30th Anniversary Shabbat Celebration
The Congregation Agudas Achim celebrated a very special event at its August 5th Shabbat service. We celebrated 30 years as a member of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Highlights included a very special presentation honoring the occasion by Barbara Seidel who is the chief operating officer of the Reform Union. Members of the Agudas Achim who were involved in building the Agudas Achim community spoke of their experiences of transforming a disappearing orthodox synagogue to vital congregation which attracts congregants from all parts of Sullivan County and beyond. Time was given for all to share their own experiences in the community.
Rabbi Pomerantz and cantorial duo Ira & Julia Levin gave an inspirational service, which was followed by a special oneg.
Chai on Music
Featuring our own Rich Chiger will be performing Traditional Klezmer and Yiddish Music at the Nessin Cultural Arts Theater 22 St. John St. Monticello 3p.m. on July 10th. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Call 794-6013 or email nessinmusicalculturalarts.org for tickets and more informational.
The Catskill Mountain Chapter of Hadassah invites both men and women to attend a screening of the movie Space Shuttle Columbia:Mission of Hope at Landfield Ave. Synagogue,18 Landfield Ave, Monticello at 6:45 pm It is a PBS documentary telling the story Ilan Ramon, the Israeli hero who died in this tragedy. RSVP to Brenda Sherman 917-509-2928 , if possible. If you are interested in Hadassah call Lynne Freedman 439-5708, who is co-president of the local chapter
Simchat Torah Celebration
On October 9, Agudas Achim celebrated Simchat Torah. It truly was a joyous evening with about 40 in attendance, we performed all the necessary rituals. Thanks to the Ahavath Shalom placing 3 additional torahs in our care,we joyously carried and danced 6 torahs around the sanctuary. We happily welcomed back Rabbi Pomerantz to the bimah. Dimona Galli enthusiastically completed the yearly cycle and began again our adventure with Beresheit. Ira and Julia Levin provided the music to make the service completely wonderful.
There were other highlights which made this night special. Our Hebrew school students instructed us on the importance of this celebration. Rabbi Pomerantz did a great job in keeping the evening meaningful for the adults and the children attending. We were able to share the happiness and pride that Ken & Barbara Schmitt felt as their son Aaron, on leave from the Navy, attended with them. Aaron might have been the first person called to the torah with Anchors Away being played in the background. Rabbi Pomertantz recalled that Max Siegel, recently in a serious car accident, was the first bar mitzvah he performed as our Rabbi. The congregation sung a heartfelt mishaberach for Max and his family. The celebration ended with an outstanding oneg, as we shared the delicious desserts brought by each family.
Photos and video of the event can be viewed here.
As part of a program to increase our cultural programming, and reach out to people who may not reside in Livingston Manor, Agudas Achim and the Catskill Arts Society sponsored an Artist-in-Residence weekend from August 6-9. Noted artist Mordechai Rosenstein led a wide-ranging program that included: exhibiting his paintings, discussing his artistic style and experiences with members of the Congregation and community at large, leading a children’s art program, and leading a presentation on Jewish art over the ages. People were also given the opportunity to visit our historically important synagogue. Because the general response was very positive, we are encouraged to expand the offering next year.
Mordechai Rosenstein is a well known modern Jewish artist, He work is created by using a myriad of pieces utilizing vibrant colors and flowing lines that transform the art of Hebrew calligraphy into a modern day feast for the eyes. His work is found in museums, synagogues and institutions around the world. His pieces titled L’Dor V’Dor and Education now hang proudly at Agudas Achim as a result of the generosity of a few art loving members.
Golda’s Balcony – 2017
A one-woman play starring Sandra Laub as Golda Meir was performed to great acclaim at Agudas Achim on July 6, 2017. Ms. Laub artistically and dramatically used the synagogue balcony to enhance her performance.
Sandra Laub, an award-winning actress and veteran teacher, has been performing William Gibson’s Tony Award-winning one-woman play, Golda’s Balcony, in a variety of settings—theaters, classrooms, social halls, sanctuaries—to critical acclaim and heartfelt audience response since 2013.
Golda’s Balcony is a 90-minute a tour-de force. With humor, pathos, and passion, we see her journey from impoverished child in Czarist Russia to becoming Israel’s 4th Prime Minister scrambling to save the country from impending destruction during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. At the heart of the play is Meir’s lifelong struggle to attain peace while agonizing over difficult moral choices, including especially the ‘terrible question’: “What happens when idealism becomes power?”
Song Fest 2016 & 2017
Sunday Songfest at The Arnold House
Congregation Agudas Achim of Livingston Manor sponsored a unique musical and dining experience as a fundraiser. Tickets for the musical program were be $20 per person for up to 4 continuous hours of outstanding entertainment. An all you can eat chicken barbeque (buffet style) at $20/pp was available for purchase. Our goal was to raise money to help enable us to preserve and maintain our historic 90+ year old synagogue. The Agudas Achim synagogue is on the state and national register of historic places. It is also recognized as a significant building and community among Synagogues around the world.
Music filled the barn pavilion behind The Arnold on Shandelee Road between Livingston Manor and Youngsville. The Arnold is well known by locals and visitors alike and highly rated for its food and hospitality.
The Levins performed music from various folk and Jewish traditions. They perform at numerous folk festivals, secular venues and synagogues throughout the country and have just returned from a successful tour of the Midwest. They are winners of numerous awards for the quality of their music. Go to www.thelevinsmusic.com to learn more and listen to their music.
David Rosenberg is well known around Sullivan County for encouraging the audience to sing along while he plays music everyone will know. Joining him were Debbie Fisher and Joanna Gass to complete a trio reminiscent of the old Catskill hotels where the musicians interacted with the audience to create a fun atmosphere. Sherrie Kane-Graeber of Washingtonville also performed in 2016 while local favorite Lori Schneider slotted in for 2017.
Sunday Songfest was one of the best events of two summer seasons. Everyone had a great time. Where else could you get 4 hours of outstanding music and an unlimited dinner cooked by gourmet chefs for $36?
Roll out the Fred Carpet – 2018 Celebrating Rabbi Fred’s 5oth year in the rabbinate and 13th year with the congregation. You had to be there to appreciate the spirit and loved shared among the rabbi’s family, friends and past and present congregants. BHR served an outstanding lunch while the Levins performed outstanding sets of music for us, highlighted by a drum solo by the rabbi. A bar-mitzvah-style candle lighting ceremony, orchestrated by Sandy Pomerantz capped the afternoon’s festivities.