David Pearson and Joan Harris<br />

Helen and Edward <strong>Dec</strong>ker, in memory of beloved Bernard Catz<br />

Anne and Harold Mandelbaum, in memory of beloved Joan<br />

Bergman<br />

Harry Zimmerman, in memory of beloved sister, Sylvia<br />

Zimmerman<br />

Bette Joy Field, in honor of Jeremy and Chris Berger’s wedding,<br />

son of Judy and Rich Berger<br />

Dora Katz, in honor of Elaine Fisher’s birthday<br />

Rhoda Stein-Lipschitz, in honor of Sherri and Jeff Niefeld’s 40th<br />

Wedding Anniversary<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />









Received from…<br />

Gisela and Rabbi Mario Rojzman and Family<br />

Laurie and Rabbi Ed Farber and Family<br />

Marcela and Cantor Gaston Bogomolni and Family<br />

Wayne Keil<br />

Rochelle and Marshall Baltuch and Family<br />

Ronna and Mike Segal and Family<br />

Judy and Rich Berger and Family<br />

Raquel and Michael Scheck and Family<br />

The Beth Torah office staff Teri, Sherry, Marla, Lea, Veronica<br />

and Catalina<br />

Marcia and Joel Hochberg<br />

Etta Epstein<br />






Received from…<br />

Gisela and Rabbi Mario Rojzman and Family<br />

Laurie and Rabbi Ed Farber and Family<br />

Marcela and Cantor Gaston Bogomolni and Family<br />

Wayne Keil<br />

Rochelle and Marshall Baltuch and Family<br />

Ronna and Mike Segal and Family<br />

Judy and Rich Berger and Family<br />

Raquel and Michael Scheck and Family<br />

The Beth Torah office staff Teri, Sherry, Marla, Lea, Veronica<br />

and Catalina<br />

Arlene Keil<br />

Rhoda Stein-Lipschitz<br />

Etta Epstein<br />

Melissa and Oleg Zubarev<br />

Jessica and Kevin Plotkin<br />




Received from…<br />

Gisela and Rabbi Mario Rojzman and Family<br />

Laurie and Rabbi Ed Farber and Family<br />

Marcela and Cantor Gaston Bogomolni and Family<br />

Wayne Keil<br />

Rochelle and Marshall Baltuch and Family<br />

Ronna and Mike Segal and Family<br />

Judy and Rich Berger and Family<br />

Raquel and Michael Scheck and Family<br />

The Beth Torah office staff Teri, Sherry, Marla, Lea, Veronica and<br />

Catalina<br />

Tina and Myron Cohen<br />

Lea and Salomon Cohen and Family<br />

Janet Hager<br />

Mindy Drath<br />

Scott Weisblum<br />

Lenore Elias<br />

Shelly Lipson<br />

Arlene Keil<br />

Judy and Joel Feinman<br />






Received from…<br />

Gisela and Rabbi Mario Rojzman and Family<br />

Laurie and Rabbi Ed Farber and Family<br />

Marcela and Cantor Gaston Bogomolni and Family<br />

Wayne Keil<br />

Rochelle and Marshall Baltuch and Family<br />

Ronna and Mike Segal and Family<br />

Judy and Rich Berger and Family<br />

Raquel and Michael Scheck and Family<br />

The Beth Torah office staff Teri, Sherry, Marla, Lea, Veronica and<br />

Catalina<br />

Ronni and Bob Whitebook<br />

Judi and Ray Wilensky<br />

24 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>


Received from…<br />

Karen and Michael Matluck, in memory of beloved mother,<br />

Elaine Matluck<br />

Carole Fink, in memory of beloved husband, Jeffrey Fink,<br />

mother’s Elizabeth and Gertrude and aunt, Goldy<br />

Gareth Fink, in memory of beloved father, Jeffrey Fink and<br />

sister, Heidi<br />

Syd Nacron, in memory of beloved father, Emmanuel Rudy and<br />

beloved parents, Rosa and Rubin Najkon<br />

Justine and Stanley Warmbrandt, in memory of beloved son,<br />

Barry Warmbrandt<br />

Justine and Stanley Warmbrandt, in memory of beloved<br />

brother, Marvin Warmbrandt<br />

Ilene, Jay, Brian, Courtney and Austin Rechtman and Rachel and<br />

Patrick Banks, in memory of beloved father and grandfather,<br />

Edwin Rechtman<br />

Lenore Elias, in memory of beloved husband, father and<br />

grandfather, Alvin Elias<br />

Syd Nacron, in memory of beloved daughter, Rosemary Nacron<br />

Alyne and Abbey Kaplan, in memory of beloved Norman Wrubel<br />

Deborah Berkowitz, in honor of Fern Sher’s 89th birthday<br />



Received from…<br />

Berta Feldman, in honor of Elaine Fisher’s birthday<br />

Evelyn and Monroe Mitchel, in memory of beloved mother,<br />

Mary Goldberg and beloved uncle, Benjamin Benjamin<br />


Received from…<br />

Susan and Sid Koslovsky, in memory of Alex and Millie Koslovsky<br />

and Gertrude Greenberg<br />

Steven Zucker, in memory of all deceased members of my<br />

family, and in honor of all of these wonderful souls<br />

Berta Feldman, in memory of beloved husband, Abraham<br />

Feldman<br />

Jane and Alan Axelrod, in memory of beloved Joan Leff<br />

Rabbi Ed and Laurie Farber, in memory of our parents<br />


Received from…<br />

Audre Niedenthal, in memory of my dearest beloved dad, Bert<br />

Bass<br />


Received from…<br />

Raquel and Manuel Rydz, in memory of beloved fathers,<br />

Moises Cohen and Felix Rydz<br />

Judy and Joel Feinman, in memory of beloved mother,<br />

Norma Reich<br />

Jean and Bruce Smoler, in memory of beloved Goldie<br />

Smoler<br />

Deborah Friedman, in memory of Ruth Newman<br />



Received from…<br />

Perry Phillips, in memory of beloved Louis Phillips and<br />

Miguel Berezdivin<br />



Received from…<br />

Madeline and Joel Benes, in honor of Danny Whitebook’s<br />

birthday<br />



Received from…<br />

Arlene Keil and Family, in memory of beloved sister and<br />

aunt, Renee Glassman<br />

Bette Joy Field, in honor of my children<br />



Received from…<br />

Ron Smith, in honor of Rabbi Rojzman and Rabbi Farber<br />

and wishing you a healthy and Happy New Year<br />

Ronni and Bob Whitebook, in memory of Shirley Kravitz,<br />

beloved mother and grandmother of Wendy and Steven<br />

Kravitz and Family<br />

Ronni and Bob Whitebook, in memory of David Moskowitz,<br />

beloved husband, father and grandfather of Sandra<br />

Moskowitz and Rob and Evelyn Moskowitz and Dan and<br />

Susan Moskowitz and Families<br />

Jill and Brian Koch, in memory of Andy Rodman’s father<br />

Friends of Rosalind (Roz) Singer, in memory of beloved Roz<br />

Singer<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />




Received from…<br />

Arlene Keil, in memory of beloved sister, Isabel Lerner<br />


Received from…<br />

Syd Nacron, in memory of beloved daughter, Rosemary Nacron<br />


Received from…<br />

Shelly Lipson, in memory of beloved mother, Doris Dorfman<br />

and beloved brother-in law Robert Lipson<br />



Received from…<br />

Evelyn Wagenberg, in memory of beloved Hilda and Marcos<br />

Yanovich<br />

BT2U<br />

Received from…<br />

Tina and Myron Cohen, in memory of beloved sister, Selma<br />

Silverman<br />


Received from…<br />

Renee and Jorge Lerman, in honor of the marriage of their son<br />

Ben to Tatiana<br />

Sharon Miriam Blumberg, in memory of beloved Joel A Gellar<br />

Goldie Wigutow, in memory of her beloved husband, Sol<br />

Wigutow<br />


Received from…<br />

Christy and Bernie Singer in loving memory of Bernie’s Mom, Roz<br />

Singer<br />

Ilene and Jay Rechtman in honor of the birth of their grandson,<br />

Austin Ian Rechtman<br />

Ilene and Jay Rechtman in prayer for a speedy recovery for<br />

Morechai ben Laima<br />

Marc and Jackie Fine in honor of the baby naming of their new<br />

granddaughter<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Muchnick in honor of the High Holy Days<br />

services<br />

Robin Wucher and Larry Willis in memory of Robin’s Uncle,<br />

Lloyd Wucher, on the occasion of the unveiling ceremony.<br />

Sylvan Marlen and Gorecki Korda in honor of Beth Torah<br />

Mindy and Marc Dickler in memory of Robert and Sandra<br />

Feldman<br />

You may also send your tax-deductible donations to these other funds:<br />

- SECURITY<br />












26 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

News from Sisterhood<br />

Chanukkah means dedication, which<br />

represents the Maccabees defeating<br />

the Syrians and rededicating the Temple<br />

with the miracle of finding holy oil that<br />

miraculously lasted for 8 days, despite<br />

having only enough for one day.<br />

Our Sisterhood is a dedicated group of<br />

women and we honored our members at<br />

our Paid up Membership Brunch, along with<br />

honoring Rachel Lerfelt with our special<br />

Eyshet Chayel award. This award is given<br />

annually to a member of our Sisterhood<br />

who goes above and beyond at helping out<br />

at various events and programs.<br />

Our program included a special skit about<br />

Jewish pirates. Thank you to Judie Berger<br />

and Terry Jonas for writing the script and<br />

to our hard-working committee. A special<br />

thanks goes to our Beth Torah Temple<br />

Presidents, Rich Berger and Mike Segal for taking<br />

on the roles of two of the pirates.<br />

Our Chanukkah party, will be graciously hosted<br />

by our own Gisela and Rabbi Rojzman. Instead<br />

of a gift exchange, we have chosen to donate<br />

to Sharsheret by bringing special toys for the<br />

families of the women who are suffering from<br />

breast and ovarian cancer.<br />

On January 20 at 10 am, Sisterhood will be<br />

celebrating with a Tu B’Shevat Seder. This will be<br />

in lieu of our annual Women’s Seder at Passover.<br />

Special Todah Rabah to our Sisters who have<br />

honored us with donations.<br />

Chanukkah Sameach!<br />

Judy Berger and Etta Birenbaum Epstein<br />

Sisterhood Co-Presidents<br />

28 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

News from the Scheck Family Religious School<br />

Dear Families,<br />

Shalom,<br />

We hope this issue finds you well.<br />

Incredibly, school has been in session<br />

for about two months. In such a<br />

short time we have achieved many<br />

accomplishments. First of all, we<br />

proudly share that our classrooms<br />

have grown, not because we<br />

expanded the walls, but because the<br />

number of students has increased<br />

in every grade level. We opened the<br />

year by baking round Challah for<br />

Rosh Hashanah, and right away in<br />

mid October we shared the Shabbat<br />

table with families in grades K-3. The<br />

turnout reached the 150 people who<br />

celebrated Shabbat in shul. We also<br />

initiated our collective Mitzvah project<br />

with KFB and our students in those<br />

grade levels attended the Kosher Food<br />

Bank Facility to help stack the monthly<br />

items. During the month of <strong>Nov</strong>ember,<br />

students in grades 5-6 visited the<br />

Holocaust Memorial Museum to<br />

commemorate Kristallnacht and,<br />

of course, discussed the tragedy in<br />

Pittsburgh. As <strong>Dec</strong>ember approaches,<br />

we start re - evoking the miracles of<br />

Chanukkah and thinking of a relaxing<br />

break. It is our true hope to continue<br />

to illuminate and nurture our children<br />

with Jewish values and educate them<br />

as Jewish Civilians of the world.<br />

The end of the secular year is approaching soon and once again the<br />

year goes round and round as many things happen around us, some<br />

good simchas to share and yet other sorrows to despair. We want<br />

to greet our families with a prosperous and peaceful 2019 as we<br />

thank our teachers for their devotion to the sacred task of Jewish<br />

Education.<br />

Last, but not least, we want to congratulate the Kurkin Family on<br />

Noah’s Bar Mitzvah while we thank Mindy for the tireless hours and<br />

effort she invests in our school as the V.P of Education.<br />

Mazel tov, Noah and to the entire family.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

The Scheck Family Religious School Team<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


News from the YOUTH GROUP<br />

USY & KADIMA<br />

30 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

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Copyright © <strong>2018</strong> Momentum Tours & Travel, Inc. All rights reserved.<br />

MAY 19 - MAY 29, 2019<br />

Ed Farber<br />

Rabbi / Educator<br />


with<br />

Marshall Baltuch<br />

Trip Administrator<br />



For More Information Contact Marshall Baltuch - mbaltuch@btbrc.org<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


32 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


34 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


36 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


Donor Roster<br />

High Holy Days <strong>2018</strong> - 5779<br />

“Each according to the Blessing which the Lord God has bestowed upon them”<br />

We thank the following people and their families for committing<br />

to our High Holy Days campaign.<br />


Lois & Sanford z”l Hildebrandt<br />

Marcia & Joel Hochberg<br />

Cheryl & Ruben Kloda<br />

Shelly & Arthur z”l Lipson<br />

Raquel & Michael Scheck<br />

Linda Shelley<br />

Robert Shelley<br />

Ronni & Bob Whitebook<br />


Anonymous<br />

Carola & Michel Cohen<br />

Marcia & Jeff Frantz<br />

Jeannie & Barry Lewin<br />

Syd Nacron<br />

Ana Karina & Jonathan Politano<br />

Laurie & Stephen Riemer<br />

Phyllis & Steve Sheinman<br />

Terri & Jeffrey Sonn<br />

Elizabeth Laduzinski & Jose Waingarten<br />


The Scheck Family<br />



Eva & Helmut Wellisch<br />


Warren Henry Auto Group &<br />

Zinn Family<br />


Miriam & Seymour Feldstein<br />

<strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> FOUNDATION<br />

Dr. Shulamit Katzman z”l<br />

Educational Scholarship Fund<br />


Tammy & Eric Isicoff<br />

Renee & Jorge Lerman<br />

Valentina & Ariel Saban<br />

Anica & David Shpilberg<br />

With much gratitude, we thank<br />

Marcia Frantz, for compiling our<br />

Annual Book of Remembrance.<br />

PILLAR OF <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong><br />

$25,000 - $35,999<br />


$18,000-$24,999<br />

Monica & Daniel Bajuk<br />

Lana & Michael Fischer<br />

Grosskopf Family<br />


CLUB – $13,000 - $17,999<br />

Amy & Howard Chafetz<br />

Linda & Gil Drozdow<br />

Kathy & Daniel Haime<br />

Marcia & Joel Hochberg<br />

Alison & Rick Mars<br />

Rosa Rok<br />

38 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Raquel & Michael Scheck<br />

Carol & Michael Steiner<br />

Warren Zinn<br />


$10,000 - $12,999<br />

Ellen & David Block<br />

Esrubilsky Family<br />

Cheryl & Ruben Kloda<br />

Amy Dean & Alan Kluger<br />

Temy & Mario Kreutzberger<br />

Ronni & Robert Whitebook<br />


$7,200-$9,999<br />

Adriana & Edgar Halac<br />

Gisela & Rabbi Mario Rojzman<br />

Alan Rosenthal<br />

Michele & Steven Scheck<br />

SHOFAR<br />

$5,000 - $7,199<br />

Jane & Alan Axelrod<br />

Elise & Gil Bonwitt<br />

Tammy & Eric Isicoff<br />

Adrienne & Jeff Scheck<br />

Hili & Marty Scheck<br />

Ronna & Mike Segal<br />

Michelle & Daniel Serber<br />

Robert Shelley<br />

Anica & David Shpilberg<br />

Hedy & Daniel Whitebook<br />


$3,600-$4,999<br />

Morris Deakter<br />

Miriam & Seymour Feldstein<br />

Elinor Ganz<br />

Avra & Joel Glicksman<br />

Lois Hildebrandt<br />

Debora & Rafael Konitzki<br />

Joann & Roni Laskin<br />

Jeanne & Barry Lewin<br />

Shelly Lipson<br />

Robert Quittner<br />

Phyllis & Steve Sheinman<br />

Alicia Tasma & Hugo Silbergleit<br />


$2,500-$3,599<br />

Mark & Mildred Cohn<br />

Carolyn & Joshua Frank<br />

Amy & Marc Gittelman<br />

Barbara & Robert Goldfarb<br />

Fernando Halac<br />

Sharon & Glenn Kaplan<br />

Beverly & Joe Koplowitz<br />

Jodi & Carlos Lerman<br />

Renee & Jorge Lerman<br />

Jessica & Jorge Linkewer<br />

Ariela & Gary Mars<br />

Elizabeth & Marcos Morjain<br />

Evelyn & Robert Moskovitz<br />

Syd Nacron<br />

Adrienne & David Promoff<br />

Sergio Rok<br />

Raquel & Manuel Rydz<br />

April & Robert Snyder<br />

Robin & Larry Willis<br />

CHAI<br />

$1,800 - $2,499<br />

Anonymous (2)<br />

Laurie & Rabbi Ed Farber<br />

Nancy & Elan Feldman<br />

Marcia & Jeffrey Frantz<br />

Susan & Richard Golden<br />

Adriana Faerman & Glenn Gopman<br />

Jan & Alexander Hockman<br />

Barbara & Samuel Kaplan<br />

Jodi & Daniel Katz<br />

Robin & Brian Kettler<br />

Rebecca & Frank Kriger<br />

Ana Raquel & Abraham Linkewer<br />

Michelle Robinson & Wayne<br />

Lippman<br />

Anne & Harold Mandelbaum<br />

Masha Mayer<br />

Judith & Barry Nelson<br />

Sandra & Andres Oppenheimer<br />

Aida Politano<br />

Rochelle Roberts<br />

Isabel & Omar Romay<br />

Leila Selebrinsky & Marcelo Saiegh<br />

Barbara & Herbert Saks<br />

Lisa Gaeta & Harry Sendzischew<br />

Sisterhood<br />

Paula & Felipe Sommer<br />

Ilene & Jay Sosenko<br />

Susan & Marvin Tuchklaper<br />

Ruth & Howard Vernick<br />

Justine & Stanley Warmbrandt<br />

Eva & Helmut Wellisch<br />

Marilyn & David Zinn<br />


$1,000-$1,799<br />

Anonymous<br />

Judy & Rich Berger<br />

Gustavo Bogomolni<br />

Marla & Michael Cotzen<br />

Silvie & Peter Dreyfuss<br />

Deborah & Harvey Friedman<br />

Sandra & Eric Friedman<br />

Terri Schrifman & Stanley Friedman<br />

Elsa Glucksberg<br />

Vita Gopman<br />

Carina & Pablo Hoberman<br />

Stephanie & Mark Kleiner<br />

Wendy & Steven Kravitz<br />

Bettina Rubinton Linkewer<br />

Sen. Gwen Margolis<br />

Karen & Michael Matluck<br />

Phylis Meier<br />

Evelyn & Monroe Mitchel<br />

Julie & Andrew Rodman<br />

Melanie & David Rosemberg<br />

Jorge Rosenblut<br />

Libby & Richard Schechter<br />

Laurie & Greg Schenker<br />

Arlene Schnell<br />

Iris & Fernando Schlaen<br />

Linda Shelley<br />

Jean & Bruce Smoler<br />

Joanne Solomon<br />

Ellen & Howard Sprechman<br />

Nurit Edelman & Martin Talmasky<br />

Debra & Edward Zebersky<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


CHAVER<br />

$500-$999<br />

Lynn & Mark Altschuler<br />

Anonymous<br />

Claudine Assous<br />

Rochelle & Marshall Baltuch<br />

Helene Berger<br />

Judith & Bob Billig<br />

Michael Blasberg<br />

Norma & David Blecker<br />

Myriam & Charles Block<br />

Donna & Ron Bloomberg<br />

Sharon Blumberg<br />

Virginia & Marcelo Buki<br />

Ruth Burstyn<br />

Graciela & Daniel Cababie<br />

Bernard Cohen<br />

Elaine Cohen<br />

Ilene & Moises Cohen<br />

Rebecca & Jay Cohen<br />

Ana & Enrique Covos<br />

Susan & Marc Einbinder<br />

Olga & Narciso Falkon<br />

Bette Joy Field<br />

Linda & Eugene Finkin<br />

Diana & Ernesto Frost<br />

Sheryl & David Fruitman<br />

Viviana & Alexander Furth<br />

Herbert Goldberg<br />

Carol Greener<br />

Ian Hagen<br />

Sheila & Brian Hunis<br />

Rosa & Jorge Jaskelson<br />

Arlene Keil<br />

Wayne Keil<br />

Jill & Brian Koch<br />

Mindy & Mark Kurkin<br />

Raquel & Natalio Leiserson<br />

Rhoda Stein-Lipschitz<br />

Adrienne Weinstein Lowy<br />

Viviane Manhard<br />

Helen & Samuel Marcoschamer<br />

Karen & Jonathan Morton<br />

Aida & Jose Nicenboim<br />

Audre Niedenthal<br />

Veronika & Ellis Norsoph<br />

Valeria & Dario Nul<br />

Marcia & Charles Orvieto<br />

Claire & Chaim Plewinski<br />

Maxene & Eugene Posman<br />

Gabriela & Fito Rascovsky<br />

Henri Rojzman<br />

Marci & Oren Rosenthal<br />

Edith & Arnold Schecter<br />

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40 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

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Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


42 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />




There are lots of Nazis in Pennsylvania, There are<br />

lots of Nazis right here in Florida.<br />

They were getting ready apparently to have a Bris, a<br />

Bris that never took place. We had a baby naming.<br />

So I decided that I wanted to talk to that baby who<br />

did not have a Bris, because babies sometimes<br />

understand more than adults.<br />

I will call him “baby” because I don’t know his<br />

name (he wasn’t able to receive one that day)<br />

but brilliantly Zev Steinberg tried to think of a<br />

name. For those of you who may have seen this, I<br />

apologize in advance.<br />

Little boy, what’s your name – do you have one?<br />

Sweet baby, just eight days, what should we call<br />

you?<br />

Is your name Shalom? We long for peace in this<br />

troubled world. I hope you are Shalom.<br />

Is your name Nachum? Oh, how we need to be<br />

comforted in our grief. I hope you are Nachum.<br />

Is your name Raphael? Our broken hearts and<br />

bleeding souls need healing. I hope you are<br />

Raphael.<br />

Is your name Moshe? Our unbearable anguish and<br />

rage demands justice. I hope you are Moshe.<br />

Is your name Ariel? We need the ferocious strength<br />

of lions to protect our people. I hope you are Ariel.<br />

Is your name Barak? We need courageous warriors<br />

to vanquish our enemies. I hope you are Barak.<br />

Is your name Simcha? We need an end to sadness<br />

by bringing joy into our world. I hope you are<br />

Simcha.<br />

Is your name Yaron? We need an end to mourning<br />

by bringing song into our lives. I hope you are<br />

Yaron.<br />

Is your name Matan? We need the gift of children<br />

who will bring a better tomorrow. I hope you are<br />

Matan.<br />

You know baby, you should have been carried high<br />

into the congregation on Shabbat morning - past<br />

from loving hands to loving hands - on a cushioned<br />

pillow to receive your Jewish name. Instead your<br />

elders fell and were carried out on stretchers in<br />

plastic bags. Their names on tags.<br />

So little boy, what’s your name? Take them all if you<br />

will. Take a thousand names. Be Peace and Comfort and<br />

Healing. Be Justice and Strength and Courage. Be Joy<br />

and Song and a Gift to the world. Be every good name<br />

and every good thing.<br />

Baby, you are joining an amazing civilization. One that<br />

teaches humanity that God is one and only one. That<br />

every person is created in his image and cannot even<br />

infer that he is better than the other. A civilization<br />

that maintains that we need to take care of widows,<br />

orphans and strangers.<br />

And yet “bechol dor vador”, in every generation there<br />

were and there will be people ready to kill us.<br />

A week from today we will commemorate the 80th<br />

anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of the “Broken<br />

Glass” where Nazis torched synagogues. Kristallnacht<br />

was the beginning of the end for the Jews of Germany<br />

After Kristallnacht, Germans did not come to help<br />

the Jews clean up. Quite the contrary, the Jews were<br />

forced to pay for all the damage as the Germans<br />

claimed they had brought it on themselves!<br />

You know baby, when you heard all the screaming,<br />

you also heard the screaming of 2 police officers and<br />

2 S.W.A.T team officers as they worked to stop the<br />

murderer.They risked their lives as well.<br />

Never after a pogrom did non-Jews help the Jews to<br />

recover, but this is America.<br />

Listen Baby: A group called Muslims Unite for<br />

Pittsburgh Synagogue held a fundraiser. Listen to the<br />

words of Wasi Mohamed, from the Islamic Center of<br />

Pittsburgh. He told the crowd at the fundraiser that<br />

their work is not finished with the fundraiser alone. He<br />

said: “We just want to know what you need.”<br />

That’s America at its best!<br />

Like Rabbi Wolberg wrote, “Pittsburgh also reminded<br />

us of Jews at their best.” Most of those Jews who<br />

were killed were elderly. They were that synagogue’s<br />

minyonaires … they came every day to ensure that<br />

there was a minyan to say kaddish. We have people<br />

like that at Beth Torah! Every synagogue has people<br />

like that … people who honestly believe and live by<br />

the words: “Kol Yisroel areivim zeh la zeh – all Jews are<br />

responsible one for another.” There are plenty of Jews<br />

who live by those words.<br />

44 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Yes, little baby, sometimes we are blamed that we take<br />

care of only our own. But it is not true! We don’t only<br />

take care of our own!<br />

Look what happened the day of your supposed Bris.<br />

After the attack, Robert Bowers, the killer who cried,<br />

“I want to kill all the Jews …” was kept alive at the<br />

Allegheny General Hospital, where at least three<br />

of the doctors and nurses who cared for him were<br />

Jewish. The President of the hospital, Dr. Jeffrey<br />

Cohen, who happens to be a member of the Tree of<br />

Life Congregation, told the media: “We are here to take<br />

care of sick people. We’re not here to judge you, we’re<br />

not here to ask if you have insurance or do not have<br />

insurance … we’re here to take care of people who<br />

need our help.”<br />

We read in the parasha of the week:<br />

“And Abraham died in a good old age, an old man,<br />

and full of years, and was gathered to his people. And<br />

Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the cave of<br />

Machpelah.”<br />

Did you hear that???<br />

Isaac and Ishmael together.<br />

Even after all their past, after all their differences, after<br />

all their complexities, after all their discrepancies, they<br />

together buried Abraham.<br />

The support, the love, the compassion, the kindness<br />

that we received from the community made us<br />

feel that we were not burying our eleven dead by<br />

ourselves. We were not alone. Ishmael was with us.<br />

Many others were with us.<br />

People from different faiths were with us and they are<br />

with us hugging us, embracing us.<br />

And if Ishmael and Isaac with all their differences were<br />

able to bury their dead together, why can’t Republicans<br />

and Democrats bury 11 American Jews together??<br />

These days, rabbis are afraid to speak out or make<br />

moral pronouncements for fear of sounding too<br />

political. No matter what we say, we are criticized for<br />

sounding too much like a liberal or a conservative,<br />

a Republican or a Democrat. Many of us have been<br />

silent in the face of the horrors taking place in our<br />

country. Have we forgotten the words of Elie Wiesel?<br />

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the<br />

oppressor, never the victim, silence encourages the<br />

tormentor, never the tormented.”<br />

In the past two years there has been a 67% percent<br />

increase in anti-Semitic incidents in America and a<br />

ninety percent increase in New York.<br />

This needs to stop.<br />

So, I am mourning today the precious lives lost<br />

in Pittsburgh. But I am also mourning for the loss<br />

of civility, the rise of prejudice, the diminution of<br />

honesty, and the inability of our leaders to talk to<br />

one another. I am mourning because this is not the<br />

America we deserve<br />

Baby, tell them that you don’t want to hear more<br />

politicians telling you “our thoughts and prayers are<br />

with the families of the victims” Tell them that you<br />

represent the future and for this country to be a<br />

light to other nations and to have a future, we need<br />

the leaders to be leaders and not walking egos.<br />

We are a remarkable people, and we live in a<br />

remarkable country. So, we as a people, must stay<br />

strong, we as a country must remain optimistic.<br />

We dare not give into despair. We are a people<br />

dedicated to a Torah whose “ways are ways of<br />

pleasantness and all its paths are peace.” Do you<br />

know where you find those words?<br />

In the words of the Book of Proverbs that provided<br />

the Tree of Life Synagogue its very name: “Eitz<br />

Chayim He – it is a tree of life to those who grasp<br />

it and those who uphold it are happy. Its ways are<br />

ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace.”<br />

I received yesterday morning a phone call from<br />

a dear friend, a member of our congregation, Dr<br />

Sosenko. He became a grandpa. You know what<br />

the new baby’s name is?? Ilan Chaim (a tree of life,<br />

after the attacked synagogue’s name)<br />

Baby take another name be CHAIM, BE LIFE!<br />

Life is a synonym of Judaism<br />

We believe in life, we are life.<br />

And we will be alive<br />

Am Israel Chai<br />


Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


46 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />




in that synagogue that morning if they weren’t jetlagged<br />

from a trip they had just made. Good friends of ours<br />

from Kendall have a son who was literally walking by that<br />

synagogue on his way to a synagogue down the street<br />

when the police pulled up with sirens blasting and the<br />

gunman was running back into the synagogue. He took<br />

cover to avoid any stray bullets. This attack was personal.<br />

And it affected us more because in our minds – we were<br />

thinking – if it could happen there – it could happen here.<br />

How do I know that? Because immediately our leadership<br />

– like leaderships in synagogues across the country –called<br />

meetings to discuss in some cases – bringing security<br />

as many synagogues to my dismay have zero security<br />

arrangements – or in our case to strengthen an already<br />

strong security situation. I went to the Memorial service<br />

and vigil at the Holocaust Memorial and there were police<br />

and swat teams deployed to protect the few thousand<br />

who gathered there. So - this one was different because it<br />

happened here. On Chanukkah we will spin a dreidel which<br />

has the letters that spell out – a miracle happened there.<br />

It happened in Israel – there – not here. But in Israel their<br />

Dreidels are different – they say – a miracle happened<br />

here. Because they walk the streets where the battles took<br />

place – they live in the country where the persecutions<br />

began and the heroism of the Maccabees brought<br />

liberation. That’s what is happening here. When Jews<br />

are attacked in other countries – we feel it – we mourn –<br />

we’re concerned. But it happened there. This attack didn’t<br />

happen – Sham – there – it happened – poh – and when<br />

it happens ‘poh’ – here - the connection is stronger – the<br />

reaction is stronger the fear is greater.<br />

Now back to our learning about the planting of<br />

the tree even when the messiah has arrived and telling<br />

the story of Esther, Haman and Mordechai even after the<br />

Messiah is here. America is not only the greatest country<br />

that has ever existed in the history of the world – not only<br />

does the free world exist today because of America and the<br />

greatest generation – not only does any hope for the future<br />

of humanity depend completely on the power and the<br />

success of America – but America has been the greatest<br />

country outside of Israel for Jews to live and thrive. If<br />

we are shrinking because to many of our children and<br />

grandchildren have lost their connection to Judaism and<br />

the Jewish people – and because we have low fertility rates<br />

– that is not the fault of America – that is our fault and our<br />

fault alone – but that my friends is a different sermon for<br />

a different time. And we Jews know that America has been<br />

the greatest place for Jews and most minorities. And we are<br />

very, very proud of it. But we have forgotten the lessons the<br />

Rabbis taught us about planting the tree even if we think<br />

the messiah has come and reading about Haman and Esther<br />

even if we are sure the Messiah has come. The lesson of<br />

the book of Esther is – never – ever – let your guard down.<br />

Watch out for Haman. He is there is every generation – in<br />

every generation and in every place. He is looking for the<br />

opportunity to raise his ugly head and kill Jews because<br />

he has an ancient hate that is – a neurosis or a pathology<br />

– or it’s genetic or its cultural or religious or comes with<br />

mother’s milk. I don’t know – but I do know its eternal<br />

and nothing – nothing – will very make it go away. Strong<br />

opposition to it – condemning it – isolating it – making it<br />

persona non grata will limit it – push it into the shadows –<br />

force it back into hiding. But it won’t eliminate it and it will<br />

without failure arise again. Some American Jews have made<br />

the mistake of thinking that America is the messianic age<br />

for American Jews. We have arrived and we are free, safe<br />

and secure. Yes, we are freer and safer and more secure<br />

than we’ve ever been in the Diaspora. We said the prayer<br />

for Israel a few moments ago – it says – Bless the state of<br />

Israel – the beginning of our redemption. THE BEGINNING<br />

– not the final redemption. Because Israel understands<br />

that Haman is still there and although Jews are more<br />

secure now in Israel than they have been since the days of<br />

the Maccabees the Messiah hasn’t come. So Israel does<br />

everything in her power to secure the state and its citizens.<br />

Too many Americans have forgotten the lesson of Haman<br />

and planting the tree. The tree is real life – stay connected<br />

to reality even if you think the Messiah has come. Reality<br />

in America and throughout the world means – secure your<br />

Jewish institutions as best as you can. Laurie and I were in a<br />

synagogue in Vermont for a wonderful simcha a few weeks<br />

ago. We noticed that on Shabbat morning we walked in<br />

unnoticed -in the sense that there was zero security – no<br />

one at the front door to even notice our arrival. When we<br />

got to the sanctuary doors we were warmly welcomed. I<br />

asked the Rabbi who knows I am from Miami why there<br />

was absolutely no security at the door. She said – Ed – this<br />

is Vermont – not Miami. And I thought to myself – after all<br />

I was a guest and there are sometimes where my natural<br />

tendency to say what I think is curbed – so I thought to<br />

myself – I guess she thinks that anti-Semitism and mental<br />

illness and hatred somehow stops at the Florida Georgia<br />

border. Well it doesn’t. And the Messiah has not come –<br />

and there are Hamans out there. But here’s the other side<br />

48 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

of the truth. America is the dawn of redemption in the<br />

sense that it is the very best place there has ever been for<br />

Jews. Within 15 minutes of the attack in Pittsburgh police<br />

cars were sent out throughout Dade County to secure<br />

synagogues and any Jewish site that might have been<br />

open. This happened throughout the country. In Alabama<br />

Jeremy Schwartz reported to us about the police securing<br />

Hillel on Campus – the local synagogue - the JCC and Jewish<br />

fraternities on campus. There are four police officers in the<br />

hospital now in Pittsburgh who ran into that synagogue –<br />

putting their lives at risk – to save Jews. They would not like<br />

me saying it that way. Because they ran into that synagogue<br />

to save innocent lives – and they would have run into a<br />

church or a mosque or a mall. They would be upset that I<br />

said Jews because for them there are the innocent people<br />

and the criminals and that’s that. But we have a history<br />

and in our history the governments of the world were the<br />

instigators of the attacks on the synagogues – they were the<br />

corroborators with and protectors of the ones who bombed<br />

the JCC’s and the Israeli Consulates. The government – the<br />

law enforcement - in our history were more often than<br />

not the ones who instilled the anti-Semitism. That has<br />

never been and is not the case in America and that my<br />

fellow Jews – is the difference – and it is all the difference.<br />

And in America – the Christians and the Muslims and the<br />

secular Americans were universally horrified at this attack<br />

and rallied to our sides and that will help push back on the<br />

Hamans in this world. But heed the lesson of the Book of<br />

Esther and remember what the Rabbis said about the tree<br />

planting and the Messiah. Do not forget reality -do not let<br />

your guard down. A Mayor of a major city opposed using<br />

armed guards in our religious institutions because that isn’t<br />

America. He lives in a messianic vision that hasn’t come<br />

yet – in Hollywood they call it LaLa Land but at least they<br />

know its LaLa Land and I loved the movie but it wasn’t the<br />

real world. He is right – we shouldn’t have to put security in<br />

our Churches, Synagogues and Mosques. And we shouldn’t<br />

have to lock our homes at night – or have guards at our<br />

condos – or tracking devices on our cars or even now on<br />

our children. But until the Messiah comes and even after<br />

he comes – we will have to do it. Hopefully we’ll have to do<br />

it less and the number of times that Haman raises his ugly<br />

head will be less and less – fewer and fewer. And yes - that<br />

means we need leaders on both sides of the aisle that can<br />

disagree agreeably and tone down the heated rhetoric that<br />

can in no way help us. Harry Truman did three great things.<br />

He ended the war and saved at least 100,000 American<br />

soldiers lives and the city of Tokyo from total destruction.<br />

He recognized the State of Israel and in that way assured<br />

her existence. And he said – The Buck Stops Here – the<br />

responsibility stops in the oval office. To put a halt to this<br />

deterioration of our political discourse – to get it out of<br />

the gutter the leaders of the GOP and the leaders of the<br />

Democrats should have a meeting and then come out in<br />

one voice denouncing hate speech – commit to more civil<br />

but vigorous public debate of the key issues and in unity<br />

denounce any kind of violence or hate speech. If they can’t<br />

get together on this then they are not leaders. But it has to<br />

start with the White House because the buck stops there.<br />

The White House bears the greatest responsibility because<br />

it has the bully pulpit and it has the microphone.<br />

I found a message on my answering machine<br />

on the Monday after the attack. It was from a security<br />

company I never heard of. They said – Rabbi – we don’t<br />

know how to reach your synagogue – we know you have<br />

a security company and they are good – but we know<br />

that they are spread thin because of this terrifying and<br />

heinous attack. We want to know if we could send some<br />

security people just to help you out. We aren’t seeking<br />

your business or any payment – we just want to be part<br />

of the solution and let you know that all Americans stand<br />

in solidarity with you. That is the difference and that is<br />

why we will be ok – better than ok - here - as long as we<br />

remember that even in the land of the free and the home<br />

of the brave the anti-Semitic virus has not and cannot be<br />

erased – it can only be contained and Haman is there in the<br />

shadows. Our job is to keep pushing him to the margins<br />

– into the shadows and be prepared on the rare occasion<br />

when he snaps and is ready to end his own life to act on<br />

his overwhelming hatred of the Jew. I want to end by doing<br />

what we do in any Shivah house – we specifically say the<br />

name of the deceased and pray that we can make his/her<br />

memory into a blessing and then we say a prayer that ends<br />

in peace. These peoples are martyrs of the Jewish people –<br />

people who die for one reason – they are Jews. But they are<br />

martyrs with names:<br />

• Joyce Feinberg: Yiddis bat Ava Menachem -75, an<br />

intellectual and academic, who was knowns as a mentor<br />

and surrogate mother to her students.<br />

• Dr Richard Gottfried, Yosef ben Chaim, 65, A Dentist<br />

by trade, he volunteered his services to those who were<br />

uninsured at the Catholic Charities Free Dental Clinic.<br />

• Rose Mallinger, Raizel bat Avraham - 97, was the<br />

oldest victim, yet her age never stopped her from attending<br />

weekly services at Tree of Life. Spry and quick-witted, she<br />

was often seen walking in the neighborhood and stopping<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />


to chat with friends at the grocery store.<br />

• Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, Yehudah ben Yechezkel -66, a<br />

primary care physician, who with his signature bowtie earned<br />

a reputation for faithfully tending to the needs of his patients,<br />

friends and family. Even in his final moments, he ran outside,<br />

dodging a barrage of bullets, to help the wounded.<br />

• Brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal, David ben Eliezer<br />

and Chaim ben Eliezar - 54 and 59, considered by congregants<br />

as welcome ambassadors. They always sat in the back of the<br />

Temple and greeted people as they came in to worship. The<br />

duo had developmental disabilities and often spent their days<br />

at the nearby JCC.<br />

• Bernice Simon, Beila Rochel bat Moshe, 84, and<br />

Sylvan Simon, Zalman Shachna ben Menachem Mendel, 88<br />

exchanged their marriage mows at the Tree of Life synagogue<br />

and remained a devoted presence there ever since. Sylvan<br />

loved chatting with his friends and sharing jokes. Together,<br />

they were an inseparable couple known for walking hand in<br />

hand around town.<br />

• Melvin Wax, Moshe Gadol ben Yosef, 88, was at<br />

synagogue every Friday and Saturday, without fail. The first to<br />

arrive and the last to leave, he took on so many tasks – from<br />

chanting Torah to changing light bulbs.<br />

• Daniel Stein, Daniel Avrom ben Baruch, 71, was a<br />

simple man who loved his faith and family above all else. A<br />

loving husband, father and most recently grandfather, a role<br />

he embraced and cherished.<br />

• Irving Younger, Yitzchak Chaim ben Menachem, 69, was<br />

a familiar face at Temple, often doing the jobs no one wanted.<br />

When people came into Tree of Life for services, Irv, made<br />

sure everyone felt comfortable and welcomed. He didn’t<br />

know a stranger – everyone was his friend.<br />

Each of these individuals represented the good in humanity,<br />

embraced life and were guardians of their faith. They are a<br />

reminder to all of us that life is so precious and nothing is<br />

promised. May their memory be for a blessing.<br />

We end with hope. It is a poem written by Zev Steinberg<br />

and dedicated to the young boy whose arrive was being<br />

celebrated at the synagogue and whose Hebrew name was<br />

going to be announced that morning. The event did not<br />

obviously take place so Zev Steinberg wonders what the<br />

baby’s name will be. He entitles the piece – What’s your<br />

name:<br />

Little boy, what’s your name – do you have one? Sweet baby,<br />

just eight days, what should we call you? I have heard the<br />

sacred circumcision postponed for jaundiced yellow, but<br />

never before for bloodshed red. Is your name Shalom? We<br />

long for peace in this troubled world. I hope you are Shalom.<br />

Is your name Nachum? Oh, how we need to be comforted in<br />

our grief. I hope you are Nachum. Is your name Raphael?<br />

Our broken hearts and bleeding souls need healing. I<br />

hope you are Raphael. You should have been carried<br />

high into the congregation on Shabbat morning - passed<br />

from loving hands to loving hands - on a cushioned pillow<br />

to receive your Jewish name. Instead your elders fell<br />

and were carried out on stretchers in plastic bags. Their<br />

names on tags. Is your name Moshe? Our unbearable<br />

anguish and rage demands justice. I hope you are Moshe.<br />

Is your name Ariel? We need the ferocious strength of<br />

lions to protect our people. I hope you are Ariel. Is your<br />

name Barak? We need courageous warriors to vanquish<br />

our enemies. I hope you are Barak. The blood on Shabbat<br />

morning was supposed to be covenantal not sacrilegious,<br />

sacramental not sacrificial, sacred not unholy. The tears<br />

were supposed to be of boundless joy not bottomless<br />

sorrow. The cries were supposed to be “mazel tov” not<br />

the mourner’s kaddish. Is your name Simcha? We need<br />

an end to sadness by bringing joy into our world. I hope<br />

you are Simcha. Is your name Yaron? We need an end to<br />

mourning by bringing song into our lives . I hope you are<br />

Yaron. Is your name Matan? We need the gift of children<br />

who will bring a better tomorrow. I hope you are Matan.<br />

So little boy, what’s your name? Take them all if you<br />

will. Take a thousand names. Be peace and Comfort and<br />

Healing. Be Justice and Strength and Courage. Be Joy and<br />

Song and a Gift to the world. Be every good name and<br />

every good thing. And, Sweet baby, take one more name<br />

if you will – because I hope you will be blessed with a<br />

long, blissful, beautiful and meaningful life… I hope you<br />

are Chaim.<br />

Olam Chesed Yeebaneh – God will build a world of<br />

kindness –Enlighten the whole world with His Glory<br />

Do not stand apart from the community – Love your<br />

neighbor as yourself. My God, the soul you have placed<br />

in me is pure; to repair the world in the Kingdom of the<br />

Divine Mother. May we be God’s partners in bringing<br />

more kindness into the world and pushing darkness and<br />

evil back into the hole from which it has crawled out of.<br />

May this be God’s will. Amen and Shabbat Shalom.<br />

50 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />




After the negative results in the field of agriculture,<br />

the settlers began to establish farms for the raising of<br />

dairy cattle. The farms at the beginning were handled<br />

collectively with negative results.<br />

In 1943, two experts arrived in Sosúa: Mr. David Stern and<br />

Mr. Douglas Blackwood. The first organized a restructuring<br />

of the farms, each of approximately 50 hectares with<br />

their respective water resources. To ensure drinking water<br />

for Sosúa and the farms, the aqueduct in the mountains<br />

(Chocco) was extended. Mr. Blackwood instructed them<br />

in the management and raising of dairy cattle. He quickly<br />

gained the confidence of the settlers, since they realized<br />

that tangible and commercially interesting results could<br />

be obtained.<br />

Each immigrant or settler had according to the statutes of<br />

the DORSA the right to obtain a farm with 15 animals, the<br />

prices were established by the administration. Each month<br />

they had to pay 10 dollars as amortization of the capital<br />

plus a small interest of 3% per year. Each settler was also<br />

entitled to a job in the two small industries: the dairy<br />

factory (C.I.L.C.A. - Compañía Industrial Lechera, C. por A.)<br />

and the livestock meat products factory. These two small<br />

factories functioned initially as cooperatives.<br />

In 1945 approximately 700 people lived in Sosúa, mostly<br />

immigrant single men. Many manage to leave the United<br />

States: some, unable to adapt to the environment and the<br />

management of a farm, others (especially professionals)<br />

looking for a higher education and a better standard of<br />

living.<br />

In 1947 another group of immigrants arrived from<br />

Shanghai, China. What a trip! From Europe to China and<br />

from China to Sosúa. They were approximately 35 people.<br />

The Benjamin, Strauss, Rothenberg, Floersheim and Hecht<br />

families were among them.<br />

The year 1950 is considered the last year of Jewish<br />

immigration to Sosúa. The last two families that were<br />

accepted as settlers were the Reuter and the Neuman<br />

families, both from Israel.<br />

Although Sosúa was planned as a refuge for Jewish<br />

immigration of at least 2,000 people only 800 arrived.<br />

As we said, after 1945, many went to the United States or<br />

Mexico and also a few returned to Germany. The problems<br />

of the first years - however - were overcome and Sosúa<br />

progressed and expanded in every way.<br />

Sosúa in those days, maintained a theater, a movie theater,<br />

a synagogue, a hospital with excellent service and a school.<br />

The latter very soon gained a very good reputation thanks<br />

to its director, the unforgettable Dr. Robischek, outstanding<br />

doctor of Vienna, known for his works of investigation in<br />

the bacteriological field in addition to a solid connoisseur<br />

of the Jewish sources.<br />

Pioneers cannot forget the “Oasis” or the Cafehouse, or<br />

Kneipe, or Taberna, a meeting point for friends. There<br />

they played cards, adjusted the last prices of CILCA, drank<br />

Dominican coffee or simply met people to chat over a little<br />

bit of tea.<br />

There was also the celebration of the Jewish holidays:<br />

Hanukkah, Purim and Passover. In the cultural sense,<br />

the settlers remained faithful to their European culture,<br />

mainly German and Austrian. It is interesting to note<br />

that despite the fact that almost all the immigrants from<br />

Sosúa were expelled from their home countries, under<br />

discriminatory and extremely humiliating conditions, they<br />

always maintained the cultural ties that bound them with<br />

the traditions and customs of their countries of origin. In<br />

Sosúa you could hear phrases like: “cooked or not-cooked<br />

at 12.30 we are going to eat” or, “in my country, Germany,<br />

things were like that”, etc. In the religious aspect, it could<br />

be said that the colonists were liberal traditionalists, with a<br />

strong tendency to assimilate to the environment. Children<br />

from the communities of Santo Domingo and Sosúa under<br />

the circumstances of the first years, many immigrant men<br />

married Dominican women and formed, in the cultural and<br />

religious sense, mixed marriages. The interesting thing is<br />

that these marriages, exposed from the point of view of<br />

the Jewish tradition, to a strong assimilation to the gentile<br />

environment, were able to preserve in their children and<br />

even in their grandchildren traits of the Jewish tradition<br />

and culture. In the first 30 years, some families managed<br />

to make some capital and sent their children to the United<br />

States to receive a better education. The majority of these<br />

children never returned to settle in the country again.<br />

Tourism in Sosúa ... Tourism (especially German) and<br />

foreign investment -especially in real estate- has changed<br />

the face of this town founded by Jewish settlers 80 years<br />

ago. Sosúa is today one of the picturesque villages in the<br />

northern part of the country, whose life is closely linked to<br />

modern tourism (all inclusive).<br />

52 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

The Jewish Community of Sosúa today ... Today there is<br />

little left in Sosúa of what it used to be. The remaining<br />

Jews, about fifteen families, maintain a small and beautiful<br />

synagogue. Next to it, there is a well-designed museum<br />

describing the origin of the arrival to the country, with<br />

photos of the SHOÁ survivors and their primitive life. They<br />

have their separate cemetery very well taken care of, in the<br />

Way of Llibre with about one hundred tombs of immigrants<br />

that rest forever in that land, descriptive tombs of a<br />

sacrificed and fruitful life. From June 1996 to May 1997,<br />

Rabbi Manes Kogan (Hillcrest Jewish Community Center,<br />

Jamaica, NY), the rabbi then of the Jewish Community of<br />

Santo Domingo and the first ordained Conservative Rabbi<br />

in the history of the DR, took charge of Jewish education<br />

and activity in the Community of Sosúa. At the beginning of<br />

May of 1997 a religious ceremony was realized where three<br />

beautiful girls (Shiara Strauss, Yifat Milz and Erika Benjamin)<br />

became Benot-Mitzvá.<br />

In January 1997, our hazzan Gastón Bogomolni, then a<br />

19-year-old Argentinean boy, recommended by Rabbi<br />

Manes Kogan, took the full time reins of this Community<br />

and began to carry out continuous Jewish activity for the<br />

first time in the history of the Community. Among these<br />

activities were: religious services, Jewish education for<br />

children (from 6 to 16 years old), talks with adults about<br />

the tradition and history of the Jewish People, teaching of<br />

Rikudei-Am (Israeli dances), teaching of Shirei Am (Jewish<br />

Folk songs), preparation for Bar and Bat-Mitzvah, etc.<br />

Gastón organized the community, from forming a directive<br />

until finding the solution to the administrative system. The<br />

difficult task of calling volunteers to collaborate with the<br />

task that involved everyone equally was also organized.<br />

Gastón also took charge of the Museum, took seminars<br />

to become its director and organized it. He also tried to<br />

reorganize the material in the oral archive, interviews<br />

with immigrants who were still alive. As a result of this<br />

work he helped to recover the kidnapped files belonging<br />

to the DORSA. Between the low social status and the low<br />

cultural life (without cinemas, without theaters, etc.),<br />

Gastón decided to organize a series of cultural activities<br />

through the Jewish Community, and thus provide in<br />

some way, culture to the small town of Sosúa and its<br />

surroundings. Among these activities were: “Concert of<br />

Jewish and Argentine music in Purim”, “A great miracle<br />

happened there”, (puppet work for Jánuka), “The Fiddler<br />

on the Roof”, (performed by the children of the community<br />

and presented at a Resort-Hotel), among others. After an<br />

arduous and hard work, unique and enriching, and once the<br />

Jewish life and a smile returned to the Jewish community<br />

of Sosúa, Gastón moved to the Jewish Community in Santo<br />

Domingo to continue the task and legacy that Rabbi Kogan<br />

who moved to the US. The leaders of Sosúa and Gastón kept<br />

in touch while he was now in the capital of the country.<br />

More than a few times Gastón made the effort to try to<br />

get some new leader or in his absence a madrich (Youth<br />

Counselor) to continue the important task that had been<br />

carried out in the Caribbean Jewish Colony. Unfortunately,<br />

many of the parents had already moved to the capital so<br />

that their children would receive a higher education and of<br />

a better level.<br />

Years went by, Gastón Bogomolni had already moved<br />

aside from the Dominican reality by moving to Barcelona<br />

in 1999. A new leader loomed over Santo Domingo but<br />

there was no connection with the Sosúa Jews. Those who<br />

were once teenagers had already become older and life<br />

moved them to the same universities outside Sosúa or the<br />

country, the most advanced of age began to be more tired<br />

and the community went back to ground zero. However,<br />

in 2006-2007, the old board of the directors chaired by<br />

the strongest hearts of the community, Ivonne Milz, Joe<br />

Benjamin and Edith Myers, decided to invest money to<br />

obtain a more arranged museum. So it was that after the<br />

effort of professionals left the museum has never seen<br />

before. Hazzan Gastón had being back several times in the<br />

last 20 years to visit the community of Sosua, has lectured,<br />

concertized, taken university students, etc. In spite of what<br />

many researchers tried to predict that: “The assimilation<br />

and the circumstances in which the Colony was created<br />

would, by themselves, gradually disappear Jewish life in<br />

the community”, Hazzan Bogomolni continues in touch<br />

with all the leaders of the community and is now acting as<br />

a consultant to once again get a new spiritual leader for<br />

the Jews who remained there, including the new ones who<br />

immigrated in the last 20 years. Bogomolni has also created<br />

a whatsapp group with all the 20+ students, whom many<br />

live here in South Florida and a reunion will be set soon too.<br />

A great miracle happened then, and with Hashem’s willing,<br />

a greatest miracle will happen today too!<br />

Click here to check out Pictures of the Jewish Colony of<br />

Sosua<br />

(If you would like to help to give light and life back to<br />

the Jewish Community of Sosua, please contact me<br />

cantorbogomolni@btbrc.org)<br />

Happy Chanukkah!<br />

Cantor Gastón Bogomolni<br />

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />



Saving lives.<br />

It’s in their blood.<br />

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Moni and Jeff Cohen<br />

Susie and Jon Diamond<br />

Ann and Ari Deshe<br />

Hollis and Councilman Jeffrey Freimark<br />

Paula and Joel Friedland<br />

Ashley Finestone and Rob Tabatchnick<br />

Melissa and David Greenberg<br />

Andrea and Keith Hartley<br />

Tzippy Holand<br />

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Terri and Jeff Sonn<br />

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54 <strong>BETH</strong> <strong>TORAH</strong> <strong>TIMES</strong>

Winter Edition <strong>2018</strong>/2019 l Kislev 5779<br />



Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus<br />

20350 NE 26th Ave,<br />

North Miami Beach, FL 33180.<br />


Email: info@btbrc.com<br />

Main Office Phone: 305-932-2829<br />

WWW.BTBRC.ORG i facebook.com/<strong>BETH</strong>.<strong>TORAH</strong>

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