December Bulletin

December CEI Bulletin

Congregation Emanu-El Israel

222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA. 15601          

                 Kislev – Tevet     5782                 

December 2021


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


From the Desk of Rabbi Lenny Sarko

“Wrestling with ourselves”

We’ve reached a dramatic moment in the Torah. Jacob is about to meet his brother Esau after a 20 year separation. Esau is arriving with four hundred men on horseback, a veritable army. Perhaps he is still seeking vengeance? After all, Jacob was key in tricking their father into giving the blessing of Abraham to Jacob instead of to Esau.  Esau is arriving with his army while Jacob is unarmed, traveling only with his wives, children, servants and flocks.

The bible shifts the scene.  Before Jacob can face Esau, he must face himself.  Our Torah describes it as Jacob wrestling with an unknown, unnamed assailant. However, like all biblical verses, we can examine it through many perspectives.  We might look at this event as Jacob also struggling with himself.

If we are going to grow and mature, at some point we need to stop and take stock of ourselves, our lives, our decisions and our actions. This is one view of what Jacob is doing, alone, as he follows the Divine call to return home. He is wrestling in the middle of the night with his fears, with what he knows to be right that does not fit with his natural inclination and past behavior.

In particular he is wrestling with his inclination to run away. He ran away from home when Esau threatened to kill him, and he fled from his father-in-law Laban. And now he is held in place by a mysterious presence that wrestles with him. I suggest Jacob is wrestling with himself, with his inclination to run away and to avoid confrontation.

In the morning Jacob has prevailed over himself; he has gained the upper hand over his desire to flee. He will approach Esau and face the consequences of their shared past.

But note the wound to the socket of his hip as a result of the wrestling. Why not a wound on his arm? His face? Because the wound leaves him with a limp, a reminder not to run away again.

This scene is the turning point in Jacob’s life. He gets a new name, a sign of his transformation. He is now called Yisrael, the one who wrestles with God.  Perhaps as we wrestle with God, we must also wrestle with ourselves.

As it is with Jacob, so it is with us: if we want to grow and mature, if we want to travel the path of integrity and courage, we must wrestle with our weaknesses and shortcomings. We must prevail over the easy way out by facing our problems rather than running away from them. Then we shall truly be worthy of our name: Children of Yisrael.

Happy Secular New Year! 


   Happy Birthday to: Jerry Shpargel, Bob Gelman, Anna Spor, Karen Chobirko, Yolanda Pavloff, Julie Goldstein, Michael Liptak, Susan Hoffman and Sinde Snitger. 

   Happy Anniversary to:  Shirley & Herb Ratner and Sydney (Vegoda) & Ryan Hovis

   Mazel Tov! To Yvonne Bureau on her Bat Mitzvah.     


“GO FOR THE GELT RAFFLE” –For each of the 8 nights of Chanukah, we will

draw a winner who will win $36.00 of “Gelt”.  The cost is $2.50 per ticket or 10 for $20. 

A winner will be picked from the stubs returned, no need to watch the lottery for

winning numbers!  Tickets will be available for purchase at the Chanukah dinner. 

All proceeds benefit CEI and your generosity is greatly appreciated.




Shop for various items that are available in the SOCIAL HALL.  Purchases can be made at any time CEI is open.  Fill out the sales form and leave it with your money and/or check in the designated box.  There are bargains to be had as we close out the Gift Shop inventory.  Last day to purchase will be Sunday, December 5th at the Chanukah dinner.   This is a Sisterhood fundraiser, please support our Sisterhood.



The Last Interview by Eshkon Nevo began as a novel by the author, but instead the author, who is the writer in the novel, tries to answer a set of interview questions sent to him by a website editor.  Answer by answer the writer reveals more about his life.  He writes about his broken marriage, his daughter who has run away from home, the wasting illness of a dear friend and his feeling of depression.  As he keeps writing the interview becomes the story itself.  Every question the writer tackles opens a door to a hidden room in his life.  Each of his answers reveals that in every truth there is a lie, and in every lie, there is a truth. 

The Last Interview shows how thin the lines are between work and life, love and hate, and fact and fiction.  In exploring the Israeli’s author’s identity, Eshkol Nevo, also reveals a picture of a country at odds with itself.  The Last Interview is translated by Sondra Silverstein and was awarded a finalist in the novel category by the 2020 National Jewish Book Award.  The author, Eshkol Nevo, is the grandson of former Israeli Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, for whom he is named.  The Last Interview is available to check out in the Alfred Ratner Library.




Sunday, December 5, 2021 @ 5:30 PM

If you have an unusual hanukkiya, in addition to the one we will be lighting, bring them and we will display them.  Remember to bring your menorah and 9 candles!  We hope you have made your reservations!  If you have any questions, please call:  Shoshana Halden (724-744-0037) or the CEI office (724-834-0560).  BYOB of wine.


CHANUKAH MENORAH LIGHTERS NEEDED!  Volunteers are needed to be responsible for lighting the giant Chanukah Menorah on the front lawn from 12/1-12/6.  Lighters are needed for 12/1 @ 5 pm, 12/2 @ 5 pm and 12/4 @ 5:00 PM.  Please call the CEI office (724-834-0560) or sign up on the flyer in the office, if you and/or your family would like to help us celebrate this holiday with the community.  Also, any evenings you would be available and would like to join with the “lighting family”, feel free to attend.


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 gratefully acknowledge the following gifts:

PULPIT FLOWERS.  In Memory of: 

Nov. 5: Martha Reisner by Jeff & Linda Reisner.

Nov. 19:  Stevan Gold by Jim & Marilyn Davis.  Abe Berman by Robert & Marion Slone.  Ruth S. Roth by Shirley R. Ratner.

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.  

CEI HIGH HOLY DAY APPEAL: Brian & Sharon Winters.  Madeline Rossen. Janice Rossen Bilchik.       

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 50th wedding anniversary of Ralph & Cheryl Pinkus by Linda & Jeffrey Reisner. The B’nai Mitzvah of Noah & Lila Ratner by Linda & Jeffrey Reisner.  The Bat Mitzvah of Yvonne Bureau by Shirley & Jerry Shpargel; Virginia & John Lieberman; and Suzan & Josh Estner. Costs to print and mail monthly Bulletin by Nina & Jon Lewis.  In Memory of:  Anne Bernstein by Marilyn & Jim Davis and The Strope Financial Group at UBS Financial Services, Inc.  Nancy VeShancey by Marilyn & Jim Davis.    

CONGREGATION YAHRZEIT FUND: In Memory of: Alexander H. Cohen by Harry & Theresa Cohen and Stanley Cohen. Meyer VeShancey by William & Nancy VeShancey. Sadie Moldovan & Jack Moldovan by Sheila & Barry Kassel. Harvey Weiner & Lillian Weiner by Terri & Stan Katzman. David Balk by Rosalyn Balk. Judith Strauss by Rachel & Bert Minushkin. Henry Feuerstein, Louis Lader & Rose Shpargel by Jerold & Shirley Shpargel. Rose Mallinger by Teri & Gary Moidel. Matthew Leiner by Irene C. Rothschild. Lara L. Wong by Marsha & Richard Wong. Billy Jean Ayers by Joel I. Last. Robert Davis by Melva Weisberger. Ruth S. Roth by Shirley Ratner & Family. Nathan Metz by Jerold & Shirley Shpargel.                        

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.   In Honor of: The Bat Mitzvah of Yvonne Bureau.  


RABBI’S DISCRETIONARY FUND: Helps individuals and/or org. in need. 

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:  A happy & healthy birthday to Rabbi Lenny Sarko by Irene Rothschild. A speedy recovery to Louise Vrable by Irene Rothschild.  A full & speedy recovery to Jim Davis by Terri & Stan Katzman and by Irene Rothschild.  Congratulations to Yvonne Bureau on becoming a Bat Mitzvah by Cori & Michael Liptak. In Memory of: Josh Suveges by Brian, Karen, Jason & Justin Chobirko. Anne Bernstein by Nina & Jon Lewis & Family. Nancy VeShancey by Wally Caplan. Phyllis Ackerman by Irene Rothschild and Terri & Stan Katzman.  Ronald Aaron’s brother Hugh by Irene Rothschild.

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.


The Westmoreland Jewish Community Council is having a Holiday Sock Drive to benefit the residents of our local shelters.  You can bring NEW socks to either Berkshire Hathaway on Rte 30 E in Greensburg or to the Rose Style Shoppe, 906 Ligonier Street, Latrobe.  We will begin the sock drive Monday December 29th and run through Monday January 3rd.  Please bring ONLY NEW socks.


JEWISH SCHOLARSHIP SERVICE of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. 

Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year are available from the Jewish Scholarship Service (JSS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  JSS is administered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service. 

All scholarships are distributed on the basis of demonstrated financial need.  Depending on the scholarship fund, other factors such as academic achievement, field of study, school attending, and community involvement may also be considered.  In addition, the applicant must be Jewish, reside in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler or Washington County for at least two years, and need financial assistance to attend an accredited institution of higher education as either an undergraduate or graduate student. The JSS on-line application is available at All applications are due February 24, 2022.  First-time applicants must be interviewed by JSS staff.  All applications should be submitted as early as possible to ensure processing. 


Rabbi Leonard Sarko. 

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



Dec. 3:  Aaron Abrams, *Phillip Abramson, *Rose Glasser, *Harry Baron Gold, *Sadie R. Gold, *Sarah Grossman, Hanni Lederer Hamburger, Hugo Hamburger, *Max Kay, *Louis H. Levine, *Samuel Levine, *Rachel Marcus, *Samuel Margaretten, *Pinkus Middleman, *Fanny Kogut Millstein, *Sarah Pavloff and Lillian Weiner.

Dec. 10:  Louis Arbetter, *Morris Caplan, *Maness Charapp, *Harry M. Dates, *Rabbi David Davis, *Joseph Finkelhor, Ethel Fischer, *Albert E. Gold, Arthur S. Gold, Harry Goldman, *William Jay Karelitz, *Robert Kessler, *Alexander L. Levin, *Betty Rae Lewis, Robert Mendler, *Celia Levin Ratner, *Samuel Shapiro and *Mary Young.

Dec. 17:  Bertha Ainbender, *Anne Berkowitz, Jean Pretter Brill, *Samuel Brill, *R. Herbert Buchman, Dr. Samuel Caplowe, Florence Clovsky, *Simon Davis, Dorothy C. Farber, Leonard Freedman, Hilda Freeman, Ruth Fribourg, *Harry M. Friedlander, *John Halden, Cantor Saul Zelick Hammerman, *Clara Hochberg, Edythe Kane Hoffman, Charles Horne, *Ethel Farber Hoyt, Ethel W. Kaufmann, *Anna Kay, Frank Keating, *Dorothy D. Kramer, *Sarah E. Kramer, *Ida Margaret Levin, *Rosalind Levin, *Rae M. Levine, *Max Litchfield, *Thelma Loundy, *Eva Markowitz, *Philip Mervis, *Sylvia Moidel, *Louis I. Paull, *Rella W. Ratner, Mollie Rudt, *Mary Schwartz, *Simon Sucatzky, Freda Virshup, *Fannie Weber, Mildred V. Wilson and *Edith Wolinsky.

Dec. 24:  No Service.

Dec. 31:  No Service.

Jan. 7, 2022:  *Dorothy K Abramson, *Paul Adler, *Joseph Edward Barend, *Harold Bloom, *Benjamin S. Browdie, Rose Buchman, *Julius Caplan, *Minnie Dates, Mildred Davison, Leah Dorfman, *Max M. Finkelstein, *David Flamm, *Lena F. Friedlander, *Aaron Friedman, *Miriam Gillis, *Samuel Glicenstein, Howard Gold, *Morris Gold, *Celia R. Goldberg, *Martin D. Gordon, *Rachel Gordon, *Ben Gross, *Gizella Holtzer, Daniel Katzman, Irving Kaufer, Charlotte Krinock, Jenny Lalli, *Anna Lewis, *Golden Litchfield, *Bess Marchel, Jacob Meyers, *Sam Miller, *Rebecca Mistroff, *Mayme Moidel, *Morris M. Naumoff, Evelyn Neumann, H. Sylvia Perman, *Isadore Pittler, Leonard Pittler, *Lena Pomerantz, *Louis Rubin, *Ellen Rochelle Rudt, Ruth Schrag, Louis Segal, *Charles Shendowich, *Morris Shendwocih, *Moses M. Shoag, *Paul Shoff, *Alex Shofnosky, Goldie Slone, *Sylvia Becker Victor, Norman Weiner, *Sarah Weiner, *William Wolfe, *William Wolinsky, *Morris M. Young and *Morris Ziff.