December Bulletin

December CEI Bulletin

Congregation Emanu-El Israel

222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA. 15601          

                 Kislev – Tevet     5781                 

December 2020


 The Mission of Congregation Emanu-El Israel is: To support Judaism and the welfare of our community.


From the Desk of Rabbi Lenny Sarko

Hanukkah begins on Thursday night, December 10.  In the darkest part of the year, we light candles.  There was a rabbi who spoke of the connection between candle light and the responsibility of Jews in today’s world. He writes, “A Jew is a lamp lighter on the streets of the world. In older days, there was a person in every town who would light the gas street-lamps with a light that he carried at the end of a long pole. On the street corners, the lamps were there in readiness, waiting to be lit: a lamp-lighter has a pole with a flame supplied by the town. He knows that the fire is not his own, and he goes around lighting all the lamps on his route…Today, the lamps are there, but they need to be lit…A Jew is one who puts personal affairs aside and goes around lighting up the souls of others with the light of Torah and mitzvot. The souls of people are in readiness to be lit…That is the true calling of a Jew- to be a lamplighter, an igniter of souls.”

After reading this parable, the Hanukkah candles take on a whole new layer of meaning. The candles now also serve as a reminder that we have responsibility to do good in the world and to be “an igniter of souls.” And while we have responsibility to ignite the souls of others, we also must light our own souls and find meaning and purpose to our own lives.

Hanukkah is a time when we can reflect on the relationship we have with God. Some time has passed since the High Holidays. Have we stuck to our resolutions for the new year? Have we become better people? Have we fallen back into the same rut we were in before Rosh HaShana? Even if we feel that the goals which we have set for ourselves are beyond our reach, we can turn to the memory of the Hashmonean’s victory.  If we channel our boldness properly, if we attempt to overcome unsurmountable hurdles, God will be there to supply the strength we need. On Hanukkah, we should make sure that we remember the fortitude of the Jewish people during the Hasmonean era, and strengthen our relationship with God in a similar way.

So as we celebrate the Festival of Lights this year, I encourage us all to find a way to kindle light in our own souls and to shine our light into the world by doing acts of loving kindness and acts of tzedakah for our friends, family and community. Best wishes for a festive and joyful Hanukkah season.

Chag Sameach,  Rabbi Lenny


 From the Desk of the President:

Once again I end another year by being grateful for all of the positive things that are happening within our CEI Family.  And I am grateful to be spending another year as President of the Board of Directors.  It is truly an honor and if my parents were alive, I believe that they would be proud of me.

Last week we welcomed Mackenzie Robinson and Finnley Palmer into the Jewish Family as converts.  They have worked very hard and spent a great deal of time studying with Rabbi Lenny, so all of their hard work has paid off.  I was honored to be able to attend their conversion ceremony on November 13th. They did a terrific job at Shabbat services last week where they each had an Aliyah, read from the Torah and gave very warm and insightful speeches.  So on behalf of the CEI Family, we welcome Finnley and Mackenzie into our CEI Family!  

Thank goodness for Rabbi Lenny!  He has been busy filling out grant applications and last month one came in that will be helpful in bringing in new members, especially remote members.  In fact, four remote members recently joined our Congregation and for that we are grateful.  I believe that he is our ‘lucky charm’!

We are entering into 2021 with some ideas about fundraising during the Covid pandemic.  Thanks to Marion Slone, Shoshana Halden and Nina Lewis, the Sisterhood calendar is turning out to be a good fundraiser again this year. 

Every family will be receiving a ‘Hanukkah Bag’ from the Congregation courtesy of the Caring Fund as our way of saying we appreciate all of our devoted and dedicated Congregants.  Terri Katzman and Karen Sarko will be putting the bags together and arranging for them to be distributed. 

I am hopeful that everyone will end 2020 by staying healthy!  Have a wonderful Hanukkah with your family!



   Happy Birthday to:  Jerry Shpargel, Bob Gelman, Karen Chobirko, Yolanda Pavloff, Julie Goldstein, Michael Liptak, Sinde Snitger and Brendan Winters.

   Happy Anniversary to: Shirley & Herb Ratner.  


HANUKKAH MENORAH LIGHTERS NEEDED!  Volunteers are needed to be responsible for lighting the giant Hanukkah Menorah on the front lawn at 5:00 PM from 12/10 – 12/17.  Please let the office know if you and/or your family would like to help us celebrate this holiday with the community and what date you are available.  Also, any evenings you would like to join with the “lighting family”, feel free to lend your support (and social distancing). 



Historian Sarah Abrevaya Stein chronicles the story of a Sephardic Jewish community by tracing the history of the Levy family in Family Papers :A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century.   The ancestors of the Levy family had been expelled from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century.  They settled in regions of the Ottoman Empire where they lived for centuries.  The Levys made their home in Salonica, and Stein writes about their lives in Salonica.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Jews comprised nearly half the population of Salonica, then part of the Ottoman Empire; a port city on the Aegean Sea.  Jews were involved in all aspects of the economy and levels of society, and conducted their business affairs in Ladino, their mother tongue.  A century later, the Otterman empire was gone. Salonica became part of Greece and renamed Thessaloniki.  Its Jewish population had been decimated and those who survived were scattered around the world.   Stein, a UCLA historian, collected Levy family papers in multiple languages from nine different countries on three continents!  Family Papers brings to life the myriad Levy family members, together with the world of a once vital community.  Stein included photographs, family trees, and maps and writes with a literary style like a novel.  Family Papers is available in the Alfred Ratner Library.



 CEI LINK Program – a video conference experience.  CEI continues to video conference the Shabbat Services on Friday at 7:30 pm.  So you can now attend services from home.  Please go to our website for instructions on how to log into the meeting and for the meeting code (which should be the same each week).  If you have any questions, please call and talk with Rabbi Lenny and he will walk you through the process.  Songs for the service will be available on the website.  The Mishkan T’filah (prayer books) used in the service are available digitally on the website or may be borrowed from CEI for use online.  To borrow a Mishkan T’filah, please call the office for pick up arrangements.  These must be signed out through the office.  The “chat” room is usually open by 7:15 pm for a socialization time before service.


 We are considering a new approach to our next online seminar.  Rabbi Lenny found an online service that is able to show movies off of his personal computer.  You are able to log on for free from your computer.  He found a PBS movie titled Broadway Musicals – a Jewish Legacy, and thought our Congregants might find it interesting.  However, it will require an internet connection to log onto the site and a username and password for each person logging on – although again it is free.  New computer programs always have some learning curve.  I am willing to spend the time to help people through this some days prior to seeing the movie, but wanted to see if there is interest in this approach.  Please call or email Rabbi if you are interested.  If we have enough people that would like to try it, then we will set a date and proceed.    


ALFRED RATNER LIBRARY FUND:  Supports library facilities, books, & equipment.  

ARCHIVE FUND:   Helps to defray the cost of archiving the CEI material sent to the Rauh Jewish archives.   

BOB & PHYLLIS DAVIS FAMILY FUND:  Youth scholarships & enrichment.             

CARING FUND: Supports congregants who are experiencing sickness, bereavement & other personal difficulties.  In Memory of:  Huddie Kaufman by Marilyn & Jim Davis.  

CEI CAPITAL FUND:  For approved building structure repairs & replacements.

CEI ENDOWMENT FUND: Provides for the continuity of the congregation by subsidizing future operating expenses.    

TEMPLE EMANU-EL CEMETERY FUND:  For beautification and upkeep of the Temple Emanu-El Cemetery.     

CONGREGATION GENERAL FUND:  CEI operating expenses.  In Honor of: The High Holidays by Rhonda Lee.  In Memory of:  Huddie Kaufman by Faith & Gary Gregor, Linda & Bob Melago, Kathleen Neurohr, Darlene & David Delaini, Michael & Lori Saul, Elizabeth & Eric Mason, Barbara & Mark Collins, The Gray Sisters: Merrilee, Tawny, Shellie & Cindy Ball, and Linda & Jeffrey Reisner.               

CONGREGATION YAHRZEIT FUND: In Memory of:  Bernard “Bernie” Cohen by Amy Karelitz & Eileen Cohen.  Dr. Robert T. Lindner by Linda Lindner. Alexander H. Cohen by Stanley Cohen & Harry Cohen. Edward David Drexler by Melinda (Drexler) & Donald Price. Rose Mallinger by Teri & Gary Moidel.                     

LIBRARY BOOK FUND: Provides for the purchase of books and other resource material for the library. 

NEW SHABBAT PRAYER BOOKS: Provides for the purchase of new Mishkan T’filah.     

RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND: Helps individuals and/or org. in need. Tzedakah given to Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund by Autumn Blazowich, Yvonne Bureau & Loren Vivio of the Religious School.    

REMEMBRANCE FUND: A special donation to Sisterhood to honor or celebrate an event or person.  Terri Katzman (724-837-8275) or Virginia Lieberman (724-668-2442). In Honor of:  The special birthday of Bert Minushkin by Janet & Mickey Radman.  Ronda Goetz’ award of Latrobe Small Business of the Year by Doris Kaufman.  The birth of Maxwell Moidel by Irene Rothschild.In Honor of the Speedy Recovery of:  Barbara Park by Irene Rothschild.  Monte Peters by Irene Rothschild.  Carol Rothschild by Irene Rothschild.        In Memory of:  Huddie Kaufman by Don Pripstein.

SOCIAL ACTION FUND: Supports projects that benefit our community, such as our Meals on Wheels Project.

TREE OF LIFE: A personalized leaf commemorating a happy lifecycle event to be added to the Tree of Life in lobby. 

MEMORIAL PLAQUES:  Remember a loved one by purchasing a plaque for the sanctuary

Memorial Boards.  For more details, please contact the CEI office at 724-834-0560.

Tree of Life Share your joy!  Inscribe a leaf our Tree of Life. Leaf — $180 ea.

(Price includes engraving)

The golden leaves may be inscribed to commemorate joyous events such as births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, etc.  Share your joy by inscribing simchas on our Tree of Life…… an everlasting remembrance of the meaningful happy events that touch life.


Rabbi Leonard Sarko. Sara Rae Perman, Rabbi Emerita.
CEI Officers: President: Irene C. Rothschild. 1st Vice President: Terri Katzman. Treasurer: Julie Goldstein. Recording Secretary: Virginia Lieberman. Sisterhood President: Marion Slone, Men’s Club President: Gary Moidel. IT: Zach Virshup. Bulletin Editors: Mary Ellen Kane, Karen Sarko & Bea Harrison.



Dec. 4: Bessie Abrams, *Phillip Abramson, *Rose Glasser, Arthur S. Gold, *Harry Baron Gold, *Sarah Grossman, Hanni Lederer Hamburger, Cantor Saul Zelick Hammerman, *Max Kay,
*Louis H. Levine, *Samuel Levine, *Rachel Marcus, *Samuel Margaretten, Julius Marks,
*Pinkus Middleman, *Fanny Kogut Millstein, Dr. Yadviga Till and Rose Vitale.

Dec. 11: *Morris Caplan, *Maness Charapp, *Harry M. Dates, *Robert Davis, *Rabbi David Davis, *Joseph Finkelhor, *Albert E. Gold, *Sadie R. Gold, *John Halden, *Robert Kessler,
*Dorothy D. Kramer, *Alexander L. Levin, *Max Litchfield, Robert Mendler, *Philip Mervis,
*Celia Levin Ratner, *Samuel Shapiro, Freda Virshup and *Mary Young.

Dec. 18: *Anne Berkowitz, Ethel Fischer, Lillian B. Gold, *Clara Hochberg, *Ethel Farber Hoyt,
Sandy Kalick, *William Jay Karelitz, Ethel W. Kaufmann, *Anna Kay, *Rae M. Levine,
*Betty Rae Lewis, Robert Lisker, *Eva Markowitz, *Rella W. Ratner, *Simon Sucatzky, Lillian Weiner and Mildred V. Wilson.

Dec. 25: Aaron J. Abrams, Bertha Ainbender, *Benjamin S. Browdie, *R. Herbert Buchman,
Dr. Samuel Caplowe, Florence Clovsky, *Gittl R. Cohen, Hilda Freeman, Ruth Fribourg,
*Harry M. Friedlander, *Aaron Friedman, Harry Goldman, Charles Horne, *Sarah E. Kramer, *Rosalind Levin, *Ida Margaret Levin, *Thelma Loundy, Jacob Meyers, *Sam Miller, *Sylvia Moidel, *Louis I. Paull, *Ellen Rochelle Rudt, Mollie Rudt, *Mary Schwartz, Louis Segal, Goldie Slone, *Fannie Weber, *Edith Wolinsky and *William Wolinsky.

Jan. 1, 2021: *Paul Adler, *Joseph Edward Barend, *Julius Caplan, *Maurice J. K. Davis, *Simon Davis, Mildred “Mickey” Davison, Florence Brill Dobkin, *Alfred Engel, Dorothy C. Farber, *David Flamm, *Lena F. Friedlander, *Miriam Gillis, *Eva Glicenstein, *Samuel Glicenstein, *Morris Gold, *Celia R. Goldberg, *Rachel Gordon, Edythe Kane Hoffman, Frank Keating, Frank Keating, Jenny Lalli, *Anna Lewis, Abe Liebman, *Rebecca Mistroff, *Mayme Moidel, *Morris M. Naumoff, Alex Pavloff, Leonard Pittler, *Lena Pomerantz, *Louis Rubin, *Charles Shendowich, *Morris Shendowich, *Moses M. Shoag, *Paul Shoff, *Alex Shofnosky, Louis Strauss, *Sylvia Becker Victor, *William Wolfe, *Morris M. Young and *Morris Ziff.