President’s Message

President's MessagePresident's Message

Been a Temple member for 18 years, being on the Board of Trustees for nine years serving in different capacities: Financial Secretary prior to becoming President and was Education Chair for seven years as well as sitting on various committees.

Became an Adult B’nei Mitzvah in 2011. Has a Masters Degree in School Psychology but no longer practices.  

Married to Ira Newman for 24 years and have two boys Alec and Ethan who both attend Binghamton University.  Enjoys baking, photography, family time, our dogs and being with friends.  

My favorite part about TBT is our amazing Clergy and the incredible sense of community Temple Beth Torah provides.

Apr 2016 The Arc – (Berland)

Spring has arrived –yes, it snowed for the first day, but it’s spring nonetheless. Which, of course, means that Passover is on the way.

Chanukah is great. So is Purim –thank you to our miraculous Clergy, our extraordinarily talented Teen Band led by Cantor Appelbaum, our energetic and ubiquitous Director of Youth Programming, Dr. Jodi Mishkin-Michaelson, our incredible teachers, kids, parents, Sisterhood and Brotherhood volunteers and our tireless office and maintenance staffs for making last weekend’s Megillah reading and Purim Carnival so successful, and so much fun!

Still, I think there’s no holiday or festival we celebrate that is more wrapped in individual “nostalgia”than Passover. We each have our own special Passover memories and associations –tastes, smells, the comforts of family near and extended. Yet for all of us collectively, as Jews, Passover is the eight-day period we devote every year to remembering our release from slavery and the beginning of our fitful and meandering forty-year journey to the land promised to our forbearers. After 400 years of captivity, the offspring of Jacob –of Israel, the second-born twin who finagled the first-born’s blessing for himself and then “wrestled with God”until dawn –had grown into a people. But it took four decades for that people to mature into a nation able to take, and worthy to possess, the land that had been covenanted to it. We are reminded of our deliverance from bondage throughout the Torah and in our weekly prayers, but Passover refocuses our attention on it.

Skip ahead a few millennia. Viewed even through a narrow lens, the birth of the modern State of Israel took longer than the ancient journey from Egypt to Canaan –from August 29, 1897, when Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, to May 14, 1948, the day David Ben-Gurion announced the Declaration of the Founding of the State of Israel. From the ashes of the Shoah and the devastation wrought upon our people and so many others by the forces of bigotry and hatred, Israel was reborn, a haven for freedom and democracy, civil and religious, in the long-troubled and long-fought over cross-roads of the world. The homeland of our people.

We have always had our enemies. As the joke goes, the theme of every major Jewish holiday is “They tried to kill us. We survived. Now, let’s eat.”

The latest threat to our existence is “BDS,”the seemingly anodyne acronym for a world-wide campaign to bring about the death of Israel as a Jewish state and to destroy everything that Israel stands for. The “Boycott, Divest and Sanctions”movement is well-organized and well-funded, and it aims to destroy Israel as a Jewish state and as a refuge for our people, not only by closing off world markets to Israeli goods, services and know-how, but by challenging the Jewishness of our children and their commitment to the State of Israel and the principles for which Israel stands.

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Feb 2016 The Arc – (Berland)

5776 is proving to be another highly successful year for Temple Beth Torah, with a wide variety of religious, educational, charitable and social action activities and fun events for every segment of our congregational community. Thank you to everyone who helped make all of this possible through your membership, your contributions to our Kol Nidre drive and to our many other funds and fundraisers, and your active participation in the life of our congregational community. We are especially honored to have been selected by UJA – Federation of New York as one of only six pilot synagogues in the “Learning Tool for Thriving Synagogues”project that is being conducted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies of Brandeis University, a project about which you will be hearing much more in the weeks ahead. With the secular year 2015 behind us, I want to wish everyone the best for the year ahead.

All of us are dedicated to ensuring that Temple Beth Torah will always be a place of comfort, compassion, community and excitement. Above all else, we treasure your membership and your commitment, and we hope you will continue to take full advantage of everything our Temple has to offer.

With all the best wishes from the Board of Trustees, our staff, and, especially, our clergy,

Shalom in the year ahead,

Dec 2015 The Arc – (Berland)


First, although everyone will have received an individual note, a sincere thank you, once again, to the many who contributed to our annual Kol Nidre appeal. Tzedakah, and especially tzedakah given to help to sustain one’s synagogue and its work, is one of Judaism’s highest and most cherished values, and it is one of the reasons we have survived as a people over the millenia. So again, thank you for your generosity and support.

Second, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those slain and to those injured in the recent Paris terrorist attacks and in the ongoing assaults upon our brothers and sisters in Israel. We will continue you to keep you informed of ways both to support relief efforts in Israel and around the world and to express solidarity with Jewish communities everywhere.

Third, please take advantage of the many, many educational, ritual, cultural and social events our Congregation has to offer. There is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than joining with members of your own community to learn, pray and celebrate. And it’s fun.

Fourth, consider becoming part of our Temple leadership. Join one of our committees – see the list on our website, No matter what your interests and your availability, there’s at least one that’s right for you. Or help out with a special project. Or both. You’ll get to work, and to share your skills, with some terrific people. And you’ll be helping your Temple, your community and the world.

Finally, but by no means any less importantly, have a very Happy Chanukah and a happy, healthy and fulfilling new year.

L’shalom, Sandy