September 22, 2018 /

Temple Beth El

Temple Beth El

Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow

Contact Us: 239-433-0018 |

Find Us: 16225 Winkler Road, Fort Myers, FL 33908



In 5776 Berny and Phyllis Aronson were named the Etz Chayim award winners as Temple Beth El’s Volunteers of the Year.  It came as no surprise to those who work with Phyllis and Berny on the many committees and projects they are involved in.  And while many of us deserve awards for our commitment and dedication to TBE, the Aronsons take it one step further.

Besides their roles on the Board (Berny as our Ritual VP), Membership Committee, the newly formed Safety Committee, Sisterhood, Men’s Club and active participation in almost all of the temple’s programs and activities, it is their warmth and enthusiasm which set them apart.

Phyllis and Berny, the definition of a true partnership, have been happily married for 19 years although they have known each other since they were 7 years old!  Berny’s uncle and Phyllis’ aunt were married to each other.  They were friends during early years in the Bronx but lost touch when Phyllis’ family moved to Queens and Berny’s family moved to Yonkers.   They were reunited years later at Berny’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary celebration.  Both were single and it was beshert they would re-connect, fall in love and get married.

How lucky for us that they finally settled down in Ft. Myers, thanks to Berny’s childhood friend who lived here.  They came for a visit and were so impressed with the cleanliness and slower pace compared to Long Island where they had been living for the past 16 years.  They found the people here to be kind and friendly and committed to moving to Florida by buying a house in the Legends.

The Aronsons’ volunteer experience prior to moving here was limited as they were both working full time jobs.  They had done volunteer work in their younger years however, they had not volunteered in their married life until joining TBE.  When they moved here in 2013, they immediately set out to find a synagogue to call their spiritual home.  Fortunately for us, they discovered a lot more.  On their first visit to check us out, Berny and Phyllis were lucky enough to meet Jodi and Rabbi Barras at a Religious School event.   Consequent visits found us to be a warm and welcoming congregation and they were convinced they had found a spiritual home and family at TBE.

Our religious school children are one of their top priorities.  Our children are our future and Berny and Phyllis work to make certain they feel important, loved and, Jewish.  They work hard to keep the children involved by giving them roles during services, attending and supporting their events, including their B’nai Mitzvahs and…offering lots of love and hugs, something Phyllis, especially, is very good at and famous for!

Phyllis and Berny’s hope for the future of Temple Beth El is that we grow and keep our young families involved.  “Every congregant must feel that they belong and that TBE is their extended family, whether young, middle aged or ‘more experienced’.   We, as a people, must show caring to all our congregants through joyous times and times of stress.”

We are so glad they found SW Florida, a place where, according to Phyllis and Berny, “you can be yourselves, enjoy being alive, see less traffic, have places to go for entertainment, enjoy nature and the friendly and helpful people.”   A place, according to Berny, where “you never have to shovel sunshine”!

And we are grateful they found us.  Congratulations to a shining example of volunteerism at Temple Beth El.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. 

~Anne Frank

Temple Beth El relies on its volunteers to get most of what we do  accomplished. There is only a handful of paid staff at TBE. You probably have a skill or talent or perhaps a profession that would  help the temple reach its greatest potential. We need you and by  volunteering you can become an integral part of the Temple Beth El family. Here is a list of 14 of the volunteer opportunities at Temple Beth El. Please look it over and match your skills with the Temple’s needs. Todah Rabah!


Temple Beth El takes pride in its more than 50 year history. The historian is responsible for chronicling our journey by archiving articles and photos. The position of Historian is open. Please contact President Russ Bogen if you would like to volunteer for this important job.

Garden of Memories Cemetery Committee

The Temple currently operates the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Fort Myers. The cemetery Committee establishes rules, regulations and fee structures of the cemetery; establishes means for raising funds for the cemetery; maintains and beautifies the cemetery.


Barbara Vinson will be heading the library committee including; acquisition, disposal, cataloging of books, loans and general maintenance of the library.

Barbara is looking for volunteers.

Requirement: Love and respect books. No experience necessary.

Men’s Club

The purpose of the Men’s Club of TBE is to promote the spirit of camaraderie among its members and the congregation. It serves as a social organization, as well as a service organization for the Temple.


Volunteer Opportunities: New members are always welcome. Activities and volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year.

The Sisterhood pursues social, educational and fundraising programs for the benefit of its members, the temple and the community.

Needed: Bakers for cookies and brownies monthly

People to Pick up food at Publix

People to help prepare, serve and clean up lunch


Choir Rehearsal starting in August for High Holiday services weekly and bi-weekly as holidays approach.

Temple members who sing or play instruments may be able to sit in on Friday night services or for concerts.

Ritual Committee

Committee Time Commitment: Meetings every other month – Wednesday 7:00 p.m.

Purpose of Committee: To assist the Rabbi on matters related to the administration of rituals and observance, including but not limited to assignment of honors at Sabbath and High Holy Day Services, usher assignments , seating arrangements, Bimah assignments and selection of prayer books and material.

Volunteer opportunities (not limited to committee members):

Ushers at Friday night services:

Greet worshipers and distribute prayer books. Close sanctuary doors when service begins.

Open doors for the Sabbath Bride and then close them. At end of service, open doors and collect prayer books.

Volunteer Wish List


Temple Gardening Club

Grounds Beautification

Temple Beautification

Hospitality Committee:

King David Society:  Make a provision for TBE in your will. People are needed to make follow up phone calls.

Second Night Seder: A chair for this important event is needed.

“Security Team”    Someone is required on the premises every time the Dubin Center is rented to oversee safety of the building. Members are paid for this service.

Caring and Sharing Committee

The Caring and Sharing Committee coordinates Temple activities to meet the personal needs of members during illness or hardship.

The committee sends correspondence to members for life cycle events such as births, deaths and bar and bat mitzvot.

Committee members make hospital visits and Shiva calls.

Gift Gallery

Are you energetic, enthusiastic, love fine merchandise and supportive of Temple Beth El? … then we Need you.

The TBE Gift Gallery expresses the latest trends in Judaica as well as the freshest ideas in gift giving. Join our team and invest time in the future of our temple. Volunteer opportunities are available in two hour shifts, weekly or bi-weekly. Smiling faces are welcome.

Preschool – The Learning Tree

The Learning Tree is a preschool and family resource center with programs and activities for children birth to age 5.

Contact Jesyca Virnig, Director for volunteer opportunities.

Religious School

Volunteer Opportunities for both Sundays and Wednesdays.  A few are listed below. Please speak directly with Dale Cohen about needs of the Religious School. Our volunteers are part of what makes the religious school great.

First day of school check students in and direct/escort new students and parents to class.

Someone to help design and fill the bulletin boards.

Picking up Challah and juice from Publix weekly.

Assisting teachers in classes including art.

Passing out flyers and notices to go home to parents.

Taking the tzedakah channukiah from class to class.

Filling Shabbat Boxes.

Getting supplies for teachers as requested.

Tutoring students in Hebrew.

Working with students with special needs.

And many more tasks to be done!

Attention students: Volunteering at Religious School may be counted toward community service hours. Inquire with Mrs. Cohen about this opportunity.

Public Relations Committee

The Public Relations committee is charged with marketing the temple, communicating events both within the congregation and in the general Jewish community or the community at large and getting Temple Beth El’s name out in forms of publicity, advertising, newsletters and the like.

If you are artistic, creative and outgoing, please consider joining the PR committee.

Social Action Committee

Mission of the Social Action Committee

Promote tikkun olam through social advocacy, social justice and mitzvot.

Collect and deliver food to food banks (year round)

Collect and deliver new baby clothes to organizations that serve mothers and babies in our community. (autumn project)

Develop and participate in PROJECT E.I.G.H.T.  Part of the religious school curriculum in the fall semester to help students learn about tzedakah and tikkun olam (fall semester)

Organize Mitzvah Day, a project for  all temple members and families. The membership spends a day working on various projects to help the temple and other organizations in our community as another expression of tikkun olam.(spring)

Identify various speakers, programs and projects active in or promoting social action and social justice on a local, state, or national level which may warrant temple participation.

Other projects as identified by the committee.