The Buzz

Meet our new President!

by Mitch Kittenplan

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Mitch Kittenplan, and I was recently installed as President of Temple Beth El.  For my first article as President, “The Buzz” asked me to introduce myself. “Hmmm…” I asked the question, “what does that mean… to introduce myself?” I was told that I should tell everyone all about myself. “Wow,” I thought, “that’s a lot of years and a lot of things to cover.” Rather than bore you with too much detail I decided instead to give you… Mitch Kittenplan: The Cliff Notes!

Born in the Bronx, grew up in Jackson Heights, graduated Stuyvesant High School, Bachelor of Science from New York University, President of Phi Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Master of Science in Educational Administration and Supervision from Pace University, moved to Huntington in 1977, Teacher of Technology Education for 35 years, President of NYC Technology Education Association, Portfolio Manager for Hassel Volvo of Huntington, Minnesota Twins Graphic Design and Stadium Scoreboard Operations…

Whew…a lot of decades in that one paragraph. Now that really shows my age!  But it still begs the next question…“How did I end up at Temple Beth El?”  That necessitates a bit more detail than just the Cliff Notes.

My parents were not overly religious people, but they wanted me to understand my Jewish roots. Growing up in Jackson Heights, we joined Congregation Tifereth Israel, an Orthodox temple. I attended Hebrew School there, starting in second grade, and attended services through my Bar Mitzvah and beyond. Of course, Orthodox services can be “a bit overwhelming.” So, I found myself over the years vacillating between being active in my temple and being a “major holidays Jew.”

When my wife Lois and I moved to Florida in 2008, I connected With Temple Beth El of Ft. Myers. It was there that I reconnected with my Jewish faith. In doing so I studied and celebrated my “Anschei Mitzvah” in 2011. I served on the temple board and was President of the Men’s Club for six years.

Moving back to New York, Lois researched local synagogues and thought that Temple Beth El was a “haimish” fit. I had attended occasional services there prior to our move, so I was familiar with this remarkable temple. We started attending services again in 2016 and we became gift members in 2017. We have cherished being part of this wonderful congregation since then. Additionally, I have served as Vice President of the Brotherhood and on the temple board. And now I’m proud to serve as President.

As President, I would like to express gratitude on behalf of myself and the congregation to Linda Braun. Thank you, Linda, for your hard work, dedication and leadership over the past 2 years, through good times as well as the tribulations of a worldwide pandemic.

I look forward to continuing to work with our dedicated leaders Rabbi Jeff and Cantor Alison, as well as all of you, as we build our temple family and make this a spiritual home for everyone. I hope to meet and spend time with as many of you as I can over the coming years. If anyone ever needs to reach out to me, whether to share a simcha, solve a problem, or simply say hello, please don’t hesitate to email me at tbepres@tbeli.org.

I feel honored to be a part of this amazing and loving temple family. Lois and I wish all of you the best for the New Year. May you be blessed with a year full of good fortune, peaceful harmony, and good health! Shana Tovah!

The Mina and Irving Klein Fund

by Florence Roffman

The Mina and Irving Klein Fund: Promoting New Ideas and Innovative Thinking is up and running!  Do you have an idea to bring programs, speakers, and experiences to our community? This matching grant fund can make that happen.

The Mina and Irving Klein Fund was established to support engagement and partnership, and for philanthropy, social action and social justice, among other initiatives. We have already awarded two grants this year and are hoping to award more.  One grant funded Birthday Wishes, a charity that provides children living in local shelters the chance to celebrate their birthday with party supplies and gifts.  Want to know more about this amazing project?   Elisa McDonagh and Sue Seiler can tell you how you can get involved.  The second grant, written by Howard Schneider, went to improve audio visual equipment and will be ongoing over the year.

Now, as we hopefully are over our COVID-19 separation, the Mina and Irving Klein Fund is preparing to accept grant requests again.  We are especially interested in programming that will bring our community together.  So take some time, collaborate with your friends, and figure out some funding that can be matched (it can be donated, you can ask participants to help financially support your program, or perhaps the Sisterhood, Brotherhood or Chai Club might take it on).  Then, fill out a grant application.

You will find the grant application on the Temple Beth El website.  Click on the “Community” tab and you will see the application.  We will be accepting grant applications through September 30th and grants will be awarded shortly afterwards.

As Theodor Herzl said, “If you will it, it is not a dream.”  We look forward to helping make the programs and ideas of your dreams happen!

Partnership

by Lisa Tricomi, Partnership Liaison

Hello, TBE Family!  I hope everyone is well and your summer has been fun and filled with great adventures.  I know our adventures will continue as a temple community in 2021-22.

At the beginning of the summer, everyone should have received their Sustaining Partnership Pledge form for the 2021-22 year, and if you have already sent yours back, I want to say THANK YOU! If you have not yet responded, please know that I am available to answer any questions you may have about your pledge. Your contribution to Temple Beth El goes directly towards providing our community with our building, our fantastic clergy, amazing programs (both virtual and in person), and so much more.  We rely on all pledges to thrive from year to year, and it is so important to the vitality of Temple Beth El.

I wish you a healthy and happy new year! Together as a community, we will have a meaningful and fulfilling year ahead. Again, thank you for making Temple Beth El an amazing congregation!