If you missed our past president (and the official Brooklyn borough historian) Ron Schweiger on Sunday 4/11 covering the cavalcade of famous and infamous Brooklyn-born Jews, good news — the replay is now available above.
There’s been plenty of change at Temple this year — who could have imagined Zoom services, remote challah baking, and the upcoming virtual Megillah reading and Purim spiel on the 25th!
(About that… if you have friends and extended family who want to join us for Purim they can sign up at bshertpurim.eventbrite.com, and when you record your 10-second dance party to Kool & The Gang’s Celebration, be sure to send it to Rabbi Hoover by Monday to get it into the spiel.)
Now we have one more new thing to add… our new member portal and donation/dues system, Shulcloud. You can find it at bshert.shulcloud.com.
With this system, you can review your family’s account and yahrzeit information, view and pay statements, and (eventually) order a virtual memorial plaque, sign up for an event, or look up friends in the directory… even more to come.
Your account in Shulcloud is already set up and ready to go. To get a personalized login link, just email email@example.com and we’ll send it right out. Once you get the link, click it; then click on “My Account”; click on Edit My Profile, and set a password for your account.
Once you have a password, you can log in whenever you like; just go to bshert.shulcloud.com and click Login in the upper right corner. It’s important to be logged in if you’re making dues payments or donations, so they can be properly credited to your account.
Once you’re all set up, please take a moment to review the information in your profile, and let us know if it isn’t correct or complete. If you have open charges on your account, you can go to the Dues & Donations page to make a payment or make an additional donation.
Further improvements on the way! If you have any questions about the Shulcloud system, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have billing or account questions, let the office know at email@example.com.
—Mike Rose for B’ShERT
Hosted by MALA: Muslim American Leadership Alliance
Tomorrow there will be a virtual screening of this moving 37-minute film, which will be followed by a discussion and Q & A with the filmmaker, Laura Seltzer-Duny, S.A. Ibrahim Co-Chair of the Center for Interreligious Understanding & contributor to the film, and Annette Lachmann Holocaust survivor featured in the film.
This has been a year unlike any other and B’ShERT has proven itself to be a haven of Jewish community at a very lonely and disconnected time. If you’re feeling, this year especially, that you want to see your community at B’ShERT continue to thrive, you can help out just by… buying yourself or your loved ones a Hanukkah gift!
Two artisans have graciously partnered with B’ShERT to offer YOU a unique, safe buying opportunity for the holidays. Visit these two websites on Etsy and 10% of your purchases will be donated back to the Temple.
At this challenging time, when you cannot be with friends & family, show that you are thinking of them with a handmade one-of-a-kind gift, shipped directly to their door, wrapped with love and that extra special personal touch!
Faith Oland Pottery
and Centered Vessel
Upon Check Out make sure to include in the message box to the seller that you are ordering from B’ShERT to ensure that your donation is credited.
Happy shopping and happy holidays. Should you have any questions, please call the Temple Office or
Karen Eichel at 917-856-9912.
Learn more about these talented artisans:
Faith Oland was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She studied Art at SUNY New Paltz, graduating with a BS and an MS in Art Education. She taught for many years in Putnam Valley, Yorktown, and Mahopac School districts. Her favorite job was at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, where she taught in their Middle and High School, specializing in Ceramics. She is the mother of three daughters, and grandmother to five. She opened her Etsy shop in July of 2020 and has successfully been selling her ceramic pieces.
Maxine Oland – “I am a potter, an archaeologist, a student of yoga, a partner, a mother. My craft keeps me connected to the earth, grounded and centered.”
With Thanksgiving this week, another fall holiday is on the horizon and, sadly, we cannot be together in person for this one.
Looking back over this odd season of a year unlike any other, I am so grateful that, back in October, our Temple congregants and custodians came together to safely assemble our B’ShERT sukkah!
Sukkot proved to be a uniquely CDC-compliant holiday.
We were able to gather together, outdoors, in masks, to decorate a sukkah with everything from pumpkins and fairy lights to inflated latex gloves that we hung from the ceiling with a jewel in the middle, to ward off the Evil Eye and Covid. It was a very 2020 sukkah.
There was plenty of crafting, ingenuity, and hand sanitizer.
Take a look at the fruits of our creative labor!
My name is Lela Wang and I’m a 10th grader and B’ShERT congregant. When Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, Digital Media and Youth Outreach Coordinator, sent out information about the URJ Religious Action Center (RAC) Teen Justice Fellowship in August, I signed up. The RAC has worked to mobilize the Reform Jewish Movement to advocate for social justice. It was a wonderful program, and greatly helped me to do a civic engagement project. The RAC helped me learn about community organizing, how to start a movement and how to make change.
For the fellowship, I did a non-partisan voting advocacy project. I asked volunteers to make a voting sign to display in a window in either their home or a business. If the sign was displayed in a business, volunteers would ask that business about their history and struggles in this difficult year. Then everyone answered the question, “Does one vote matter, and why?” I think it is very important that everybody votes because that’s the foundation of our democracy; we get to choose the people that lead our local government, state government, and our country.
There were many challenges. At first, it was difficult to start this project, and get enough volunteers. I found there were a lot of issues with businesses who were unwilling to participate, or took signs down after agreeing. They were reluctant to do anything remotely political, even if it was non-partisan. I also discovered that many people really didn’t believe one vote mattered. I found the political divide in our community was much bigger than I thought. With the election rapidly approaching, I had to make it all happen and compile all the responses.
There were also successes. There were some really inspiring things that were said and I am so happy with the result of this project. I think something as simple as spreading the word and encouraging voting through posters can make a difference, especially because all the signs were individually made, expressing unique and community-based work. I found this was also a tactic that was used when I did postcarding this summer, encouraging people to register to vote. The postcards had to be hand-written, which was quite tedious but much more personal. The posters were all very creative and I think that the project was a success. You can see the results on my project website “Your Vote, Your Voice” here: https://sites.google.com/view/vote-2020/home
Through this fellowship, I learned about community organizing and the many challenges involved. Civic engagement is difficult, but this was definitely a great learning experience and made me a more confident community organizer. I also learned a lot about different political views and I realized there are many people in my neighborhood and in my community who think differently—they aren’t just in states I have never been to or places far away. They are people just like you and me who just think differently and that is okay. We must spread kindness no matter what and work to better the world together.
By Alan Zarrow
In honor of Election Day, I am concentrating this month’s Walking Tour segment on some very strange political stories and the people associated with them.
We begin at Green-Wood Cemetery and our first stop is NYC Mayor William Jay Gaynor (Section 7) who was the victim of an attempted assassination on August 9, 1910 (8-9-10 for all of you numbers people) and amazingly survived a bullet in the neck. Although he was considered a highly-regarded candidate for either governor or even president, he was not even put up for nomination by his party for another term as mayor. He died in office in 1913 from an apparent heart attack – not from his wound. Someone else who died in office — on February 11, 1828 in Albany — was New York Governor DeWitt Clinton (Clinton Dell section), shown behind yours truly. His uncle, George Clinton, while serving as the nation’s fourth vice president, also died in office. Hmmmmm. Bad genes? DeWitt was originally buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in New Windsor, NY, along with his uncle George, but was re-interred at Green-Wood.
John Young McKane (Section 146) was known as the “Czar of Coney Island” and his exploits could fill a book. He was a strong supporter of Grover Cleveland in the 1884 presidential race and it was widely suspected that he had a hand in some election irregularities. He was eventually convicted in 1894 of election fraud in the local Brooklyn contests of 1893. (THIS guy’s biography should be a story for one of Ron Schweiger’s future talks – hint, hint.) Grover Cleveland (the only president to be elected to two NON-consecutive terms) is buried in Princeton (NJ) Cemetery along with Vice President (and dueler of Alexander Hamilton) Aaron Burr and university founder Paul Tulane. Ron Schweiger is shown here in front of the Leonard Walter Jerome’s Green-Wood mausoleum (Section 37). Who is Leonard Jerome and why are we talking about him in an article about politics? Leonard was the father of Jenny Jerome, who was the mother of Sir Winston Churchill.
We will take our leave of Green-Wood with the story of Teresa Sickles. While she was not in politics herself, her husband, US Representative from New York Daniel Sickles, was. The Sickleses lived in a row of houses across from the White House facing Lafayette Park (in the same row of houses as Henry Reid Rathbone, the army officer who accompanied Abraham Lincoln to Ford’s Theatre). Daniel found out that Teresa was having an affair with Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott) and publicly shot Key in front of the Key residence located on the other side of Lafayette Park (near the home of William Seward, who was gravely wounded the night Lincoln was shot). Daniel was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity — the first successful use of such a defense in a case like this — and went on to have a command at the battle of Gettysburg, where his leg was shattered and ultimately amputated. He donated his leg to the US Army Medical Museum (where it is still on display – just ask Bonnie Greenbaum) and it was said that he visited his leg on every anniversary of the amputation. Teresa died in 1867 and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Sickles plot here at Green-Wood. Unmarked, that is, until just this past summer when a marker suddenly appeared – pointed out to me by the sharp eyes of our own Lori Pandolfo.
Moving from Green-Wood to upper Manhattan, we meet the one and only NYC Mayor Ed Koch (“How’m I doing?”). Koch is buried in the Trinity Church Cemetery Uptown on Broadway and 155th Street in the section that houses the cathedral. Also in that part of the cemetery is bird expert John James Audubon. On the other side of Broadway you will find the Astor family, Clement Clarke Moore (“T’was the night before…”), and Jerry Orbach.
We come back across the East River to Calvary Cemetery in Queens, where we have Carmine DeSapio (Section 27), who was known as the last real boss of Tammany Hall. During his tenure, he was accused of having ties to organized crime and was influential in replacing unpopular mayor Vincent Impellitteri with Robert Wagner. The Wagner family is also in Calvary (Section 45), approximately 50 yards to the right from Governor Alfred E. Smith. Our final stop this month is New Montefiore Cemetery in Farmingdale, where we find Abe Beame (Section 4, Block 6), NYC’s first Jewish mayor and Ed Koch’s predecessor. Unfortunately, he was on the receiving end of the now-famous headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” Yep – some strange stories. Again, I can’t thank enough the people who came with me on my journeys, and thank you to the folks at Green-Wood, who encouraged people to do the walking from the beginning.
(Text and photos by Alan Zarrow. The photo of Alan with DeWitt Clinton is by Miriam Mishkin)
Introduction to Judaism: An Exploration for Curious Adults begins 10/21/20
Join this 20-session course on Jewish life, thought and practice
Discover Judaism from an adult perspective
Become a more confident parent of Jewish children
Explore long-standing questions that you haven’t yet asked
Join this 20-session course on Jewish life, thought and practice
In a warm and open environment,
explore Jewish thought, prayer and practice,
learn about Jewish history and holidays,
wrestle with inherited texts and contemporary issues,
discuss Jewish views of God, ethics, life and death.
The curriculum is designed to give you access to concepts, vocabulary and observances that are central to Judaism. Explore the holy and the historical, inherited texts and contemporary issues, rhythms of the calendar and of our lives in this seminar-style course.
Rabbi Sue Oren, Instructor and Coordinator
This 20-session class meets on ZOOM
Weds eves, 7:00-9:00 pm or Sun eves, 7:30-9:30
(plus a virtual shabbat gathering with Union Temple)
first session: October 21st
$425 course tuition plus $25 materials fee
For registration & questions, contact Rabbi Sue Oren at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.917.539.1334
This class is co-sponsored by:
BelovedBK, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, B’ShERT, Congregation Mount Sinai,
East Midwood Jewish Center, Flatbush Jewish Center, Kane Street Synagogue,
Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Park Slope Jewish Center, Union Temple
My mother was a superb baker, having learned from her Austro-Hungarian mother all the specialties of that vanquished empire. She made a variety of “Pitter Kichen” (Butter Cookies) that were outstanding and Chocolate and Nuts Tortes and a basic yeast dough that she would transform into half-a-dozen different things.
She was particular though. She would make an exceptional Date and Nut Bread, but she would only bake it in recycled Campbell’s Soup cans. If we hadn’t eaten enough soup to provide the requisite number of cans for the recipe, it didn’t get made. Someone once suggested that she make it as a loaf, in a big pan, and she looked at them like they had two heads.
Things were only done the way they were done.
She was a good cook, but not exceptional. Like many housewives she had a routine of two or three dozen recipes, most of which she repeated over the course of the month. On the third Monday, we would invariably have some fried fish, flat flounder fillets, whole smelts, and thick cod steaks. Very good.
Also, like many women of her generation, she guarded her recipes closely.
Even from her family.
Mom made a really good mayonnaise-less potato salad. And after I’d gotten married and moved away, I missed it and asked her for the recipe.
“Sure,” she said: “I’ll give it to you now. Are you ready?
Take a batch of potatoes. Peel them, boil them until they’re tender, and let them cool.
After they’re cooled, cut them into chunks and put them in a big bowl. Then pour on the lemon juice.”
“How much lemon juice, mom?”
“Enough until you think you’ve spoiled it.”
Mind you, my mother was a home economics teacher. She knew from recipes, but that didn’t mean she was going to give them to you.