February Bulletin

February CEI Bulletin

Congregation Emanu-El Israel

222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA. 15601          

                 Shevat – Adar     5781                 

February 2021


office@cei-greensburg.org     rabbi@cei-greensburg.org     www.ceigreensburg.org

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


From the desk of Rabbi Leonard Sarko


The festival of Purim is found in the month of February.  One of the key concepts of this holiday is about power.  Power of any kind is a dangerous blessing. Individuals and nations need power to ensure their own survival and promote their own welfare and the welfare of those with whom they come into contact. But power can easily be abused. We can employ the same energy that enables us to do good, to do all sorts of evil. We cannot live without power, but power can destroy us. We need to learn how to use our power for the good. This has been one of the abiding goals of Jewish spiritual teachings over the ages and is a focus of the Festival of Purim.

The Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, the biblical book that is the source for our joyous festival of Purim, revolves around issues of political power and military force. It is a story that recalls how the Jews of the ancient Persian Empire drew on their political acumen, their martial power, their sense of shared destiny and their deep faith in each other to ensure their survival in challenging times. As we celebrate the miracle of Jewish continuity, the Megillah reminds us that economic, political and military power are important components in our struggle for survival.

Unlike the other great biblical narratives in which God is a central character, the Holy One plays no explicit role in the Scroll of Esther. In the scroll as it is in life, God’s presence is hidden. In our lives we evoke God’s spirit in the manner in which we respond to life’s challenges. Likewise, in the Megillah we discover God’s saving power not through some great miracle but through the courage of Esther to stand before the wicked prime minister, Haman, and in the willingness of the Jews to stand up to their enemies and defend their homes and families.

At first the Megillah does not seem to be a book about the uses and abuses of power. It begins as an historical romance. We are caught by surprise when it turns from a love story into a story of political intrigue and bloody conflict. The opening chapters, which tell of the expulsion of Vashti, King Ahasuerus’ first wife and the beauty contest worthy of a present day reality TV show to select a new one, lull us into expecting a story of romantic intrigue. With the selection of Esther as the new queen, we want to know if a Jewish orphan can find happiness as mistress of the royal court.

Almost immediately, the mood of the story changes. New characters come to the forefront — Mordecai, Esther’s guardian and kinsman, and Haman the Agagite, the new royal vizier. Powerful human emotions of lust, power, pride and greed come into play as the protagonists struggle to overcome each other. The story ends not with a romantic reconciliation but with a bloody military victory which confirms Jewish power and ensures Jewish survival. Esther and Mordecai expose Haman’s plot to slaughter the Jews and the Jews, dispersed throughout the empire, defend themselves and their families.

In a highly entertaining manner, the Megillah directs our thoughts to very serious concern of the used of power. Reading the Scroll of Esther carefully, we can see negative examples in which power was used to indulge one’s appetites and to threaten and oppress others. But we also see a positive example in which political and military power helped overthrow a tyrant and save our people. The Megillah exposes us to the abuses of power and to its benefits. When we use the power we have properly, we are able to transform our lives and the lives of others for the better. As we listen to the Megillah this year, may Mordecai and Esther teach us how to use the power we have, not for selfish gains, but to help ourselves and others enjoy the blessings of freedom and security.  



From the President:

     Rather than sign on to the movie event on January 11th, I signed on to a Webinar sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh about Domestic Violent Extremism – The Evolving Threat.  The presenters were three men that are in the FBI.  Two of them work in intelligence and the other does investigating.  I trust that watching the movie was more enjoyable, but even though what they presented was scary, I was glad to be getting this information.  So, I am going to give you a brief summary of what I learned, not to scare you, but that you should be alert and aware of what is currently happening in this country.  They are looking for intelligence in order to prevent crimes.  Prevention is their main goal. 

     First, in their presentation was the fact that according to the U.C.R. (Uniform Crime Report) anti-Jewish crimes are the highest among all other reported crimes.  In fact, they believe that the numbers might be under reported, but the numbers might be high, because Jewish people are more likely to report crimes or alleged crimes.  Anti-Semitism is at the core of the nationalists (no longer to be called white supremacists), because they believe that Jewish people/Zionists via Israel are a giant cabal running the country and the world.  These folks firmly believe this conspiracy!

     Second, there was discussion of Free Speech; what it is and what it is NOT.  They showed photos of three of the insurrectionists that were at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 wearing t-shirts with the following wording and signs:

  • Camp Auschwitz on the front and ‘Staff’ on the back
  • 6MWE – which means ‘6 million wasn’t enough’
  • TRUST THE PLAN above a large Q (representing QAnon)
  • There was a picture with the U.S. flag above the Israeli flag (representing their hatred of Zionists).

     Third, they explained that QAnon is neither Left nor Right.  They want to have their own government!  The threat is coming from ‘actors’ NOT groups.  These actors get organized through various social media platforms.  The real travesty is that there is NO federal statute against this violent extremist activity!  It needs to be prosecuted under other federal statutes.  Make no mistake these people are ‘Racially Motivated Extremists’ or RMVE and NOT ‘white supremacists’. 

     They explained that anarchists high-jacked the Black Lives Matter marches and that there were only a few, but they managed to ruin what would otherwise have been peaceful protests.  They want a second civil war and they are heavily armed. 

     Fourth, unfortunately activity in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia is worse now than ever!  All of these various groups are merging and it is happening here!  Western PA is a ‘hot spot’, because of the history of white working class communities or as they call it the ‘homeland’.

     To summarize, they want us to know the signs and symbols, be aware and become educated.  If you are aware of a threat, share it with the FBI.  Be aware of your surroundings. For example, look for EXIT signs when you are in a large venue or building.  Do question the unknown, because every incident or sign may be connected to other reported incidents or signs that may lead to preventing a bad situation. 

     The local number for the FBI is: 412-432-4000.  The NTOC or National Threat Operations Center web site is: www.tips.fbi.gov.  More information will be coming from Federation that I will pass along to you.



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 www.ceigreensburg.org 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.



   Happy Birthday to:  Michael Keating, Eileen Dorfman, Debbie Blozowich, Adam Goldstein, Eric Goldstein, Max Kaufer, Brian Chobirko, Phyllis Davis, Ron Vorel, Terri Katzman, Jared Winters and Brian Winters. 

   Happy Anniversary to:  Linda & Richard Liebman.

   We mourn the death of former member Jean Pretter Brill and offer condolences to her family.  We also offer condolences to member Ron Vorel on the death of his mother Charlotte Krinock and to former members Bernie & Carl Trout on the death of Bernie’s brother Irving Silverberg. 


Do you know of someone who is Jewish and currently unaffiliated?

Do you know of someone who would like to worship with us as a member?

If so, please give info to Mary Ellen Kane.  


Entertainment & Education opportunities from Rabbi Lenny:


*If anyone could not attend the movie Broadway Musicals – A Jewish Legacy, when we showed it online, but would still like to see it, you can borrow the DVD from the synagogue.  Please call or email Rabbi Lenny to make arrangements.

*There is a new online podcast on Israeli food.  It runs for multiple weeks.  You can see it at https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-hub/bringing-israel-home-series-premiere/

*There is an academic podcast series from the University of Washington on anti-Semitism that just began.  If you would like to view it please go to:




While the building is closed, if you should need to use the building during working hours, please alert Bea and arrangements can be made.  If you should need to enter the building after working hours, be aware that the system will be armed and you may unintentionally cause the police department to be alerted.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I appreciate your cooperation and understanding as to why it is important to maintain the highest level of security possible for the Congregants and the Staff.



COLLEGE SCHOLORSHIP PROGRAM.  Applications for need-based college scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year are available from the Jewish Scholarship Service (JSS) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.  This program is administered by Jewish Family and Community Services.  The funds are made available through the generosity of families who have established endowments through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Community Center, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International of Pittsburgh (formerly B’nai B’rith Women), The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rodef Shalom Congregation.

     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 Jewish and general community involvement will 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 2021-2022 JSS online application is available at jfcspgh.org/scholarships.  All applications are due February 12, 2021.  First-time applicants must be interviewed.  All applications should be submitted as early as possible to ensure processing.


We Greatfully Acknowledge the Following Gifts:

PULPIT FLOWERS.  In Memory of: 

Dec. 25:          Harry Goldman by Cori & Michael Liptak.  Sylvia Moidel by Teri & Gary Moidel.

Jan. 01:          Julius Caplan by Walter Caplan.

Jan. 15:          Carolyn Lieberman, Dr. Irving S. Lieberman & Marjorie Lieberman by Virginia & John Lieberman.       



     If you are planning to initiate or change your will or estate plan, please remember to include Congregation Emanu-El Israel (CEI) as part of your legacy.  The monies can be used for a specific purpose as designated by you, or added to an Endowment Fund already set up to assure the ability to continue providing a full-service Congregation to serve the Jewish people of the area.

     This legacy can be accomplished by a simple bequest in your will, by one of the allowable charitable trusts where you get an immediate tax advantage, or through life insurance.

     PLEASE DO IT NOW!  Please check with your attorney or insurance agent.  If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Jerry Pavloff (724-593-6513) or Gary Moidel (724-468-0005).


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.


CEI Funds

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

CEI ENDOWMENT FUND: Provides for the continuity of the congregation by subsidizing future operating expenses.   A donation by Dr. & Mrs. Stuart Glasser.    

TEMPLE EMANU-EL CEMETERY FUND:  For beautification and upkeep of the Temple Emanu-El Cemetery. Grant from the Choi-Chiu & King-Wo Lam Family Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation. In Memory of:  Edward Drexler & Geraldine Drexler by Elliot & Beryl Drexler.

COMPUTER FUND: Provides a means to continually upgrade & maintain CEI’s computer system/software.  

CONGREGATION GENERAL FUND:  CEI operating expenses.  CEI operating expenses.  A donation by Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Goldberg. Grant donation by Dr. & Mrs. Stuart Glasser.  In Honor of:   Winning Go for the Gelt & donating it back by Yvonne Bureau.  In Memory of: Jean Pretter Brill by Mrs. Doris Kaufman & Family, Marilyn & Jim Davis, Linda & Jeff Reisner, Linda LaRoche, Rhona & Alan Gorosh, Rita & David Pollock.  Irving Silverberg by Marilyn & Jim Davis.     


In Memory of:  Robert Mendler by Michael & Stacy Mendler. Cantor Saul Zelick Hammerman by The Hammerman Family. Mildred V. Wilson by Virginia & John Lieberman. Hilda Freeman by Anita & George Freeman. Ethel W. Kaufmann by Margie Kaufman Leisawitz & Alan Leisawitz. Sarah E. Kramer by Herbert Kramer, O.D.  Ruth Fribourg by Susan & Alan Fribourg. Harry M. Friedlander by Bill Friedlander. Leonard Pittler by Bill Friedlander, & Jody, Mike, Stacey & Michael Keating. William Jay Karelitz by Amy, Eric & Alan Karelitz. Ellen Rochelle Rudt and Mollie Rudt by Kerry Arthur Rudt. Robert Davis and Rae M. Levine by Phyllis Davis. Frank Keating by Jody, Mike, Stacey & Michael Keating. Sylvia Moidel by Teri & Gary Moidel. Lillian Weiner by Terri & Stan Katzman. Helene Geier by Suzy & Jon Geier. Alex Pavloff by Yolanda & Jerry Pavloff.                 

IVAN B. YOUNG EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT FUND: Supports the advancement of Jewish education.                                                                                                                                                                                        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.  In Appreciation of: The Rabbi’s service throughout the year by Nancy & Ed Krokosky. In Memory of: Walter Baker, to purchase a new microphone by Cori & Michael Liptak.     

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 engagement of Jamie Kaufer & Tyler Simpson by Terri & Stan Katzman and Irene Rothschild. The 90th Birthday of Mickey Radman by Don Pripstein. Wishes for a good year for Pearl Berman & Michael Vaporis by Mary Ellen Kane.

In Memory of: Jean Brill by Irene Rothschild, Doris Kaufman, Becky & Philip Belesski, Terri & Stan Katzman, Marion & Bob Slone, Don Pripstein and Mary Ellen Kane. Leah Greenberg by Susan Hoffman. Irving Silverberg by Marion & Bob Slone and Mary Ellen Kane. Charlotte Krinock by Irene Rothschild.   

SOCIAL ACTION FUND:  Supports projects that benefit our community.

TORAH REPAIR FUND: To provide funds to repair the Torah scrolls.


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.


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.


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. Bulletin Editors: Mary Ellen Kane & Bea Harrison. 


Honoring Their Memory

The following Yahrzeits will be honored at CEI

Feb. 5:  *Joseph Bayer, *Jane Goldberg Berkman, Anna Bernstein, *Irving Louis Bloom, *Fanny Bloom, *Abraham Davis, Dr. Richard A. Deeb, Albert Farber, Helen Stoll Feuerstein, Harold Freeman, Gerald Fried, *Katherine D. Friedlander, *Louis Grossman, *Robert Kane, *Reuben Kassel, Sadie Levin, *Rabbi Joseph Levine, *Jay M. Morris, *Berenice D. Pittler, *Frank Rubenstein, *Ignatz Schneider, *Morris Scott, *David Segal, *Charlotte Shapiro and *Dreza Shirey.

Feb. 12:  Barbara Avrick, Anita Boas, *Sara F. Cohen, *Samuel Daniels, *Fannie Daniels-Solof, *Samuel Drexler, *Fanny B. Finkelstein, *Richard T. Goldberg, *Samuel Hodes, Rita Jacobowitz, *Samuel Jacobson, *S. Jacob Levy, *Pauline Liebman, Edith Mindlin, *Louis Rubin, *Morris Scott, *Sarah L. Shapiro, *Sender Shirey, William Weiner and Ruben Whitman.

Feb. 19:  Lorraine Backal, *Noah Cohen, Albert Farber, Rose Barron Glick, *Anna R. Gross, *Louis B. Jacobson, *Mary Miller Levy, *Reuven Lurie, *Zilpa Lurie, *Mrs.   Bessie Miller, *Gertrude M. Ratner, Betty (Epstein) Wechsler and *Sarah Weiner.

Feb. 26:  *Shepard A. Brightman, *William Davis, *Belle M. Friedlander, *B. S. Gross, *Mary Levin, *Pauline Levinson, *Boaz Lurie, *Alexander M. Miller, Mary Papernick, *Joseph Quint, Adolf Rothschild  and Samuel E. Weiner. 

March 5:  *Michael Arbetter, *Ida Browdie, *Isaac Kahanowitz, Frances Lurie, James Ratner, *Eileen “Popsy” Sadock, Gary Schenck, *Ethel Ziff Shor and *Mollie R. Whiteman.