April 2024

Letter from the President

Dear Members and Friends of Temple Israel,

     I must begin by noting the continuing plight of the October 7th hostages taken by Hamas terrorists. This week will mark six months – half a year – that these innocents have been held captive. We pray for their safe release, and for the relief of suffering for all victims of this tragic conflict. Please hold them in your hearts, and speak out against anti-Jewish speech and actions.

     Through our actions and programming, we strive to make our synagogue a safe, egalitarian environment for worship, study, and community. An important aspect of this is our relationship with the Binghamton University Jewish students. Through our close cooperation with Hillel at BU, students from the Hillel Koach (Conservative-oriented) group, along with the Hillel Rabbinic interns, have participated in our services from time-to-time, including leading the davening, chanting Torah and Haftorah, and even reading the Megillah at Purim. Several parents of University students have attended services, and a few have joined as Associate Members. To see and hear these talented students in action, I invite you to join our Shabbat services on April 13th, when they will next take on leadership roles. Chazak, chazak – we strengthen each other.

     March was a busy month, especially in our kitchens! First up was our Pizza Meet & Greet Fundraiser where new and old members savored fresh-baked kosher pizza sponsored and prepared by Dave Channin, salads prepared by Jim and Carol Mason, and beverages provided by Jonathan Weissberg. Many of you enjoyed our joyous Purim celebration last week. It was the most well-attended in recent memory, with members young and old filling the room with energy. Megillah was read by Rabbi Friedman, several congregants, and BU Hillel students; our Rabbi (perfectly costumed as a Rabbi Ken doll) augmented the story in English; and more than ten dozen Hamentashen baked in our TI kitchen were devoured. We also had a special  fleishig Shabbat kiddush (Dave imported the deli – yumm!) to honor Rabbi Friedman on his birthday last week.

     Upcoming events include a special study session with Rabbi Friedman after the kiddush on April 13th, a Chocolate Seder on April 14th (always a delicious crowd-pleaser – get your reservations in by April 8th!), and holiday services for Pesach in only three weeks time. Don’t forget to stop in to the office or hit the website after April 8th to sell your chometz before Passover. We thank all the volunteers who make our programs possible. The work of many committees – such as House, Ritual, and Safety & Security – occurs behind the scenes to ensure that our services and programs are delivered in comfort and safety.

     Whether you are looking to refresh your spirit, study with friends new and old, or placate your sweet tooth, Temple Israel offers something for you. We rely entirely on your dues and generous donations, so please keep us in your thoughts to commemorate a yahrtzeit, send get-well wishes to a friend, or mark a simcha. We graciously accept gifts large or small – they all add up.

Wishing you each and all a zissen Pesach – a sweet Passover!


Arthur B. Siegel
President – Temple Israel