30 Kislev 5778






Chanukah Party, Service and Election of Officers

The previously-scheduled Chanukah party was moved to Sunday, December 17 for the convenience of the election. The congregational meeting was held at 3:00 PM in the social hall. There were eight family units represented either in person or by proxy. This constituted a quorum. The slate of officers was elected unanimously:
Kimberly Weinberg, President
Ted Isaacs (First) Vice President
Dr. Joshua Groffman, Secretary
Raymond Galle, CPA, Co-Treasurer
Julie Carr, Co-Treasurer
A Board meeting will be held in the following week to lay out new plans and a new style of manangement.
The Chanukah celebration began with a short service in the social hall led by Kimberly Weinberg. In addition to those present for the meeting, two members of the neighborhood community attended. Kimberly Weinberg led the Kiddush and Motzi. There was a challah from Wegmans. She then made latkes. There was also a platter of desserts for the season including rugelach. Games of dreidel were played. The winners turned out to be the two visitors. There was then a new game. In this game all sat in a circle taking turns unwinding a giant ball of plastic wrap in which there were prizes. Each particiant could unwrap and collecte prizes until the person next rolled a gimmel on the dreidel. It was quite fun. Prizes included sun catchers and Israeli candies.


Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah was celebrated as part of the Shabbat service held at 7:00 PM on October 13. The service for Simchat Torah in Gates of Prayer was used. Rick Weinberg led the service. Kimberly Weinberg lit the candles. There were Hakafot with the all the Torahs being carried around the sanctuary while flags were waving. The three Torot were carried by Joshuah Groffman, Rick and Larry. As last year Grant Nichols pointed out, this is the holiday when the end of the Torah is supposed to be read, scrolled to the beginning, and read again or two Torahs used. However, in reply, since before moving to the new building, to lessen complexity, we take advantage of the fact that the reading for Shabbat Bereishit is at the beginning of the Torah and let the one reading suffice. Larry chanted the portion and Rick had the aliyah. Larry also read the Haftarot for the holiday and the Misheberachs. Helene Lawson read the commentary from the URJ since it spoke to her and she added comments of her own. She feels that ritual alone is not really religion, and that as the URJ commentary indicated, we must question the meaning to make it relevant and instructional to us as individuals.
       At the Oneg, Grant led the Kiddush and Sarah Nichols led the Motzi. Many were in a hurry and had to leave early. The food included Shabbat pizza, tuna finger sandwiches, pickled herring, assorted melon slices, strawberry cheesecake and pumpkin cake.



Sukkot B'Sukkah

Sukkot was celebrated on Sunday October 8 starting at 11:30AM and ending about 1:00PM. It was fun but hectic because some members had to attend a gymnastics meet in Warren. As a result, the prayer service was divided into two volleys. Kimberly Weinberg led the first while the cooks were cooking. This was the prayers up to the V'tzivanu al netilat lulav. Then there was a break for eating. Kosher hot dogs, vegan hot dogs and New York strip steaks were grilled on a charcoal grill in the Outdoor Gathering Center and served with potato chips, green salad, mayonaise potato salad and pumpkin cake among other things. Eating in the sukkah was done in turns. Then followed the part of the service where the lulav and etrog were shaken hastily during which the gymnasts packed up and immediately after having shaken left for Warren, The cleanup came after that. It was a beautiful day.


Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The High Holidays were celebrated with Rabbi Norman Lipson again this year. For some reason there was more excitement and more people. Rabbi Lipson was awesome. Always teaching and always funny. Erev Rosh Hashanah began at 7:00 PM on Wednesday. September 20. Following that service was an apples-and-honey reception with potato kugel and tsimmes by Becky VanTassell, an apple cake by Julie Zuckerman, also tuna salad finger sandwiches, and cheescakes. For serving with honey, a list of sweet apples was compiled: Crispin, Empire, Fuji and Honeycrisp. Fuji was chosen because it was the juiciest. At this reception, the signing and decorating of this year's Torah wimple began.
      The Rosh Hashanah Morning service began at 10:00 AM on Thursday, September 21. The aliyot were given to David Zuckerman, Larry Lawson and Rick Weinberg. David Zuckerman blew the shofar elegantly. In his sermon, Rabbi Lipson mentioned a "Rabbi Google". He said that maintaining a Jewish identity had been impossible in the rural wilderness because of a lack of participation in the greater Jewish community. Rabbi Google can now make that participation possible. (More on Rabbi Google to come.) Following the morning service was Tashlich at the Willow Dale duck pond. This was the first time in memory that the shofar was blown on Tashlich. The weather was beautiful and the ducks were appreciative.
      The Erev Yom Kippur service, Kol Nidre, began at 7:00 PM on Friday, September 29. The Yom Kippur and Shabbat morning service began on Saturday, September 30, at 10:00 AM. The aliyot were given to Rick Weinberg, Raymond Galle and David Kassnoff.
      Between the Morning service and the afternoon services was a study session beginning at 2:30 PM. It was devoted to a portion of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate 31a, in which Raba states the seven questions that the heavenly judges would ask of one brought before them after they had died. Trying to understand the meaning of them involves examining the hermaneutics of the Hebrew words used. It was an exercise in how rabbis have interpreted text and what is a meaningfully Jewish life. The discussion was lively with Grant Nichols playing "the devil's advocate". At 4:00 the afternoon services began including Yizkor and Neilah. David Zuckerman and Larry Lawson read the Yizkor list in turns. The parking lot was totally filled - a rarity.
      After the services in the sanctuary, Rabbi Lipson led the Havdalah service in the social hall, since it had been Shabbat. Then came the Breakfast. This was the most sumptious Breakfast in the last 20 years. The food included baked salmon over saffron rice, three different kinds of vegetable quiche, pesto lasagna, Mother Weinberg's noodle kugel, potatoes with broccoli au gratin, Nova lox and bagels, pickled herring, a giant relish tray with all sorts of olives and pickles, several homemade cheesecakes and some not homemade, salads, fresh fruit, homemade cookies of all sorts and many other things not listed on the Breakfast signup sheet. There are too many names of contributors to list them, but the signup sheet is available to the curious. Signing the wimple lasted throughout the Breakfast. At the close, Rabbi Lipson presented two ties. A blue one to Joshuah Groffman and a Torah one to Larry. It was the one he was wearing. He admonished us to work harder to grow the congregation.

Marie Cohan Dies

Longtime member Marie Cohan, wife of Jeweler "Buzzy" Cohan who owned G.B. Cohan Jewelers of Bradford, died on September 24, 2017 in Youngsville, PA. She married Buzzy in 1951, had two daughters, Anita and Clara. She was educated as a diamondologist and worked as such in the family Jewelery business. She was also a commercial artist and a performing musician. She was a member of the Seneca Highland's Arts and Crafts Guild. In the 1960s she operated a fine linen and fabric shop in Bradford. She was a very active member of Temple Beth El but became ill around the year 2000, losing her ability to walk. Nevertheless, although not an active member, she paid her dues and communicated with the Temple. She was 93 years old when she died. She is buried in the Beth Isreal Cemetery of Temple Beth El, the Bradford Hebrew Congregation.



Once again Temple Beth El's Treasurer, the indomitable Ray Galle, places flowers on the marker honoring the Jewish War Veterans at the Memorial Day Parade Memorial Service, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Veterans Square in Bradford. This is the second year in which he was the only WWII veteran to place a garland. Garlands for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other Services were placed by an assistant with members of the National Guard of each branch standing beside their marker holding the flag of that branch. Ray served in on shipboard in the south Atlantic in the US Navy during WWII. In 2006 he was the vetaran chosen to place the Jewish wreath and has done so every year since. After the ceremony, he attended a reception and luncheon at the Bradford VFW Post.
He appear on the extreme left in front of the Marilyn Horne Museum, with a National Guardsman by his side, in this picture of the Memorial Day Festivities for the University of Pittsburgh's webpage: pic.twitter.com/RZXGnLsKKd


Lag B'Omer

Lag B'Omer was celebrated with a bonfire on Sunday, May 14 because the weather was cooperative. This was the first use of the new outdoor gathering center that has been Calvin Isaacs' Eagle Scout project. It constitutes it's dedication. Much attention was directed at the MIRACLE that had happened. The driveway into the parking lot, which had been filled with deep potholes, was suddenly re-paved! It was not just patched. No one knew why or how. Since there isn't much liturgy for the holiday, we said Kiddush, the Shehechianu and Sefirat HaOmer, for that day was the 33rd day of the Omer. We ate kosher hot dogs, potato salad and watermellon. We cooked the hot dogs on long sticks from our woods over the open fire to the sounds of Melita and Isaac's "My Roots Go Deep." The album was a great success as we toasted our marshmallows to it and made smores. It was like going to Jewish camp. This is the first time Temple Beth El celebrated Lag B'Omer on its own. In the past it had been a joint celebration at the home of one of the members of Temple B'Nai Israel. Since we celebrate Kiddush L'Vanah, the gathering center will also be used as an observatory for sighting the new moon for Rosh Kodesh and as a place to have Shabbat fun on days when there are no formal services. It can also be used as a waystation apart from the Sukkah on Sukkot.


The Passover Seder was held on the second day of Seder, April 11, beginning at 5:30 PM. The social hall was, after inspection, declared a "CHAMETZ-FREE ZONE". The service was led by Kimberly Weinberg. Twenty one people were present including many children. It was a noisy affair and Manu Gajanan was not available to soothe us with his piano accompaniment. Instead we played a record over the PA system of Theodore Bikel doing Passover. There were guests: David Kassnoff of Olean NY, Boston Campbell of Pitt, her daughters Tiffany and Sailor, and Neahamah Smith from Israel. We used the haggadah, A Different Night, donated by the Price family. Because there were so many children present, three separate afikomans were hidden. There was candle lighting and kadesh. There was a lot of food. There was the Maggid, at least ten plagues and singing Dayeinu. There was even the ritual of handwashing. One afikoman was hidden in the ceiling lamp in the Rabbi's study. This took a really long time to find. By the time for Elijah's cup, the door was opened but the blessing was hardly audible above the commotion. As to the counting of the Omer, it was the second night, but who could count at that point? At the end though, there was a rousing cheer for "Next Year in Jerusalem!"
Credits for food include: Weinberg Family, ritual foods, matzo, matzo ball soup, grand charoset; Lawson Family, braised brisket, potatoes O'Brien, green beans, vegetarian egg and sausage patties; Becky Van Tassell and Josh Groffman, fruit plate, assorted homemade macaroons; Ted Isaacs, gefilte fish; Boston Campbell, wine, ; Julie Carr, kosher grape juice; Temple Beth El, carved rotisserie chicken, cold asparagus with shallot and wine vinaigrette, deviled eggs, other wines and juices.






The service for Purim was held on Sunday, March 12 at 5:00 PM. It was held in the sanctuary. The service was well -attended. Ray Galle counted 18 people present at the meal. We had a guest, Dr. Richard Paczynski. The service was led by Larry Lawson with the guidance of Rick Weinberg who decided that we should not skip pages in the Tefilot Purim booklet. The result was a much more meaningful service. After the prayers the Purimspiel was performed. The actors were:
Queen Esther: Kimberly Weinberg
King Ahasuerus: Rick Weinberg
Mordecai: Richard Paczynski
Haman: Joshua Groffman
Rabbi: Helene Lawson (dressed as a rabbit)
Chorus: All present in the congregation
Vashti: no takers
All performances were good but Joshua's portrayal of Haman was inspired.
      After the Purimspiel the congregation reassembled in the social hall. Kiddush and Motzi were said. Manu Gajanan played the piano during the meal. Food credits include: hamentashen, Kimberly; deviled eggs, Larry for cooking, Peggy DeLong for the recipe and Ted Isaacs' hens for the eggs; miniature pumpkin pies, Becky Van Tassell; three bottles of fine wine, Julie Carr; fruit tray, Ted; "Shabbat" pizza, tuna lentil curry, vegetarian poutine, Larry; lox, bagels, cream cheese, challah, TBE.


Pitt Cultural Festival

Temple Beth El presented on "The Last Jew in Afghanistan" at the University of Pittsburgh's Cultural Festival held on February 25 from 6:30 to 9:30. The last Jew in Afghanistan is Zebulon Simentov. He is a minority of one who chose to return to Afghanistan after fleeing with his wife to Israel. He is now a successful small businessman. He is a kosher butcher (selling to Moslems) and rug seller. But, before he got to this point, he had several decades of fighting with his business partner, Isaac Levi, only resolved by Levi's death from diabetes. These verbal battles between the two are legendary. At least one documentary film and two New York plays have been based on them. Incredibly at one time they took their dispute over who owned their synagogue's Torah to the Taliban court for resolution. Imagine what happened.
      The presentation was held at a booth in the lobby outside the auditorium in the Commons. Larry Lawson and Ray Galle watched over the booth.


Tu B'Shevat Seder

Tu B'Shevat is the New Year for Trees and has become a focus for environmental Tikkun Olam. The services started at 5:30PM on Saturday, February 11. We had guests, Rev. Stacey Fussell, her adopted daughter Christina, and Christina's friend, Julie. The services began with a Havdalah service led by Larry Lawson. This service formally ended Shabbat. Following that there was the Tu B'Shevat service itself. This year a new and more contemporary Haggadah was used, Beit Ha'am, provided by the World Zionist Organization. It emphasizes environmental issues and their relevance in Israel. The seder was led by Kimberly Weinberg. At the beginning everyone got a plate and came up to the kitchen table to get the wine and the fruits and nuts from the three designated groups. Those with hard outer shells were brought by Becky Van Tassell. Those with soft outer shells and a pit were brought by Kimberly Weinberg as were those that were entirely edible. Red and white wine, used in the service for mixing, was brought by Julie Carr. Red and white grape juice was supplied too. The Haggadah was read in turns by all those present that were comfortable reading. We learned many things including how Israel, being mostly the Negev Desert, recycles 70% of its sewage water, the largest amount of water recycling in the world.
      After the service, the dinner followed. Food credits include: Baked salmon over saffron rice, Jewish-style mashed potatoes, lox and bagels, Temple Beth El; potato and kale casserole, home-baked cheesecake, Becky Van Tassell and Joshuah Groffman; spinach salad, Kimberly Weinberg; babka, Elyce Helford and Helene Lawson; apples and nuts, almond milk, corn tortillas (to eat lox without glutin) Edy's chocolate ice cream, Julie Carr.


Service for Florence Fishkin Neu

Burial services for Florence Neu were held at the Willow Dale Cemetery beginning at 1:00 PM on Thursday, January 26, 2017. The services were led by Rabbi Emily Losben and Cantor Ruben Ostrov, her husband, leaders of Temple Anshe Hesed in Erie, PA. Over 40 persons from all over the country attended. Although the weather was blustery with falling snow and wet muddy ground, the service was inspired and lasted in total almost one hour. Following the service there was a reception meal at Beefeater's Restaurant in Bradford. A special menu of delicious choices was prepared for the guests. The rabbi started the table discusson of memories and eulogies -- a discussion that lasted a long time. Pictures and yearbooks were passed around the table. Everyone agreed that Florence's wit, wisdom and generosity were incomperable and that she was a true "Woman of Valor" as described in the Bible.
      Florence was born in Bradford, PA on April 8, 1925. She and her husband, Nathan, were members of Temple Beth El. Following Nate's death, she went to live in Philadelphia with her daughter, Sharon Fox. She continued to remain in touch with the Temple community. Sharon took care of her until her death at age 91 on January 20, 22 Tevet 5777. Sharon says that mourners should make donations in her name to the charity of their choice.



The weather was surprisingly good and all snow had been cleared from the roads and parking lot. The turnout was high due to the large number of children. This celebration of Chanukah began on its last day, Sunday, January 1, at 4:00 PM with a candle lighting service in the sanctuary. The candles were lit by Ezlea Isaacs. Following that service, Julie Carr carried the lit menorah upstairs to the social hall for the Kiddush and party and all followed.
      The Kiddush service began with a reading from I Maccabbees (Apocrapha) and continued with Psalms and Hallel. Following that Larry Lawson led the Kiddush and Motzi. Following this food began to be served. There were lots of latkes and a Chanukah quiz show. It began with a simple Chanukah quiz on paper to review the basics. Then there was the contest. Larry read questions from the NJOP's Chanukah quiz (relatively difficult). Kimberly Weinberg, taking the role she called "Vanna", displayed posters of the possible answers for all to see. The first person to say the right answer was awarded that question. The scores for first answers were as follows:
Julie Carr 4
Ray Galle 3.5 (two answered at the same time)
Ezlea Isaacs 2
Epiphany Isaacs 1.5
Kimberly Weinberg 1
Grant Nichols 1
Preston Weinberg 1
Mattie Weinberg 1
Helene Lawson 1
Ted Isaacs 1
Calvin Isaacs 1
The four top contenders spun the Dreidle of Fortune to select silly prizes in boxes. Julie won a bubble blower; Ray won a lint roller; Ezlea won a flashlight; and, Epiphany won a jigsaw puzzle of a horse. During the meal, Manu Gajanan played the piano improvising variations on a pleasing classical theme.
      The food and its credits included: home-baked sesame challah, latkes with sour cream, lox and bagels with onion and cream cheese, cheese and spinach in filo, jelly doughnuts, Chanukah gelt (Carr), spiced rice and lentils (Weinbergs), hot grain fruit & nut salad (Carr), vegetarian spaghetti (Lawsons), giant fruit salad with creamy dressing (Isaacs), Clementines, nut fudge flavored with chocolate caramel and butterscotch (Carr) and more.


Annual Meeting

The annual meeting on November 11 was preceded by a short Shabbat service starting at at 7:00PM led by Rick Weinberg. Kimberly Weinberg lit the candles. The annual meeting itself began in the social hall at 7:30PM with the reading of the minutes of last year's meeting. The following members attended: Kimberly and Rick Weinberg, Helene and Larry Lawson, Grant Nichols, Michael Klausner, Ted, Calvin and Isaiah Isaacs, Joshuah Groffman with Rebecca Van Tassel, Henry and Esther, Julie Carr, Peggy DeLong and by proxy Louise Bickman, Lynn Brauser, Larry Ellison, Jerome and Alice Fishkin, Harvey Golubock, Mark Eckman, Melvin Redmount and Rhoda Silverberg. This consitituted a quorum. The group decided to eat during the meeting. Food and credits included Nova lox with bagels onions and cream cheese (There was a toast-your-own bagel station.) Shabbat pizza, vegetable lasagna brought by Peggy, an assorted melon plate, cookies, rugelach brought by Ted, and other foods including a home-baked challah. The Kiddush was led by Larry and the Motzi by Henry Groffman-Van Tassell.
       The meeting continued with Old Business. This was a discussion of conversion of some of the Temple's park land into a nature preserve. The plan to involve Pitt's Master Gardener (now retiring) had evolved over the year into a Boy Scout conservation project. The members approved and Larry signed Calvin Isaacs' document as representative for the Temple.
      The New Business portion of the meeting opened with the presentation of annual reports. Again this year, no reports on the cemetery were offered. Larry gave the Annual Report for the Temple in a PowerPoint presentation. It reviewed the many services and holidays of the year as well as acts of Tikkun Olam by members and archiving projects. Among these is the Goodman-Waxman geneaological project in cooperation with with Rabbi Waxman. This year the Temple collected $715 for the Beth Israel Cemetery.
          The financial portion of the report showed that the Temple is in good financial condition. It earned a surplus in the year due largely to significant donations by the Eckman family and Ray Galle. Expenses were lower this year than last. And, through Ray's advice and prodding, the Irrevocable Trust gained in value rather than declined while still earning us an acceptible return rate for the times. Our equity investment also grew significantly. That had prompted transferring several thousand dollars into the equity account (Ameritrade) from the bank. The account has been considered a growth investment to meet needs in the future. The High Holiday rabbi was the largest expense and amounted to about half of our total expenditure for the year.
     We welcomed our new members this year, Dr. Joshuah Groffman and Rebecca Van Tassell.
      The major item apart from the election, was the discussion of the High Holidays for next year. A vote was taken to decide whether to proceed to obtain a rabbi. All were in favor except Jerome Fishkin. The matter of possibly holding High Holidays in conjunction with Temple B'Nai Israel in Olean was discussed. Kimberly Weinberg was opposed since their High Holiday Mahzor is entirely in Hebrew she said. The group was not excited about holding services entirely in Hebrew. Rabbi Lipson has been non-committal about returning after the Yom Kippur Service. Grant Nichols proposed an increase in the amount of money to be spent on the rabbi. It was passed, approved by all except Jerome Fishkin. Larry was ordered to contact Rabbi Lipson directly and ask him whether he would be available next year and other questions. This was done. There has been no response from Rabbi Lipson.
      A very important member then introduced the issue of the inevitable demise of Temple Beth El and proposed entering into the URJ's "Legacy" program for failing Temples as had been suggested by Rabbi Lipson. This initiated deep questioning of the purpose of maintaining the Temple in the first place. Julie Carr, agreed to audit the accounts.
      The election of officers was held. The present officers, the current board of directors, were reelected unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at about 9:00PM. The minutes will be published in the next issue of the Temple Beth El News.



Henry Groffman, Josh Groffman and Rick Weinberg, photo credit: Kimberly Weinberg



Beginning the Haggadah 2016





Madeline Schuyler Weinberg had her Bat Mitzvah over a period of two days, Friday May 29 and Saturday May 30, 2015. The cycle began with a Shabbat evening service with the portion Naso at Temple Beth El beginning 7:30 PM. Both services were led by Rabbi Susan Stone. On Friday night, Maddy lit the candles. There was an Oneg / reception afterward in the social hall sponsored by the Weinberg family.
      The following morning, the Bat Mitzvah itself was held in the Harriet B. Wick Chapel of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford starting a 10:00 AM. The Saturday Morning Shabbat service was conducted by Maddy who read the Torah portion. There were four aliyot: Susan and Paul Weinberg (grandparents), Kimberly and Rick Weinberg (parents) , Pam and Mark Weinberg (aunt and uncle) and finally Preston Weinberg, her brother. Before the service Maddy was presented with a tallit by her parents. Her brother gave a humorous gematriya interpreting the numerical significance of Maddy’s Hebrew name and of the occasion. Miles Nevid (cousin) dressed the Torah. Elias Nevid (cousin) said the Motzi for the reception to follow.
      The reception was held at the Premier Banquet Center in Olean, NY beginning at 12:30 PM. The meal was sumptuous including baked salmon, grilled chicken with honey-hoisin sauce, exotic couscous, many salads, side dishes. and deserts. There was the chairing of Maddy, dancing the hora and hip-hop, costumes with accessories and a photo booth to enjoy them. The lighting of a menorah with 13½ candles by her friends and family was an interesting touch. Photos of these events are on the next page. The siddurim used were donated by Suburban Temple Kol Ami.




Rabbi Steven Mills Dies

Rabbi Steven Mills died suddenly on July 2, 2017. Currently Rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Parsippany, NJ, he was formerly the rabbi in charge of the Northeast Lakes Region of the URJ until that division was abolished as a result of redistricting. Rabbi Mills re-dedicated our present building leading a service on August 4, 2006 (right). This was not the first service held in the new building, on Clarence St., but it was perhaps the most important. Rabbi Mills did other good deeds for us. One which lasts to this day is an agreement to fix out annual URJ dues at its current affordable level.
      Funeral services were held at Temple Beth Am in Parsippany, NJ on Wednesday, July 5, at 11:30AM followed by interment at Beth El Cemetery in Paramus NJ. He is survived by his wife, Rabbi Estelle Mills, and his children, Rafi, Sivan and Noah .



Gilbert and Sullivan may have written about when "the enterprising burglar's not a-burgling", but last week, on August 19, 2017, the burglar was. A burglar broke into the Temple by forcing the fire door in the Rabbi's study and then broke into the safe. After taking the deed, corporate seal, assorted legal papers and a small amount of petty cash with receipts, he took the master keys stored there and the candelabrum awarded to the Temple by Yad Vashem scattering its candles on the ground by the door. He then used the keys to open the machine shed and steal a new brush cutter. The burglar did activate a camera and was photographed. This photograph was given to the police. While many things were disturbed, little else appears to have been taken, not even cash from the Tzedakah box. Mysteries are by nature mysterious. We are grateful to "Mother Stacey", Rev. Stacey Fussel, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension (she lives next door to the Temple) for introducing us to Grant Smith, the church's contractor. He repaired and reinforced the doors on the following Monday. The brush cutter turned up unharmed a week later in the brush at the south end of the property.


Chaiei Marylou

Marylou McElwee was born Mary Lou Van Zile (pron. Van Zeal) on April 20, 1937 in Sharon Center to a family of Evangelical Christian ministers. She died on August 15, 2017. Rev. James Van Zile officiated at her memorial service. After attending an open Passover service some years ago at Temple Beth El, she began a conversation with the Temple that continued to the week or so before she died when she wrote us a check for a significant donation. About a year ago she asked Larry Lawson to visit her and record her life story. It a story of conflict between the weight of the inevitable sins of living and a search for redemption. As a child she perticipated in activities of the Jewish synagogue in Olean, NY and also with those of a nearby Episcopal church. Because of these childhood affiliations, the conversation with Temple Beth El widened to include the Church of the Ascension, Epsicopal, of Bradford. Sin, original sin, and redemption have very different meanings in Judaism, Christianity and among different Christian denominations. The resulting "trialog" never fully concluded. What emerged from it is that life is a struggle and possibly Judaism is, on the whole, the least condemning. Recently, she gave us a silver Jewish necklace she had received as token for her support of Jewish charities. This was awarded as "The Mary Lou McElwee Award" to Moria Zuckerman per her instructions to give it to a deserving young girl of the congregation. Marylou shall be remembered by us.


Rhoda Silverberg: The Rhoda Report for September 2017

Rhoda Silverberg continues to be alive and well and living at Shalom Park in Aurora, CO. She explains that for the new residents (at a much higher price) her building in Sholom Park is not called "Senior Housing", it is being called "active lifestyle". Her rent will remain the same for a year and then be raised following the "cost of living". The new condos have a maintenance fee of $4300 per month. But, the new landlords are doing more things. They have added free cable TV and a wellness center. They have redecorated the halls in interesting colors for each floor. On Fridays they have a breakfast buffet from 8 to 10 in the morning. She is happy that her grandson is continuing to work on Netflix's "Love" for the second season. Her health is good.


Rabbi Marcus Burstein z"l

Rabbi Marcus Burstein, former student Rabbi at Temple Beth El ca. 1998-99, died on October 12, 2016 (10 Tishrei) in the afternoon at his home following the Yom Kippur service. The funeral for Rabbi Burstein was Friday, October 14 at 10:30AM at Greenburgh Hebrew Center in Dobbs Ferry, NY. He is interred at Baron Hirsch Cemetery in Staten Island, NY. He was Rabbi at Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester in Ridgefield, CT. Marcus Burstein was perhaps the most magnetic leader we ever had. He used to hold Adult Study at Togi's Restaurant. Larry says " More young people attended than I knew there were young people to attend."


Nate Goodman

Nathan Goodman died September 1, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale Hospital. Born January 13, 1939 in Erie, PA he is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn Goodman, his three sons, Randy, Dean and Robert, and his two grandsons, Reed and Taylor. He was the proprietor of the Paul Bunyon Supermarket in Erie but in 1979 moved to south Florida where he worked as a real estate investor. His grandfather, Abraham Goodman and his father, Isadore Goodman are buried in the Beth Israel Cemetery in Bradford. Nate made the first and generous donation toward the restoration of our Beth Israel Cemetery.


Betty Lipson

Betty Brinker Lipson died on August 16. 2016 (13 Av 5776) in the Atlanta area at the age of 92. She moved to the Atlanta area from south Florida with her late husband, Cantor William W. Lipson, in 2006. She is survived by her children, Rabbi Norman Lipson, Shelly Covin and Denny Ticker as well as by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Joseph Brauser

Joseph (Joe) Brauser was buried following a graveside funeral in the Beth Israel Cemetery in Bradford, PA at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, July 6, 2015. The service was led by Rabbi Brynn Milkow from Temple Ohav Shalom in Pittsburgh. /p>

Offenbachs make Donation in Honor of Harry Offenbach

On May 15, 2016. Stefan and Carol Offenbach donated $100 as a memorial to Harry Offenbach for his birthday 100 years ago on that date. In determining what to do with the gift, we learned a lot about Harry's life and times as a scholar and entrepreneur that will be added to the HISTORY SECTION below. Harry was very observant and supportive of the Bradford Jewish Community. The social hall needs a more powerful microwave oven. One will be purchased in his name as this seem appropriate.


Max Goodman Donates Books to the Library

On this day, Sunday April 19, Max Goodman dropped off a crate of old books. Among them were three works of interest. The first is a six volume set, H. Graetz, The History of the Jews (Phildelphia: Jewish Publication Society 1895); The Jewish Publication Society's The Holy Scriptures: Masoretic text , a TANACH (Philadelphia: 1917); Minhag America: revised in Conference (Cincinnati: Bloch and Company 1872). The TANACH is interesting because being Masoretic it is more literal than the current JPS Tanach. For example, Amos 4:12 is not cosmetized.
     The greatest prize in the bundle is the Minhag. This is the first prayer book issued by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. It is descended from an 1857 version by Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, the rabbi that originated the Friday night Shabbat service. The 1872 book is of such historical interest that Hebrew Union College has a website where photostatic copies of the individual pages may be downloaded. These books are a wonderful and a welcome donation.



Harvey Golubock Donates Art to the Temple

On a day in the last week of August, Harvey Golubock stopped by the Temple to give us three framed prints. One was a reproduction of four of the Tribes of Israel series from which the well-known stained glass windows were made. The second is an original abstract print based on Hebrew writing by the artist Jean-Claude Farhi containing a tiny hand painted Seder. The third is an original woodcut by Irving Amen depicting Isaiah. The three prints have been hung in this way. The Chagall is hung in the Rabbi's study above the chairs. The Farhi is hung over the table in the foyer because it is the most captivating. The engravings formerly hung over the table have been re-distributed. The Amen is hung in the social hall where the "Bubbie" formerly hung because it has "eyes that follow you around the room", Harvey explained. The "Bubbie" has been moved to the right of the great window that overlooks the sanctuary.



New Doors for the Temple

In time for the High Holidays Stefan and Carol Offenbach made a donation to Temple Beth El specifically for refinishing the front doors. The new color turned out to be red. Jim Hopkins was the painter.


Life in the Shtetl 2014: Sukkot Marmelade

The Sukkot Marmelade is now all eaten. But, when it was made, it had been four months since Sukkot. The etrog had been sitting in the Temple's refrigerator waiting for a disposition on the question of what to do with it. One year I (Larry) made marmelade out of it — when it was fresh. Etrog marmelade does not have a lot of flavor, but it retains the perfume of the etrog. Another year I tried sticking cloves in it to make an etrog spice box for Havdalah. The etrog responded by becoming moldy.
     This year (2014) I was about to throw out the etrog because it had shrivelled to 1/3 its volume and turned brown. But, the people of a Country & Western dance class I was taking were all into home canning and gave me jars of jelly they had made (years ago). I had to reply with something. I told them I would bring them some etrog marmelade. Later I went to the refrigerator and opened the little cushioned box. How could someone make something edible out of that wisened brown husk? So, I told the dancers that the etrog was beyond salvage. They were actually disappointed.
     I decided to try again using suggestions from the most experienced of the dancer-canners. After scrubbing, using a sharp heavy knife I was was able to split the dried etrog into eight vertical sections (pittum at the top). These were relatively thin strips. I pushed the seeds through each with a fork and discarded them. I trimmed the ends, cut each strip in half and put it into a food processor on "slow" with a little water to allow the strips to move about. I got a little more than a half cup of heavy heavy pulp with shreds of peel. I added 3/4 of a cup of water and began cooking the pulp. To my surprise, the pulp began to expand and needed an additional cup or so of water added gradually to maintain consistency. It was like one of those dehydrated dolls that come in a tablet. Drop the tablet in a glass of water and watch her grow! The result was as much pulp and peel as the fresh etrog. I added one clove and cooked it 2 1/2 hours. The result was two cups of cooked fruit. Then I fished out the clove.
     Adding 2/3 as much sugar (as required by my 1896 recipe) meant adding 1 1/3 cups of sugar. To avoid the mixture spilling over, I added the sugar gradually letting it sort of dissolve. I then turned on the stove's ventilator and boiled the mixture as quickly as possible to reduce it. This took a good 20 minutes. The result was aromatic but insipid. I added 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. kosher sour salt (by taste) and perhaps a little less than 1/8 tsp. powdered cloves. Cloves balance the aroma of the etrog. The net result was one small jar of marmelade which split in two, was one for the dancers and one for me. My wife mistook my jar for a similar one of commercial orange marmelade and was surprised at breakfast when I told her she was eating an old etrog.
     A survey of the web on "What to Do with Your Old Etrog" turned up some novel suggestions, but marmelade was not high on the list. Chabad had a recipe for etrog schnapps but cautioned against making jelly. There were warnings that etrogs are too bitter. The only recipe I could find was from the Solomon Schecter Day School in Boston. Since it reduced the project to one that could be entirely completed in 20 minutes in one class period, I think the lesson learned was: don't make marmelade out of an etrog. However, the marmelade made out of the stale etrog tasted exactly like that from a fresh etrog. Neither was very strong in comparison with orange mermelade. Both retained the perfume of Sukkot. On account of long boiling, the bitterness was slight and refreshing like that of Seville oranges in "Dundee orange" marmelade. Eating this marmelade on an English muffin was a nice way to recall Sukkot in the sub-freezing weather of late January. — Larry Lawson




A Question of Historical Detail

We have three Torah scrolls that we use for services. One is relatively small and is used for most of the year. Two are large and cumberous. The one of these in the best condition is used for portions in Bemidbar and Devarim. On the gartle that binds it is written "From Temple Beth Shalom, Peabody, Mass to our friends in Bradford, Pa. " There is no date. What was the occasion? When did this take place? What connection existed between Bradford, PA and Peabody, MA? Temple Beth Shalom no longer exists as such in Peabody. MA. It is now merged into Temple Tifareth Shalom. Temple Beth El wrote to Temple Tifareth Shalom to inquire about these questions. There has been no reply.


The Redmount Family and Belarusian History

Joel Redmount, the son of Melvin Redmount, informs Temple Beth El that his family immigrated to the Unites States around 1904, as part of the general exodus of Jews from the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Melvin was a chemical engineer for Airco Speer. His father was Joseph Redmount. Rhoda Silverberg recalls Joel and his siblings attending School at Temple Beth El, driving in fron Ridgway, PA. The name, Redmount, has an interesting history being derived by translating the name of a female family member into English.

Travelling to Belarus, Joel put togther a documentary video on the family's roots in Belarus:
Belarus was an important center for Jewish life from at least the 11th century. Jews immigrated from the East, Babylonia, Palestine, Byzantium, and later from the West, Germany. These German Jews spoke medieval German. This evolved into Yiddish. Belarus is situated between modern Lithuania and Poland in the central portion of what was the Pale of Settlement. Belarusian Jews participated in the intense Jewish Litvak culture of 16th and 17th centuries, when Belrus was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Asi Nisslesen and the Nesselsens of Bradford

Asi Nisselsen, living in Israel, contacted the Temple in the first week of January 2016 seeking information about his ancestors, the Nesselson family. He sent a list of names and these were compared with those in The Temple records. Some new names were added. In return, he sent of a photo of Nate Nesselson in uniform, the WWI soldier for which our military Honor Roll is named, along with a family tree of photos. He is working with Molly Popiel Lindahl as well. The project is ongoing.


Temple Beth Zion scheduled for demolition

The Beth Zion Synagogue, the oldest standing synagogue building in the Bradford area and the former home of a component of Temple Beth El has been scheduled for demolition according to member, Harvey Golubock. "There is noting you can do about it. But, it is not a high priority." The building and parcel of land was on the auction block for unpaid taxes earlier this year, 2016. No one bid on it. The much smaller Beth Jacob synagogue in Kane is of about the same age and is still intact. It is being used as a warehouse.


Temple Beth El in Print

The recently published book, Synagogues of Central and Western New York: A Visual Journey by Julian Preisler (Stroud, Glocestershire: Fonthill Media 2014) devotes two pages to pictures of Temple Beth El and its predecessors, the first Temple Beth El and the still standing Temple Beth Zion ca. 1912. We appear to be one of the few fully-operational rural synagogues in the area covered. The old Beth Jacob Synagogue of Kane and Oil City's Tree of Life Synagogue are among the other "nearby" synagogues shown.

The "classic" Jewish American history text, Lee S. Weissbach. Jewish Life in Small Town America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), used Bradford as reference location and discusses it on 19 pages. The demographic history is given along with studies of Temple Beth Zion, Temple B'Nai Israel, Temple Beth El, the Nichols feud, the Maccabees, the Yiddish Yankees and many family names and occupations. There are significant inaccuracies in details (see our History page), but the overall impression is very accurate, compares well with our own study of the Warren, PA congregation not discussed by Weissbach, and shows that between 1879 and 1960, Bradford, PA was typical of small town Judaism nationwide which was surprisingly homogeneous.


Memorial Day 2014 and the Legacy of Rabbi Kurt Metzger

Temple Beth El's participation in Memorial Day, Monday May 26, celebrations was threefold. As tradition demands, at the closing of the Memorial Day Parade, Ray Galle laid the memorial spray of flowers for the Jewish War Veterans in Veterans Square. Ray, Larry and Helene Lawson and Prof. Michael Klausner attended presentations at the World War II Museum in Eldred, PA. There were two formal talks with slides in the auditorium. The first talk, "A Rage to Live" was by Joseph Krygier on his new book about the Holocaust. After that talk, Larry gave a talk, "From Nuremberg to Bradford: The story of Rabbi Kurt Metzger, the Last Rabbi of Nuremberg". After fleeing Germany in 1940, Rabbi Metzger became Temple Beth El's rabbi in the 1970s. He was the last rabbi left in the Hauptsynagoge congregation after the synagogue was destroyed by Nazis in 1938 and the other rabbis fled. Rabbi Metzger was instrumental in the restoration of the Frank (grandfather of Anne Frank) family home in Germany and asserted that all religions should pray together. After the talks, the museum officially opened its new Holocaust center.


Harry Goodman: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

In the spirit of Ecclesiasticus 44:1, praise for Henry Goodman, ancestor of David Zuckerman and many Goodmans, has recently turned up as old books of historical interest are digitized and reissued. Harry appears in the book, Prominent Jews of America: A collection of biographical sketches of Jews who have distinguished themselves in commercial,professional and religious endeavor This book was edited by S.B. Goodkind and originally published by the American Hebrew Publishing Company (New York) in 1918. It has been reissued by Amazon Books.


Bennett Friedman, A Footnote in the Mud of War

Bennett was a member of Temple Beth El, an esteemed attorney and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was the translator for Hermann Goering at the Nuremburg Trials. The Temple Archives has possibly two interviews with him describing Jewish life in Bradford. A recent web search related to the Holocaust turned up this unexpected 2004 video interview on Yom Hashoah 2014. The Robert H. Jackson Organization: Bennett Friedman, translator for Hermann Goering.





Free Yahrzeit Candles

A giveaway sale contributed about 25 Rocheach yahrzeit lights, the metal can type, to Temple Beth El. They are stored with the other candles in the cabinet in the rabbi's study. Take a couple if you need them. If you need help finding them ask Larry. There are also glass yahrzeit lights; for those there is now a $3 donation expected, because TBE ran out of them (again) and had to buy more at a higher price.


Greeting Cards Continue to be Available

Jewish greeting cards are available on a rack outside the social hall for a nominal donation of one dollar. The include Jewish New Year cards. These cards, the entirety of the Jewish section of a greeting card shop, were given to the Temple anonymously. The cards are from the Hallmark "Tree of Life" series and of the best quality.




A Note to Benny (Noto Bene)

Noto Bene: Starting January 2010, copies of the Online Bulletin Board are digitally archived. Want to find out what happened when? Also, The Temple Beth El News is digitally archived beginning 2006 and issues beginning January 2009 are available on the website. Paper copies of The Temple Beth El News and its predecessor also exist for many earlier issues.

















Any thoughts? Send them to Larry@larrylawson.net