tbe

TEMPLE BETH EL

2710 Genesee St.
Utica, New York 13502
Phone: (315) 724-4751

A Conservative Jewish Congregation
Established for the Worship of God, the Study of Torah,
and the Practice of Righteous Deeds

 

June
Candle Lighting

June 1 - 8:16 PM
June 8 - 8:20 PM
June 15 - 8:24 PM
June 22 - 8:26 PM
June 29 - 8:26 PM


Help Temple Beth El
by Making a Donation
In Honor or
In Memory
to a Temple Fund:

•The Victor H. Flax Fund
•The Dr. Leonard Levinson Cemetery Care Fund
•The Minyanaires Fund
•The David M. Philipson Fund
•The Religious School Education Fund
•The Harry N. & Eleanor L. Savett Scholarship Fund
•The Dr. Albert A Schwartz Education Fund
•Memorial Plaques
•Simcha Plaques
•Tree of Life Plaques

To Make a Donation Contact the Temple Office at
(315) 724-4751


TEMPLE BETH EL
is selling SCRIP

You may buy cards
in any amount.
Help support
TEMPLE BETH EL
by purchasing
a card today.
Stop by or call!
To see detail
on this project,
click here.


Please notify Temple of any ADDRESS CHANGES you may have for the winter months, we need these address changes if we are to continue sending the bulletin.
Thank You

CantorA Message from Cantor Socolof

Early last month my wife and I took a long-anticipated trip to New England. We wanted to visit Vermont (which we had been to before), New Hampshire and Maine (which we had not). Upon entering Maine, we stopped at a travel center. The attendant there, upon learning that we would be staying in Portland, produced a tourist map of the Portland area. You have likely seen such maps before, where the map is populated with sites for you to visit, and the perimeter of the map holds ads for these places (which is probably how they got on the map in the first place). As I scanned the map, in the bottom right corner I saw an ad for the Maine Jewish Museum. Neither of us had been aware of such a place. When we got to our hotel, I checked their website and found that they were open weekdays. The next day we decided to pay them a visit.

The building was originally a synagogue, Congregation Etz Chaim, built in 1921. When we walked in, we found the curator's office immediately on the left. We went in, and she told us the story of the building and the congregation. Much of it will sound familiar to Uticans, and to anyone from a small or middle-size city in America.

When the building went up, there were three shuls within walking distance of each other in downtown Portland. By the middle part of the last century, most Jews had moved out of downtown, and only the one synagogue remained, mostly due to the efforts of a small cadre who saw to it that there was a minyan. The domed ceiling in the sanctuary and the stained glass window above the ark were both boarded up to save on heating costs. The building was in serious disrepair.

But then a group of Jewish Portlanders got together and managed to raise a million dollars. The money was used to thoroughly renovate the building, including installation of an elevator. The building now serves as home to both the museum and the congregation.

What differentiates Portland form Utica? Both are congregations with a long and storied history. Both are congregations that faced a financial and demographic dilemma: the building was costing too much to maintain and was too far away from where most (although by no means all) of its members were living. Both congregations decided to take action to help ensure their continued future. Etz Chaim raised money and made their building a home for Jewish culture and practice. Temple Beth-El sold its building and took space with Temple Emanuel.

These may not, at first glance seem equivalent. Both, however, reflected decisions on how to staunch the costs of upkeep. Both involve sharing with another organization. That said, Temple Beth-El has yet to make a firm decision regarding its intended future.

I see that future as bright. We have a group of young families and a burgeoning Hebrew School. We have dedicated staff and officers. Thanks to the sale of the building, Temple Beth-El also has some resources that could help act as seed money for whatever actions the congregation deems appropriate to safeguard and develop our shul in the years to come.

As Shakespeare observed, the past is prologue. Its study and consideration can and should inform our journey into the future. Those who came before us took action in the face of uncertainty because to do nothing was not a viable option. Let us replace our anxiety over the future with eagerness. Let us be worthy of the faith they had in us, their future.

Cantor Socoloff

Contact him at uticacantor@verizon.net