Her Gift is Her Song and This One's for You
by Cate Murway
Dr. Doris [Hebrew name Dina] Jane Dyen, a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College ’13 (RRC) has a passionate desire to make the world a better, stronger place through her work and leadership. This Tuesday child is truly full of grace, wholeheartedly prepared to use her skills and knowledge gained within academia to serve the public at large.
Rabbi Dyen’s approach honors the past, meets the needs of the present and provides a road to the future through her bold, innovative thinking with the goals to ensure the vitality of the Jewish people that requires a dynamic approach to Jewish life.
BJC treasurer and caretaker, Alan J. Vogenberg, [“Alan is the heart and soul. Thank God we’ve got him!”] along with the entire small, intimate friendly adult community of the Bristol Jewish Center and returning student Rabbis Sarah Beth Newmark and Lauren Brody-Hyatt welcome student Rabbi Doris J. Dyen.
The Bristol shul embraces the student trio recognizing “an opportunity to experience different types of leading styles” while the congregation has the benefit of being anchored by Rabbi Judith Abrahamson. Together they enrich the congregation’s experience as they pray, celebrate and study together.
U of PA Phi Beta Kappa Doris Jane Dyen, PhD was named for both her paternal grandparents, Rabbi Jacob and Dina (Bryzell) Dyen. They had hoped that their son, her dad, would become a rabbi. Her late father Isidore [Hebrew name was Isaac] Dyen, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Yale University for over 40 years, self-described linguistic scientist, was known in the 1960s for his seminal work on Austronesian languages. He possessed a good baritone voice, though he aspired to be a tenor. A much used phrase of his was, “You know…, anything is possible!’.
Her mother was Edith (Brenner) and she has one younger brother, MA resident Mark [wife Beth Reisen] and two nieces and a nephew, Lisa, Michael and Susannah Dyen.
She and her musicologist husband Deane L. Root, Ph.D., Professor of Music and Director of the Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh and the current president of their Congregation Dor Hadash reside in Pittsburgh. He is the founder and NEH Project Co-Director of the “Voices Across Time” program, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, in which he has included music for every period of history or aesthetic movement. The PITT professor of music Deane Root wants to tap into students' love for music to help them learn in other subject areas and “wants to change the whole notion that music is a periphery to education and show it is an integral part of the core curriculum."
Their two daughters are Jessica and Melanie Root.
“And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done…”
Their home Congregation Dor Hadash (new generation), affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, is a member-led congregation in Pittsburgh.
Doris Dyen was selected as Dor Hadash’s Volunteer of the Year and was honored at the Pittsburgh chapter of the United Jewish Federation annual meeting for her devotion, energy and hard work on behalf of the congregation. Her heartfelt activities, spanning over more than 20 years has profoundly impacted Dor Hadash, helping it thrive and grow as a Jewish organization. She was president of Dor Hadash for 2 years in the 1990’s and co-founded the Dor Hadash Religious School and was one of its first leaders.
Doris has led numerous Shabbat and High Holiday services, and shiva minyanim [communal mourning] whenever needed, as well as being a regular Torah reader for the congregation. She was an early and is a continuing member of the Jewish Women’s Center. All together, she has both chaired and served on at least seven different DH committees. Doris is ready to share her enthusiastic, ongoing, and vital contributions to the life of the Bristol Jewish Center.
“It's a little bit funny this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide”
Doris is fulfilling her “dream, not a fantasy” and her expected graduation is May 2013.
Her daughters resound with a “Way to go, Mom!” Her husband is so proud of her and offers so much moral support, “my cheerleader”. She is “living into the reality of becoming a Rabbi.”
“You know…, anything is possible!’. Isidore Dyen [Doris’ late father]
Her decision was a slow process, so she is the self-proclaimed “10 year overnight success”. She grew up in a fairly secular home in Hamden, CT; her dad was raised in an Orthodox family and her mother was raised in a socialist home, culturally Jewish but not religiously so. They were members of Temple Mishkan Israel.
It was Doris who asked to go to a religious school.
Very few girls received Bat Mitzvah at that time. Her first overt step toward involvement in the wider Jewish community was when she became a Bat Mitzvah at the age of 42.
Her mom was only 59 years old when she died. When Doris herself reached the age of 60, she realized that she was at an age her mom never had the opportunity to experience. It was then that “I knew I was doing things not ‘for’ her, but ‘with’ her.”
In college she majored in music, and later co-founded a Committee on Applied Ethnomusicology for the Society for Ethnomusicology, a scholarly organization.
Songs have a special power to express what words alone cannot: hopes, fears, dreams, love, hate, anger, pride, aspirations, and disappointments. Music is omnipresent in modern life, especially in the most technologically advanced societies and music is one of the eight learning styles or modes of intelligence identified by educators. In addition to being in Girl Scouts and putting on plays with her friends, Doris played the cello in high school, took piano lessons and participated in the school orchestra. Her life has always been about music.
Doris was one of 4 authors who in the 1970s collaborated on the Resources of American Music History: A Directory of Source Materials from Colonial Times to World War II, a library reference book for researchers, teachers, and students. This is an incredible resource for music from different eras, collections, and archives. In the 1990s Doris began learning Hebrew, and has put her musical ability into action teaching Torah/Haftarah chanting to adults and children at her synagogue.
“Maybe in my next life, I’ll come back and go for sports”, she smiled, “you never know”.
“You know…, anything is possible!’. Isidore Dyen [Doris’ late father]
Doris compiled a guidebook to the industrial and cultural heritage sites and activities in eight counties of southwestern PA titled "Routes to Roots." She then wrote a summary article about the guidebook in a periodical publication called the Journal of American Folklore. “Routes to Roots” is a "journey of the mind" that allows one to see where the different ethnic groups settled in the Pittsburgh region, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet, and how those groups contributed to making Pittsburgh the "steel capital of the world."
Doris interviewed people for cultural tourism, working as both a musical and cultural advocate. Many of those interviews took her to places somewhat like historic Bristol on the Delaware.
Rabbi Doris attended the last Friday night BJC service in May and led the first BJC service for this fall on September 11. She is looking forward to this year with BJC.
“The thing that I really enjoy about this community is that it is a very down-to-earth, warm hearted place.”
The people all know each other and care about each other. She appreciates the strong sense of this community and finds it very attractive.
“I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you”
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Friday September 18th and ends at nightfall on Sunday, September 20th. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) begins at sundown on Sunday, September 27th and ends at nightfall on Monday, September 28th.
The shofar (ram's horn) is blown, sounding the alarm that it is the time for introspection, asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness.
One celebrates because as one truly repents, lives are renewed and redeemed.
The liturgy of the holiday stresses that life is short, days are numbered, and the chance to change, do good, repent, accomplish the things we dream of, and treat the people we love as they deserve to be treated, is now.
The High Holidays are fast approaching and the wishes for the congregation are for a healthy and happy year. Under the guidance of their leaders, they commit themselves to heal the wounds and divisions that were inflicted or caused on and between each other during the past year. L’Shanah Tovah to you all.
[May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year].
Italicized lyrics from “Your Song” by Elton John
Bristol Jewish Center
Congregation Ahavath Achim
216 Pond Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Recommend a “spotlight”: e-mail email@example.com
Congregation Ahavath Achim Welcomes Ariel to the BJC
by Cate Murway
In this ever-expanding melting pot in which we find ourselves living,
there is much value in retaining ethnic identity as a way to preserve
The Bristol Jewish Center community, under the skillful guidance
of Alan J. and Audrey Vogenberg, the kindred spirits
who work so tirelessly, continues to look back at its history
with pride and look to its future with hope.
It is through the dedicated and collective effort of many
that the BJC succeeds to have an active participation
by its members and nurture a life-long commitment to Judaism,
providing a place for the congregation to celebrate their Jewish lives together.
Ariel [an archangel and translates as Lion of God] (Cheryl) Lynn Tarash, MA, MSSW, LCSW is one of the three new Reconstructionist Rabbinical College students, along with Shelley Goldman and Jamie Hart, who are serving at the BJC.
She firmly stated, “The Vogenbergs are very committed to the community and the BJC and its rich history.”
Alan and Audrey continually focus on enriching the membership experience.
The BJC has retained its awareness of tradition, commitment to Jewish values, and ability to change for the better and these characteristics are its strength.
Ariel is currently enjoying her distinguished career as a student and a student rabbi, having recently completed orientation at the Rabbinical College.
Her soul and heart connection is to share and teach others. Forged by a firm value-guided determination, softened by compassion for her fellow man and with a sincere gratitude for her blessings, and a sense of duty to God, family, country, religious heritage and community, she will touch the lives of the BJC congregants. Ariel will add to the spiritual richness of the congregation.
She presently resides back in Havertown in her family home with her parents, Linda [Bycer] and Jack Tarash, who are originally from Philadelphia. Ariel said, “I have a deep sense of gratitude for my parents for helping me achieve my dream”. She feels most fortunate that her mother and father are in good health and she is blessed to enjoy this part of her life with them.
Her dad formerly worked for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as a ship systems inspector and her mom was involved in financial planning. Her brother, Roy is a CFO in the poultry industry. Ariel will proudly be the first rabbi in her family.
Determination drives the time and effort spent on her initiatives and the proactive side of her activities. Ariel attended Hebrew school since the third grade and she has always been active and working in the Jewish community.
She honed her skills in a variety of formal and informal learning opportunities, from Youth groups at the Beth David Reform Congregation, to Regional Vice President of NFTY [North American Federation of Temple Youth] in High School, to serving as Regional Student Activities Coordinator for the Hillel Council of Greater Boston, coordinating events and weekend retreats. She adamantly strove to forge an identity in consonance with the goals and values of Judaism and foster leadership at the regional as well as the congregational level.
Her journalistic talents abound also. Ariel wrote for the Haverford Senior High School yearbook and worked as a staff writer for the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia, writing and editing articles for a Jewish community newspaper. She also developed publicity materials for the Jewish Family Services programs. She was blessed with the privileged opportunities to travel to France during her HS senior year and to study in the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and participate in the Kibbutz Tzora program in Israel, during her sophomore year at Boston University.
She graduated Cum Laude from Boston University College of Communication with a BS in Mass Communication.
Compassion forms a basis of her sense of urgency, never wanting a day to pass or an effort to fall short, representing a failed opportunity to be helpful to real people in need. While in her 20’s, her Great Aunt suffered with cancer and she found the inner strength to be able to provide a comforting presence for her.
Ariel graduated with a Dual Masters Degree, MSSW from Columbia University School of Social Work and an MA in Judaic Studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, in New York, NY. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and her population of main interest is senior adults and those needing end of life healing.
Her work reached beyond the physical boundaries of the synagogue when she labored in the Hospice of Wake County in Raleigh, NC. Ariel was an integral part of an interdisciplinary team with nurses, chaplains, certified nursing assistants and volunteers, providing compassionate care as a liaison to patients and families, while maintaining the dignity of the dying. She counseled senior adult clients on depression, self-esteem, physical disabilities and longevity, aiming at assisting people to broaden and build their capabilities to better control their own fate.
Passover has always been her favorite holiday since as a child, she was permitted to lead a part of the Jewish Seder ritual.
Ariel’s tallit [ prayer shawl] of hand-woven raw silk is appliquéd with a tambourine to celebrate her connection with her favorite Biblical character, the heroic Miriam, the older sister of Moses and Aaron, who became a leader among the Hebrew women. Her crocheted kippah is beige, blue and lavender.
Her first BJC service, Shabbat of Reflection, will be on Friday, September 21st -- Shabbat Shuvah which is Sabbath of Return or Repentance, between the 2012/5773 "Days of Awe", the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah [the Jewish New Year] September 16-18, and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] September 25-26. This is a personal, reflective, introspective period.
She is clever, analytical, and a very quick thinker and she is proving to be a master of adaptability and change, as she yearns to help create rituals, a way to heal, to mourn and even to celebrate.
Ariel is a welcomed addition to the Congregation Ahavath Achim.
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn’s Promise Prevails
by Cate Murway
William Penn, born October 14, 1644 is known as the founder of Pennsylvania [obtained the charter from King Charles II of England on March 4, 1681] that he wanted to establish as a society that was godly, virtuous and exemplary for all of humanity. Penn also fervently argued for religious freedom, writing "no Men. . . hath Power or authority to rule over Men's Consciences in Religious matters." In the welcoming small town environment of Bristol Borough, everyone can truly worship God in his/her own way.
Veteran of the United States Navy, Alan Joseph Vogenberg, Central H.S.’48 track athlete/Philadelphia College of Pharmacy ‘55 [now University of the Sciences], who has served both as President of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association and the Bucks County Pharmacist Association is the the treasurer and caretaker of the 103 years old Bristol Jewish Center. He and his wife, Audrey (Kirschenbaum) Vogenberg, previously a Dental assistant from Glens Falls, N.Y.[ also known as "Hometown U.S.A.", a title given to it by Look Magazine in 1944] have been married for 55 years and they mutually exhibit a heartfelt passion for the Bristol Jewish congregation which originally was established in the rear room of a tailor shop on Mill Street and then moved to “an unpretentious building in the 100 block of Pond Street”. The 119 Pond Street location is currently “Ye Olde Cross Stitchery” but the “Star of David” or “Shield of David” remains fixed on the wrought iron railing.
A group of generous Mill Street merchants, including Joseph Wagman [Wagman’s Dry Good Store], Abraham Popkins [Popkins’ Shoes], the father of the retired Jack A. Sirott, Esq. of Sirott Reimel Attorneys and Abraham Woler [Hardware Store] donated a plot of land and the new, larger synagogue with 4 classrooms, the Rabbi’s study, a 100 seating sanctuary, and a basement recreation room, complete with a stage, was built. In 1948, the Jewish Center renewed its charter and built its present Temple on 216 Pond Street. A carved bench and wooden chairs, donated by Charles (Charlie) Richman [Richman’s Window Treatments] grace the back study rooms.
After World War II, the congregation grew. There was a Hebrew School, striving to create a rich, vibrant learning environment in which to nourish their [per Bristol Jewish Center history, mostly boys] children's growing Jewish identities and discover the beauty of their heritage. They also boasted a large Sisterhood that offered opportunities for social activities, educational experiences, fundraising, and personal growth.
Currently, there is no Sunday School or Hebrew School. The congregation now is a small, intimate friendly Adult community, rich in tradition. President for the last decade, Jeannie Harris-Phillips, who reflects the warmth and commitment of the congregation, is the daughter of the founder of Harris Comfort on Otter Street, Louis "Peewee" Harris. Her Aunt Selma J. Harris, one of the original members of the congregation, serves on the Board of Directors. The BJC not only includes women’s participation in the services, they were one of the first Jewish Congregations to accept a female Rabbi to conduct services. Students, including Dentists, Physicians, Lawyers, Diplomats, business people and schoolteachers, from the accredited Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote serve as spiritual leaders. These students are required to spend a year of “Hebrew and Philosophy in Israel” study before graduating as an ordained Rabbi. They study Judaism as an evolving religious civilization and are trained to bring ancient wisdom into the contemporary world.
The Priestly Blessing, “May the Lord bless you and keep you,” is a Jewish ceremony and prayer recited during certain services. The fingers separated to make three parts is a special sign of the priestly blessing. In the mid 1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy, who was raised in a traditional Jewish home, used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan Hand Salute for his character, Mr. Spock, on “Star Trek”, the physical component accompaning the verbal "Live long and prosper" greeting.
The Bristol Jewish Center is a spiritual and caring community that helps its members find larger purpose in everyday experience, advocating Judaism's core values.
Shalom! You are cordially invited to share prayers and a greeting with them at the Oneg Shabbat [Friday evening service] on January 5, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.
Refreshments are provided to complement the congenial atmosphere.
Handicapped accessibility inside and out.
Bristol Jewish Center
216 Pond Street
Contact Alan J. Vogenberg RPh, FASCP
Registered Pharmacist, [Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists]
Bristol Jewish Center’s Second Century — As Modern As Tomorrow
by Cate Murway
Congregation Ahavath Achim is not affiliated with any movement but has roots in Conservative Judaism and close ties to the Reconstructionist movement. In reality the congregation has taken bold steps to include everyone in the religious activities.
All are an essential part of Klal Yisrael -- the worldwide unity of the Jewish community.
With an ornate tapestry of ideals and practices, texts, and customs, they immerse themselves in this profound culture not only from love of tradition that devotedly encompasses all of a person's life and the customs that add measureless beauty and meaning, but also from the urgent desire to discover the path to holiness in our day. A religion must be relevant to its people and the ever-changing world in which they live. Their leaders are rooted in the past, conversant in the current, and visionary for the Jewish future, looking at the world with different eyes, with spectacles of faith, seeing normal things in an extraordinary way. The Torah truly is a tree of life, a living document that unfolds over generations and millennia, joining other souls where not only hands are joined but experiences and hearts. The Bristol Jewish Center is a hidden treasure!
Inspiration and leadership is shared by Reconstructionist student Rabbis, Lauren Simone [Chaya Shemona] Brody-Hyett, Conestoga H.S.‘99/ U of Arizona’03 in Tucson [studied anthropology- culture in scientific ways]; and Salinas, KS born, Sarah Beth [Cushman] Newmark, Canoga Park H.S. ‘71/ UC Santa Barbara [U.S. News ranked 13th best public university]/ Boise State U., M.Ed., who comes to BJC with a wealth of non-Synagogue life experience. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), graduating their first woman rabbi [religious ‘teacher’, or more literally, ‘great one’] in 1974, is located in the former Curtis Mansion on Greenwood Avenue in Wyncote. Both were born on a Friday [“Friday's child is loving and giving”], they have reached for what is good and intellectually empowering and have come to share! In their sermons, they have come across as God-fearing and observant persons who are leading more intensive Jewish lives; never losing their sense of naiveté, awe and admiration, well-versed in the Talmud [Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history] and halakhah [Jewish law, the path that one walks]. Their service at BJC enhances their student training, bringing a fresh point of view that enriches the congregation’s experience as they pray, celebrate and study together. Sarah and Lauren, exuding energy and self-confidence are impressed by the BJC warmth and welcoming enthusiasm. It's such a learning process on both ends, an education for students and congregants alike and this congregation is a lovely community, very committed, so full of life and momentum after a summer of renovations and upgrades to the almost 60-year-old Synagogue building.
Sarah, meaning Princess in Hebrew [she was very pleased with the translation as a young girl!] and her husband, a physician serving in the Air Force, Dr. Zephron Gabriel Newmark [currently an ENT at Geisinger Medical Center, Wilkes- Barre, PA] lived in Wiesbaden, [West] Germany from 1981 to 1983. As newlyweds with no children at the time, they were thrilled with the opportunity to travel to Holland, France and the small landlocked country of Luxemburg on the weekends that Dr. Newmark was not on call. This was the first part of her Jewish journey, as they became the Jewish lay leaders and chaplains of the Wiesbaden community. Most of her adult life has been spent as an educational administrator, teacher and Jewish lay leader. As Shul president [Yiddish word for synagogue], Sarah would sometimes deliver the “message” at a Women’s Shabbat for the 930 family community of B’nai Torah in Bellevue, WA and people would say, “You should be a Rabbi” or “I wish you were our rabbi!” Her first choice was to pursue Para-Rabbinic training and she asked her Rabbi to be her sponsor. He questioned why she would want to do that and suggested that she go to Rabbinical School. Sarah, very realistic and practical in her approach, “tip-toed” in and started studying modern Hebrew. Everything was still “IF” until her husband shared, “I think Rabbi is right.” She then had a purpose and her dream began 4 years ago, including 5 ½ months training in Jerusalem. Their children are Mercer Island H.S., Washington State grads, son, Gideon Samuel, a 2nd year Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH student; and daughter, Hannah Miriam, a senior at Tufts U., Boston, MA, a premier university dedicated to educating new leaders, is an undergrad currently interviewing for medical school admission in Fall 2008.
For Sarah, wearing her kippah [small cap-Hebrew name for yarmlke], a symbol of humility, shifts her energies from normal time to sacred time. After the completion of an arduous learning program in the codes of Jewish law and responsa [written decisions and rulings in response to questions addressed to her], her goal is that ordination will take place in 2010.
Lauren, who grew up in State College, now resides in Wayne, PA with her husband, Devon Elementary School 4th grade teacher, David Alan Hyett, Cherry Hill East H.S./ U. of Arizona/ M.A. from Rosemont College, whom she met at college. Her family includes her parents, portrait photographer Daniel Yale and Marcy [Green] Brody who work together in their Dan Brody Photography studio in Bryn Mawr, and her brother, Adam Chad, Conestoga H.S. ‘01/ UCLA ‘05, an artist who also studied film and music. Lauren also works with the Youth groups in the Reform synagogue, Temple Brith Achim, King of Prussia, where she celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, teaching them about their heritage, creating positive Jewish identities. They are expecting their first child, a son, February 15th and she enjoys water aerobics. Her choice of music is contemporary rock on NPR/FM 91. She too is entering her 4th year of Rabbinical studies, having been influenced by the very dynamic RRC educated Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat, Director of Camping and Youth who integrated a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights of today, and she has completed advanced studies in Israel at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and the University of Haifa. Lauren also studied Animal Assisted Therapy at the Community College of Camden County, N.J. and Aboriginal Art and Society at the Berndt Museum of the University of Western Australia in Perth. She brings with herself diverse experiences as Jewish Life Coordinator for Penn Hillel at U. of PA, working as a Chaplaincy intern at the Center for Aging and Judaism in Wyncote, at John Grossman Center for Chaplaincy and Healing, and with Jewish Family and Children’s Service in Philadelphia. She truly loves Jewish education and has served as a religious school educator, Art Therapy volunteer and Crisis Counselor in Jerusalem, Israel. Ordination will be her confirmation of her individual mastery of texts (largely from the Talmud and codes); familiarity with precedents; and ability to reason analogically and apply precedents to contemporary questions.
All Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight.
The Chanukah Lights [The Chanukah menorah is called a HANUKIYAH] will be kindled at nightfall on each of the eight nights of Chanukah beginning with Tuesday night, December 4, 2007.
Borough resident, David Charles [Dave] Follin, a maître d' at Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante [the closest thing to home cooking!] and a Cardinal Health, Inc. driver donated the menorah to the Bristol Jewish Center and the town of Bristol Borough in commemoration of his many friends, such as Charlie and Elsie Richman [Richman’s Window Treatments] and the Pollock Family.
Welder, Michael Cunningham designed it based on Dave’s pictorial ideas, with a high-grade finish with excellent atmospheric weathering characteristics, and electrical contractor, Larry Bailey of George P. Bailey & Sons, Inc. on Bath Road ensured that the flames of the Chanukah menorah, standing as the first beacon against the forces of religious bigotry and persecution, inspire those who cherish freedom of the spirit in this land of precious liberty.
The eight side branches represent the eight-day celebration of the miracle of oil, while the central branch, called the "Shamash" [servant candle used to light the Chanukah lights], is lit first each night and is used to light all the other candles.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007  at 7PM
Outdoor Menorah lighting (FIRST CANDLE)
Friday, December 7, 2007  at 6:30PM
Chanukah Shabbat Pot Luck Dinner
Shabbat services will follow at 8:00 p.m.
Bring a dish, bring a friend … share the fun!
Come add your voice to the tradition that declares faith in One God.
An Oneg Shabbat follows each Friday evening service.
If you would like to sponsor an Oneg, please contact President Jeannie Harris-Phillips.
email: email@example.com or 215-788-8309.
Bristol Jewish Center
Congregation Ahavath Achim
216 Pond Street
Bristol, PA 19007
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
American Heritage Dictionary
1. Moral or ethical strength.
2. A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
Posted on Wed, Dec 10, 2008
The Bristol Jewish Center's 7-foot-tall outdoor Chanukah menorah, or candlelabra, will be lighted in a public ceremony at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, on the front lawn of Congregation Ahavath Achim.The prayer and songs begins the annual eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees' victory over the Assyrians some 22 centuries ago, which led to the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
The Bristol menorah, of stainless steel and powered electrically, will have an additional candle lit each night of the festival. That commemorates the miracle of the oil when, during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C., oil that was only enough for one day burned for eight in a menorah.
The lighting of the special Bristol menorah, which was a gift to the Center from non-Jewish Bristolians, will be followed by a Chanukah potluck dinner in the synagogue's social hall. Admission is either a covered, kosher milchig (milk) dish or a nominal donation.
For information or reservations, call Alan Vogenberg at 215.750.3514, or visit the synagogue Web site at
Come to Your Senses
by Cate Murway
"Our large Jewish community in the world is like a bouquet and every smaller community is a flower. It is not a competition, it is a cornucopia." Judy Frankel [1942-2008]
Has the state of the economy gotten you down? Then step away from your television, turn off the internal news ticker [you can't control a global financial meltdown] and release your senses to the myriad of emotional and contemplative sounds of the late Judy Frankel, the singer who helped preserve Spanish Jews' music.
Join us, and bring a friend, for the Bristol Jewish Center’s “After Shabbat Cinema” on April 18, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Middle Eastern style refreshments will be provided to complement the congenial atmosphere.
The observant congregation of the simple and dignified Bristol Jewish Center, a small, intimate friendly Adult community, rich in tradition, was founded 105 years ago. In 2004, Congregation Ahavath Achim, the first Jewish Congregation in Bucks County, PA observed the 100th anniversary of its founding. Their Second Century is as modern as tomorrow! Experience the ruach (spirit) that makes Ahavath Achim special!
BJC powerfully shares a deep and abiding commitment to the values of Judaism and to the support of Israel while encouraging and welcoming Jews from all backgrounds and affiliations. Their warm and hospitable environment provides a center for Jewish living and continuity for all. Proof that Judaism is alive and well in historic Bristol on the Delaware, the film series offers a Jewish learning experience, raising funds at the same time.
NJDEP Environmental Scientist and BJC member, Eric Scott Sussman, Stockton College ‘88/ NJIT ’93 MS, self-described “amateur guitarist and mandolinist” is a fan of folk music. He initiated the idea of presenting the DVD of the unique rapturous voice and sensitive guitar playing of Judy Frankel, the late San Francisco singer. Born Judith Bradbury, an only child raised in Boston, she painstakingly preserved and performed a repertoire of long-forgotten music that originated with Spanish Jews more than 500 years ago. Ms. Frankel, who was of Ashkenazi (European Jewish) descent, helped keep the songs alive in her own faithful rendition, the songs that had been handed down from generation to generation and across continents by the Sephardic Jews [the name comes from Sepharad, a Biblical location] whose ancestors were expelled from Spain in 1492 when Christianity was declared the official religion. She performed the time honored traditional songs in an artistically admirable, but never pretentious way, about love, loss and other topics, in Ladino [a cross between Hebrew and Spanish], the language that Spanish Jews used before and after their forced exodus from the Iberian Peninsula. During her 23 years of live performances, Ms. Frankel would credit the person from whom she learned a tune, and give the audience an English translation of her words.
She recorded four CDs, published a songbook of traditional Ladino music, and gave stirring concerts around the world. She was featured on the 1997 Rounder Records release "Divine Divas: A World of Women's Voices" alongside such artists as the Grammy Award-winning Ani DiFranco, born Angela Maria DiFranco, a singer, guitarist and songwriter; and jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson.
She was a professional performer by age 13, singing at weddings, bar mitzvahs and on the radio and TV.
Judy Frankel performed to packed houses on several continents and sang for numerous dignitaries and heads of state, singing in Israel, Turkey, Greece, Morocco and across Europe. She even serenaded Portuguese President Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares at a concert in Portugal. In 1995, she performed in Lisbon at a ceremony in honor of the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who helped thousands of European Jews escape the Nazis during World War II.
The late classical musician sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus for 10 years and was a soloist in the San Francisco Consort, an early music group she helped to form in 1980.
The singer embraced the traditional Spanish-Jewish tongue of Ladino and she exhaustively made a personal connection with a real person to learn exactly how to pronounce Ladino in the regional accent. She also sang in Yiddish, Hebrew, and a total of some twenty other languages garnering frequent appreciative comments on her good pronunciation.
Her passion for the music was ignited and she traveled throughout Europe and lived in Israel for months on end researching Ladino music and Crypto-Jewish culture.
The sixty-five year old Ladino chanteuse died March 20, 2008 after a long illness.
There's something about her music, the poetry and her sound that is so very appealing and heartfelt. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity, offered right here at the Bristol Jewish Center on April 18, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Richard Benjamin Pearl, University City H.S. ‘61/ U of Missouri/ U of Nebraska, who generates and manages publicity for BJC, is helping to spread the word. Richard moved from Detroit to historic Bristol in Spring 2005. “It’s a neat town!”
He grew up in a time when all the synagogues and temples were right in the neighborhood, within walking distance, rather than in the suburbs, miles from members' homes. When Richard found that BJC was only a block or so from his Grundy Tower apartment, it was the perfect spiritual home for him to join. Previously, the editor of the Omaha Jewish Press, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle newspapers and the staff writer for the Detroit Jewish News, the proverbial "icing on the cake" has been his being able to use his news and publicity experience and his love of writing to help treasurer and caretaker, Alan Vogenberg get the word out about their little shul.
“Alan is the heart and soul. Thank God we’ve got him!”
Richard came from “something of a musical family”. His parents loved all kinds of music and also could "cut a mean rug" on the dance floor. He has two sisters, Ilene Pearl-Bannwart, who designs high-end women's evening jackets under her own label, ipearl www.ipearlfashions.com [she and her husband Carl were members of the Philadelphia Orchestra Choir]; and Rebecca Cohen, who’s son, Rob is in Hollywood creating music for movies and TV.
His late godmother was a professional pianist and singer who once worked in Bugsy Siegel's Kentucky casino.
He couldn't have been happier than when, “after moving to Bristol, I learned that this was where one of my favorite songs from my teen years, "The Bristol Stomp", originated.
You are cordially invited to attend the special showing of “Fiestaremos: Judy Frankel and the Sephardic Music Tradition” and “Trees Cry for Rain: A Sephardic Journey” by Rachel Amado Bortnick [Frankel's singing provides the film's soundtrack and the emotional conclusion].
You will leave with an insight to the memories of the Sephardic culture including their unique foods, songs and traditions.
Reserve your seat now for this captivating performance.
Tax-deductible tickets are only $5.00 each, a modest charge to defray costs.
Everyone is invited to join us for this unusual program dealing with a disappearing culture by one of the leading interpreters of traditional Sephardic music.
What Judy Frankel collected would have been lost without her. She made it her mission to gather and preserve!
Annette Barbara Stucatur, the congregant communicator, has been a member of BJC for the last 2 years and she notices and voices the appreciable difference in this vibrant and friendly congregation. Please call Annette at 215.637.6203 for tickets to the “After Shabbat Cinema”, an electrifying presentation.
It's not easy to put into words, but it's a connection you will feel.
“I sing what I love”, Judy Frankel told The Times in 1998.
You will love this. You will applaud and want to hear it again!
Bristol Jewish Center
Congregation Ahavath Achim
216 Pond Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Recommend a “Spotlight”: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Enter Ellen, Student Rabbi, “Take One!” at Bristol Jewish Center
by Cate Murway
Student Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill is warmly welcomed to the raised bima platform
of the Bristol Jewish Center to stand before the small, active congregation.
She has prepared and waited almost her whole life for this moment.
Rabbi Ellen will connect with the ancient words of tradition, hold the Kiddush cup
and bless the wine and reach out to the BJC people who will have come to share
the sacred moment with her.
Since August 2009, Ellen Jaffe-Gill, a former New Yorker, has been a student
at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, surrounded by
trees and the beautiful detailed furnishings of the old family mansion.
Her RRC education will enrich her life and prepare her for full participation
in a changing society.
She aspires to go out and make a difference. Not just as a student spiritual
leader or a student rabbi. Not as Mrs. Jaffe-Gill. But as the Rabbi.
She is most happy to study with special diligence so that the congregation
will know they can ask her questions and trust her to provide them
with an inspiring and meaningful sense of their place as links in the chain
of the richness, depth and beauty of the Jewish people.
The rows of beaming faces with cordial smiles will be looking up at her
with curious anticipation and she is focused on embracing and affirming each and every congregant.
Alan J. Vogenberg, BPharm, RPh, FASCP is the treasurer and caretaker of the small, intimate, friendly BJC adult community. He continually focuses on enriching the membership experience by revitalizing the synagogue structure to support the Jewish community in new ways of meaning, spirituality and connectedness.
Alan and his wife, Audrey first met with Ellen last November and they invited her to return for a tour of historic Bristol on the Delaware prior to the traditional Hanukkah activities. “Walked up and down the main street. It’s charming!”
Ellen shared, “Alan is lovely, so friendly. He is full of lore about Bristol. He is just a great guy, a ‘bale’bos’or ‘bal-ha bjis’[master of the house]”.
L’chai – to life, but rather in the plural L’chaim – to lives – for what in the world is a life without other lives. BJC reaches beyond the physical boundaries to give meaning to each other. This little, energetic congregation is always growing in spirit and community.
Ellen attended the cantorial soloist workshop and earned her M.A. in Judaic Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, a three-year program providing a background in synagogue motifs and music. She also completed the rigorous curriculum sponsored by the American Conference of Cantors and Hebrew Union College’s School of Sacred Music. Ellen was cantorial soloist at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona, CA and cantor of Temple Ner Tamid in Downey, CA.
Cantor Jaffe-Gill is an accomplished classic mezzo-soprano with characteristics of both alto and soprano, a member of the American Conference of Cantors and she has appeared in concert as a headliner, soloist, and ensemble singer. She and a friend, Leah Ellias perform as a duo, “The Six-Foot Sopranos”, bringing a combination of finesse and fun to the concert stage. Their soulful repertoire includes music of Jewish cultures in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and Ladino.
Multi-talented Ellen has a background in a wide variety of subjects, encompassing a spectrum of Jewish history, ritual, philosophy, and liturgy. She graduated from the private research Brandeis University, MA at the age of 19 with a B.A. in English/ American literature while working on the college newspaper as well, as a reporter, columnist, and editor. She also wrote a book and created the lyrics for a well-received musical in her final year. After earning her M.A in Communications from Stanford University, Ellen moved to Los Angeles to try the challenging television scriptwriter business. Breaking into that field requires tenacity, time, and a thick skin. In her words, she “failed miserably”.
So she chose to seek out any work and all opportunities to make herself more marketable, developing a niche in different editorial mediums, publications as disparate as the Baltimore Jewish Times and The Hollywood Reporter, before making the decision to change careers.
She proceeded to become an enthusiastic, nurturing junior high school English teacher, ready to implant the love of learning in her students in the Los Angeles Unified School District until February 1998.
Later that year, Ellen decided to pursue a career in Jewish professional life.
As a cantor and now as a rabbinical student, Ellen loves to prepare children for bar and bat mitzvah and to be with families as they mark the milestones of their lives.
Her joy, driven by piety, love and personal example can be infectious.
Ellen was born on August 20th in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a Reformed Synagogue.
Happy birthday, Cantor Jaffe-Gill!
Her parents Morton and Lois R. Jaffe shared their love of learning with their children. They currently reside in AZ but spend the summer in Logan, UT, taking motor trips and participating in Elderhostel studies, experiencing in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities.
She has two younger sisters, Allison who is a Real Estate agent and Michelle who has a background in television and production.
Ellen showcased her remarkable energy and talent as a future leader in the Girl Scouts throughout elementary school. Athletics? Never really her forte! “I was tall enough to keep the ball in the air in volleyball.”
She admits to being a “musical/theatre geek”. She dabbled in music, an enormous part of Jewish worship. “Know my way around a keyboard and have very basic guitar skills.”
Classic films and classic rock are her all-time choices.
Favorite song? “…Too many to list.”
But she always wanted to be a writer and a performer.
Ellen was first published in “Seventeen” magazine at the age of 17.
As an author and journalist, she has written two books and eagle-eyed copy edited many publications including daily and weekly newspapers and monthly magazines.
She has proven to be especially knowledgeable in areas such as intermarriage and conversion and the historical and contemporary roles of women in Jewish life.
She continues to sincerely and courageously devote her exceptional innovative mental power to her written work.
Her No Big Deal gives a smart, funny 9th-grade misfit a distinctive voice as it explores an issue that has grabbed headlines around the nation.
“A sensitive, realistic portrait of the courage it takes to address and understand homosexuality.” --The Boston Globe
She presented an informed and passionate plea for an ethic of inclusiveness in her engaging, easy-to-read book, Embracing the Stranger, giving an honest look at the growing number of intermarriages between Jews and non-Jews in America today.
In The Jewish Woman's Book of Wisdom that she edited, Ellen has compiled a provocative, insightful volume of short writings by Jewish women that includes voices across the spectrum of tradition and belief, representing women of many different nations and walks of life.
A year ago, Ellen moved from CA to Willow Grove with her husband Spencer G. Gill, III, whom she met 25 years ago.
“I really love Philadelphia. It’s wonderful how green everything is and the air is cleaner.”
Real achievements are only produced after careful preparation and planning. They relocated so Ellen could attend the Rabbinical College.
Spencer had worked as a technician in special effects in the film industry. He currently works at Casual Male, the nation’s premier retail provider of big & tall clothing for men.
“I am in awe of how supportive and wonderful my husband has been through this whole process.”
Spencer is from VA and his late father Spencer G. Gill, Jr. was a judge in Norfolk.
His mother, Lloyd Bailey Gill will be 87 and she still plays tennis!
Ellen said she would really miss Spencer and their adorable Dalmatian mix, Molly, during this month of August as she is affirming the importance of her broad and critical education. She is studying Modern Hebrew, especially the speaking and listening parts to “improve her ear”, in the cultural hub of Haifa, Israel, a bustling Jewish-Arab port city in a Mediterranean climate. No need to pack a coat or an umbrella!
The University of Haifa offers language intensive courses that she believes will provide her with “a running start" on her year of Modern Hebrew at RRC.
In September 2011, she and Spencer will be spending the academic year in Israel.
Spencer is a “really good cook” and Ellen loves cooking signature holiday meals. A special dish is her cranberry lime salsa with jalapeño, “it’s sweet and hot at the same time”. For Passover, she will be preparing her 4-layer vegetable/matzah casserole.
Purple is her color and she loves natural antioxidants, the dark chocolate kind.
P.S. Eating a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate every day is good for you!
Their TV time includes lots of police/medical procedurals. Ellen is “unhappy that the original Law & Order is no more.” She’s a “Cold Case and big ER fan”.
The Bristol Jewish Center is anxiously awaiting her return from Haifa, so she can come to share and sing her soul!
“Take One!” at the Bristol Jewish Center.
Last week marked the beginning of the month of Elul, the period of introspection leading up to the "Days of Awe", the 2010/5771 High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is a period of deep reflection on who they are; who they have been in the past year, and who they would like to become in the year ahead.
“The people are just so lovely, so welcoming and so friendly. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am over the prospect of being there for the whole year. It will be a real treat.”
Perhaps the greatest gift of the Hebrew calendar is that each year ends and begins with an opportunity to consult one’s conscience and rejuvenate one’s spirits by realigning one’s life with the very best values.
L’Shanah Tovah to you all.
"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."
Bristol Jewish Center
Congregation Ahavath Achim
216 Pond Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Alan J. Vogenberg
Recommend a “spotlight”: e-mail email@example.com
Richard B. Pearl
Richard Benjamin Pearl was born Saturday, August 28th, 1943 to Leonard & Shirley Pearl and died Tuesday, February 15th, 2011. This would have been his mother's 88th birthday, but she died Monday, May 5th, 2008. His father is also deceased going on almost 18 years. Richard was the first born of three children (two sisters, Becky & Ilene, both living). His main trade was as a journalist for most his adult life. He loved to write. He also worked for his father's paint company and later in his life he worked for Blockbuster Video, Office Max, and Best Buy to make ends meet. He spent the last 22 years of his life in Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until his death. He is survived by his daughter, Laura (32), and his son Andrew (28), and his ex-wife and mother of both of his children, Debbie. He will be missed by those who knew him.
Beloved father of Laura and Andrew Pearl; dear brother and brother-in-law of Rebecca (Nissan) Cohen and Ilene Pearl (Carl A.) Bannwart; dear son of the late Leonard S. and the late Shirley Pearl; dear nephew, uncle, great-uncle, cousin and friend. Services: Funeral service 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 18 at BERGER Memorial Chapel, 4715 McPherson Ave. at Walton. Visitation Friday after 10:30 a.m. Interment Chevra Kadisha Cemetery, 1601 North & South Rd. Memorial contributions to Bristol Jewish Center, 216 Pond St., Bristol, PA 19007 or a charity of your choice. BERGER MEMORIAL SERVICE
BJC treasurer and caretaker, Alan J. Vogenberg with Rabbi Doris J. Dyen
USN Veteran Alan J., BSPharm, RPh, FASCP has served both as President of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association and the Bucks County Pharmacist Association and is the treasurer and caretaker of the Bristol Jewish Center. His wife, Audrey is a retired Dental assistant. At one time, they owned Alan’s Pharmacy on Bath and Buckley Streets and lived above their shoppe as so many storeowners did.
Alan continues to teach and is currently a docent at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Museum.
Farewell to the Rabbis 6.12
Former century-old Bristol synagogue converted into Bucks government offices
By Elizabeth Fisher, correspondent | Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 5:00 am
Fred Shanfeld, of Fred Shanfeld Builder LLC, measures wood where a counter will be in the former Bristol Jewish Center, Ahavath Achim, on North Wilson Avenue in Bristol on Thursday, March 31, 2016. Shanfeld said the space will be offices for the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, and he expects the work to be done in two weeks.
Renovations are underway to convert the former Bristol Jewish Center into offices to be used by the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority.
Executive Director Bob White said the authority hopes to move from its current location on North Wilson Avenue sometime in May.
The conservative Bristol synagogue, Ahavath Achim, closed its doors in June after 111 years and merged with Kol Emet in Lower Makefield, a reconstructionist congregation. Conservatives adhere more strictly to Jewish tradition and rituals, while reconstructionists blend tradition with a more contemporary view of their faith.
Alan Vogenberg, who served as the center's treasurer in Bristol, said that Kol Emet has a younger congregation and provides more services, such as a Hebrew school, a Sunday school and activities that Bristol’s older congregation could no longer provide.
He attributed the Bristol synagogue's closing to diminishing attendance. He said the downturn started in 2008, when the economy crashed and many people could no longer contribute or attend services.
Not everyone who said they couldn't afford to contribute was hurting financially, though, he said.
“That was baloney. Like many churches, people no longer want religion and no longer need it. They only attend religious services when something bad happens, or for life-cycle events like weddings and funerals,” Vogenberg said.
He believes that loosening of standards in churches and synagogues contributed to empty pews, recalling that synagogues once held services in Hebrew, but later included English to make it easier to follow a service.
“We’re not sure that easier is good," Vogenberg said. "For example, Orthodox Jews are very strict. They have rules and you follow the rules or you’re in deep trouble. Yet they are thriving."
Documents and photos related to the Bristol site have been donated to the Jewish Archives in the library at Temple University. The balance of the sanctuary fixtures went to the Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, where a small-scale sanctuary has been installed for use by staff and students.
The fixtures include two Torahs and plaques honoring past generations who founded and maintained the Bristol site, Vogenberg said.
Fred Shanfeld, of Fred Shanfeld Builder LLC, measures wood where a counter will be in the former Bristol Jewish Center, Ahavath Achim,
on North Wilson Avenue in Bristol on Thursday, March 31, 2016.
Shanfeld said the space will be offices for the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, and he expects the work to be done in two weeks.