November Bulletin

November CEI Bulletin

Congregation Emanu-El Israel

222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA. 15601          

                 Cheshvan – Kislev     5781                 

November 2020


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


From the desk of Rabbi Leonard Sarko

      Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, unaffiliated with any specific religious faith. President George Washington issued the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation on November 26, 1789.

However it wasn’t until 1863, during the administration of President Lincoln, following a 17 year campaign by Ms. Sara Hale, that Thanksgiving became a national holiday, and finally in 1941, Thanksgiving was established by Congress to take place annually on the 4th Thursday of November. As Jews living in America, what should be our relationship to this day?

     Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchick, scion of world Jewry, made an important observation from a verse in parshat Chaye Sarah. When Abraham first introduced himself to the inhabitants of Canaan in order to purchase from them a burial place for his beloved wife and matriarch, Sarah, he said, “a stranger and a resident I am with you.” The Rabbi remarked, “There appears to be a contradiction here in this verse.  How can you be a stranger and resident at the same time?!”

     The Rabbi went on to explain that Abraham had a dual identity. As a resident he would share with the other inhabitants of Canaan and join in their concern for the welfare of the society. He would participate in the progress and advancement of the country, show loyalty to the government, abide by its civil laws, and uphold the dignity of all the citizens irrespective of their ethnic diversity.

     However Abraham had a second identity, his religious and spiritual perceptions, truths and observances were different and unique. In his faith he remained a stranger. His solidarity with his fellow Canaanites in secular matters did not imply his readiness to relinquish any aspects of his religious uniqueness.

     The Torah only tells us certain events and remarks of our patriarchs. It records those that are to serve as a model and paradigm for us living many centuries later. Throughout the ages and in every county they dwelled, Jews became full and productive citizens. They involved themselves whenever possible in advancing the society and its ethical standards. Business, science and technology, arts and music, literature and philosophy are all domains of society in which Jews have made significant contributions wherever they found themselves. Jews were always in the forefront of civil rights, standing up for the welfare of others. Politically active, attaining positions of high office for themselves when not limited by edict, or serving as advisors to royalty and government leaders, Jews have had a positive influence on every country in which they lived.

     This was true in the past, and has certainly been true of our experience as Jews living in America. As Jews living in America do not have to hide or shed our spiritual identity in the process of carrying out our responsibilities as American citizens. We perhaps more than any other generation of the past, live in a country where laws are established to prevent discrimination in the workplace against anyone who fully embraces our religious observances, and we have Jews that can be found in all levels and every branch of the American government. As Jews in America we can have our own private day schools. They are fully recognized and accredited by the same agencies that approve all the other secular educational institutions in America. Without fear of rejection Jews can get the best education in both secular and Jewish studies.

     Living in America today we have much to be thankful for. One identity does not have to come at the expense of others. We can have the best of both worlds. I pray and encourage each and every one of us to keep the lesson of Abraham foremost in our minds, particularly during Thanksgiving.

 Karen and I wish a truly thankful Thanksgiving to you all.



From the Desk of the President

As you all are aware, CEI is a small congregation, but we are not the smallest.  CEI is the ONLY synagogue in Westmoreland County and having a full-time rabbi indicates our commitment to maintaining that status for as long as possible.  To that end, a committee has formed to work out a plan for how to determine whether or if CEI should have a structured payment plan for those who have been enjoying our services virtually.  The Membership Committee continues to try to find ways to increase our membership.  One way is through those who sign in for virtual services.  The Committee is going to try to determine if there is a path to that end.  There is a feeling that virtual participation should equal a commitment. 

     Before the end of the year, all of you will be receiving a letter from Julie, our treasurer, concerning your Fair Share commitment for 2021.  I have made it a practice in the past NOT to solicit for funds for the Congregation, so it is unusual for me to write about the financial status of the Congregation, but we are at the point where it has become necessary to make an appeal.  The reality is that CEI functions on a deficit and has for some time.  In order to function, we have had to borrow from our Endowment Fund to meet operating expenses.  So, I am requesting that all of you try to raise your Fair Share Commitment and/or to add funds to the Endowment Fund.  If that is possible, it will help to ensure the preservation of the Congregation and extend the years when we can remain viable. 

     The importance of financially supporting our Congregation cannot be overstated.  If all Congregants would increase their Fair Share even for a small amount, the collective funds would make a difference.  Some of you may think that you give of your time and that should be sufficient and being generous with your time is hugely appreciated, but it is not always enough.  Payroll still has to be met, the electric and gas bills need to be paid, along with the other expenses of running a Congregation.  Sisterhood made the decision several years ago to make a transfer of funds every month to defray the cost of the utilities.  Their generosity is a huge help and greatly appreciated!  Please do not think that ‘someone else’ will step up to help.  We do not have anyone by that name on our membership roster. 

     So, when you receive your Fair Share letter from Julie, please consider how much more you may be able to raise your financial commitment.  Let’s make 5781 and 2021 even better than previous years!  I am thanking you in advance for your generosity!



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.



 Happy Birthday to:  Yvonne Bureau, Stan Katzman, Suzan Estner, Marla Blum, Virginia Lieberman, Molly Kane and Bob Kane.

   Happy Anniversary to:  Georgi & Richard Virshup,

   Congratulations to member Ronda Goetz and Rose’s Style Shoppe for being named the Greater Latrobe – Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the year!  They have been part of the community for 88 years!

   We mourn the death of member Howard “Huddie” Kaufman and offer condolences to his wife Doris Kaufman and family.


The family of Howard “Huddie” Kaufman, would like to thank all of the C.E.I. congregation for all of their thoughts and prays during our difficult time. Huddie always appreciated being a member of C.E.I. and all the good people there.  Doris would like to thank all those that donated to the Sisterhood Remembrance Fund and other Funds in Huddie’s honor. Shalom.


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.  


Seminar:         LGBTQ – A Community Within

When:             Sunday, November 1 at 10:30 am

How:                Online – using the Friday night login procedure

CEI has put together a seminar focused on the LGBTQ community.  We will start by explaining the definitions of the letters both in the basic and expanded acronym.  This will be followed by a review of the Jewish perspective.  We will have two members of CEI who affiliate within this community who will provide a Greensburg perspective and answer questions you may wish to pose.  This is open to anyone who wishes to attend.  Please join us for a most interesting discussion.


National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education of Seton Hill University
will hold the annual Kristallnacht Service virtually this year.
It will be live-streamed on their Facebook page at 3pm on Monday, November 9.


Even with all that is happening in 2020, we will still hold the


A great gift to donate on behalf of anyone: your children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, neighbors … For each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah, we will draw a winner who will win $36.00.  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!  Ten tickets will be mailed to each member in November, please purchase those tickets sent to you and call the office should you need more.  

All proceeds benefit CEI and your generosity during this time is greatly appreciated.


HANUKKAH MENORAH LIGHTERS NEEDED!  Volunteers are needed to be responsible for lighting the giant Hanukkah Menorah on the front lawn from 12/10 – 12/18.  Please let the office know if you 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). 


On Friday, November 13, CEI will conduct a Conversion Ceremony for two of our students.  The conversion ceremony is divided into three segments. All three segments will be witnessed by our Bet Din, a panel of Jewish judges composed of three of our Congregants. The first segment is a mikvah ceremony.  This will be conducted at Duff Park in Murrysville at 10:30 am.  This is a purification ceremony using water from a running stream along with a set of prayers.  The second segment is to share a meal, which will follow after the mikvah ceremony at CEI.  The last is for the two students to be called to the Torah that evening at the 7:30 PM service.  They will read verses from our parasha and provide a dvar.  All are welcome to attend any or all of these events.  The evening service will be online only.  If you wish to see the mikvah ceremony or would like to join us for lunch, please contact the rabbi by email or phone, so we can plan properly.  We will be social distancing and masks will be required (except when you eat).



Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  Our library has books for all ages honoring her life and her endless work for gender equality.  For teens the library has Dissenter on the Bench by Victoria Ortiz.  The author has selected cases which will interest teens and chapters interspersed with black and white photos, and details of Ginsburg’s life at an early age as a Jewish girl growing up in Brooklyn.  For children the library has I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik is a book for adults and teens.  The authors, Irin Carmon is an Israeli-American journalist and commentator, and Shana Knizhnik a NYU law student who began the internet sensation of Nortorious RBG, take the reader for an intimate look at the justice’s life and work as she struggled for gender equality and civil rights.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020, at the age of 87.  Her life can be celebrated and remembered through reading these titles. 



     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.


Save the Date:

     Join us November 11-22 for the 2020 Pittsburgh Fall Film Festival, which will screen virtually on our website 

     Our Fall Festival will incorporate all your favorite Film Pittsburgh events—including 130 short films slated for Pittsburgh Shorts (along with the short script competition), 30 feature films slated for Three Rivers Film Festival, and tracks of ReelAbilities Pittsburgh and JFilm mixed throughout. 

     This expansive, 12-day event will be integrated, inclusive, and fun!  Stay tuned to our social media pages and our website for more details and announcements as they happen. Tickets on sale now. 


We Gratefully Acknowledge the Following Thoughtful Gifts

PULPIT FLOWERS.  In Memory of: 

Oct. 9:             Bernard Cohen by Amy Karelitz.  Lucy Caplan by Walter Caplan.

Oct. 16:           Harry Ziff by Phyllis Davis, Marilyn & Jim Davis. Alexander Kaufman by Doris Kaufman.  Leah Gold by Walter Caplan.

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.   

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

Marcie & Uri Freedman

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


In Honor of: The High Holy Days by Susan Hoffman, Bruce D. Forman.  The 90th Birthday of Bert Minushkin by David Strauss. Virtual Services by Linda & Richard Liebman.      In Memory of: Howard “Huddie” Kaufman by The Family of Albert Farber, Charles & Karen Galvin, Linda & Bernie Brill, Benson & Christine Williams Lichtig, Judith & Ernest Hoffman, Nancy Santavy, Dennis Slyman, Julie Manley & Amy Clayton, Gerald Moschetti, Rick Suttner, Mary Lou Danks, Susan Johnson, Bob & Terri Williams, Herbert Kramer, Virginia & John Lieberman, Stephen D. Thomas, Dorothy & Arthur Tragesser, Paul Boymel & Gemma Devinney, David A. Wentzel, Kitty Johnson Beehner, JR & Vicki Hersh, Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Soles.               


In Memory of:

Harry Daniels by William Friedlander. Freda Wilder by Jack Wilder. Marcus Last by Joel Last. Mark Mendler by Michael Mendler. Katjarina Erker Lader by Shirley & Jerold Shpargel. Malka E. Kaufer by Bruce, Karen, Jamie & Max Kaufer. Ruth “Bunny” Bernstein, Joseph Louis Bernstein by Lee Bernstein. Michelle Wendy Haupt by Linda & Richard Liebman. Samuel H. Roth by Shirley Ratner & Family. Anna Minushkin by Rachel & Bert Minushkin. Celia Glantz Feryus by Jeffrey & Cathy Feryus. Henry Feuerstein, Louis Lader & Rose Shpargel by Shirley & Jerold Shpargel. Jack H. Millstein, Sr. by Sissy & Gary Stein. Sidney A. Kaufmann by Margie Kaufmann Leisawitz. Catherine E. Keating by Jody, Mike, Stacey & Michael Keating. Harvey Weiner by Terri & Stan Katzman.                    

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.  

Howard “Huddie” Kaufman by Irene C. Rothschild.  Patricia M. Barnhart by Irene C. Rothschild. 

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

In Honor of:  High Holy Day deliveries by Nancy & Ed Krokosky.

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 speedy recovery of Amy Karelitz by Marion & Bob Slone. The speedy recovery of Joel Last by Shoshana & Bob Halden and Irene Rothschild. A Happy New Year to Shirley & Jerry Shpargel by Marion & Bob Slone.  In Memory of: Huddie Kaufman by Amy Karelitz, Shoshana & Bob Halden, Terri & Stan Katzman, Wally Caplan, Yvonne & Ed Bureau, Marion & Bob Slone, Jack Wilder, Shirley & Jerry Shpargel, The Chobirko Family, Shirley & Herb Ratner, Mary Ellen Kane, Bob & Erin Kane, Michael & Amanda Kane.

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

Nov. 6:  Alexander Brodell, *Meyer Cohen, Jay Davis, *Edward D. Drexler, *Joseph Engelhart, *Rhoda A. Friedlander, *Yetta Introligator-Frank, *Eleazer Katz, *Max Kay, *Eli J. Levin, Dr. Robert T. Lindner, Rose Mallinger, *Morris Millstein, Norman Papernick, Abraham Pittler, Judith Pripstein, Martha Reisner, Dorothy Rosenbloom, *Sophie Sandson, *Jacob Shapiro, *Ethel Shendowich and Harold Silverberg.

Nov. 13:  *Dorothy M. Brill, Donna Ekstein, *Olga Engel, Martin Fairman, *Pessel Gold, *Louis M. Kahanowitz, *Martha Levy, *S. Jacob Levy, *Louis M. Mace, *Abraham Marcus, Nathan Metz, *Leon Morris, *Charles Pross, and *Lara L. Wong.

Nov. 20 & 27 (since there is no service on Nov. 27):  Billy Jean Ayers, Samuel Benowitz, *Sarah Berezofsky, Abe Berman, *Charlotte Bloom, Andrew Borowsky, *Abraham Brill, *Lena Buchman, Ephraim Farber, *Jennie Felder, *Nathan Friedland, *Hyman Friedman, *Helene Geier, *Sara Anna Gillis, *Stevan M. Gold, D.M.D., *Charles L. Goldberg, *Jack H. Goldberg, Hugo Hamburger, *Libby Kahanowitz, *Rose E. Kaufmann, *William Kogut, Matthew Leiner, *Yudel Levin, *Dora Liebman, *Mark Mace, *Sarah Mervis, *Ida Libby Miller, *Sarah Pavloff, Milton Poster, Helen Pripstein, *Ella Rabinowitz, *Ruth S. Roth, *Eleanor Shendow, *Libby Shendowich, *Feiga Rochel Shoag, Goldie Wilson Stein, *Joseph Stein, Judith Strauss, Frances Tannenbaum, *Max Werblin, *Dora Whiteman, *Ida C. Wise, Bessie Wolf, *Lizzie Wolinsky and *Harry T. Ziskind.

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.