Beth Shalom Logo
A Reform Synagogue that Honors Tradition
May 2018 • Iyar/Sivan 5778 
Volume 80.08
Beth Shalom Stained Glass

Rabbi's Message

Chaverim Shalom
“Reading Jewish texts in a language other than Hebrew is like kissing a bride through a veil.” I heard these words, first immortalized by Israeli National Poet Chaim Nachman Bialik, embellished upon by Rabbi Daniel Gordis, who said, “It is technically a kiss, yes, but it’s not the stuff that dreams are made of.” 
Hebrew is a window into the Jewish soul, and one of my greatest passions in life. Each time that I read the letters, forming sounds and words, I feel as if I am putting together a cosmic puzzle thousands of years old. It is nothing short of thrilling and it is something that lies within reach of each of us. 
Many rabbinic commentaries liken Torah to black fire on white fire. The black fire is the actual Hebrew letters while the white fire is all the commentary necessary to understand it fully. It is that black fire that we chant each and every Shabbat and Festival morning to bring the ancient words of Torah to life, to share it with the larger community. 
Now imagine for a moment that you could actually read all of the black fire! Imagine that you could chant those sacred Hebrew words.

You can! 
Join us at 7pm on Saturday, May 19th, Erev Shavuot, as we teach a crash course on decoding and reading the Hebrew aleph-bet after our Shavuot celebration. This will be followed by a crash course on trope, the ancient system of chanting/cantillation, on Sunday from 12-2pm.
There is no better time than Shavuot to take on this new skill, and adopt this new practice. After all, it is customary on Shavuot to engage in deep and meaningful learning throughout the evening and daytime. It is a chag that symbolizes the giving of Torah, a holiday to which we are counting in anxious anticipation each day. It is a chag striving to make the words of Torah accessible and open to all. What better way to honor it than learning the Hebrew aleph-bet, the building blocks upon which everything else lies. 
At the end of an aliyah to the Torah, we chant the following words: Blessed are you God . . .  who has given us a Torah of truth and implanted within us eternal life. The Hebrew word “to give” from this blessing, “natan” is a palindrome, reading the same way backwards or forwards. This teaches us that as we give, we also get back in return, an idea that holds such wisdom for this particular skill of reading and chanting Torah.  
Our Beth Shalom family has a dedicated cadre of Torah chanters, but we could always use more! As you learn and develop, you will give and you will get back. You will strengthen yourself as you strengthen your community. 
All are welcome to register and attend, whether beginner, intermediate or anywhere in between. We only ask that you let us know in advance and RSVP to Cathy by May 11th.

Together, we’ll share a nosh, a drink, and celebrate Shavuot the best way possible...together! 

Board Message

I am very excited about Beth Shalom’s new Israel Institute. We have started our studies, and soon will have a physical space for the Institution. One of the functions of the Israel Institute is to delve into the history and geopolitical issues impacting the State of Israel. We have already studied some of the issues surrounding the creation of the State of Israel.
The Israel Institute will not be confined just to our Beth Shalom community. We have begun meeting with an interfaith group to share our studies, knowledge and to strengthen our bonds with our neighbors.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion publicly read the Declaration of Independence of Israel. Within minutes of Ben-Gurion’s proclamation, United States President Harry S Truman recognized and acknowledged the authority of the State of Israel. American Jews have felt a bond with Israel ever since. 
Israel celebrates its Independence Day in accordance with the Hebrew calendar. Because May 14, 1948 corresponded with the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 of the Hebrew calendar, Iyar 5 is the actual date of the observance. This year Independence Day began at sunset on April 18 and ended at sunset on April 19. Seventy years, however, is special cause for celebration and Israel will be celebrating this milestone all year long.
By the time you read this, Beth Shalom will have marked this milestone anniversary with a fun filled celebration. Let’s continue that celebration by continuing to learn about Israel. Here are seven fun facts about Israel you may not know: (1) Over 1 Million notes and prayers are left in the Kotel each year. They are cleaned out twice a year ~ before Pesach and before Rosh Hashanah. (2) The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher. (3) Mother’s Day is celebrated on 30 Shevat, the date of the death of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah. (4) The Mount of Olives is the oldest cemetery in continuous use in the world. (5) Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world. Many are very interactive, too! (6) Israel is home to the world’s only theater company comprised entirely of blind and deaf actors. (7) Israeli humanitarian aid workers are often the first responders to disasters around the world.
The new Israel Institute offers our community a wonderful opportunity to grow and strengthen our bonds to Israel and Judaism as well as our Baton Rouge community. Let’s continue to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Israel by continuing our journey into our Jewish roots.
Susan Smolinsky

President's Message

On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank the Beth Shalom Sisterhood for all of your work during the planning and implementation of the Corned Beef Sandwich Sale and Passover Seder.  Both events were “best ever” because of you.  You are the backbone of our special shul. Without your hard work, we would just be a regular “ole” synagogue. 

Todah Rabah!


The recent Yom Hashoah program was very moving, especially the outdoor portion, which included the lighting of the Holocaust memorial and the reciting of El Malei Rachamim. This brings me to one of the essays in the essay finalist book.
There is one essay which intertwines our way of remembering the Civil War with Germany's remembrance of the Holocaust. As the essay mentions, can one imagine if Germany had erected a statue of Hitler looking over a city what the response would have been? This provocative and controversial thought challenges us all to think about the proper way to commemorate and memorialize difficult episodes from our past. 
In other news, the Brotherhood workday went well, although it was more than we bargained for. Many tree branches had to be cleared on the ground and a very large branch blocking the front of the driveway was top priority. The roof underwent a major cleaning as well. There was pressure washing done on the building and air conditioner filters were changed on the main unit. Thanks to all the brothers who showed up and to Rachel Hausmann for painting the Ten Commandments on the front of the building. Also, thank you to Bob Singer for the delicious breakfast. 
Gary Baum

Rayner Center

Spring has sprung at Rayner! We are enjoying the beautiful weather on our playground and our daily baby/toddler buggy rides.
In April, we are learning about Dinosaurs, Plants, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Some of us may be singing our favorite Shabbat song about a dinosaur even more than usual. Thankfully, our resident rock star Nick May is always willing to oblige our requests for this song. Ms. Bridget has a new dinosaur puppet that made a surprise appearance at a recent Tot Shabbat.
Our Wonder Kids and Pre-K classes are using the period of the Omer as an opportunity to learn about numbers and counting in a new way. This bulletin board was designed by our Wonder Kids teacher, Monique Seymour. Happy counting!
Todah Rabbah!
Rabbi Natan
Steven Winkler
Cathy Melanson
Rayner Learning Center Council
Nick May


Greetings from Hadassah Baton Rouge
Hadassah had a beautiful “Celebration Reception” on April 15, 2018 at Galatoire’s restaurant. Chef Fredric Terluin created a sumptuous feast for the group. We honored our Baton Rouge Woman of the Year Ellen Bander and all of our Keepers and Chai Society members. We learned about Hadassah’s past and future and discussed the new 360 Degrees of Giving Campaign. Everyone in attendance had a splendid time.
Please join us for our Game Day/Pushkah event. We are encouraging adults and
children to attend this fun event. We’ll be meeting at Beth Shalom Synagogue from 1 pm to 3 pm on May 6th. The children will be creating their own pushkah boxes to get them ready for Tzedakah. Baby sitting will be provided so adults can play their favorite games. Love to see you there.
Our next book discussion will be held Wednesday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the
Goodwood Branch-Main Library. We will talk about Nathan Englander’s new book
“Dinner at the Center of the Earth”. It’s a fictional thriller that uses the Israeli Palestine dispute as its point of reference. Next up will be “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin.
Save the date for our Israel 70 celebration on June 10 at 7 p.m. Location TBA. We’re going to talk about modern Israel, eat delicious Mid Eastern cuisine and do Israeli folk dancing.
Thank you for all you do for Hadassah.
Hadassah Baton Rouge


BaRFTY had a great month of March and a fun event in April. We concentrated our efforts in March towards the Abraham's Dinner at Beth Shalom and it was a HUGE success. We had a delicious spaghetti dinner with lots of entertainment including a fantastic photo booth put together by Eli Levy and an auction with Max Sager as auctioneer. At the end of the day we raised OVER $2700 for Dream Street. Thank you all for attending and helping out.
In April, BaRFTY spent a Sunday lounging out on a canoe at the university lakes at LSU. It was a lot of fun despite the windy weather. Spring Conclave was also a blast from April 20-22 in Memphis. We had six participants from BaRFTY and the conclaves are always a great time to see all of the other NFTY participants. 
In May we will be closing out the year with a pool party at the Posner's House and elections to see who will be sitting on the board next year. Then we will get ready for the summer at Jacobs Camp, Israel, or in Baton Rouge!
Congratulations to our High School & College Graduates!
Eliana Levy, daughter of Michelle & Gus Levy, will receive an International Baccalaureate diploma from LSU Laboratory School and will be attending Tulane University. 
Rachel Posner, daughter of Linda & Mark Posner, will be graduating from Episcopal High School and will be attending Princeton University.
Susannah Silverman, granddaughter of Sara & Norman Silverman, will be graduating from The Dunham School in May and will be attending Nicholls State University in the fall. 
Jeanne Ruth Wood, daughter of Beverly & Bob Fields, will be graduating from St. Michael High School next month and will be attending LSU this fall. 
Erin Dean, daughter of Diane & David Dean, will be graduating from Texas A&M with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering and will be starting with Exxon Baytown at the end of the summer. 
Benjamin Maas, son of Laurie & Dale Maas, will be graduating from LSU with a degree in Marketing and concentration in professional sales. 
Beth Shalom in Pictures
Pesach fun at the 5778 Beth Shalom Second Night Seder. 
Rayner student finds the Afikomen!
Celebrating Shabbat outside on a beautiful April evening. 
Hands on learning at Second Night Seder
Frank Levy tells the history of the Jewish people in 45 minutes with help from BSS members. 
Announcements & Reminders
We welcome any and all to come and worship with us at Beth Shalom.
Oneg Shabbat
Would you like to host an Pre-oneg? If so, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information and available dates.
Hospital Visits
We rely on you to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. when you, a family member, or friend are in the hospital or recuperating at home and would welcome a visit from Rabbi Natan.
May He who blessed our ancestors grant all who are ill a complete and speedy recovery.

 Within our Congregation

Todah Rabah... to Gary BaumJarod BrackinJohn CarlsonMark HausmannRobert Singer, & Steven Winkler for their hard work and dedication at the Brotherhood Clean Up Day.
In Memoriam... for Dr. Lawrence Gardner, brother of Rabbi Tom GardnerRebecca Shultz, mother of Annie Schwartz, grandmother of Sarah Becnel, and great-grandmother of Rebekah Becnel; and Clare Schwartz, mother of Heidi Shapiro
Need a ride to services? 
Please call or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday prior to the service that you would like to attend, and we will make arrangements for a ride to services.
Boomers + Jewish singles group
If you are a Jewish single over 45, you are invited to join our casual group for monthly coffee and conversation, synagogue and community service projects, and cultural activities. Please call Heidi Shapiro at 225-924-2597.
Thank you for your generous donations. Donations may be made to honor any occasion or remembrance. A full listing of all of our funds and a downloadable donation formare available on the Beth Shalom website. Donations via PayPal are also welcomed.
General Fund
In Memory of:
  • My father, Philip Brownleader — Gimmie & Derek Brownleader
  • Lean & Albert Meyer — J.T. & Rezzie Meyer
  • Annie Schwartz's mother, Rebecca Schultz — Isabel Posner & Family; Monica & Steven Winkler
  • Everett "Herbie" Smolinsky — Susan & Larry Smolinsky
  • Ella Cherry — Julie & Mike Cherry
  • Ronald Blum — Laurie & Philip Goldfeder
  • Fay Blum — Laurie & Phil Goldfeder
  • Ralph Holloway — Carin & John Carlson
Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
In Honor of:
  • Elizabeth Clubb's conversion — Rhea & Raymond Schneider
In Memory of:
  • My mother, Shirley Sivon Reznikoff — Tamara Reznikoff
Adult Education
The​ Israel Institute is a deep dive into Israel issues of the day as we affirm our commitment to always keep Israel top of mind. This month, we will be continuing our Israel Institute Interfaith Sessions. In these sessions, we will discover the beating heart of Israel as Christians and Jews come together to study, discuss, and share stories. Saturdays, May 5 and 19 at 1 pm.
Transformational texts
Join us as we travel through 3000 years of life-affirming, Transformational Texts, as Rabbi Natan presents his favorite passagestexts that have changed lives and enhanced our faith. This month, we will be discussing the poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Sunday, May 6 at 11 am.
Days to Remember
Please visit our online calendar for the most up-to-date information about events at Beth Shalom and in the wider Jewish community.
May Anniversaries
16 Michael Dreznick and Yuet Li    
     Elianna and Jeff Smith   
21 Amanda and James Bullman
31 Alicia and Michael Kober    
May Birthdays
 3 Michael Cherry    
 4 Diane Deitch
 5 John Pizer
    Ben Shieber
 6 Jasmin Pizer
 7 Dylan White
 8 Danny Brent
 9 Bill Emmich
12 Leatrice Adams 
15 Ari Fisher
18 Ari Krupkin
     Rachel Posner
     Rhea Schneider
     Ronit Robinson 
20 Shayna Goldfeder
     Toby Burton
21 Nate Brener   
23 Maya Ki Briscoe
24 Mimi Bonadona
     Cruz Hurrey 
28 Norman Silverman
     Betty Vine
29 Susannah Silverman
     Trygve Olson
30 Kim Deitch
31 Lauren Aronson 
May 4: Mollie Helfman, William Kohn, Rhoda Sillins, Max Louis Gumelsky, Abraham Knurr, Bertha Wolff Seidenbach, Sarah Taul, Beatrice Rubin, Laurel Rudavsky, Lena Samuels, Annette Goldie Breen, Joanne Kleiman, Ida Seliger, Ronnie Shaab, Jake Chapman, Samuel Kober, Theresa Kober, Jack Sherman, Jake Slipman
May 11: Martha Devries, Lipa Wolf Friedmann, Becky Gant, Sally Sabin, Shirley Saltz, Lena Langlois, Annie Gordon Wander, Emil Weinheber, Esrael Tal, Fay Blum, Ella Cherry, Andy Mitchell Kaplan, Jacob Moscove, Miriam Hirsch Posner
May 18: William Ettinger, Abraham Roza, Michael Kovnar, Norma Chapman, Avrum Aron Feuerwerker, Bleema Feuerwerker, Menashe Ben Zion Feuerwerker, Mendel Feuerwerker, Otilia Feuerwerker, Pearl Feuerwerker, Reisel Feuerwerker, Shapshe Feuerwerker, Shalom Salman Areyh Feuerwerker, Morris Clemens, Helen Haymon, Rose Lieberman, Doris Diamond, Jean Kaplan, Samuel Shoot
May 25: Ronald Blum, Judah Fink, Michael Shackleton, Joel Tatar, Jeanette Orentlicher, Lena Kaplan Mykoff, Jacob Wichner, Byrde Berenson Haspel, Anna Tepper 
Special Events
Shabbat Yeladim
Join us for our final Shabbat Yeladim experience before summer; featuring music & movement filled services, a KID-ish breakfast, and Saturday-PLAY time. Saturday, May 12 at 9 am.
Shavuot is fast approaching! Celebrate the Moses’ receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai with Rabbi Natan’s Erev Shavuot Tasty Treats & Torah Party with a Dairy Potluck & Ice Cream Sundae Bar followed by the Hearing of the Ten Commandments. Saturday, May 19 at 5 pm.
Got Torah? We are holding a Crash Course in Hebrew and Torah Trope! Come partake in the Shavuot tradition of in depth Torah study. Saturday, May 19 from 7-9 pm and Sunday, May 20 from 12-2 pm.
We will be having Shavuot Shacharit Festival and Yizkor Services before our Torah Trope crash course on Sunday, May 20 at 9 am. 
Facebook Twitter Instagram
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
First Vice President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Second Vice President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Treasurer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sisterhood This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Men’s Club This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Visitors are always welcome!


Let us show off our audacious Southern hospitality!

Latest News

  • Summer 2018 Bulletin

    Summer 2018 Bulletin

              Shalom Y'all! Our new electronic bulletin is here! A Reform Synagogue that Honors Tradition June/July/August 2018 Read More
  • BSS in Israel Blog

    BSS in Israel Blog

      Part 1: Rachel Hausmann DAY 1Yoav, our guide, and Moshe, our driver, welcomed us to Israel on Shabbat afternoon.  Read More
  • BSS Book Club!

    BSS Book Club!

    Jewish Journeys has partnered with the Jewish Book Council's National Jewish Book Clubs to launch Beth Shalom Synagogue's Book Club. Read More
  • 1
  • 2

07.21.2018 9:00 am - 10:00 am


07.21.2018 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


07.21.2018 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


07.22.2018 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


07.27.2018 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm


07.27.2018 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


07.28.2018 9:00 am - 10:00 am


07.28.2018 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Jewish Songs For Kids (and kids-at-heart)

A YouTube playlist curated by our Music and Programming Coordinator, Nick May
NFTY BW jewish fed logo 300x58BW  Jacobs Camp logo

jewish film festival logo BW

hillel logoBW

hadassah h BW