Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island
315 Forest Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10301
Rabbi Michael D. Howald                     Student Cantor Shirel Richman
Co-Presidents Jerry Gross and Alan Siegel
E-Shalom - JANUARY 2021
Temple Israel’s Electronic Bulletin
“Shalom, Welcome to Temple Israel....” is a phrase taught to us by Carole Lachman, a beloved, long-time congregant and bulletin editor who died in 2002. We named our bulletin in her honor and worked to realize her vision of Temple Israel as a community that welcomes the stranger and lets no one stand alone. As we move to a new version of this tradition of communicating with our Temple Israel family, we continue to forward Carole’s vision, love and devotion for our synagogue.
Most of our usual Temple activities have now become virtual. Please join us for any or all of the following Shabbat and Festival services and Torah Study sessions by simply clicking on the links in the link boxes at the posted times. All sessions will take place using Zoom. Links are also posted in weekly News and Notes. If you wish to call into these services or meetings, the phone numbers for audio access are also listed. *Please note that some of the meetings may require that you include the listed password.

Friday, January 1 at 7 p.m.
All other weeks on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Dial by your location
  +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
    +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
    +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 947 946 323
Passcode: 947053
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kiTgwLeuU
Every week on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. followed by Services at 11:00 a.m.
Dial by your location
1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
    +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
    +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 614 246 852
Passcode: 549042
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbBPyZ5AGn

Through the generosity of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, there is a free online flip-book version of our prayer book, Mishkan T'filah for Shabbat, available 

Through the generosity of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, there is a free online flip-book version of our prayer book, Mishkan T'filah for Youth, available 
Beginning on Friday, January 8th,
Erev Shabbat Services will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Family Services on the 1st Friday of the Month will remain at 7:00 p.m.
A Message from

Rabbi Michael D. Howald

Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ final book, represents more than 50 years of thinking about moral philosophy, religion, history, and law by one of the great moral thinkers of our time. Although formulated over decades, and largely written before COVID-19, the book addresses a central problem of some Western societies’ response to the ongoing pandemic: the absence of a sense of collective responsibility strong enough to convince people to adopt safety measures even in the absence of law or sanctions. Without a concern for the welfare of others, Rabbi Sacks argues, without a willingness to do not just what is good for me but what is good for “all of us together,” we start to lose the cohesiveness that holds countries and cultures together. We even, in his view, put the foundations of liberal democracy at risk.
         Rabbi Sacks places the blame for this weakening of our collective responsibility for one another on trends which have placed the individual, not faith or society, at the center of our moral universe. These movements in law, economics, and technology, have convinced many of us that morality itself is just a set of choices in which right or wrong have no meaning beyond the satisfaction or frustration of our own desires.  So, if shop keepers, to protect themselves and their employees from the transmission of the corona virus, ask customers to wear a mask before entering, some patrons see this request only through the lens of their own autonomy. In their view, accordingly, a mask mandate is only an infringement on their rights without any moral claim to others that they need honor.
         Rabbi Sacks, building on the work of Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, maintains that this “rights-talk” in western societies is increasingly becoming less about collective responsibility and more about individual selfishness. In economics, we elevate greed over employee or community welfare. In law, we give priority to rights over duties and in politics we value power more than the common good. As a result, we treat the individual as the core social unit and treat all others as strangers to whom we owe nothing, whether in law or morality.  This attitude in some western countries, particularly our own, has severely hampered our efforts to bring the current pandemic under control.
         Rabbi Sacks points out elsewhere in his writings that Judaism is constructed in terms of responsibilities and not rights. These responsibilities of the faith of Israel place demands on us for the sake of others, while rights are demands we place on others. If we lived in a society that cherished responsibilities at least as much as rights, our current discourse about COVID restrictions would not be so mired in the legality of mandates or policies but might instead be focused on how to best discharge our collective duty to protect others. We have, to be sure, seen a lot of altruistic behavior since the pandemic began, much of it behind the scenes and unheralded. On the other hand, the increasing discussion about what the law should or should not compel individuals to do has diverted attention away from what our faith or our sense of responsibility to others calls us to do, even in the absence of the threat of state coercion. Rabbi Sack reminds us that human beings are social creatures and that we are elevated by helping others. Indeed, by sharing responsibility for others, we often gain ourselves because respect, friendship, caring, and love are social goods with a moral or spiritual dimension; the more we share, the more we have.
         If we can remember that as we look forward to the distribution of vaccines in the months ahead, perhaps we can find ways to think less of own self-interest and more about the common good. This reorientation of our public discourse can perhaps, to paraphrase Rabbi Sacks, redeem us from our pandemic solitude. For, in the closing words of his introduction to his final and timely book: “When we move from the politics of “Me” to the politics of “Us,” we rediscover those life-transforming, counterintuitive truths: that a nation is strong when it cares for the weak, that it becomes rich when it cares for the poor, that it becomes invulnerable when it cares about the vulnerable.” May we rediscover these truths in the months and years ahead. 
Rabbi Michael Howald   
A Message from
Jerry Gross & Alan Siegel

With December’s snow and heavy rain, the silver lining of Zoom activities and services versus travel to the Temple has become apparent. 

And we have other silver linings.  Shabbat Hanukkah had nearly 70 screens tuned in.  And with couples, attendance approached 100 people!  We want to dwell on Hanukkah for a moment.  Once again, tremendous thanks to Bryn and Libby for the Sisterhood Shabbat Hanukkah dinner.  We can unite as a congregation through cyberspace.  And our Student Cantor did a fantastic job of creating the choir videos for the service.  Kudos to her and all our choir members.  Thank you to Rabbi as well, for the warm way that he has conducted our Zoom services -- people really feel part of them.

Sisterhood’s menorah lighting on all the other days of Hanukkah drew us together as a congregation again.  It  was wonderful seeing Cantors Liz Flynn, Lindsay Kantor and Aviva Marer along with Student Cantors Jennifer Benrey and Shirel Richman and our own Jim Rohan.  It is nice to know that all appreciate the nurturing and growth opportunities Temple Israel has given them.  Thank you to Jodi Siegel who contacted all our guest song leaders and arranged for this wonderful way for our congregants to gather each night of the holiday.

As you will see elsewhere, we will continue to improve on the experience of Shabbat Hanukkah, with the virtual Oneg on February 5th with real cookies.  Mark your calendars so you don’t miss Shabbat Shira – the Sabbath of Song – on January 29th

We continue to monitor all the health advisories and are waiting to see what can be done to bring our community together in our physical building when the time is right.  The vaccine does give us hope, but all the timing points say we have months to go.  And as the shutdowns of our tenant Head Start remind us, extreme caution must be our watchword. 

We continue to be grateful to Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Adult Learning, Fundraising and the Avis Foundation for the wonderful array of programs and activities during this seemingly endless hiatus in our on-site social life.

And as we paused to reflect on the loss of David Meltzer, please remember and take inspiration from all the energy and love Dave put into Temple as Brotherhood President and Temple Vice-President.  The man was everywhere a job needed to be done. 

And as always, please consider participating (or expanding your participation) in our certificate program.  Starbucks & Dunkin certificates make great “tips”;  Carvel and Target, as well as Kohl’s, are now available.  Larry Hanibal has been making the rounds almost every week delivering certificates – you don’t even have to leave home. We are all extremely grateful to Larry for all that he has done to support our Temple. 

Jerry and Alan

Jerry Gross and Alan Siegel
On October 12, 2020, your Board of Trustees adopted a policy to guide congregants, clergy and employees so ensure maximum safety during the pandemic.  Please note that this policy does not set any timeline for indoor gatherings on our property – it only lays out the procedures to follow at such time that indoor events resume.   To see the policy  CLICK HERE.
(The document consists of 6 pages:  1 to 3 is the policy, 4 is the tracking log and 5 & 6 is the waiver form.)

Dear Temple Israel,

With the new year coming, new hopes and wishes arise – hopes for a safe, available and effective vaccine. A rebirth of a safe, in-person community and having shared experiences in our Temple Israel building again. Children playing, communicating and learning together and from each other, without a need to unmute themselves. And of course, making music, sharing prayers, mourning and celebrating together again in the same room.

Some of us cannot wait for this to happen. Some of us lost more than others due to the pandemic. We all suffered from isolation, having to change our routine, inventing new ways to do things we took for granted. Some of us are missing our families and some of us cannot wait for our family members to leave the house for their pre-COVID occupations.

But what did these unprecedented times teach us?

We learned that we could do things we never thought we could do. We were forced to think creatively to solve problems. We all know much more about technology than what we knew back in February. We all had to make decisions about what we are willing to give up for safety and what we cannot live without. We learned about each other, about our community, and about our strengths.

Zoom services might have felt uncomfortable at first and for some of us still do. But they also gave a chance for our community members to connect from afar. In our Temple Israel services, we had current and past members coming from Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We could offer our services to people in hospitals, hospices and other locations. 
We learned how to create music together through videos that will stay with us forever. We learned how to show appreciation with silent “jazz hands” or scroll through many squares to find a friend’s smile. We certainly learned what everybody’s living rooms look like. 

My hope for the new year is that we will have the ability to choose how to reconnect to our community. If it is through safe in-person gatherings, or meetings online, or anything in between. May we all be creative and flexible enough to find ways to connect and strengthen our Temple Israel community.

Happy New Year,

Shirel Richman
Student Cantor

Adult Choir Rehearsals (Virtual)
Tuesday, January 5- 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 12- 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 26- 7:00 p.m.

Junior Choir Rehearsals (Virtual)
Sunday, January 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, January 24 - 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, January 31 - 11:30 p.m.
If you would like to join the Choir, please contact Student Cantor Shirel Richman at scantorrichman@gmail.com.
Jodi Siegel & Shariann Ganz
As we step foot into 2021 with high hopes for returning to a sense of what used to be normal, Sisterhood is still glowing in the many lights of Chanukah which we saw as we joined together, via Zoom, to light our menorahs each night of the holiday.  We are so happy to have been able to share each of the eight nights with so many of our past and present song leaders.  We are so grateful to Jim Rohan, Student Cantor Shirel Richman,  Lincoln Richman, Cantor Aviva Marer, Cantor Lindsay Schoenberger, Cantor Elizabeth Flynn and Student Cantor Jennifer Benrey for leading us in the candle blessings and Chanukah songs.  As each of our former student cantors said, once you become a part of the Temple Israel family, you remain a part of that family forever, no matter how far you may travel.  We are truly blessed.  

Thank you to Libby Gershansky and to Bryn Biren who made it possible for us to share a wonderful Chanukah Pajamakah & New Member Shabbat Dinner together.  The amount of strategic planning and organization, not to mention the number of phone calls, to make this dinner such a success, cannot be ignored.  We are truly grateful to each of those wonderful and capable women who allowed us to continue our long-standing tradition.
We also want to officially welcome Stacie and Steve Magnus and their daughters to our congregation.

The month of January brings many activities for Sisterhood and we look forward to seeing you at all of them.  
  • On Sunday, January 10, please join us at our General Membership Meeting at 7 p.m. for a special program by Staten Island Poet Laureate Marguerite Maria Rivas. The program will follow our regular meeting which will include the formation of our Nominating Committee which will be tasked with forming the Slate of Sisterhood Officers and Directors for the 2021-2022 year.   We urge you to consider taking a leadership position in our organization so that you, too, can  make a difference to our fellow sisterhood members, our synagogue and congregants, our community, and beyond. 
  • On Thursday, January 28, Rabbi Howald will lead us in a Virtual Tu B’Shevat Seder sponsored by Sisterhood.  Please see the flyer as you scroll through the bulletin for more information and for the Zoom link.  There is no cost for this event, but we do hope you will support us with a donation of $18 so that we may plant a large number trees in Israel during this New Year for the Trees.
  • We are especially excited about our Sisterhood Sample(d) Sale which will take place on Sunday, January 31st at 2 p.m.  We have lots of posh items to be shared.  There are new and very gently used Gucci and Coach bags, Lladro figurines, furs, Judaica items, jewelry and so much more.  If you have items you are ready to part with, but know they would be of value to someone else, make sure you indicate that on the tear-off of the flyer and send it in.  Registration for the event is only $10 which will apply toward the cost of your first purchase.  All proceeds will go to Sisterhood to allow us to continue to support Temple Israel and the Staten Island Community, The event is open to everyone, so please feel free to share the information with your friends outside of Temple.  If you have any questions, please contact Claire Guttsman, Felicia Otto or Nina Rohan.

We look forward to seeing you all soon and wish you a very happy and healthy 2021.
Jodi Siegel & Shariann Ganz
Temple Israel – Reform Congregation of Staten Island

Hello Everyone.
I hope everyone continues to enjoy good health as we continue to remain somewhat socially distant during these unprecedented times.
At this time I would like to speak to the profound loss of our dear Brother David Meltzer. David was the instrumental force in re-establishing our Brotherhood when it was on the verge of demise. He had the foresight to see the need in keeping the men of our congregation connected. He held many Brotherhood events that were of significance to the men of the congregation, as well as the congregation at large, but especially the children of our Religious school. He will forever be remembered with kind thoughts and may his memory be for blessing.

Our next Zoom Meeting will be on Sunday January 17th. Look for the Zoom link information to come.

I would like to take this time to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year. May we all return to a more normal order  of our lives as we move forward. 

It is very important to keep the work of Brotherhood going strong as we navigate these unprecedented times.  I would like to thank those members that have made their annual commitment to our affiliate organization. For those that have not done so yet I am asking each and every male member to please consider joining Brotherhood.  The dues are only $45. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Looking ahead please be assured that we will continue our work with the Yellow candle remembrance for Yom Hashoah . More details to follow.  During these trying and unprecedented times we know we can always count on Rabbi for his spirituality, guidance and knowledge to lift up our feelings.

At this time, all in person events and meetings for the Brotherhood are being cancelled and held via Zoom unless otherwise noted. Hopefully we will all be able to come together soon and experience the friendship and camaraderie that we so much look forward to.

During these changing times, always know that we are here to assist in any way. If you need something done, someone to talk to or whatever it might be, please reach out and we will make sure your needs are addressed. Until we can enjoy our in-person interaction, I leave you with this:  stay strong, stay safe,  be positive and do your best. We will come through this stronger.

Brotherhood is a vital affiliate organization to the Temple. Together we are strong and make a difference to our Temple Family.  Please share your ideas with us to enhance the Brotherhood experience….
Your in Friendship and Brotherhood,
Jeff Ganz

We are grateful for all the checks you send us for donations and events.
We do ask that you please be mindful of the specific organization to which the payment is being made, in order to help us with our bookkeeping.
Please carefully check to see whether it should go to:
It would be very helpful if you would also indicate, on the
"Memo” line of your check, the specific donation fund or activity to which the payment should be directed.

We thank you for your cooperation and your support.


KAREN WOLFF & JAY DUSKIN on the engagement of their son
Jonathan to Brooke Schreiber.
SHEILA FRIED GROSSMAN  on the engagement of her daughter
Lauren  Brod to Jay Golden.


JOANNA, DANIEL AND ADAM MELTZER on the loss of DAVID MELTZER, husband, father and beloved member of the Temple Israel Family.

Former members JOANNA LEFKOWITZ & FAMILY on the loss of her husband, PAUL LEFKOWITZ


SUE FREEDMAN as she recovers from surgery for a broken ankle.



Happy Secular New Year!!  The Ritual Committee would like to remind you that starting on January 8th, Friday night Erev Shabbat Services begin at 7:30 PM. (The Family Service on the first Friday of the month i.e.: January 1st remains at its 7:00 PM time). 

Having spent much of the last months together while apart we again thank our clergy, Rabbi Howald and Student Cantor Shirel Richman, the Temple leadership, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Temple Committees, the Avis Foundation and our members for enabling us to continue to connect as a congregation on the Zoom platform with worship, study and classes.  With vaccines becoming available we look forward to the future when we can be together again regularly in person.

This month we will be celebrating virtually Tu B’Shevat and Shabbat Shira.  The Erev Shabbat Service on January 22nd will acknowledge Tu B’Shevat and Sisterhood will be sponsoring a Virtual Tu B’Shevat Seder on Thursday evening January 28th at 7:45 PM.   

On Friday evening January 29th Shabbat Shira will be observed at our Erev Shabbat Service with a Torah reading and the participation of our choir.

On February 25th we look forward to celebrating Purim.
Please continue to look to your e-mails, messages, Temple Israel’s New and Notes, Facebook Page, and this E-Shalom Bulletin for additional information about the special Services and study opportunities.

Please stay safe and heathy.  
Linda Brill and Jeffrey Ganz

We thank the following congregants who have graciously accepted the honors of lighting the candles and reciting the Motzi at Erev Shabbat Services in December:

Terry Baver, Steve Baver, Alan Siegel,
Jesse Siegel, Jodi Siegel, Ilene Pappert, Judy Scher,
Pamela Carlton and Maxine Cohen. 

Nina Rohan
Ushering Chair
About the Weekly Yahrzeit List...

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion about who is listed on the Yahrzeit List each Shabbat.  The list consists of three parts.

The first part is only read when there has been a recent death in the congregational family, and is introduced by “….recently taken from our midst.”  In this section, we list congregants who have passed away, or the seven closest family members of a congregant as defined by those for whom a mourner is traditionally obligated to sit shiva:  spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter.  These names are included weekly for the month after their funeral.

The second part of the list is preceded by the phrase “We recall the names of our loved ones whose Yahrzeit is observed this week” and it consists of those whose yahrzeits (death anniversary) fall from Saturday to the next Friday.  These names come from the compilation of names of people our congregants have submitted that they wish to remember annually on either the Hebrew or Gregorian anniversary of their passing.  It is not limited to family members outlined above and can include grandparents, in-laws or others of significance to you.  You have the opportunity to add names every year with the papers that come with the renewal of your annual commitment. You can also add names at any time by writing to the Temple Office.  These names are kept from year to year.  Those who have had a memorial plaque dedicated to their name will be read each year regardless of your membership status.

The third part of the list contains the name of several Holocaust victims from the list we have obtained from Yad Vashem as of way of remembering those who have no one to say Kaddish for them

As you may have noticed, after Rabbi has finished reading the Yahrzeit List, he invites Service attendees to offer additional names for any period of mourning.  This is an opportunity to mention anyone important to you.

Please be aware that the second and third part of the weekly Yahrzeit List are printed in E-Shalom each month.  Also, you will receive a letter from Rabbi prior to the Yahrzeit that the name will be read on an upcoming Shabbat and a reminder when to light a Yahrzeit candle if that is your practice.  You can also make a donation in your loved one’s memory in the Shabbat program the week his or her name is read.

If you have any further questions about the weekly Yahrzeit List, please feel free to reach out to us through the Temple office.
JANUARY 1, 2021
Harriet Ganz
Sigmund Haber *
Jacob Kitoff *
Charles Kurlander *
Fannie Calmus
Joseph Lipsitz *
Robert May
Linda Schulman
Samuel Sheirr *
Louis Barnet *
William Garfunkel *
Irwin Jaeger *
Marian Lee *
Telva Nison
Jerome Sommer
Bertha Dicker *
Olga Lieberman
Albert Melniker *
Norman Silverman *
Lydia Doris Weiss *
Phyllis Zimmerman

And we remember from the Holocaust:
Max Jacobsohn
Haya Zylberberg
Gustav Hauser
Imre Faber
Anna Bergman

January 8, 2021
Rita Guttsman
David Morse *
Arlene Rich
Abraham Schwartz *
Maynard Selmon
Janet Aronson
Selma Blumin *
Larry Dumont
Michael Pisetzner
Samuel Shapiro *
Meyer Axelrod *
Claire Biren
Tina Goldstone
David Aronson
Barnett Kadin *
Irving Schwimmer *
Benjamin Feitelson *
Edward Kitoff *
Herman Lippman
Nathan Nadel
Dorothy Smith *

And we remember from the Holocaust:
Mendel Shmuel Dermer
Rene Paquay
Jan Duijkers
Basia Pechkrantz
Johann Spaun
January 15, 2021
Lawrence Applebaum
Stanley Miller
Mord Reuben *
Rose Dunn *
Julius Hyatt
Amelia Schmeidler *
Harry Docteroff *
Solomon Horowitz *
Ruth Applebaum
Joseph Klauber *
Sarah Tatt
Alvin Myron Mulnick
Molly Rosenbaum
Robert Koren
January G Stein *
Paula Brandt *
Daniel Lewin *
Florence Lustig *

And we remember from the Holocaust:
Jozsefne Klein
Jozsef Pudler
Benedikt Seefelder
Haim Rosenbaum
Szeren Keleti

January 22, 2021
Barry Lee
Joseph Stern *
Eileen Carlton *
Anna Dichter *
Sandy Slamow *
Minnie Wolff
Louis Wolinitz
Marie Rosati Checchi
Joan Kass *
Rose Roth *
Nathan Sappin *
Edythe Kadin *
Mitchell R. Stein *
Abraham Cohen *
Bernice Hanibal
Melvin Sher *
Leo Bleiman
Jack Freedman
Louis Kunofsky
Sam Lauter *
Sam Tannenbaum
Morris Taub *

And we remember from the Holocaust:
Marek Medak
Leib Yakubowicz
Bela Iritz
Iser Borzykowski
Miliu Buechler
January 29, 2021
Roy Dumont
Jerome Fishman
Henrietta Hershfield
Abe Outman
Nettie Barnet *
Martha Dickar *
Beatrice Litkofsky
Arthur Lomazow
Sophie Mulnic
Joseph Pollak *
Ester Weis
Hedy Schwartz *
Raisa Borodova
Ben Levee *
Mary Wolodiger *

And we remember from the Holocaust:
Marek Tiger
Frederik Visser
Walter Schrecker
Fanny Zadel
Klara Grunblum
Hildegard Schwanbeck
* These names are on our Memorial Wall.
We are sorry if your name was inadvertently omitted. Please contact John at the Temple Office to update your membership information.
The Sisterhood of Temple Israel would like to help you celebrate birthdays and anniversaries for you and your family.
You can share the joy of Shabbat and your birthday and/or anniversary by helping to sponsor an Oneg Shabbat on the Friday evening when we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries for that month.
In addition to sponsoring the Oneg, the names of those celebrating appear in the Friday night program and celebrants are invited to the Bimah.
A contribution of $10 for birthdays and $18 for anniversaries is suggested to honor your special occasion and help the Temple at the same time.  
Letters are sent out early in the month prior and payment would be appreciated before the first Friday of the month of the celebration. 
As soon as we are able to celebrate Shabbat together
in person at Temple Israel,
we will celebrate all the Birthdays and Anniversaries
that we missed at a very special Oneg!

In the meantime, please celebrate with us at our Zoom Shabbat Services on the 1st Friday of each month.
We appreciate you sending in your contributions toward these wonderful Onegs!
Erev Shabbat Services

Friday, January 1
Celebration of January Birthdays & Anniversaries
7:00 p.m. via ZOOM

Friday,January 8
Service at 7:30 p.m.
via ZOOM

Friday, January 15
Shabbat Tzedek
Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat
7:30 p.m. via ZOOM

Friday, January 22
7:30 p.m. via ZOOM

Friday, January 29
Shabbat Shira
Sabbath of Song
7:30 p.m. via ZOOM

Torah Study and Shabbat Services
Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
Fellow Parents and Congregants, 

As we begin the secular New Year 2021, our Religious and Hebrew school is thriving! While virtual learning has had its struggles, we are so pleased to see that our Temple Israel classes are full each Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon with our kids learning Hebrew and Jewish culture. Our school has enjoyed school-wide assemblies in celebration of Hanukkah, school-wide family Sunday morning services and the students from 3 years old to 13 have been able to connect and "see" their friends even while remote! In the new year we look forward to making plans for outdoor classes once the weather breaks. 

As we welcome this new year, we honor and say thank you to one of our veteran Religious and Hebrew School teachers, Shariann Ganz. While Shariann begins the next chapter in her journey, we remark on the many student lives she has touched and the values and Hebrew language she has instilled in so many of our children. Thank you Shariann for your dedication, love, and many years of teaching. We will miss you.

Happy 2021 to all!

Felicia Otto
Click on flyer to download or print.
Become part of our community by participating in our community. Temple Israel is where community happens.

Are you craving an opportunity to schmooze with your fellow congregants over coffee and dessert following Erev Shabbat Services?
We have a plan for that.
On Friday, February 5th, we’re offering you the opportunity to enjoy some REAL dessert while chatting virtually with your Temple friends. All you have to do is:
·       Fill out the flyer immediately following this article to order your individual dessert box filled with four lovely surprise treats.
·       Write a check for $10 payable to TEMPLE ISRAEL and MAIL TO:
  Libby Gershansky
147 Rolling Hill Green
Staten Island, N.Y. 10312
·      Pick up your dessert box at the location that you checked off on the flyer. (We will be back in touch with more specific times for pick-up.)
·      Enjoy your goodies. We will provide the necessary Zoom instructions.

** TI- WIIFM (Temple Israel-What’s In It For Me?) –
Temple Israel is a busy place.  
Eat-Pray-Learn is a saying that seems to really fit what’s been happening.  We’ve had opportunities to share Sisterhood’s New Member Shabbat Chanukah Dinner and welcome our newest members- Stacie and Steve Magnus and their children, Alixandra and Julianne. Thanks to Jodi Siegel and Sisterhood, we have enjoyed virtual Chanukah candle lighting every night of Chanukah as a Temple community. We enjoyed Brotherhood’s Chanukah greetings with a card designed by our own Phyllis Elrich. We are inspired through prayer and song every week thanks to our Rabbi and Student Cantor, Shirel Richman, and her very talented husband, Lincoln. We continue to learn and grow through Torah study and Shabbat Morning Services thanks to Rabbi Howald.  If that were all, we would certainly say dayeinu, but the opportunities to stay engaged and connected continue, thanks to the generosity of The Avis Foundation at Temple Israel.  Yoga, photography, ancestry and poetry are just a few of the course offerings to choose from. Thank you to Ron Avis for establishing this foundation and to Terry Baver and Bryn Biren for organizing all of the events. We hope that you will take advantage of all that Temple Israel has to offerl


If you’d like to share some thoughts about how Temple Israel has sustained you over these past months, please e-mail Libby Gershansky (eng2ndlang@aol.com) and we will include your thoughts in our upcoming Membership columns.
If you have not finalized your commitment to Temple Israel for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year by December 31st, you will be no longer be considered a "MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING” .  As such, you will no longer be entitled to the benefits of Rabbinical services or any other membership benefits.  

If you have any questions about your membership at this time please contact me at 917-838-6675 or email me at tmplisrfinsec@aol.com.

Jennifer Straniere
Financial Secretary
2.Select "Change Your Charity"
3.Type in “Temple Israel Reform 4.Congregation of Staten Island"
5.Click Search
6.Click Select
7.Order as usual.
Temple Israel benefits!
Although the celebration of Tu B'Shevat has a long and varied history, the theme most commonly ascribed to the holiday today is the environment. It is considered a festival of nature, full of wonder, joy, and thankfulness for creation in anticipation of the renewal of the natural world. During this festival, Jews recall the sacred obligation to care for the world, and the responsibility to share the fruits of the earth with all.
Tu B'Shevat falls at the beginning of spring in Israel, when the winter rains subside and the pink and white blossoms of the almond trees begin to bud. It is for this reason that almonds and other fruits and nuts native to the Land of Israel – barley, dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, and wheat – are commonly eaten during a Tu BiShvat seder (a special ritual meal for the holiday).
Tu B'Shevat is sometimes also called Chamishah-Asar B'Shevat (the “15th of Shevat”), because the holiday is observed on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, roughly corresponding to February in the secular calendar.
Every letter in Hebrew has a numerical equivalent. Thus, alef equals one, bet equals two, gimel equals three, and so on. The Hebrew letters tet (nine) and vav (six), used to make up the “Tu” in Tu B'Shevat, have a combined numerical value of 15 (chamishah-asar in Hebrew). Tu B'Shevat, then, is an abbreviated way of saying Chamishah-Asar BiShvat or “15th of Shevat.”
Tu B'Shevat is first mentioned in the Mishnah. There, in Rosh HaShanah 1:1, the text speaks of four different new years, all of which are connected to an ancient cycle of tithes. Each year, the Israelites were expected to bring one-tenth (a “tithe”) of their fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem, where they were offered to God and also helped sustain the priestly class and the poor. Since fruit from one year could not be used to tithe for another, the Rabbis had to determine when a crop year would begin and end. They chose the month of Shevat as the cut-off date, for this is when, in Israel, the sap begins to run and the trees start to awaken from their winter slumber, before beginning to bear fruit.
Some scholars hold that this was also a day for planting trees, especially “marriage trees.” It was customary for parents who had been blessed with children during the preceding year to plant special seedlings on the 15th of Sh’vat. Cedars were planted for boys, cypress trees for girls. When the children grew up and married, the trees were cut down and used as part of the chuppah. Some Israelis continue this custom today.
Like Chanukah, Tu B'Shevat is a post-biblical festival, instituted by the Rabbis. However, the holiday has biblical roots. The tithing system upon which it is based dates back to the Torah and its deep concern with trees, harvests, and the natural world, all of which are at the heart of Tu B'Shevat. Beginning with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden all the way through to Deuteronomy’s injunction against destroying fruit trees in times of war, our biblical text is replete with trees, both literal and metaphorical. Indeed, the Torah itself often is referred to as an Etz Chaim (Tree of Life), based on a passage in the Book of Proverbs.
Trees are part of the natural wonder of our world and have always been a special symbol for Jews. Trees were protected in times of war (Deuteronomy 20:19). A midrashic Sage said: “Trees were created for man’s companionship.” And Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav proclaimed, “If a man kills a tree before its time, it is as though he had murdered a soul.”
In modern times, Tu Bishvat was nourished by the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which re-emphasized the Jewish people’s connections to the land and the natural world. It was the Zionist pioneers who – with strong financial support from Jews throughout the world who donated trees to mark simchot (special occasions) – re-forested the land of Israel, largely under the auspices of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet l’Yisrael). As a result of this emphasis on tree-planting – on Tu B'Shevat and all year long – Israel stands as the only country in the world with an almost constant net growth of trees.
Above all, the Torah itself is seen as a “Tree of Life,” a growing and abundant source of spiritual sustenance to a great people. Perhaps this is the best indication of the reverence and respect that Judaism holds for God’s world. The tree has been a symbol of life and continues to be a source of life for Israel today. On Tu B'Shevat, we celebrate that life in joy and gladness.
Please print the following document prior to joining us for the Tu B’Shevat Seder.
Click on the flyer to print.
Temple Israel Sisterhood Judaica Shop



Just what you need and just what they want!
The only place on Staten Island for all your Jewish gifts.
Special Orders available.
Contact branchtr@aol.com or call the Temple Office at 718-727-2231.
Some featured items this month:
Contact Blanche Ricci at branchtr.ricci@gmail.com
if you are interested in any Judaica Shop items.

Thanks once again to all the wonderful people who have helped to provide us with so many fine programs on Zoom! 

Kudos to the Judy’s, Lee, Pessah and Scher , along with Barbara Fried and Dennis Guttsman for their programs to bring us comfort during the Pandemic; to Bryn Biren and Terry Baver and the Avis Foundation for Karen O’Donnell’s enlightening CELLPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY course, and Scott Kalmikoff’s program on GENEALOGY, helping us to find our Roots.


January, 6, 13, and 20, at 7:30
Lincoln Richman will present “RHYTHM and JEWS”.

January, 19, 26, at 7:30
More POETRY, with Marguerite Rivas.

February, 3 and 10, at 7:30
A continuation of CELL PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY with Karen O’Donnell.

February, 9 and 23, time TBA

Sunday, February, 21, at 4 PM 
“HAPPY HOUR IN PARIS ! “ Put on your Beret and Scarf, and grab a glass of wine! A VIRTUAL TOUR OF LE MARAIS, JEWISH PARIS” 
with Karen and the Sight Seeker’s Delight Team.  
(FYI — Judy and her daughter Sari have gone on the tour with Karen in reality and it was fabulous.)
This is a 90 minute Zoom experience, with a question and answer session , and some recipes to try.
A donation of $18 is suggested, to the Adult Learning Fund.  RSVP judithpessah@gmail.com

Cheryl Levine and Judith Pessah
Adult Learning Committee Co-Chairpersons
Bryn Biren & Terry Baver
Avis Foundation
Happy New Year to all!
We are not wasting any time getting into the swing of a new year and many more activities.

For the music lovers in our congregation please circle the Wednesday nights - Wednesdays, January 6,13, and 20 at 7:30 PM. Our own Lincoln Richman, husband of student cantor Shirel Richman, will share his musical talents and knowledge with the three session course entitled, “ RHYTHM AND JEWS”. Get cozy, get a glass of your favorite beverage and join in on the fun. Register for these classes with Bryn Biren at MsBunny7@aol.com.

If you are interested in poetry, join us for classes with the poet laureate of Staten Island, who worked with our congregants last Fall. Marguerite Rivas is back with two more classes on Tuesdays, January 19 and January 26 at 7:30 PM. Please register with Terry Baver at Terryqbaver@gmail.com if you are interested.

For followers of the wonderful Art classes that were given by Mark Meyer, Mark returns for 4 more sessions on Wednesdays, February 17 and 24, and March 3 and 10 at 7:30 PM.

Our pre-teens are being treated to “ GAMES, GAMES, GAMES”, being held every other Friday, from 2:45 - 4:45 PM at THE RESOURCE ROOM
(534 Forest Avenue). The girls and boys are interacting in a safe, social setting choosing activities that interest them and, at the same time, learning Leadership and Social skills. They need to interact with other children, especially at this difficult period in time. They will be meeting on Friday afternoons, January 8 and January 25. The target age group is 11-14 years. Notify Bryn Biren if your child would like to attend (MsBunny7@aol.com).

We are always looking for new faces and new activities that will appeal to our families. Do not hesitate to contact Terry Baver or Bryn Biren.
Stay safe and we hope to see you !
Terry Baver & Bryn Biren

Please join the FUNdraising committee Saturday Feb 27, 2020 at 7;15 for a Virtual Comedy Night. $20/person and if you want to be entered for more raffles an additional $10. RSVP by Feb 15, 2020. Please see flyer below for more details.

Save the date: Saturday May 1, 2020 for our next fundraiser. Details to follow closer to the event date.
Respectfully submitted,
Rhonda Trontz-Allen, Karen Frey-Gamoran, Lissa Winchel
Click the order forms above to print or download.
Are you stressed?
Do you want to build your core strength?
Join Us.


SUNDAY class begins at 6:00 PM.
Instructor: Jennifer Korten
JANUARY 3, 10, 17. 25, 31

MONDAY class begins at 6:15 PM.
Instructor: Denise Nizzare
January 4, 11, 18, 25

THURSDAY class begins at 6:30 PM.
Instructor: Denise Nizzare
January 7*, 14, 21, 28
(*1/7 Class begins at 6:00 p.m.)

964 585 2910


Free for Temple Israel Members & Their Friends!

Classes are for ADULTS ONLY.

Both chair and mat students are accommodated at each class.

For more information, contact
Terry Baver at 718-490-4428 or
Bryn Biren at 718-447-6225

As most of you know, Social Action has been preparing a Christmas Day meal for those of our community in need for many years.  Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, that is not possible this year.  Project Hospitality has informed us that food will be provided by Staten Island Restaurants, through contributions from community members, to ensure that there is no transmission of COVID.  Instead, we will be sending funds to feed those in need on other days.  They have also asked for contributions of underwear and socks, particularly men’s sizes medium and large.  If you are able to contribute these goods, please bring them to the temple where there will be a bin set up for these contributions.

Hoping everyone stays safe and in good health throughout the New Year.

Pamela Rogozin

Temple Israel was saddened this month by the passing of David Meltzer.  David battled cancer for quite some time but was still active as a member of the Board and Brotherhood.  He was truly an inspiration to all of us!! David is survived by his wife Joanna, his two sons Adam and Daniel and his mother Claire.  May the family of David Meltzer find comfort in the rituals of our people and among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.  

Our Congregation was invited to view David’s Funeral Service, via Zoom and hear Rabbi Howald read the farewell remarks which David wrote a few days before his death.  If you were unable to attend and would like to read these remarks, you may request a copy from Rabbi Howald.

Pamela Rogozin
Caring Community Co-Chair
Please consider becoming a member of our KAVOD SOCIETY.
It helps to make membership available to all our families. Speak to our Financial Secretary to upgrade your membership.
If you have any questions about your membership or if you know a potential new member please contact our Financial Secretary Jennifer Straniere at tmplisrfinsec@aol.com.
Contributions to Temple Israel as tributes, dedications or memorials are welcome and are published in the weekly Shabbat program.

Donations can be dedicated to the general Temple Israel Fund or to any of the following specific funds: 

  • Adult Education Fund 
  • Building Preservation Fund 
  • Caring Community Fund 
  • Carole Lachman Memorial Fund
  • Choir Fund 
  • Confirmation Fund 
  • Estelle A. Gootenberg Memorial Fund (for Torah Repair/ Restoration) 
  • Gerald J. Lustig Memorial Fund (for Ark & Ark Doors) 
  • Liheyot Fund 
  • Membership Fund 
  • Prayerbook Fund 
  • Rabbi Marcus Kramer Memorial Library Fund 
  • Shoah Education Fund
  • Scholarship Fund 
  • Rabbi Michael D. Howald Fund for Social Action and Tikkun Olam

A $5.00 minimum donation is requested for these funds. Checks for donations to any of these funds should be made payable to Temple Israel.

PRAYERBOOKS may be dedicated in honor or memory of a special person or occasion. For specific prayerbooks and donation amounts, look for the Prayerbook icons found in this bulletin

Please make checks for Donations to the RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND payable to that fund.

Donations in any amount may be made to SISTERHOOD OF TEMPLE ISRAEL or BROTHERHOOD OF TEMPLE ISRAEL with checks made payable directly to the affiliate organization.

For a leaf on the TREE OF LIFE in honor of a simcha, please scroll down. 

For permanent MEMORIAL PLAQUES on our Family Memorial Wall or Original Memorial Wall, please call the Temple office at 718-727-2231.

To see list of all recent
Tributes and Program
Donations to Funds...
If you are not receiving this Bulletin via a direct e-mail and would like to, please contact us at TICOMMUNICATION@aol.com to be added to our mailing list.
Our E-Bulletin is shared with the entire Temple Israel Family and the Staten Island Community. If you are a local business or community organization and you would like to advertise in our monthly bulletin, please contact the Temple Office at 718-727-2231 or e-mail TICommunication@aol.com.