The Bulletin: August/September/October 2000

     From the Restoration Campaign:
     The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas has a huge and exciting challenge ahead of us - a $100,000 challenge.
     Trudie and Neil Prior have offered a $100,000 gift to help us complete the restoration of our beautiful Synagogue. To receive this gift, we must match it by raising $100,000 in new gifts and pledges before December 31, 2000. Only gifts or pledges made after May 1, 2000, will qualify as part of the match.
     In effect, this doubles the value of every new gift or pledge.
     Trudie and Neil's incredibly generous challenge comes at a critical time in the Campaign to Preserve the St. Thomas Synagogue. The comprehensive restoration project, which began in mid-1999, is now projected to cost $450,000. We are close to the halfway mark in gifts and pledges, so the $200,000 available through the Priors' challenge gift and its match would put us very near our goal.
     As of this writing, we have raised an additional $23,000 toward the challenge goal. A newly formed fund-raising group is seeking major gifts - particularly leadership gifts of $5,000 and above - from members and friends who have not yet contributed to the Restoration project and from those who have given smaller gifts but who will, we hope, rise to the Priors' challenge and give again.
     Several attractive naming opportunities still exist, and all donors of $1,000 and above will have their name or dedication added to a donor tablet in etched glass that will be permanently displayed in the Weibel Museum, adjacent to the sanctuary.
     As you know, the restoration of the 167-year-old Synagogue building - a National Historic Landmark and a major attraction in downtown Charlotte Amalie to visitors of all faiths - is the most important capital project to be undertaken by this generation of the Hebrew Congregation. The restoration is progressing rapidly and it is conceivable that we could have the rededication ceremony in late fall, in conjunction with the High Holy Days - provided, of course, that we complete the Campaign.
     We ask you to think about what a vibrant role our Synagogue plays in the St. Thomas community, and how your generosity now will ensure that it continues to do so for generations to come.
     If you have any questions about any aspect of the restoration project or your gift, please contact the Synagogue, 340-774-4312, or e-mail us at
     Short Takes:
     News from ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America

     Chag Sameach! As you prepare for the new year, please consider deepening your commitment to Progressive Judaism around the world. Here are some suggestions:
     * Become a member of ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America. Basic membership is only $36 a year.
     * Come to Jerusalem on October 24-28 to help our leadership dedicate the magnificent new Mercaz Shimshon religious cultural center and then join the 10th anniversary mission to the former Soviet Union, October 29-November 5.
     * Help us welcome the world! For the first time in its 75-year history, the World Union for Progressive Judaism's International Convention will be held in the United States. Join us Wednesday, March 14 - Sunday, March 18, 2001 at the Wyndham Hotel in Washington, D.C. You will hear addresses and workshops given by leaders from around the world, as well as North America, and have the chance to interact with hundreds of delegates representing nearly 40 countries. The convention's busy schedule will include a night time tour of Washington's illuminated monuments and Havdalah services led by Rabbi David Saperstein (Director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
     * Send a Torah scroll to a Progressive congregation in need. There are many Progressive congregations around the world that cannot even afford one sefer Torah. ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America arranges for Reform communities in the U.S. and Canada to send their extra Torah scrolls on permanent loan. Through this program, more than 30 Progressive communities--from Chile to Israel, Costa Rica, and the steppes of Russia-now have a Torah along with a special bond to a Reform community in North America.
     * Invite a speaker to discuss Israeli current events that involve the Progressive movement. In 5761, look for more headlines involving ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America, in issues such as mixed-gender prayer services at the Western Wall and equal rights for the non-Orthodox.
     * Schedule a World Union for Progressive Judaism Shabbat. Join hundreds of other congregations who will offer special programming on February 23, 2001 that will focus on our international movement.
     * For more information on any of these projects, please contact your synagogue's chapter chairperson, call our office at (212) 650-4280, or e-mail
     From the Rabbi:
     Dear Synagogue Members:
     It is indeed an honor to be called to serve as rabbi of this historic congregation. Kanit and I thank you for your warm welcome and generous support during this period of transition and we look forward to getting to know each and every one of you in the weeks and months to come.
     On a regular basis I am struck by the awesome responsibility the name rabbi implies. What I accomplish or do not accomplish in this congregation will undoubtedly shape the character of our synagogue for years to come. Of course no rabbi-- and no Jew--can go it alone. That's why we band together in congregations. That's also the reason I need to enlist your ongoing support: because I cannot fulfil the many tasks all by myself.
      It is my fervent prayer that each of you will join with me in seeking to play an active role in our congregation and that together we will pursue new ways to make the Covenant active and vital both in our communal and our private lives.
     Soon the High Holy Days will be upon us and many of us are beginning to feel the need to get ready. Our tradition offers a daily blowing of shofar during the thirty day period leading up to Rosh Hashanah as a reminder of the call to repentance. The observance of selichot, one of the richest and most spiritually meaningful rituals to be reinvigorated by Reform Judaism in recent years, takes place at midnight on the Saturday prior to the New Year.
     The best form of preparation for the Days of Awe, however, is to resolve to attend each and every one of the services. In fact, to attain full benefit from the Holy Days, it is essential to do so since there is a natural progression, both in mood and theme of the liturgy and the sermons, that culminates in the Neila service on Yom Kippur afternoon. Additionally, during the Holy Days, I hope to share with you in my talks the underlying ideals that will guide me during the first year of my rabbinate here in St. Thomas.
     Again, thanks to all of you for your warm welcome to this lovely community. Kanit and I are both thrilled to be here among you.
     Rabbi Jay Heyman
     From the Antiques Art & Collectibles Auction:
     Dear Friends:
     For the better part of two centuries, the St. Thomas Synagogue - designated a National Historic Landmark - has been an integral part of Virgin Islands religious and cultural life. We have the third oldest Synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest in continuous use under the American flag. Our name is "Bracha V'shalom Ug'miluth Chasadim - Blessing and Peace and Loving Deeds" and we try hard to live up to that name.
     During the 205 years that the Congregation has been in existence, it has served both the local Jewish community and tens of thousands of visitors who have passed this way. We keep our beautiful 167-year-old synagogue and a small adjacent museum open five days a week to permit visitors to the island to appreciate our architectural gem and to learn about the history of Jews in St. Thomas. We welcome visitors to our Shabbat and High Holy Day services and to our community and home Seders at Passover. Over the years, the Congregation has hosted or sponsored art exhibits, concerts, lectures and readings that have enriched the experience of residents and visitors alike.
     To allow us to continue these kinds of community activities - and to keep our historic Synagogue open to the public - we are again holding a gala auction of fine antiques, art, collectibles and jewelry. This second annual auction will take place December 10, 2000, again at the Old Stone Farmhouse. Adam Hutter of Tepper Galleries of New York will again serve as auctioneer.
     To make this event a success, we need the help of all our friends, here and abroad. We are seeking contributions of significant pieces of jewelry, especially antique jewelry, as well as other fine collectibles such as silver, crystal, china, porcelain, statuary and the like. We also would welcome donations of any antiques, and would happily arrange for the shipment of major pieces to St. Thomas.
     We hope that you will consider donating items for the auction. If you do not have an item with which you are willing to part, we would gladly accept donations of cash to permit us to acquire important pieces for the auction.
     We appreciate anything you can do to help keep this tiny congregation in the Caribbean strong and viable as we enter the new millennium.
     Trudie J. Prior
     President of the Congregation
     Refuah Shleimah - Speedy Recovery to:
     Ed Kalik
     Aron Tennenhaus
     Dana Moses
     Jim Trilling
     Jeannette Bastian
     Lisa Whitny
     Hyman Chuven
     Welcome to New Members:
     Warmest welcome to our newest members:
     Robert and Ann West from Florida
     Lou Stern from Brooklyn, New York
     To Michael Kleinman from Austin, Texas
     Lawrence and Helen Goldman
     Rabbi Jay Heyman and his wife Kanit Cottrell from Washington State
     And! Welcome back, Lynn and Eric Dohm
     Kol Hakavod! - Well Done!
     To Abraham Tarapani on becoming a Presidential Scholar.
     Toda Raba - Thank You Very Much:
     To Rabbi Bradd Boxman for pursuing our vision of archives.
     To Peter Gruber for sponsoring the archives.
     To our own Jeannette Bastian, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, for undertaking the establishment of the archives.
     To Manya Kapikian, a graduate student at Simmons College, Boston, for a month of hard work on our archives.
     To Ella and Archie Ogden for providing a home to Manya for the duration of her stay on the island.
     To Susan Miller and Agnes Rampino; George and Marilyn Blackhall; Trudie Prior; for making Manya's stay on the island a pleasant one.
     Mazel Tov
     To Julie and Sebastiano Cassinelli on the birth of their daughter, Julia Cassinelli.
     Ad Meah V'esreem - Till One Hundred and Twenty!
     Happy Birthday - Many Happy Returns!

     08/01 Shlomo Shock
     08/02 Marilyn Blackhall
     08/03 Phebe Schwartz
     08/10 Hanna Schafer
     08/12 Dylan Rosenberg
     08/13 Irene Lymon
     08/14 Ilene Rothgeb
     08/15 Iris Horwitz
     08/19 Marty Goldberg
     08/30 Trudie Prior
     08/30 Rebecca Grbinich
     09/01 Donald Pomeranz
     09/06 Jim Tunick
     09/11 Glenn Rothgeb
     09/16 Abe Tarapani
     09/20 Jessica Rosenberg
     09/23 Stephen Schafer
     09/24 Marilyn Kreke
     09/24 Elijah Jacobs-Matthew
     09/24 Arielle Ebenholtz
     09/25 Marc Blazar
     09/27 Adam Blazar
     09/29 Abraham Tarapani
     10/02 Carol Schatten
     10/02 Jackie Jeffries
     10/03 Gary Rosenthal
     10/03 Joan King
     10/04 Terry Buder
     10/07 George Rosenberg
     10/21 Matthew Kleinman
     10/09 Archie Ogden
     10/10 Ann Becal
     10/14 Joel Kirshenbaum
     10/18 Andrea Weibel
     10/20 Franzi Coulianos
     10/23 Wendy Tarapani
     10/24 Isidor Paiewonsky
     10/26 Susan Miller
     Happy Anniversary
     08/01 Archie & Ella Ogden
     09/01 Marianne & Marc Blazar
     08/14 Susan & Butch Miller
     09/17 Marilyn & George Blackhall
     09/18 Jessica & George Rosenberg 09/28 Judee & Gary Rosenthal
     10/02 Ellisa & Jerry Runyon
     10/09 Agnes & Steve Rampino
     10/12 Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky 10/26 Penny & Monty Abrams
     08/01 Arlene & Joel Kirshenbaum
     10/26 Doris and Donald Pomeranz
     General Fund: Carol Weinberger in memory of Edna Jablon; Carol Weinberger in memory of Cornelle Dixon; Douglas & Sharon Rich in memory of Telma Reich and Gilbert Reich; Libby & David Fogle in memory of Esther Kipp; Emily & William Gindin in memory of Leon Shimkin; Trudie & Neil Prior in memory of Amalia Mylner; Melvin Schwartz in memory of Dorothy Schwartz; Saul & Dorothy Muchnick in memory of Max Muchnick and Rae Muchnick; Alan & Rita Cochin in memory of Louis Gang and Goldie Cochin; Mildred Gruber in memory of Sarah Levitz Gruber; Morton and Hulda Lawrence in memory of Frances Lawrence; Lawrence & Sheila Smith in memory of Martin Smith; Mina Orenstein in memory of Lorene Williams and Mr. Wasserlauf; Lester and Lauretta Allen in memory of Rose Abraham; Fern & Gary Goldenberg in memory of Joseph Van Horn, Gerald Dinitz, and Pauline Dinitz; Franzi Coulianos in honor of Nathan Sell and Katina Coulianos' birthday; Franzi Coulianos in memory of Harry Coulianos and Golda Levin Ruiz; Saul & Dorothy Muchnick in memory of Max Muchnick, Rae Muchnick, Jean Dufournet, Elijah Perlberg, and Annette Perlberg; Sally & Henry Luttinger in memory of Lena Luttinger; Ray & Aileen Herter in memory of Louis Grosswirth; Trudie & Neil Prior in memory of Cornelle Dixon; Raymond & Ilene Kasch in memory of Grace Kasch; Rabbi Steve & Nina Schafer in memory of Harriet Mallin; Rabbi Steve & Nina Schafer in honor of Ashley Pomernz's Bat Mitzvah; Penny & Hank Feuerzeig in memory of Cornelle Dixon; Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky in memory of Jonas Kaufman; Mr. & Mrs. Harvey Henne in memory of Sam Henne; Lon & Rosita Schwartz in memory of Morris Klaiman; Isak Kubiliun on memory of Moises Kubiliun; Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Camis in memory of Ernst Kollmann; Joseph & June Greene in memory of Ida Thrope; Harvey Frumkin in memory of Abraham Frumkin; Ruth Markison in memory of Bernard Levin; Marvin Crane in memory of Rose Crane; Dr. Milton & Frances Nowick in memory of Nina Kashov; Warren & Patricia Lupson in memory of Shaun Edward Lupson-Holden, Gina Marie Lupson-Holden -Young, and Joshua Lee Lupson-Young; Penny & Monty Abrams in memory of David Abrams and Ben Peirez; Seymour & Muriel Greenberg in memory of Irving Greenberg; Jack & Lydia Zakim in memory of Harry B. Silman; Mina Orenstein in honor of Roger Lakins for being a great teacher, and Abraham Tarapani for being awarded Presidential Scholar; David Charlowe in memory of Sydelle Charlowe-Katz; Stanley & Joan Adoff in memory of Lillian Gottlieb; Claudia Raznikov in memory of Irving Raznikov; Geraldine & Richard Schrier in memory of Rebecca Schrier; Jacqueline Kweit in memory of Fannie Kweit; Mark Fihma in memory of Samuel Fihma; David & Tanya Bruck in memory of Frances Paskanzer Bruck; Myron & Rose Shrenkel in memory of Rose Shrenkel; Lawrence Steinberg in memory of Stephen Pearle and Ethel Steinberg; Robert & Roberta Bayne in memory of Irene E. Bayne; Steve & Eileen Berlin in honor of their grandson's, Alec Jacob Schwartz, birthday; Myers Vitkin Foundation; Ann Shellow in memory of Bernard Rappoport and Robert Shellow; Sidney & Lorraine Harris; Sylvia Saposnekoo in memory of Louis Saposnekoo and Saposnekoo Family; Ray & Aileen Herter in memory of Albert Morris Herter; Purer Family Trust in memory of Winnie Purer; David & Nana Puritz in memory of Paulina Paiewonsky Puritz; Samuel & Beverly Sirota in memory of Freda Sirota; Stanley and Joan Adoff in memory of Julius Adoff; Gary Sherman in memory of Tillie Shostack; Sheala Berkowsky in honor of birth of Benjamin Powell; Blaine & Elizabeth Eig; Milton Field in memory of Edith Shaffel Field; Irene Watkins in memory of Joseph Kessler; Sandy and Marilyn Grishman in memory of Daisy Grishman; Louis and Elaine Michaelson in memory of Jennie Michaelson; Sandra Schneider in memory of Norman Alter; Lillian Levy in memory of Phillip Rosen; Trudie and Neil Prior in honor of birth of Julia Cassinelli, in honor of Abraham Tarapani being Presidential Scholar, and Dana Moses for speedy recovery; Dr. & Mrs. Milton Nowick in memory of Minnie Nowick; Edith Blazar in memory of Lena Cohen; Krim Ballentine; Charlotte & Isidor Paiewonsky in memory of Isaac Paiewonsky and Paulina Paiewonsky Puritz; Sybil & Kurt Ronis in memory of Ehwald Ehrenkranz; Charles Rotenberg in memory of Sol Rotenberg; Mr. And Mrs. Howard Saks in memory of Philip Hauben.
     Mazon: Eileen & Steve Berlin.
     Nancy Jacobs Fund: Terry Halpern; Patricia Benson; Jane Jacobs and Roberta Mockenstrum; Barbara Footer; Susan & Arthur Davis; Eve Herbst; Robert & Pamela Jacobs; Mina Orenstein in memory of Cornelle Dixon; Murray Kaplan; Bruce W. Benson.
     Religious School: Marilyn & George Blackhall in honor of Sandy Grishman's birthday, birth of Julia Cassinelli and in memory of Irene S. Zweigenhaft.
     Restoration Fund: Irene Axler; Lori Moldovan; Rachel Applerouth; Jewel Stern; Adeline Rosenfeld; Henrietta Pitman; Paula Nadler; Bernice Horowitz; Seymour Feinstein; Beatrice Engel; Shirley Drevich Medlock; Alan Zinn; Stanley & Marilyn Boyle in memory of Betty Miller and Isadore Boyle; Samuel & Helen Gordon; Samuel Steinberg; Steven Lustig; Doris and Donald Pomeranz in memory of Cornelle Dixon; Gottlieb Family; Jim & Becky Tunick in memory of Ted and Doris Tunick; Herbert Lantor; Philip Bernstein: Graciela & Ricardo Grinbank; Dick Golden; Debby & Kevin Sottak; Beth Shira Religious School; Mina Orenstein in honor of Trudie & Neil Prior's anniversary; L. Karl Seman; Gerald Foreman and Sue Antell; Hank & Penny Feuerzeig; Andrea Weibel; Morty & Gladys Hertz; Margaret & Al Cohen; Penny & Hank Feuerzeig in honor of birth of Julia Cassinelli; Sandy and Marilyn Grishman; Sheldon Gillman; Jack & Barbara Treuhaft; Jackie Jeffries in memory of Amalia Mylner; Abe & Wendy Tarapani in memory of Herbert Davis.
     Donations to the Restoration Fund in Memory of Irene S. Zweigenhaft: Mina Orenstein; Jared Falek; Norma Levy; Jim & Becky Tunick; Trudie & Neil Prior; Doris & Donald Pomeranz; Terry Halpern; Teri and Dick Golden; Isidor & Charlotte Paiewonsky, Sebastiano & Julie Cassinelli, Avna Cassinelli, and Filippo Cassinelli; Penny & Hank Feuerzeig; Debby & Kevin Sottak; Patricia Murphy & Peter Gruber; Kathy Petersen; Margaret & Al Cohen; Terry Buder; Jackie Jeffries; Judi Nagelberg.
     Rabbi's Discretionary Fund: Archie & Ella Ogden in memory of Dee Greene; Dr. & Mrs. Joseph B. Esterson.
     Weibel Museum: Andrea Weibel in memory of Irene S. Zweigenhaft; Andrea Weibel in memory of Samuel J. Lang, Ludwig Weibel, Scott Brener, Cornelle Dixon, Amalia Mylner and Dee Greene. Andrea Weibel in memory of Lil Cohen and William Kantor.
     We thank you all.