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JULY  2019

To view past issues of the new online Temple Beth El newsletters, click here.

July: Three Snapshots of Rabbi Luna's calendar:
What does a rabbi do all week?
This is a common question asked of rabbis so I'm dedicating my TBE newsletter column to snapshots of my rabbinic calendar. Each month I'll pick three projects or tasks that I'm working on to share with you. I've enjoyed looking over my calendar, deciding what to share, and reflecting on how I spend my time at Temple Beth El. These are just snapshots so I'm not including my regular sermon preparation, Torah study preparation, Shabbat service preparation, staff meetings, pastoral appointments, hospital visits, Governing Committee meetings, pastoral phone calls, committee meetings, clergy study gatherings, etc.

Confirmation class inside and outside TBE: Consumerism and volunteering at Eva’s Closet donation center. Israel’s water solutions and cleaning up a local Fort Myers beach. Seeing beyond stereotypes and visiting the Shy Wolf Sanctuary. These are just some of the classes and field trips I’ve been developing, planning and organizing for our Confirmation class. The Confirmation class curriculum focuses on learning about current topics through a Jewish lens and then acting on our values through service projects and trips. This past month I’ve been working on scheduling, developing lesson plans, and coordinating with the Religious School and TBE calendar to plan a fantastic year for our students.

Preparing to stand under the chuppah: This month has been busy with baby naming, b’nai mitzvah, wedding and funeral preparations as I’ve sat down with congregants preparing for these various life cycle events. For weddings I meet with a couple 3-6 times before the wedding. I teach them about the history and rituals of a Jewish wedding. In our pastoral counseling sessions we discuss how they have changed since being together, what values they share, and how they imagine their life five to ten years from now. For interfaith couples the conversation also includes an in-depth and often emotional discussion of their religious backgrounds and how Judaism will play a role in their family’s life. By the time they stand under the chuppah, the bride and groom have a good understanding of the meaning of the Jewish wedding ceremony and have openly discussed multiple topics to begin their marriage with understanding, honesty, and respect.

Babies and Bagels/Tot Shabbat: Joe and I welcomed five families with babies and/or toddlers to our home this month for a Babies and Bagels program. The newborns slept, the babies crawled, the toddlers ran around, and the big siblings escaped to Zara’s room to play. A week later everyone came together again for Tot Shabbat at TBE. This time 10 families gathered to celebrate Shabbat. Eighteen children sang Shabbat songs in our sanctuary, enjoyed a potluck Shabbat dinner and then chased each other all around the Dubin Center. How joyful to have children’s voices and laughter fill our sanctuary!

Best wishes for an enjoyable and safe summer!

Cemetery Committee News

The cemetery is busy repairing our sign. The weather has taken its toll on the wood, It’s in great hands right now, and we look forward to reinstalling it soon. 

The Cemetery Committee is a vibrant group of Temple Beth El members of all ages and walks of life. We meet for breakfast monthly and the camaraderie is as wonderful as the work we do.


This committee is not only interesting and fulfilling, but it helps support one of the greatest benefits of Temple Beth El. We’d love to have you stop by and share breakfast just to see who we are and what we do! You may contact Pam Arkin at 239-772-0024 or

Caring Cards
If you’ve been on the receiving end of one of Dani Weiner’s spectacular hand-made greeting cards, you may be wondering why Dani does what she does for us.

Creating beautiful cards is Dani’s way of giving back to TBE in a creative way. The creative way is the way she knows best. Dani finds that she can touch people in memorable ways. A brightly colored hand made envelope and hand made one-of-a-kind art card is special in this age of technology. Getting snail mail that’s not a bill and not junk mail is exciting.

Says Dani, "If I can put a smile on someone’s face, then why not? It’s also a creative outlet for me. One of the most rewarding aspects of doing this is the happy thank-you messages, voicemails and emails I receive in return.”



 Please let Dani know if someone needs
a card for any occasion - happy, sad, thinking of you, new grand baby, anniversary, birthday, bereavement, whatever. Dani will also send out a card to someone on your behalf. Perhaps you have a friend who needs cheering up and you’re not into card-making, but would like your friend to have something made just for them. Tell Dani, and she’ll do the rest. Her email is:

....Thank you for your heartfelt creations, Dani Weiner.

Gift Gallery News
Hear ye!  The TBE Gift Gallery is open all year for your convenience.  Stop in any day and there will be someone eager to assist you.  We have Judaica for you and gifts for all occasions.  Always available are mezuzahs for doorposts as well as for cars, kiddush cups, tallit, kippahs, candlesticks, kosher candles from Israel, neronim, Shabbat matches, Yahrzeit candles and lights, and a myriad of beautiful jewelry!  Add to that a special collection of colorful hamsas, Jewish themed books, serveware (like a gefilte fish tray or bagel tray!). 

You never know what you might find as we're always searching for something new and unique.  Remember... it's always service with a smile and free gift wrapping. 

We extend warm summer wishes to everyone!

Mitzvah Committee News 

The Mitzvah Committee received a generous donation of gently used shoes and sneakers from the Snyderman Shoe Store in Fort Myers. Dozens of pairs of used shoes and sneakers were delivered by the Mitzvah Committee to Eva’s Closet, a non-profit organization providing assistance to vulnerable populations in need of clothing, shoes, household items, and more. Thank you, Snyderman’s, for making this mitzvah possible.

In keeping with eternal Jewish tradition, the Mitzvah Committee commits to lead our TBE community in advancing Jewish Values in the public sphere. In partnership with the Religious Action Center (RAC) our team will lead our community in social justice work including:

* Fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our community where all opinions are heard

* Acting in solidarity with vulnerable communities

* Building relationships across lines of difference in our local community

* Acting at local, state and/or federal levels to address the root causes of injustice and advocate for systemic change

* Mobilizing around issues that resonate with our community

* Participate in state-specific social justice work with our state RAC projects

For nearly six decades, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC) has been the hub of Jewish social justice work. As a joint instrumentality of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the RAC represents the values of the largest and most diverse Jewish Movement in North America. The RAC mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace. As part of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, RAC work is completely nonpartisan.

Members of the TBE Mitzvah Committee, Karen Whitman, Judy Zfaz & Hilary Kobrin  partici-pating at protest of conditions at Homestead Detention center 6/16/19 

 The TBE Mitzvah Committee needs YOU! Volunteering is a great way to people good things
...learn about our congregation

There are opportunities to fit all time schedules and interests! There are different programs and functions. You can help once, periodically or on an on-going basis! 

Rabbi Nicole Luna of Temple Beth El and her daughter Zara Luna-Bord pose in the Federation food pantry. Zara donated the money in her PJ Library Tzedakah box to the food pantry after receiving a tour and explanation of who comes to the pantry, what items are in each bag, and how many people the Federation gives food to each month. Thank you to the entire Luna-Bord family for their generous donation!
Choose a Mitzvah opportunity including:

Donate to special food drives and /or help transport the collections for our current project feeding school aged children during the summer holidays and our ongoing Jewish Federation Food Bank.

In partnership with Sisterhood, participate in Cycle Forward to provide women’s personal care products (tampons and pads) by donating and/or help transport the collections to 15 sites.

Serve on the Mitzvah Day team to plan and organize Mitzvah Day on January 26, 2020

There are volunteer opportunities that involve more training, time and relationship building:

The TBE Caring Visit program: Make 1:1 visit with congregants who request your company.

Israel Connects: English language mentoring, engaging in weekly English conversation with a Junior High school student in Israel via Skype. The Israeli Departments of Education and Tourism provide a thorough curriculum.

Habitat for Humanity: Join the project we are currently developing.

Israel in the News: Write about cultural, innovative, non-political news about Israel the TBE newsletter and other media.

Israel Sister City Hadera: Expand and develop new connections with our Sister City, Hadera.

The Matzoh Ball: Add your creative ideas to the Matzoh Ball celebration, scheduled for Dec 24, 2019

Contact us via email:
or attend a Mitzvah Committee meeting (2 PM every 2nd Tuesday of the Month) & be a part of building more programs for social caring, social action and social justice to benefit our Congregation,
our Southwest Florida Community and beyond,  and strengthen our bond with Israel.

Israel in the News

Israel To The Rescue!

Amazon's Trip Around the World Begins in Israel

Summer News from the Red Sea

Israel Unveils Flying Electric Car

Tot Shabbat , Babies & Bagles ...Two Temple Beth El Programs Where Parents Connect 

Babies & Bagels at Rabbi Luna's home



Tot Shabbat with Rabbi Luna

Words from a Grateful Mother
I would like to thank Rabbi Luna and Phyllis for allowing me to speak tonight. I promise to keep it short. My name is Roz Shraiar, who always announces at good and welfare Shabbat aout my precious grandchildren David Kramer and Hannah Shraiar. Tonight, I would like to speak about my daughters, two wonderful women who have suffered from cancer and never complained, “why me”. In fact, sometimes they have survivors’ guilt.

Jennifer Lopez is starting her 50th birthday world tour in July, and this is Melissa’s.  Also, this is why Elton John’s song “I’m Still Standing” is so important.

So, a quick story:  Wendy had Hannah; four months later, she found a lump and was shown to carry the BRCA1 mutation. Melissa and Brett were also carriers of the mutation. Lots of testing and treatment followed. Wendy would have chemotherapy treatment and would return to work the next day. Unfortunately, she was not allowed to hold Hannah close to her for several months. Melissa had some prophylactic surgeries, getting severe headaches and getting into a car accident on June 1, 2011. A cat scan revealed a mass on Melissa’s brain. Peter called with the information and the next day at 6am I came to Fort Myers and never left. Instantly, our lives changed. Melissa has exceeded doctors believes in how much she can heal, learning how to walk, talk, correct emotions, basically, brain trauma.

That is why it is so important to celebrate the milestone of eight years of survivorship for Melissa and nine years for Wendy.

We have a strong belief that G-d was watching over Melissa - that she was not on a highway, but on a local street, that David was not in the van, and that she was slowing down at a traffic light. 


So, I didn’t do all that was necessary by myself. I had a strong support system with my sister Doreen and brother in law Saul who were angels when I couldn’t be with Melissa for all treatments and appointments.     
You all know it takes a village and in this case, several villages.TBE, baseball parents, basketball parents, religious school parents, friend Ronda Freedman from Delray Beach who came and shared family time with Melissa and Wendy, Ruth Lefberg, a friend who I met at Federation, my friend Nancy a mentor for the past 19 years. 

Tonight isn’t just a celebration of numbers, but a celebration of their lives and also heartfelt gratitude to two TBE members who have helped in our journey, the anonymous angels, and others who introduced themselves, letting me know they helped Peter pack up the house for storage. 

My previous congregation held a baby shower for Hannah at four days old. Hannah came a month early; I think she was trying to get out early to meet her special Bubbe. 

So to end, I cannot express enough words of gratitude, so I will feed you instead.

One last item: these two sisters are so close that this year they are both listed as hurricanes. So even though our memories are not happy on June 1, we are ending June with celebrations. Yes, June is a tough month, it starts off with memories of a car accident, sometimes the village is one person or a combination of families Shraiar/Kramer aka Shra-Kra. I have saved the best village for the end, Peter’s village, with his everlasting love for Melissa, David and her extended family.  We may be broken, but again we are still standing.  

Adult Hebrew Class
If you missed the deadline a few months ago to sign up for Adult Hebrew Class, consider signing up next time! The current students have completed over 100 pages in the workbook and are able to read words up to seven letters. A great benefit is the vocabulary lessons given as a bonus... we are learning the meanings of words we use both in services and in conversation. Rabbi Luna recently expressed her delight that, during another adult class, her

students began to read the Hebrew textin order to understand the lesson better! We're having a great time with lots of laughs!
Mike Kashi teaches Adult Hebrew Lessons 

A Special Memorial
In April, 1945, just a few days before VE Day, 10,023 American soldiers were all killed in action protecting the city of Margraten, Netherlands from a German invasion.  The residents believe that the city and their population would have been totally annihilated if not for the protection and ultimate sacrifice of the American military. 

The families of Margraten believe that they can show their gratitude by continuing to provide a sponsor family to tend to the graves of each soldier killed during the battle, in a 65.5 acre local cemetery. There is also a waiting list frozen at 3,500 families that still wish to sponsor a grave. A small percentage of graves are now empty due to returning the remains to the USA, yet those graves are still honored. The sponsor families grow flowers, decorate the graves nearly every week, and thank their individual soldier for his sacrifice.

Temple Beth El Sisterhood has made a generous donation to the American Military Cemetery. On behalf of Sisterhood, Andi Elkes wrote to the Cemetery General Manager, who is employed by the USA Dept. of Interior:


Total of graves (not counting the MIA) is 8,301, with 179 Stars of David.  MIA  1,722 + burials 8,301 = 10,023

Membership Committee News

by Randy Kashi, Membership Chair

Under the guidance of Rabbi Lou Feldstein and Rabbi Luna, the Membership Committee has committed to a mission and exciting ways in which to fulfill it. Our mission, Recruit, Welcome, Engage helps to narrow our focus to gaining new members, assuring all feel welcome upon entering our doors, and ushering members through their first year, integrating them into temple life with its multiple facets.

Don't miss our Bring A Friend Shabbat on August 23rd! Make sure to think of all of your unaffiliated Jewish friends, neighbors and family members who would like a taste

of Temple Beth El and all of our spiritual, educational, social action and friendship opportunities, and give them a warm welcome on August 23rd, and then again on September 13th at our Community Shabbat Dinner & Service. Temple Beth El is the place to worship for Shabbat and the upcoming High Holy Days. 

We are in contact with a local grocery store to launch our Pre-Rosh Hashana Honey Tasting - we'll give more details as plans unfold.

Don't forget all of the wonderful activities and services you find on the Temple Beth El website - the homepage will have the latest, and our calendar can be clicked on from the home page, too.

Chairperson: Randy Kashi
Committee Members: Rachelle Luna, Rollie Fischer, Louise Weiner, Doris Loigman, Phyllis and Berny Aronson, Carolyn Gora, Rabbi Nicole Luna

"Word of your kind and thoughtful deeds reached us and I visited the American Cemetery in Margraten on VE Day a few weeks ago.  We, as Jews, have a special place in our hearts for the People of the Netherlands for the risks and sacrifices made to aid and comfort our fellow Jews, and humanity in general, during the dark days of World War II.  We also are moved by your Foundation's gratitude for the for American Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom.

When I visited the Cemetery, I felt a special bond that was even stronger than expected."

Andi Elkes and the Cemetery General Manager

Andi Elkes, standing in front of the chapel with the doors decorated by a Tree of Life. Attached to the chapel is a wall containing a plaque with names of 1722 soldiers.



What to do you get when you cross the Schmoozers with a movie? Schmoovies of course!

Enjoy an evening of camaraderie, a potluck dinner and a good movie...

Weds November 6 @ 5pm - Defiance
In memory of Kristallnacht, and the 75th anniversary of the partisans' departure from the forest

Weds Dec 18 @ 5pm - Under the Streetlamp - Let the Good Times Roll
Music of the Jersey Boys

Weds Jan 15 @ 5pm - Judeophobia
Unmasking Anti-Semitism Through the Ages

Weds Feb 12 @ 5pm -  Crossing Delancey 
A romantic comedy around Valentine’s Day

Weds Mar 11 @ 5pm - Crossing the Line
Anti-semitism on college campuses

Weds Apr 15 @ 5pm - Frisco Kid
A Mel Brooks comedy about a Jewish immigrant during the covered wagon days

Weds May 13 @ 5pm - Mekonen
An Ethiopian recruit in the IDF

For more information or to volunteer to help, contact Dottie Ruberto,


Mark your Calendar...

After the rousing success of our Community Shabbat Dinner & Confirmation Service, the date has been set for the next one! There will be a 6pm dinner and services will begin at the regular time, 7:30pm. See you there!

Security Committee News

Yet another topic for your protection: Identity Crisis… How to Minimize Your Risks

* Before you reveal your identity, ask, “how will it be used? Will it be shared? Can I choose to keep it confidential? Do I have to share it?”

* Pay attention to billing cycles

* Guard mail from theft

* Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts

* Minimize what you carry

* Do not give out personal information unless you initiated the contact

* Keep items with personal information in a safe place

* Be cautious

*Who has access to your information at work and at your doctor’s offices?

* Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. 

* Don’t carry your SS card

* Order a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 major agencies

* Add the following to your credit report at each of the three credit agencies: “Before any new credit is issued, CALL ME” (then submit your phone number.) This way, the credit issuing company does not simply call the person at the number on the credit application, which will probably be different than the number on the credit report.

Identity Fraud and the Internet

The growth of the internet creates identity Fraud risks. To avoid becoming a victim:

* Only do business with companies you are familiar with

* Only conduct business on a secure line

* Only conduct business when you have initiated it. Inquire how your information will be used.

* You still have rights. You do not have to give out all the information asked for.

According to the Secret Service:

Financial crimes generally involve identity fraught; 94% of all financial crime-arrests involve identity theft.

How Identity Thieves work:

* Steal wallets and purses
* Steal mail
* Complete a ‘change of address form’
*Rummage through trash
* Obtain your credit report
* Go through your personal records at work
* Find personal information in your home
* Use personal information you share on the internet
* Buy your information



How your information is used:

* They change the mailing address on your accounts, then run up charges. Because your bills are being sent to a new address, it may take some time to realize there’s a problem.

* They open a new credit card account, using your information. They use the credit card and don’t pay the bills; the delinquent account is reported on y0ur credit report.

If you suspect your personal information has been taken to commit a crime, take action IMMEDIATELY and KEEP a record of your conversation and correspondence. Your first steps:

* Contact the Fraud Departments of the 3 major credit bureaus and request a ‘fraud alert’ to be placed in your file. 

* Order copies of your credit reports

* Contact the creditors of any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.* 

Speak with the Security or Fraud Department. 

*Immediately close accounts that have been tampered with

* File a report with your local police or the police in the community in which the theft took place

* Get a copy of the police report

* Contact US Postal Inspection Service

* Add passwords to your existing and new accounts

Credit Report Information

Your credit report contains information on where you work and live, your past addresses, credit account ts opened in your name, how you pay your bills and whether you have been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy. 

To Share or Not To Share?
Your information may be used to process your order, create a customer profile so inform you about other products of possible interest, services or promotions, or, they may share your information!

Who shares and buys
* Credit Bureaus. Pre-appro ed credit - You may opt out of pre-approved credit offers by calling 888-567-8688

Marketing lists
Only experience allows you to opt out from Marketing and Promotional lists by calling 1-800-407-1088

Department of Motor Vehicles Marketing and Promotional offers. 

In Florida, you may opt out by completing a special form.

Direct Marketers: You may opt out by contacting:

National Direct Mail Lists:

DMA Mail Preference Service
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
National Direct E-mail Lists:

Wed, July 17 2019 14 Tammuz 5779