What’s new to love at Temple Israel


MAZEL TOV TO OUR VERY OWN ARNIE GROSSMAN.  PSALMS 90:10 tells of a lifetime being 70 years.  In today’s world, one begins a second lifetime at 70.   

Add 13 years (the age one becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah) and at 83 Arnie rededicated himself by reading from the Torah with his proud wife Sheila, children, grandchildren and friends.looking on.

FullSizeRender re



This past week members of the social action committee attended the Silver Lake Head Start graduation ceremony which took place in our social hall. At that time, the preschool graduates were presented with their fully loaded new backpacks which was a project of our social action committee. Congregants made donations to purchase the backpacks and new school supplies to give these youngsters another “head start” as they enter kindergarten in the fall. Additionally and surprisingly at the graduation ceremony, Temple Israel’s social action committee was recognized and presented with a community service award plaque for our continuing efforts in donating a variety of needed items to the preschool over the past few years. We were delighted to be acknowledged by our grateful tenants with whom we have shared our building for almost 20 years.
Temple members present at the ceremony included Judy Scher, Bryn Biren, Inez Singer, Judy Pessah, Linda Brill, Jerry & Karen Gross, and temple secretary Lara Calderon. A special thank you goes out to Barbara Feigelman who purchased the backpacks and the majority of the school supplies.




                                                                                                                   ANDREA & FRED SIMON

                                                                                                                   BARBARA FRIED

                                                                                                                   REBECCA HAND

                                                                                                                   BEVERLY MAZER

                                                                                                                   RHONDA TRONTZ-ALLEN



  As we read in Deuteronomy, a community is too heavy for anyone to carry alone.
  We at Temple Israel have always been blessed with congregants who have brought to our community willing hands and loving hearts. Their loving work has sustained us. Each year, at our congregational meeting, we honor those individuals whose dedication to our congregation has helped us in so many ways. The Avodah Award honors congregants who are not currently Board members, but who, in many ways, have accepted their obligation to this community and have worked tirelessly to ensure that we remain a vibrant Beit T’Filah, House of Prayer, Beit Midrash, House of Study and Beit K’Nesset, House of Community Gathering.
AVODAH means service….in the broad sense…service as in work and service as in prayer. These awards represent our acknowledgment of the extraordinary Holy service given by both congregants and friends of our congregation.
On behalf of the leadership of Temple Israel it is a privilege to confer this year’s AVODAH awards.
Our first Avodah honoree, Pamela Carlton, has supported Temple Israel in countless ways. She has served as Sisterhood president, served many years on the Board of Trustees, was involved with Social Action, and has served on many other committees. She is being honored tonight for the service she has given to the larger Staten Island community, particularly those who are hungry and in need. Pam has frequently taken on the responsibility to bring all left-over food from events and celebrations and meetings, to help feed those at Project Hospitality.  The mission of Project Hospitality has been to reach out to those Staten Islanders who are hungry, homeless or in need. It began with a soup kitchen in 1982 and has grown to be a model of service and support in our community.
In the midrash, it is written that when you are asked in the world to come, “What was your work?” and you answer, “I fed the hungry”, you are told, “This is the gate of Adonoi. Enter it.” Pam, in recognition of your quiet and continual commitment to bring food to the hungry, we present you with this citation for leadership in and service to our community.
Helping to feed the hungry in our community matters. And so does creating opportunities for our own congregants to share food together. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, our homes and our synagogues became the center of Judaism. We may no longer have a central temple and an altar where people can atone for wrong doings, but we DO have shared meals, both within our homes and in our congregational home, where reconciliation and forgiveness can take place and where we have opportunities for encounters of intellect and soul. Our next two honorees, Larry Flaum and Kevin Lipsitz, are Brotherhood members who have made sure that the men of Brotherhood can come together over meals and have opportunities to savor shared space.
Larry has received Avodah awards in the past. When his own children were younger, he created the “Ready, Set, Learn”  program for our Religious School. He has worked for Brotherhood for many years and has been honored for that work. This year he is being honored for his commitment to providing food at all temple Brotherhood meetings and making absolutely sure that the men of our congregation ate well and ate often! He has always appreciated the “male bonding” the men of our congregation experience though participation in Brotherhood and we are pleased to honor him with this citation for leadership as he continues his commitment to making sure Brotherhood breakfasts are delicious and plentiful.
Kevin says he feels almost embarrassed to accept the award. He was simply hoping to find something he and his beautiful daughter Rachel, could do together. Lucky for us, they found the Brotherhood Barbecue. With support from past and current Brotherhood presidents, he brought the Barbecue back to life, providing delicious food and a summer experience where temple members can come together for delicious food, fun, companionship, and community.
Kevin, who by the way, started in our Sunday School in 1964, which was the first year we were in this building, invites everyone to come to the Barbecue this year. He plans to buy more food than ever, always knowing he and Rachel and their German Shepherd AND their Great Dane will eat all leftovers. In honor of his work for our Brotherhood and for his commitment to their summer Barbeque, we present this certificate for leadership in and service to our community.
As our temple president, Bryn Biren, wrote in her monthly column, every November congregants wonder what we will do about the Purim Spiel. This year, congregant Jennifer Straniere, suggested to Bryn that she knew a talented, capable, former colleague who JUST HAPPENED to be the mother of our own congregant  Remy Larson DeVito. And although Emmie is not a congregant of Temple Israel, she readily signed on to help.
Bryn says that as soon as she met Remy’s mom, Emshalom (Emmie) Smith, she knew that our worries were over. Emmie devoted hours and hours to directing, acting in, and costuming “The Little Mermaidellah” which was a great success. Emmie really created  a Temple Israel theatre company, giving so many congregants a chance to perform in this most delightful Spiel! In recognition of her inspiring work on our Purim Spiel, we are happy to present Emmie Smith with a citation for leadership in and service to our community.
Arnie Grossman has received many honors at Temple Israel because he has honored us in so many ways. Arnie served so loyally and thoughtfully on our Board of Trustees for so many years that he was voted to be a Trustee Emeritus. We are honoring him this year for his dedication to our Torah study. Arnie has regularly attended our Torah study for years and years, and has remained a committed Torah study group participant even as he and Sheila became “snowbirds”. As soon as he and Sheila are back on Staten Island, Arnie begins attending classes again.  Arnie takes responsibility for making sure that Torah Study continues over the summer when Rabbi Howald is not able to lead it. He contacts all Torah study “regulars” who are willing to lead and provides them with the correct parsha for each date. If someone has to cancel, he is always there to find a substitute and advise people about the parsha they are leading the discussion on. He regularly collects money from the Torah Study group for Journal ads and gifts and makes sure to call any regulars when they miss too many sessions, always wanting to make sure they are all right.  Rabbi Howald says that Arnie not only makes wonderful contributions to the discussions but reminds us all about what binds us together, despite differences in interpretation, politics and temperament. For his dedication to our Torah Study and his willingness to arrange for the continuation of that study over the summer, we present Arnie Grossman with a citation for leadership in and service to the Temple Israel and the Jewish community.
       Terry Baver



QUEEN TIPSY ROCKS TEMPLE ISRAEL and a great time was had by all.

20160507 200936 resized 1



 Another successful and fun filled TRIVA NIGHT!

IMG 1817



Meal Preparation
    On December 25 a group of our congregation gathered at Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island to prepare a holiday meal for those less fortunate on Staten Island. This annual event is conducted by our Social Action Committee in conjunction with Project Hospitality. After preparation the food was delivered to El Centro in Port Richmond where it is served to a thankful group. Judy Scher, co-chair of the event notes, “It was a pleasure working with Deacon Paul on this worthwhile event”. Added Temple Co-President Fred Simon, “It’s a mitzvah for us to do this for our Staten Island friends who are in need”.
   Seventeen congregants gathered at 10am and prepared a virtual feast to be distributed later in the day. The menu consisted of Spanish Chicken and Rice, Barbecued chicken, meatballs with baked ziti, baked tilapia, Roasted Potatoes, green bean casserole, cooked carrots and a wide array of desserts. Thanks to all the hands, we were able to complete all the cooking in about 3 hours.
      The group consisted of Committee Co-Chair Judy Scher, Temple Co-President Fred Simon, as well as congregants Alan Tepper, Barbara Tepper, Pam Rogozin, Michael Rogozin, Derek Rogozin, Shannen Rogozin, Beverly Mazer, Linda Brill, Eva Figueroa, Irwin Magnus, Andy Kass, Ilene Pappert, Lenore Miller, Janice Gross, Pam Carlton, Steve Scher as well as friend of the Temple Linda Doering.

Special thanks to Pam Rogozin who prepared the menu and purchased all the food.
  Many thanks to all for your hard work and dedication to those on Staten Island who need us in these tough times.


forum1   forum 2

Gary Castel discusses his views.               Diane Savino answers questions.

Candidates running for office came to Temple Israel to discuss their views.   Domenic Recchia Candidate for U.S. Assembly, Incumbent State Senator Diane Savino, Incumbent State Assembly Mathew Titone, Incumbent State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, challenger Marybeth Melendez, Candidate for US Assembly Joe Tirone, Incumbent State Senate Andrew Lanza and his opponent Gary Castel, were in attendance. 




social hall 2   new social hall

Extensive renovations included new wall treatments, paint, floor and carpeting. 



A. Grossweb

Temple Israel Co-President, Bryn Biren, Andrew Gross, Co-President Fred Simon and Rabbi Michael Howald

Andrew Gross, Political Advisor to the Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York, was our guest speaker.  He discussed the current situation in Israel which was followed by a question and answer session.  A very informative meeting.  We thank Jerry Mulnick for arranging this event.  




This summer the Temple Courtyard was transformed into an outdoor sanctuary paradise.  Our Shabbat Services started as the sun met the horizon.   A gentle breeze, harmonious melodies and prayers made Shabbat extra special. 

shabbat under the stars web 




Fifty years ago, after 13 years of determined hope and devoted effort, the congregants of Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island rejoiced at the completion of their newly constructed spiritual home as they dedicated our synagogue.  It was a celebration of the achievement of their dream to build a temple “designed to serve forever.”  Their success is a true monument to the generous sacrifices of a community of American Jews who were collectively determines to serve as major links in the chain of consecration what created for generations to come, our Temple.

On Saturday, June 7, we honored their vision as we celebrated 50 years of worship, community, education and blessings and re-dedicated our synagogue.     

We thank our dynamic team for putting together this magnificent gala Bryn Biren, Jodi Siegel, Jennifer Straniere.

gala17   gala28  gala25

 See the video on YOU TUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nl1DbiGWh0




Temple Israel teams up with Staten Island Synagogues for a LAG B’OMER Picnic at Willowbrook Park.

temple15   temple16


MITZVAH DAY, Social Action Committee teams up with Sisterhood for our Cook In benefitting Project Hospitality.

temple12    temple13



   Rabbi Howald stands with our

   Confirmands Lindsey Baskin, Jared Baskin, Natalie Hernandez

   and our Student Cantor Lindsay Schoenberger.

   We are very proud of you.

Having fun at our Goods and Services Auction.  Wonderful prizes were won, our congregants went home very happy! 

Mark your calendars, due to the popularity of this event, THE AUCTION  will be on

Saturday, May 16, 2015!

temple9   temple10


temple6  temple7 

PURIM IS HERE                                                                                    

Purim is a fun holiday.  Rabbi started with the Reading of the Megillah. We were entertain with the Pre-shpiel and our Shpiel “Field of Schemes” 

temple4      temple5

both written by Carole Kass.    We laughed and laughed.    The festivities followed with our Purim Carnival.        



   A special thank you to Linda Hanibal and Blanche Ricci who lead the team for putting together the beautiful Shalot Manot bags for our  Congregation.  They did not disappoint us.  The  bags were overflowing with nuts,  fruit, grape juice, a beautiful ceramic platter and more.


On Martin Luther King weekend, Rabbi Howald and our confirmation class traveled to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.





   On a cold January evening, beautiful seder plates filled    with fruit and nuts adorned our dinner tables.

   There were lots of delicious vegetarian and dairy dishes to  enjoy.

   We then gathered around and sang songs of thanks.

   This festive evening made us forget it was a cold winter    day in Staten Island.

THE SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE DOES IT AGAIN… by Fred Simon, President of Temple Israel

On December 25 a group of our congregation gathered at Temple Israel  Reform Congregation of Staten Island to prepare a holiday meal for those less fortunate on Staten Island. This annual event is conducted by our  Social Action Committee in conjunction with Project Hospitality.     Forty congregants and friends of the Temple gathered at 10am and  prepared a virtual feast to be distributed later in the day. This was a record turnout for the event. The menu  consisted of Roasted Chicken, Spanish Chicken and Rice, Meatballs, Baked Tilapia with Onions and Peppers, Pasta Primavera,Roasted Red Potatoes, Glazed Carrots and a wide  array of desserts. Thanks to all the hands, we were able to complete all the cooking in about 3 hours. The food was then delivered to Project Hospitality and some of the group reconvened there to distribute the meals to many thankful Staten Island residents in need.       The group consisted both Temple members and friends of the Temple. The list includes Committee Co- Chair Judy Scher, Rabbi Michael Howald, Temple President Fred Simon, Steve  Scher, Claire and Dennis Guttsman, Jory Guttsman, Pam Rogozin, Shannen Rogozin, Barbara Tepper, Carole and Andy Kass, Linda Scher, Eva and Bill Figueroa, Miriam and Abe Friend and their grandson Jacob, Jay Duskin and Hon. Karen Wolff, Joyce Miller, Sally Koren, Jo Ann Lewis and Ed DiLione, Carol Rosen, Shari Stein-Ballow, Ruth Stein, Sandy Mazzucco, Barbara Fried, Pam Carlton, Ilene  Pappert, Sam Gagne, Jess Friedman,  Brooke DiLione, Beth DiLione, Michael Fleischman, Ari Fleischman, Vivian Lewis, Chris Blatz, Lesley Cohen and Linda  Doening. Special thanks to Pam Rogozin who prepared the menu and  purchased all the food.    It was a pleasure to see so many turn out for this important community event .Many thanks to all for your hard work and dedication to those on Staten Island who need us in these tough times


The great big group that hangs out to cook together, makes a feast of great food for Project Hospitality to enjoy.


Many, many cooks, make many, many dishes



 URJ Biennial – WRJ Assembly by Deanna Feder

 WRJ Assembly in San Diego December 13-15, 2013 Thank you so much to Sisterhood for helping us to attend the WRJ Assembly.  This was WRJ’s 100th anniversary and the assembly was combined with URJ’s biennial so that there were about 5,000 people attending. Some of the events we attended were: A workshop on “Challenges in the Advancement of Women at Home and Around the World” with Anat Hoffman (Women of the Wall), Ilyse Hogue (NARAL Pro-Choice America) and Ruth Messinger (American Jewish World Service).  Each woman talked about the challenges they faced and we all continue to face as women.  Some of the themes they touched on were:  reclaiming reproductive freedom from a faith-based perspective, supporting Israel’s battle for women’s rights and immigration reform.  They encouraged us to talk to our children and grandchildren about important issues. Pre-Shabbat Service Musical Experience with musicians and singers from Tel Aviv.  The music was in Hebrew and English and got everybody ready for the Friday night service which was led by clergy from Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  Many of the tunes at the service were different but we recognized the prayers. Worshipping in a huge hall a surrounded by 5,000 Jews from different places and backgrounds made it an amazing experience. Shabbat Dinner was held in a room with about 500 tables, each of which had candles, wine and challah.  We were seated with Rabbi Howald and a group from Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan.  After dinner we attended the joint WRJ/URJ Song Session which was amazing, inspiring and thanks to Blanche got us dancing. Saturday morning service was led by Rabbi Rick Jacobs (URJ President) and Cantor/Rabbi Angela Buchdal (the first Asian-American to be ordained).  There were several Torahs throughout the hall and a different group was invited up for each Aliyah (WRJ, NFTY, etc).  The D’Var Torah was delivered by Rabbi David Ellenson who was retiring as president of HUC. We attended a Lunch and Learn session about “Jews on the Chocolate Trail” led by Rabbi Deborah Prinz who travelled the world in search of the history of the relationship between Jews and chocolate.  The WRJ installation on Saturday afternoon was especially meaningful because it was the 100th anniversary. There were several past WRJ presidents in attendance and the program featured quotes and photographs from past WRJ installations and performances by the newly-formed WRJ choir. There is much information about the Assembly/Biennial for you to see online at WRJ.org but being there in person was an amazing and unforgettable experience.




Inez Singer, Rabbi Michael Howald, Deanna Feder and Blanche Ricci at the URJ Biennial.



 Chanukah School Program

Our Chanukah School Program was lots of fun (and educational)  for our students and their parents.  There were delicious homemade latkes  to eat,  dreidels to spin and songs to sing.   Rabbi Howald talked about the holiday and showed everyone different types of menorahs.  Our Student Cantor Lindsay played her guitar and invited students to sing Chanukah songs with her.






There were many-a-great-deals at our Rummage Sale… clothing for everyone in the family, coats, shoes, accessories, toys, books, electronics and housewares.

Many a treasures were bought and many happy people went home with lots of great merchandise.

Our next Rummage Sale will be in the Spring 2015,  

Free parking, free admission and chances to win door prizes. 

rummagesalefun222  rummagesale1  rummagesalefun111