The Buzz

What To Do With Books?

by Rabbi Jeff Clopper

I sat in my office the other day, scanning the many volumes on my shelves.  Most of these books have come into my possession since beginning rabbinical school some 33 years ago.  A few of them date back even further. Books have been an integral part of life.  As the son of a librarian, I was taught to value each one.   In my house, while most often they were on loan from the library, there always was a sense of reverence and respect.

Now in this digital age where reading material is readily downloaded to various devices, although some still find comfort in printed copies, it seems like future generations will have no need for multiple shelves.  I sometimes wonder what will happen to my books.   Rabbinic colleagues who retire often try to find new homes for their books covering topics such as prayer, spirituality, history, and many more.  In most cases, they end up in recycling bins or regular garbage bins.

Except for the holy books.  There is a place for them always because, in Jewish tradition, holy books always maintain their holiness.  As such, they have to be handled with care and respect.  According to Jewish law, books considered holy, especially those with God’s name written within, must be placed in an area where they cannot be destroyed (referred to as a genizah, a Hebrew word meaning reserved or hidden).  Since it happened so often that materials were burned, accidentally or otherwise intentionally (think pogroms), it was determined that burying them was the best option.  That way, just as loved ones would be laid to rest in the ground at the end of their lives, the same would happen for these important books.

I know the question “What to do with books?” is not just in my thoughts.  Over the years, many in this congregation have asked a similar question.  Already, we have one closet at TBE that continues to be filled with the discarded and deteriorated Jewish books people have dropped off through the years.  And I know there are so many more out there.

So, I invite all of you who have older books that might have reached the end of their lives to be a part of a Sacred Book Project.  Comb through your shelves and find the books that might need to be laid to rest.  Together as a community, we will have a chance to show the proper respect and love, ultimately helping them lay to rest in a local Jewish cemetery.  Along the way, there will be chances to learn a bit more about the practice and the laws involved.  Plus, those who wish to can be part of the process to help bury them.  It will truly be holy work.  Keep an eye out for this important project and know that there will be a place for those books to be, if not on our shelves at home.

Mark Your Calendar for TBE’s Biggest Event of the Year!

We are excited to announce that this year’s Temple Community Celebration, Temple Beth El’s most important (and festive!) fundraising event of the year, will take place the evening of Saturday, June 3, 2023. This year’s theme is “Grateful to Gather”, an appropriate mantra for an evening where the temple community will gather together to enjoy food, drink, music, and celebration.

An important part of the Temple Community Celebration involves recognizing community members who have given of themselves year after year in service to our temple.  This year we are honoring Linda & Art Mont; The Eigs: Elaine & Barry and Daniel & Lynne; and Phoebe Krane & Sandy Hoffman. Each of these couples has devoted countless hours of their time and energy to Temple Beth El throughout the years and has been vital to making Temple Beth El the special place that it has been, and continues to be.

This year’s event will begin at 6:00 p.m. with intimate gatherings at temple partner homes where guests will enjoy light fare and drinks in a relaxed setting that will allow them to reconnect with familiar faces and meet new friends. Each guest will be assigned to a temple partner’s home. Everyone will then all come together as a congregation back at the temple to enjoy some lively music, a multitude of delicious desserts, some wine and coffee, and a special ceremony celebrating our honorees. Guests can come to only the temple portion of the evening if they so choose. The honoree ceremony will also be livestreamed at no charge for those who are not able to join in person.


Tickets will be $50 per person, with the opportunity to make additional donations to the temple. Certain sponsor levels will receive two free tickets. All donors will be able to offer a tribute message to our honorees and their names will be included on the digital and framed Scroll of Honor.

Formal invitations have been mailed to each partner household in mid-April, and partners can also R.S.V.P. and donate at any time by visiting the special Temple Community Celebration website at, where you will also find much more information about this year’s exciting event, including background on each of our honorees and what makes them so special to our Temple Beth El community. You can also R.S.V.P. and donate by completing the donation form [on the next page] and returning it to the temple.

Once again, we are also providing a Business Directory that will be available to all on the Temple Community Celebration website. If you have a business, communicating your products and/or services to our entire Temple congregation is a great way to get the word out! Additionally, consider talking with the local businesses you patronize and encourage them to also support the temple. A Business Directory listing is just $100 and includes a display on the electronic and printed Scroll of Honor, plus each business will be listed on the Business Listing page with a link back to its own website. Contact Lisa in the temple office for the Business Listing ad form.

We encourage all temple partners to purchase tickets and to donate as this is the biggest temple fundraiser of the year and represents an integral portion of the temple’s yearly revenue.  Questions? Email Patti Kresner and Harlee Richmond, our Temple Community Celebration Co-Chairs, at We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone on June 3rd!


In Search of a Miriam’s Cup

by Beth Feinman, Sisterhood President

Since my daughter moved out, I have searched for an appropriate gift to help her start her new Jewish home. She already has Shabbat candlesticks and I thought that a Miriam’s Cup would be a wonderful way to celebrate her role as a young and vibrant Jewish woman. And so, I started the usual online search that has dominated our shopping sprees since COVID. But I could not find one that I really liked; they were either too ornate or overly artsy, too fancy or too plain to represent the song of Miriam.

I went to a few Judaica stores, only to be surprised that there were none for sale – or the store manager tried to sell me an Elijah’s cup, advising me to just tell everyone it was a Miriam’s Cup.  Then I went to Friday night services; my favorite service on the third Friday when we read and discuss a Torah portion. How ironic that we were chatting about the Israelite’s search for jewels to adorn their portable temple in the desert!  As I made my way to the oneg with several Sisterhood friends, I walked past our Judaica cabinets and immediately spotted a beautiful Miriam’s Cup! It was simple yet elegant and clearly celebrated Miriam. Before bringing it to my table, it would serve as the Miriam’s Cup in the Women’s Sisterhood Seder with Cantor Alison and 40+ Sisterhood members gathered to tell the Pesach story through the eyes of our female ancestors.

Somehow this story reminded me of my story of Sisterhood at the temple. We are always searching for perfect answers; a larger synagogue, lower membership fees, less politics…yet the search always leads us back to Temple Beth El, the place that has become a home for us and one that holds a Sisterhood family for me.

So whether you are a bookworm, a Mah Jongg aficionado, a volunteer seeking to help by preparing meals or knitting blankets, or just someone looking for the company of some really terrific women, please consider joining us next year. You may have enjoyed our Purim Hamantashen, a yummy Juliet dinner at a local restaurant, prayed with us at the Women’s Seder, or found the perfect knick-knack at a rummage sale. Or perhaps you want to help during our Blood Drives or when we prepare for special Shabbat services. No matter what aspect of Sisterhood speaks to you, we look forward to meeting you and sharing our special bond of sisterhood.  Your Miriam’s Cup is waiting to be filled…

Upcoming Spring Happenings

by Cantor Alison Levine

Hello everyone!  It seems unbelievable how quickly the fall went this year.  We had our High Holy Days, Thanksgiving came and before you knew it, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve.  And while the weather might be cold and grey now, there are a bunch of happenings this spring that will cheer you right up!

On January 23rd, I started an Adult Hebrew 2 class, Beyond the Alef-Bet, that meets on Monday nights from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and runs through mid-June at the temple.  This course, which is free for all TBE partners, is for those who can read Hebrew and who want to learn more about Hebrew vocabulary and grammar as it relates to Jewish texts.  If you missed my Adult Hebrew 1 class last year, Robin Faigenbaum will be teaching a beginner’s class on the Hebrew Alef-Bet (alphabet) this May. More details to come.

This March, I will be teaching a three-part introductory class on Shabbat at Temple Beth El.  This class will be focused on the format of the Shabbat service and I will be teaching some of the regular melodies that we use in our worship.  I will explain our TBE minhag or traditions such as our different Friday night services and versions of musical settings that might be specific to TBE.  It’s a great introduction for those who are new to Temple Beth El or are less familiar with services.  Join me on Sunday, March 12th at 2:00 p.m., March 19th at 4:00 p.m. and March 26th at 2:00 p.m.

You might have noticed above that on Sunday, March 19th, my Shabbat class is later.  That’s because there will be an amazing, first ever Temple Beth El Talent Show at 2:00 p.m. Shameless plug, Chloe is participating and in my unbiased opinion that will be the cutest.  Come to the talent show and stay for some Shabbat knowledge!

Also, mark your calendars: I will be leading the Sisterhood Women’s Seder on Thursday, March 23rd.  It is always a wonderful time to come together, have fun and celebrate the exodus from Egypt, without the dishes or the cleaning!

Last but not least, I am throwing a Cantor’s Pizza Party on Friday evening, April 28th at 6:00 p.m. before Shabbat services.  Come together for good food and schmoozing; a fun and relaxing way to enter Shabbat!

Phew! What a list.  There is always something happening here.  Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on these events as we get closer.  I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Making Magic Happen

by Samara Rossi, Religious School Director

The Religious School has been abuzz with activity as students have embraced the holiday season. From the energy in the classrooms to the enthusiasm of the students, it’s clear that the educational program is focused on giving the kids the opportunity to explore their Jewish culture while developing a sense of community and service.

The Social Action Committee has been a leader in the effort to get students involved in various programming around the community. They have included collecting items and wrapping gifts for Birthday Wishes (children who are displaced and in need with our community and communities around us) as well as making sandwiches for those who are hungry in the community. They supported hospice house families by baking and making care packages and now we are excited to partake in helping with the Baby Boutique. The boutique specifically focuses on families in need with young children to provide them with essentials such as baby clothes and supplies. The students relish in the opportunity to make a difference in their community and are excited to donate their time and resources.

Our Religious School students have showcased their enthusiasm for learning and caring for their learning in classes about values, traditions, mitzvot, life cycles, Israel, the Holocaust and of course reading and understanding prayers. We have had amazing feedback from our exciting family education programs with Rabbi, youth groups and “Munchkin and Me” program for our little ones.  With an exciting holiday season and dedicated classroom education, the students have embraced their individual strengths and have proven to be the true definition of what it means to be a mensch, by taking an active role in their learning and helping those in  need.

Empathy and compassion are essential elements of working to create lasting social change and well-rounded morally driven youth. It is important to have an understanding of the issues faced by a population and to use kindness and understanding in order to help those facing these issues. At the same time, it is also important to be hardworking, dedicated, and resourceful when tackling big challenges. Through their work, dedication and insight, the students gain the abilities that can affect change and have effectiveness through social action work. In the classroom, such qualities can also play an important role in helping students to think deeply and critically about the world around them.

Our new parent volunteer initiative being led by Daniel and Lynne Eig has proven invaluable. Our parents have jumped in to help out in the kitchen and at the front desk. They offer to lend a hand in every way, which affords us the opportunity to keep special treats coming for the kids, like bagels, challah and juice. They provide extra eyes around the building to help in our safety initiatives as well as provide extra hands for holidays and special events. We are so excited for the Religious School Fundraiser Talent Show!  Please keep an eye out for temple emails regarding this great event with our students, parents and teachers performing in the show.

I am grateful for our students, teaching staff for Sue Seiler, our Social Action Committee, Religious School Committee and parent volunteers, for their endless efforts and dedication to making our Religious School the truly magical place that it is.

TBE’s Got Talent!

by Maddy Teicher

Temple Beth El has exciting news: TBE’s Got Talent is coming up and will be directed by me, Maddy Teicher. I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Theater and have performed in shows and also directed a few shows as well.  For our talent show, you can sing, dance, do magic, tell jokes, play an instrument or act out a scene from a favorite book or show.  You can do this by yourself or with another student, sibling, parent or friend!  Students and madrachim can also help out backstage or during intermission or hand out playbills.

Here are some other things to know:

  1. You will have to provide your own costumes, props and make-up.
  2. Your act, song or dance should be 4 minutes or less.
  3. When you start thinking about your talent, decide on something simple and easy.
  4. You will have to find time to practice at home a few times before the day of the show.

A first rehearsal is scheduled for Sunday, March 12th at 3:00 p.m. and a dress rehearsal will be on Saturday, March 18th at 10:00 a.m.  The date of the show is Sunday, March 19th at 2:00 p.m.  If you would like to sign up, please email Stephanie Kellerman right away at

Seats will be sold at the door for $18.00 each. We hope to have a great turn out and raise a lot of much needed money for our Religious School.  The congregation is also invited to sponsor the show for a donation of $36.00 if you want a special tribute to a specific performer.

I look forward to working with everyone and it will be a great show!  William Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

Keeping Up With the Brotherhood

by Ian Weitz, President

Our last Brotherhood luncheon at the temple was held on January 8th and was well attended over a repast of bagels with all the fixings. A presentation was given by our Religious School Director, Samara Rossi who gave us a brief introduction to ALICE training, which addressed active shooter situations and what to do to survive and protect others.

ROMEO: Retired Old Men Eating Out (or Online) continues to meet on Zoom or in person at the temple most Wednesdays from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. We enjoy the company of one another, sharing jokes, humorous stories, funny video clips and an occasional educational segment.  All are invited regardless of work status, gender or age.

Brotherhood helped with the Chanukah Bash, running the fun Brotherhood Dreidel Table and doling out Chanukah gelt to the players and just about everyone else.  Our helpers this year were Steve Karp and daughter Sophie, Harley Kudler, Ian Weitz and Mike Widawsky. Brotherhood members singing in the temple’s choir included Barry Schwalb, Peter Chiaccharo, Tom Cohn and Doug Gilman. Brotherhood member Peter Wayne, also our Chai Club President, ran the Mad Libs Table.

The next Brotherhood Project we worked on was with the Library and Temple Beautification Committees. We painted the temple library to help create an adult corner, where parents can hang out, chat over a cup of coffee or read a book while waiting for their kids to finish Religious School instead of heading home!

Please let us know your email address for correspondence by letting Mike know at

The Brotherhood is the group of guys, of all ages, among which there is fellowship and a desire to serve the temple and the temple community.  We are the guys who listen to your stories. Come to a meeting with a plan for a project and/or a get together and Brotherhood will try to make it happen. Kindly support the good works of the group by joining, even if you’re unable to participate!

Birthday Wishes

by Sue Seiler and Elisa McDonagh

Thank you so much for supporting and donating to our December Toy Drive that benefitted our Birthday-in-a-Duffle Project. Every month, we create duffle bags filled with party goods and birthday gifts that are made specifically for each student.  The school districts gather information about their interests, hobbies or needs and we try and create a wonderful birthday celebration for them. This year, we added Farmingdale to our list of school districts that also include South Huntington, Harborfields, Commack and Wyandanch. The students are identified under The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that supports the education of children experiencing homelessness. We work with the liaison at each school district who provides us first names only and individual student interests.  We are so fortunate to have so many volunteers and interested people who eagerly shop, wrap or donate to this project. All financial donations are made to TBE Social Action Fund with a specific designation to Birthday Wishes. Anyone interested in learning more about this program can reach out to Elisa at or Sue at

Sisterhood Invites You to Join Knitzvah!

Knitzvah is for everyone who knits, crochets, weaves or looms or otherwise works with fiber.  All are welcome regardless of skill level or experience.  Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned crafter, come discover a warm, inclusive community within our TBE family.  While we intend to focus on creating projects (scarves, mittens, headbands, hats, baby blankets) to donate to worthy causes, we all intersperse our mitzvot with personal projects which we like to share.  So please join us to do good deeds, work on our own projects, create together, chat and enjoy each other’s company.  Sometimes we meet in person, and sometimes on Zoom.  Keep an eye out for information about our next meeting.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Sarah Lichtenstein at

That’s What Friends Are For

by Lisa Tricomi, Partnership Liaison

I recently called a temple partner just to say hello as part of my annual call endeavor. My plan is to call and connect with every temple partner a few times a year. This call began like many others: confirming contact information, talking about partnership and your connection to Temple Beth El, and anything else leadership should know. While chatting, this person said that s/he was having health issues and recently had surgery. Luckily, this person was on the mend and feeling better.  I said “I wished we had known because someone could have called to see how you were doing, if you needed anything or if you needed the Caring Committee or Clergy to reach out.”  I chatted about my role as Partnership Liaison and that I am here to liaise for our temple partners.

Please don’t hesitate to call me anytime at (631) 421-5835, Ext. 206 or email me ( and let me know how we, as a temple community, can be there to support you!  While I do spend time following up on temple pledges and planning events, my role at TBE extends far beyond that. I want to get to know you better and what we can do for you.  If you are facing illness, hardship and anything else we are here to lend strength and support.  After all, isn’t that what friends and family do for each other?   We are in this together, so let us be there for you!