June 2020



5150 Peridia Blvd E. BRADENTON, FL 34203     941-755-4900

Shabbat Services are every Friday night at 7:00 pm
Saturday morning at 10 am followed by Torah Study

Due to the COViD-19 Viral pandemic, live Shabbat Services are are cancelled until further notice.

Shabbat Services can be seen on youtube at Temple_Beth_El_Bradenton






Dear friends,

I would like to use this monthly column to familiarize you with a small but significant controversy in Israel. It raises a most intriguing question for Jews everywhere.


An evangelical broadcaster that airs Christian programs in Israel is at risk of being shut down. The reason? The channel appears to be trying to get Jews to become Christians. The channel, called “GOD TV,” has put both Israel and its evangelical Christian supporters in a difficult position. It has also shown tensions between the two groups that have long been ignored.

Israel has been inclined to ignore any possible hidden goal the group has to convert Jewish people. Israel has long accepted evangelicals’ political and financial support. They are especially devoted to AIPAC. American Evangelicals are strong supporters of Israel largely because they see Israel as a predictor of the second coming of Jesus and the end of days.

Still, most Jews rightly see any effort to convert us to Christianity as deeply offensive.

“GOD TV” is known as “Shelanu” in Israel. It broadcasts in the Hebrew language, even though most Christians in Israel speak Arabic. It describes itself as making shows for Christians and began airing programs about three weeks ago.

Ahead of the channel’s launch, “GOD TV,” its head Ward Simpson made a video announcement. In it, critics say, he spoke of the channel’s real goal: to convert Jews to Christianity. Simpson said God was letting him take Christianity into the home of Jews. “They’ll watch secretly, they’ll watch quietly,” he said. “God is removing the blindness from their eyes.” That video has since been taken down. Simpson said "GOD TV" has no plans to go off the air in Israel. “We love Israel,” he said and we have no reason to doubt this.


You may not be aware of this but freedom of religion is an important part of Israeli law. Proselytizing is permitted as long as the efforts do not involve money or people under the age of 18.

Mr. Simpson denies trying to convert Jews to Christianity. But he also said Jews who accept Jesus as the messiah can continue to practice their faith. I am sure he was is alluding to “Messianic Jews,” also known as “Jews for Jesus.” All branches of Judaism agree that Messianic Jews are not Jews at all. Though some are of Jewish descent, Israel considers them to be converts to another religion.

Ah, what to do about these Messianic Jews? Such congregations exist all across our country, including right here. One of the Christian broadcasting networks continuously airs programming whose undeniable purpose is to convince Jews that they can remain Jewish while still accepting Jesus at the Messiah.

I have no desire to shut down this kind of programming in our own country primarily. Judaism can easily weather any attempt to win us over. Whether they should be permitted to do so in Israel, and in Hebrew no less, strikes me as pretty chutzpadik. Still, if Israel does respect freedom of religion, then I suppose they ought to be allowed to continue.

But an intriguing question remains. Can one remain a Jew and embrace Jesus? Let’s face it: Jesus was Jewish. His early followers were Jews. All of them undoubtedly practiced Judaism, the last supper being an obvious example of how they observed Pesach (even though the last supper was not a seder, per se.) Early on the followers of Jesus were more a branch of the Jewish people than a totally separate religion. The heart of the dilemma is what Evangelicals mean when they claim that Jews can remain Jewish while accepting Jesus.

Yes, we can easily accept that Jesus existed and that he had a profound impact. We should have no problem accepting that Jesus was a historic personality, a charismatic Jewish teacher, a rabbi or even a kind of a prophet. Most of his moral teachings were mirror images of mainstream Jewish teachings. But to accept that Jesus was the Messiah, the physical embodiment of God, is where we part company.

We are still praying for the arrival of the Messianic age. From all appearances, our world still has a long way until we arrive at Messianic perfection. So until then, thank you for your concern for our salvation. But I think we will stick with Judaism while respecting their right to believe and even proselytize as they wish. I am confident that Israelis overwhelmingly will be more amused than threatened by God TV.


Rabbi Michael P. Sternfield


Cantor Bard

"Those who sing, pray twice." (Talmud)

Voice! The gift we all possess! If you love to sing (more or less on pitch) and have a musical ear in ensemble, then the congregational choir is for you! For more information: please contact Cantor Bard (773-484-8149)



Message from the President

Shalom Temple family and friends,

As always, the TBE board and Religious leaders hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and following all the necessary guidelines. We also hope that you are enjoying our online services as we stay sheltered. We are now in the process of evaluating how and when we will be able to come back together at our temple home to observe Shabbat services.

The Security Preparedness Committee members are working on a specific action plan to ensure everyone’s safety when it is appropriate to reopen our doors. Of course, Temple Beth El will be following all CDC guidelines at that time. The Phone Tree Committee continues to call all members and I am encouraging everyone to let us know if you need help.


With regards to the High Holy Days, we are looking into different venues so that we can observe safely. Once we decide on a plan, if there are members still unsure of coming to the temple, please know that Rabbi Sternfield and Cantor Bard will continue to record services for you to observe at home. Also, we will be implementing a new online program offering Saturday Torah services where you can participate remotely.


In closing, I want to thank all of you for your patience and support as we work through these challenging times. I am very confident that our Temple family will be much stronger when we return.

Stay Healthy and Stay Safe!

Ron Eiseman


span class="tbe_header">OUR CALENDAR

In line with recommendations from the CDC, Temple Beth El will not hold any services, meetings or special events until further notice. Please stay healthy and safe. You will be notified of any updates.


Membership in a synagogue represents a commitment to the community. It means that you are involved in keeping Jewish life alive and seeing it continue to the next generation. It also gives you a framework of giving and contributing to the Shul, and it means that you are a partner in supporting the financial needs of the Synagogue which we are all part of. If you are interested in joining Temple Beth El Bradenton, please contact our membership chair,

Helen Hammerman



Welcome New Members

B'ruchim HaBa'im" ! We are so happy that you are with us here at Temple Beth El!  We appreciate  your presence and welcome your active participation and look forward to getting to know you.  

Cantor Deborah Bard

* Calling all full time college and graduate students that would like to join the congregation… If you are a full time student 25 or under, you can belong to the synagogue for just $25 per year, yes per year! For more info  call the TBE office at 941-755-4900 and leave your name and phone number.


It is time to start thinking about 2020-2021 Men's Club Membership. 

This last year, half of the Temple's male members joined the Men's Club.  That response was better than what we normally get. I would like to take this opportunity to pitch membership to all the men of Beth El.

People tell me that they don't join the Men's Club because most of our activities take place on Sunday.  Some people believe, that as Temple members, they are entitled to participate in all Men's Club activities whether or not they join the Men's Club.  This, by the way, is true. So why join?

The way our Temple is structured, essential Temple operations are performed by the Men's Club (and Sisterhood).  There is no Ways and Means Chair on the Temple Board, for example, because Temple fundraising is the responsibility of the Men's Club.  Along with fundraising, the Men's Club provides the Temple membership with outings, social activities, mitzvah projects, and whatever support is needed.  When you go to the Temple on the High Holidays, and find the room set up, you can be sure that the Men's Club was there. 

We cannot do any of this without the operating expenses that come from dues.  We do not raise any money for ourselves: what we raise goes directly to the Temple.  We were able to have the Italian fundraiser this year, because Men's Club dues enabled us to cover the cost of the meal. 

The bottom line is that even if you don't attend our meetings and events, as a Temple member, you benefit from the Men's Club.  The Temple could not do the things it does without a functioning Men's Club.  That is why, when contacted about membership, it is so important that you join. 


Ken Handelman  Mens Club, President 

Women of Beth El

If you're not a member, come and try us out! 

We are alone….Together! Nothing stops our wonderful “Women of Beth El” from performing Mitzvahs. Not even a Pandemic! A special salute to the following WBE members who have teamed up to become the Temple “Phone Tree:” Jean Ellis, Linda Hoffman, Marlena Johnsky, Beverly Safron, Carol Segal, Florence Shulman, & Kate Richmond. Plus our Men’s Club President & supporter Ken Handleman. Together they reach out their branches to the entire congregation every week. Their many friendly phone calls make sure we are all safe and connected.


Bonnie Krasik "Women of Beth El", President (248) 661-4583

Hebrew and Religious School

The Temple Beth El Religious School students chose, as their Mitzvah project of the year,

 to support the Heifer International Program. Heifer International works in the areas of livestock and agriculture to develop programs that alleviate hunger and poverty. They have a field staff of livestock specialists and their programs are considered among the most successful in the world.


The kids raised $142 and bought, for Heifer, the following:

$10 – towards a goat

$60 – a trio of rabbits

$30 – Honeybees

$20 – a Flock of Chicks

$20 – Ducks/Geese


$2 left over that will be added to money ($8) earned at our booth at the Sisterhood Fair, last fall, for groceries being collected by TBE for the Food Bank.


Rabbi addressed and taught our students Sunday, May 24 for the last day of Religious School for the year,


We expect and hope to see all the students again next fall.


Shalom, Susie Konicov

TBE Education Chair, and teacher

If you know an unaffiliated Jewish family with young children, who is looking for a shul, please tell them about us! We want to build our religious school and are looking for more students.  

The Jewish Education Loan Fund (JELF) provides interest free loans to Jewish students for college and graduate school. For further information go to their website:

The Treasurer's Corner


We applied for and received a $10,832 loan through the Federal Payroll Protection program. It will be turned into a grant once we show that the money was used to pay our rabbi and cantor during the months that we were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will use part of the money to upgrade the equipment we use to record and broadcast our services.


We can now accept both donations and regular dues payment through direct debit from checking accounts. Donations can be accepted in this way on-line. If you would like your monthly dues to come out of your checking account, please contact me.


As we near the end of our fiscal year, it is time to look at our actual financials results in comparison to the budget formulated twelve months ago.

FY 2019-2020
Budgeted and Actual Revenue and Expenses
  Budget Actual Difference
Revenue 138,926 146,874 7,948
Expense 123,984 126,983 2,999
Total 14,942 19,891 4,949


While our expenses increased by 2 percent, our revenue increased by almost 6 percent. As a result, our next surplus will be about one-third higher than estimated a year ago.


We are grateful to all members and guests who have made donations and who plan to make donations in the coming year. We are also grateful to the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation who paid half of the improvements to our Temple’s security. Please consider including Temple Beth El in your estate plans.


The recently passed Federal CARES act increased the limit of charitable contributions from 60% of adjusted gross income to 100% for taxpayers who itemize. And you can carry forward contributions greater than the limit for five years. Taxpayers who do not itemize and give money to charitable institutions, can take up to $300 for individuals and $600 for joint returns as an adjustment against adjusted gross income. That will reduce tax liability by the marginal tax rate. Please check with your tax advisor.


During the past year we sold the last of the cemetery plots that we had previously purchased. It only makes sense to buy plots five at a time. If you are interested in spending the afterlife with other members of the Temple, please let Sandy Clark know. She is keeping a list.

Howard Hammerman

Article of the Month

What Ruth Can Teach Us About Celebrating Shavuot


Ruth and Naomi

In preparation for God’s appearance on Mount Sinai, Moses and the Israelite people “stood at the foot of the mountain” Exodus 19:17 waiting to see and to hear what transpires.

The unusual preposition — be-tachtit (“at the foot of”) — is understood in the Midrash to mean that the Jewish people were literally standing under the mountain. That is, at the moment God speaks the Ten Commandments, God also uproots Mount Sinai from the ground and holds it over the people, as if to say, “If you accept the Torah, fine; if not, here shall be your grave.” Avodah Zarah 2b. The implication is that the Jewish people accepted Torah only through coercion.

The description of the ensuing events only reinforces that interpretation. The thunder, lightning, and thick clouds that accompany God’s presence on Mount Sinai terrify the people Exodus 20:14 and they beg Moses to be their intercessor.

Many Jewish communities will commemorate this moment during the holiday of Shavuot. The event is often referred to as z’man matan torateinu (“the time of the giving of our Torah”) and some celebrate its anniversary by staying up all night in study. But given both the biblical and rabbinic understanding of that moment, we may well wonder about the celebration of a “gift” both forced and fear-inducing.

Another Shavuot custom may provide some insight: the recitation of the Book of Ruth, which many communities read on the second day of the holiday.

The short story revolves around the deep relationship between the heroine and her Bethlehemite mother-in-law, Naomi, forged after the death of the latter’s husband and two sons. As she journeys back home, Naomi urges her daughter-in-law to stay in her native Moab, but Ruth refuses, speaking these iconic words: “For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” Ruth 1:16.

These words can be read in dialogue with the story in Exodus. They certainly show no less commitment than the joint affirmation of the Israelites at Sinai: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and obey.” Exodus 24:7. Indeed, Ruth’s declaration is understood as evidence of her taking the covenant upon herself. In the rabbinic imagination, she becomes the prototypical convert. Just as the Jewish people all gathered together at the mountain in the desert in the presence of the God of Israel, so too does Ruth cling to Naomi on the road in Moab, invoking the God of Israel


But the contexts are very different. The animating value in the book of Ruth is chesed (loving kindness) and loyalty that surpass the simple duty implied in the Israelites’ dispassionate response of na’aseh v’nishma (“we will do and obey”). After all, Ruth’s pledge to Naomi ends with the ultimate vow: “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried” Ruth 1:17. Later in the book, Naomi returns her daughter-in-law’s care and concern, the wealthy landowner Boaz shows kindness and generosity to both women, and all three find joy in the birth of Obed.

Even God is different. In Exodus, God is a loud, physical force that moves mountains. In the book of Ruth, God is the quiet but inexorable activity that moves the characters from emptiness to fulfillment.

It is perhaps for this reason that there is a practice of saying Ruth’s words each morning when laying tefillin, her credo of devotion and faithfulness recited as the boxes are placed between the eyes and on the arm — literally taking the words of Torah upon oneself. The ritual conjures the image of Ruth speaking to Naomi as they journey, each having lost her husband, two women cleaving to each other in hope for a better future together. It is an act of making oneself a partner in God’s ongoing work in the world.

Ruth’s relationship to Naomi and to Torah can be a model for our own orientation to the celebration of Shavuot. In Exodus, the Israelites experience an overwhelming display of power and might that leaves them shaking in fear and desiring to distance themselves from what may emerge from those clouds around the mountain. In the book of Ruth, she — no less in the dark — bravely and wholeheartedly faces what may come down the road.

Shavuot is called “the time of the giving of the Torah” rather than “the time of the receiving of the Torah.” The sages point out that the giving took place on one day to one people, but the receiving takes place at all times and in all generations.

As we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavuot, may we may act each day with the love and intimacy modeled by Ruth in the receiving of Torah.

Voting by mail

Per a wonderful sugestion by Marion, we have included information on how to vote by mail. More information can be found here


Vote-by-mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter instead of going to the polls to vote during early voting period or Election Day. Except on Election Day, no excuse is needed to vote a vote-by-mail ballot (see Who Can Pick Up a Vote-by-Mail Ballot below). Unless otherwise specified, a request to receive a vote-by-mail ballot covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. A vote-by-mail ballot that is returned undeliverable cancels a request for future elections and must be renewed.

How to Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot Be Mailed

A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:

  • To request a ballot online, here are links for each county, or 
  • In writing (e.g., by email, fax, mail) to Supervisor of Elections. Mailing address can be found on respective website.
  • By telephone call to Supervisor of Elections. Manatee County 941-741-3823, Sarasota County 941-861-8600

To make a request, the following information is required:

  • The name of the voter for whom the ballot is being requested;
  • The voter’s address;
  • The voter’s date of birth; and
  • The voter’s signature (if the request is written).

If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for a voter, the following additional information must be provided:

  • The requestor’s address;
  • The requestor’s driver’s license number (if available);
  • The requestor’s relationship to the voter; and
  • The requestor’s signature (if the request is written).

The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th day before the election. However, the ballot must still be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day if the voted ballot is to count. Exceptions exist for overseas military and civilian voters. See Military and Overseas Citizens Voting for further information. 


 *This ad is not a political endorsement by Temple Beth El.


Smile of the Day/h2>

David Epstein came home from work to see his wife and young daughter Rivkah, reviewing the girl’s Hebrew homework.

“What are you learning honey?” asked David.

"Well we’re learning Bereishit (Genesis) and Mommy told me how Hashem made the first man and the first woman. He made the man first. But the man was very lonely with nobody to talk to him. So Hashem put the man to sleep. And while the man was asleep, Hashem took out his brains, and made a woman from them."


Thank you for supporting Temple Beth El with your donation. Please let us know if you would like your donation directed to a specific purpose.  Donate TBE

Yahrzeit Information

June 5th and 6th June 26th and 27th  

Katherine Richmond IMO Weed H. Richmond

Brian Weiss IMO Jack Weiss


Florence Shulman IMO May Shyr

Katherine Hoffman IMO Sam Eder  

Sharon Carlson IMO Roberta Ger

Sandy Clark IMO Harry Kleinman


Jack Jawitz IMO Aaron Jawitz



Bernice Kipnes IMO Morris Chasen



June 12th and 13th

July 3rd and 4th  

Jean Shames IMO Dorothy Dunn

Dick Solyn IMO Myron Solyn


Jean Ellis IMO Marie Levy

Ruth Weiss IMO John B. Estrada


June 19th and 20th


Dick Solyn IMO Alice Solyn


Florence Shulman IMO David Aron Shur


Beverly Safron IMO Peter Hartwich


Paul Stahl IMO Jeanette Lichner



Sisterhood = Challah and Oneg


Temple Beth El yahrzeit plaques are now available for purchase. Purchase one for a loved one already deceased or purchase now for a future date. Plaques can be English and Hebrew or just English or just Hebrew. The cost is $250 per plaque. 






To make a donation, go to

  June Birthdays June Anniversaries
4 David Gutman 25 Susan and Bill Speilberg
7 Ron Eiseman  
10 David Meier    :
13 Florence Shulman    
14 Eli Lerner  
20 Alan Cohn  
22 Gerry Ronkin  
24 Katherine Hoffman  

Simcha Grams

TBE sends Birthday, Anniversary, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and other celebration "Simcha Grams" to members in honor of their special day. This is a wonderful way to contribute to your Synagogue and to send your TBE family good wishes.

Names must be received at the office by the 20th of the month prior to the birthday, anniversary or special event. Include a note with your name(s),the name(s) of whom and what you are honoring and how you would like your signature on the card they will receive. The donation is $2.00 per name. In the memo area of your check write "simcha gram and mail to:

Temple Beth El, Attention: Simcha Gram,. 5150 Peridea Blvd. East, Bradenton, FL 34203.

If you wish to pay by credit card use the yellow "donate"button above or call the TBE office, 941-755-4900, give them the above information and your credit card authorization.

The card will be mailed to those individuals prior to their special day and your donation will be acknowledged in the newsletter.

If we have somehow overlooked your Simcha or made an error in printing the date, please accept our apologies and call the temple office at 941-755-4900 so that we may update our records.

Contact the Newsletter editor(Kevin Thomas) at

Office: 941-755-4900  Address: 5150 Peridia Blvd East, Bradenton, Fl. 34203

5150 Peridia Blvd E Bradenton, FL 34203 (941)-755-4900 The Temple Office


Rabbi Michael Sternfield
Cantor Deborah Bard
Cantor Emeritus Alan Cohn
Religious Education Director Susie Konicov
President Ron Eiseman
Exec. Vice President Neil Clark
Treasurer Howard Hammerman
Secretary Bayla Kolton
VP of Membership Helen Hammerman
Immediate Past President Robyn Spirtas
Ritual Katherine Richmond
Board Member at Large Gary Weinberg
Women of Beth El Bonnie Krasik
Men's Club Ken Handelman


For Rabbi or Temple information or to RSVP for an event, please email The Office is located at Temple Beth El, 5150 Peridia Blvd E, Bradenton 34203. Please notate on your check what the monies are for ie: "donation", "dues". You can also find out information or RSVP to an event by going to .

Got pocket change? Remember Pushke money? Put your change each day in a ziplock bag, then bring the bag to the Temple as a donation. Every little bit helps! It is a great way to get the kids to contribute too!



"It is a Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it." Proverbs 3:18  Purchasing a leaf (or leaves) on our Tree of Life, is a wonderful way to mark and sanctify precious life events, such as: B'nai Mitzvah, engagements, weddings, birth of a child or grandchild, birthdays, anniversaries, or any special occasion.  It is also a loving way to remember those who have gone before us. Call the TBE office for more info -941-755-4900
























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