Temple Beth El of City Island
Your Shul By the Sea
480 City Island Avenue
Post Office Box 188
City Island, New York 10464



News by the Sea:
High Holy Day Edition

September 2022
Elul 5782 – Tishrei 5783

It's time to prepare for the High Holy Days! This special edition newsletter includes instructions for mandatory registration, service times, Yizkor Book of Remembrance (deadline is September 18), health and safety, spiritual theme, and exciting upgrades to our City Island home.

This High Holy Day season will bring old favorites and new music, ancient tradition and fresh takes. You won't want to miss a minute of this special time. 

Please read this newsletter carefully and act now to claim your place with us for this season of joy! We look forward to lifting higher and higher together.

With Shanah Tovah blessings for sweet goodness, joy, health and delight –

R. David, R. Shohama, the Board and whole team of

High Holy Day Schedule

Our High Holy Day schedule is below. Member seating will begin 15-30 minutes before each onsite service, so plan ahead for traffic and parking (especially on Kol Nidre night). All gatherings will be hybrid except where indicated. More about Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur and Sukkot will follow in the October newsletter.

We'll use our regular TBE zoom links for each day of the week (listed on our website).
Fri. 9/16, 7:30pm – Selichot Shabbat 
• Sun. 9/25, 6:30pm – Erev RH Seder
• Mon. 9/26, 10:00am – RH 1 & Tashlich
• Tue. 9/27, 10:00am – RH 2
• Fri. 9/30, 7:30pm – Shabbat Shuvah
• Tue. 10/4, 6:00pm – Kol Nidre
• Wed. 10/5, 10:00am – Yom Kippur

• Mon. 10/10, 1:00pm – R. David Sukkot Party

• Fri. 10/14, 6:30pm – Sukkot Shabbat 
• Sat. 10/15, 8:00pm – Shmini Atzeret 
• Sun. 10/16, 6:30pm – Simchat Torah


Registration and Seating

For health and safety, everyone joining onsite for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur must pre-register. We'll be at shul this year for all services except Erev RH (an online seder, as in past years). Registration will ensure that members receive priority for seating. Folks participating online only do not need to register.

Register now via this link or TBE's website. 

Each onsite participant must register separately (no "shared" registrations), so please forward the link to your guests. (Our services remain free and open to the public.) For safety and comfort, only fully vaccinated folks can join onsite. 

Members (paid for 2022 or on an approved payment plan) will be seated first if they arrive more than 15 minutes before the scheduled start of services. Guests will be seated then. Please arrive early to claim your seat. Overflow seating will be in the social room downstairs for our digital livestream.

If you're not yet paid for 2022, please catch up now via the shul website.

Health, Safety & Comfort

TBE's priorities are health, safety, comfort and accessibility. Local covid rates are far lower than in the past. Even so, this year's holidays will reflect some adjustments:
  • Vax Status: Onsite participants must be fully vaccinated for covid-19. Vax proof will be checked (no exceptions).
  • Capacity Restrictions: Sanctuary seating will be reduced by 40% from prior years. Overflow seating will be available downstairs with live zoom-streaming of our service.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Everyone will be required to use hand sanitizer each time they enter the Sanctuary.
  • Testing and Masking: Clergy and the Band will be tested. At this time, masking is optional but strongly encouraged. If conditions warrant, TBE reserves the right to require and enforce masking. We'll keep everyone as closely apprised as possible.
  • Ventilation and Cleaning: Air filters and ventilation will be activated for all services. The Sanctuary will be deep cleaned, refreshed and ventilated before the holidays. 
  • Accessible Bathrooms: A main-level bathroom will be created (more on that below), but not in time for the holidays. As a next best option, accessible bathrooms will be available two doors down for all services except Kol Nidre. TBE is 100% committed to ensuring access to everyone going forward, and exciting plans are being implemented now.
  • Perfume and Cologne: Please do not wear perfume or cologne.
  • Food Service: RH kiddush, Shabbat Shuvah oneg and Yom Kippur break fast will adjust to minimize physical touching of food.

Yizkor Book  & Appeal

TBE's annual Yizkor Book is open to list names of beloveds no longer with us in body. Due to supply chains, this year's Yizkor Book deadline is Sept. 18 – so please send your names ASAP.

The Yizkor Book page is available here. 

TBE is excited to announce a Yizkor Appeal match, funded personally by Rabbi David and every member of the Board. So far, the grant is up to $10,000.00, and it asks every member and friend to show their support for our Little Shul That Could. Every dollar will help TBE make our annual budget and continue our unique programming.

Yizkor Appeal donations can be made with your
High Holy Day registration, Yizkor Book listings, via the TBE website or by mail. (And if TBE makes its budget, Rachel Stark won't need to make a Yizkor Appeal on Yom Kippur!)

Thank you for loving Your Shul by the Sea.  


Erev Rosh Hashanah Food List

Continuing recent tradition, Erev RH will be an all-zoom seder in the comfort of home, shared with R. Rachel and Congregation Beth Israel in the Berkshires (starting 6:30pm, Sunday Sept. 25). 

Here's an ideal Erev RH list:

• Wine or juice (for four cups)
• Holiday candles
• Bitter/sour food (e.g. maror, vinegar)
• Dates (or another sweet tree fruit)
• Pomegranate or pomegranate juice
• Apples and honey
• A bread-ish food (ideally round)


Renewing Our Balance

By Rabbi David

Shanah tovah um'tukah! From my heart to yours, I send blessings of sweet goodness to you and your loved ones for our New Year 5783 coming soon. I'm so looking forward to our journey of heart, mind and soul.

Each year, TBE embraces a High Holy Day theme, an energy to infuse our journey of repair and renewal, and resonate with the season and our world. For our 2020 "holy at home" holidays, our theme of
Chesed / love (reconnected us however separated we felt during the pandemic's darkest days.

Last year, we took up
Gevurah / strength and healthy boundaries (💪) amidst roller-coaster change both locally and globally.

In mystical kabbalah's Tree of Life, the next sefirah (energy center) is
Tiferet / heart-balance (⚖️), which will be our theme for the High Holy Days of 5783. If any year especially calls for Tiferet for us personally and as a nation and planet, it's this one.

The last several years have thrown so much out of whack. Much has changed – the economy, politics, the climate. Many long for what was Before Covid. Much feels unsure and unstable. A new normal might be taking shape, but who knows what that new normal will be or what's coming next?

Societies reach inflection points of change, and so do each of us people. What worked for us before maybe isn't quite working – or at least feels different. Our relationships and values, who we see and how we see them, our usual ways of doing things, our habits and priorities, our character and emotions, what we believe in and what we can believe in – so much is changing, sometimes with dizzying speed.

Tiferet is our innate capacity to seek and shift balance. Like a child on a playground seesaw, Tiferet is our ability to feel when things are off, claim our ability to change, and shift smoothy to a new balance point. Tiferet is much more than making do. Tiferet is our ability to harmonize Chesed / love () and Gevurah / strength and healthy boundaries (💪), ourselves and the world, the here and the hereafter.

Like a physical center of gravity, Tiferet is our center of being, our core, that part of us (by any name) first to sense imbalance. Mystics link Tiferet with heart space, with good reason: it's our "center," and it pumps to and from every part of us – all our qualities, our yearnings, the parts of our sometimes complicated lives.

Implicit in our capacity to re-balance is
 our ability to change for the better. Tiferet evokes our ability to shift focus, to evolve perspective, to get unstuck, to change behavior, to realign ourselves for maximum meaning, purpose, love and joy. It's how Tiferet is our spiritual "air traffic control," our ability to choose and shift.
Especially after the last two years, we need the gifts of 
Tiferet – the sacred chance to reboot, the capacity to gently re-balance, our ability to get unstuck and change, our heart's harmony, our power to seek and give forgiveness – and so much more.

That's why our High Holy Day season will celebrate and channel 
Tiferet – for ourselves, our loved ones and our world that need us to help restore balance. 

May the call of this year's shofar and the changing season rouse us into this year's timeless Tiferet journey of balance, beauty and transformation. And may our journey together bless us, our loved ones, our holy community and the whole world with a Shanah Tovah.

Building Improvements!

Like many 1950s houses of worship, our City Island home has craved some love. The pandemic slowed down plans, as did government hurdles and climate change affecting our downstairs space. But we're the Little Shul That Could – and now we can!

We're quickly implementing a two-part rehab of our sacred space. As we must, we begin with urgent safety and accessibility needs – some of which have revealed themselves in just the last months. The intention is that there will be no interruption in TBE's use of the building.

Step One is speeding to completion now. You'll see these changes unfold between now and Sukkot:
  • Bimah expansion. The Bimah is being expanded for accessibility and rail safety.
  • Floor changes. The Sanctuary floor is being smoothed and treated to address buckling that began to pose a safety hazard.
  • New chairs. The red chairs are snaring folks' clothes, which is a safety hazard. TBE will welcome new and better padded chairs – some without arm rests, to enhance congregant comfort and choice.
  • Electrical and lighting upgrades. TBE added outdoor lighting and rewired indoor lights.
  • Audiovisual Improvements. The new sound system and a larger digital display will better connect "roomies" and "zoomies," reduce floor wires and enhance visual access. 
With these necessary changes, now's also the time to use a prior donation that was restricted to refresh the Sanctuary. A clean look that honors our historic space and feel, with a new color scheme and fresh paint, will greet you next time you come to shul.

Step Two will focus on structural issues, including TBE's upstairs-downstairs situation. These changes will unfold during the 2022-2023 year:
  • Outdoor Steps. The outdoor steps crumbled, and are being restored to ensure safe access.
  • Main Level Bathroom. Plans are being drawn to replace the upstairs office with a bathroom. This change will come faster than a lift to restore practical, comfortable access.
  • New Front Doors and Entrance. TBE's front doors are warped, and must be replaced for safety and structural integrity reasons. The proposed design will be in the lobby.
  • External Grading. TBE's side garden and back space are under-utilized. After the bathroom and new doors, we'll grade and shelter our outdoor space for expanded community use.  
  • The Lift. TBE will keep pursuing all reasonable options for access to our lower level. We are engaging with the City of New York on this issue to diligently develop alternatives.
Deep thanks to our Strategic Planning Team, Buildings and Grounds Team, Board and generous donors for tremendous support helping renew TBE. If we keep it up together, there's nothing we can't do!

September Shabbat Schedule
In honor of the High Holy Days, TBE's regular Friday cycle for Kabbalat Shabbat will shift for September and part of October. The regular cycle of clergy and community-led Shabbatot will resume after the holidays.

Here's September's Shabbat schedule:
  • Sept. 9 (7:30pm) – Shari & Monty, zoom only
  • Sept. 16 (7:30pm) – R. David and the Band (Selichot observed), hybrid
  • Sept. 23 (7:30pm) – Stu & Leslie, zoom only
  • Sept. 30 (7:30pm) – R. David and the Band (Shabbat Shuvah), hybrid
Saturday morning Torah study continues online, lay led until after Simchat Torah. 

Coming Attractions This Fall

This autumn launches more learning with R. David and more cultural programs (with your help!). Save the date now for our Fall Gala and holiday celebrations.
  • Mystic's Torah (starts Oct. 22) - Join R. David 10:00am Saturdays for the Torah cycle, centered on mysticism including Zohar. No experience or registration necessary.
  • Siddur Secrets (starts Nov. 1) - This Tuesday 7:30pm series with R. David will unpack the siddur's Hebrew grammar and deep meaning. Registration required in October. Course open to all who had a TBE b-mitzvah and all others able to read Hebrew (however slowly).
  • Fall Gala (Sunday, Nov. 13- Save the date for TBE's "Return Again" Fall Gala at the Pelham Split Rock. Special thanks to event chair Sandy Mevorah and committee in formation for helping TBE celebrate in style.
  • Thanksgiving Week - Stay tuned for special multi-faith celebrations and community service opportunities this November.
  • Festival of Lights - Chanukkah 2022 will include First Light on Dec. 18 and a festival Shabbat with all the fixings on Dec. 23. 

Community News

High Holy Day volunteers needed. We need a few discrete kinds of volunteering:
  • This week, to contact a few specified businesses to help with Rosh Hashanah. To volunteer, please contact Shari (
  • During the holidays, to serve as pre-service greeters, help re-set the Sanctuary after services, and lend a hand with kiddush. To volunteer, please email the shul.
Holy at Home. If you're joining any of the High Holy Days online, our machzor will be functionally the same as last year and displayed on screen page by page. A PDF with the text of the traditional Amidah will be shared in the zoom chatbox at regular intervals. There's nothing else you need to do: you're with us!

Gala assistance. If you're handy with even small tasks of fundraising, organizing and the like, our Fall Gala Committee needs you! Please volunteer by email and we'll circle back ASAP.

Mazal Tov!  TBE extends a hearty mazal tov to Erica Antman, daughter of Steve Antman and Pat Tammaro z"l, for her engagement to Matt. Wedding will be in October 2023.

Israel Trip 2023. Though plans (like many things) are happening slowly, we're still on track to leave for Israel during the evening of May 27, 2023 for a 10-day trip. Details will come once finalized with the tour company. For interim questions, please email R. David.

Emergency Fund. If you need fiscal support for High Holy Day food, utilities or other urgencies, contact R. David about confidential support from the Rabbinic Discretionary Fund. 

Healing List

We send blessings to members and friends for fullest re-balancing and health in body, heart, mind and spirit. May the Holy One renew them and their beloveds, speedily and soon. Amen.

Anonymous (congregant)
Elaine Belasco (congregant)
Bob Berent (congregant)
Bill Berland (congregant)
Ken Binder (congregant)
Sue Camacho (friend of congregant)
Alana Fall (friend of congregant)
Audrey Giannakaris (sister of congregant)
Noah Jacob Gottlieb (child of congregant)
Tina Lichtman (sister of congregant)
Sandy Magnes (friend of congregant)
Gary McGriff (friend of congregant)
Steve Roth (congregant)
Jodie Sadovsky (congregant)
Janet Schwartz (sister of congregant)
Joe Stern (congregant)
Sheila Stern (congregant)
Rhoda Weinstein (mother of congregant)
Lillian Winard (congregant)
Binyamina bat Zahava Rut (child of congregant)

TBE keeps Healing List names for one month, subject to renewal. In case of a request for confidentiality, only clergy will know. To add or renew a name, or to seek Chesed Team support for personal needs arising from illness or other difficulty, email us at the shul office.

For confidential requests, please contact R. David directly.  Big thanks to Tenzin and Leslie for their work on this.



Street Address
480 City Island Avenue
City Island, New York 10464

Mailing Address
Post Office Box 188
City Island, New York 10464

General Email


"Your Shul by the Sea" is a spiritually dynamic, loving and joyfully inclusive community dedicated to the heights and depths of Jewish tradition. We emphasize renewing the heart and soul of Jewish life.

Our members and friends hail from across New York's tri-state area. They describe us as truly warm and real, free of pretense. From the moment you enter whether live or digitally, you'll feel enfolded, welcome and embraced just as you are.

We proudly welcome diversity in all forms. Our leaders are women and men, LGBT and straight. We hail from across and beyond the breadth of Jewish denominations. We pray and play with our siblings in multiple faiths, sharing with us the human call to infuse all life with living spirit. 

We draw from all movements of the Jewish world. We reach beyond outdated labels. Our clergy are innovators in Jewish spirituality, and hail from the Academy for Jewish Religion and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.

Explore our website for more about our clergy, our uplifting Band and our education program. Welcome!



R. David Markus

Rabbi & Spiritual Leader
Link for Email

R. Shohama Wiener

Rabbi Emerita
Link for Email

For pastoral emergencies, please also email the synagogue main office for prompt response:



TBE's Board of Trustees are our Kohanim, community leaders in the spiritual flow of Judaism's ancient priesthood of service.

Board of Trustees

   Rachel Stark, President
   Shari Berkowitz, Vice President
   Stuart Sorell, Treasurer
   Elaine Belasco, Secretary
   Jodie Sadovsky, Past President
   Barbara Gold
   Bart Sobel
Advisory Council

   Bob Lerner
   Helen Lerner
   Arnold Wile
   David Stark
   R. Shohama Wiener
   Joel Meltzer
   Fern Hertzberg

Ritual Committee

   Bob Berent
   Shari Berkowitz
   Stu Goldstein
   Leslie Lichtman-Berland
   Monty Renov


Membership is open to all spiritual seekers who resonate with our joyful approach to renewing Judaism. We rely on membership and charitable support to keep our doors open to all regardless of means.

For membership information,
please contact:

Elaine Belasco
Membership Chair



We depend on tzedakah (charitable support) to continue offering high-quality, low-cost spiritual community for all persons, regardless of means.

To make a 100% tax-deductible contribution, click here to give via PayPal:


On behalf of Your Shul by the Sea, thank you for your generous support of our vision for joyful spiritual Judaism in coastal New York and beyond.



Temple Beth El of City Island is proud to network with innovative communities across the spiritual spectrum that emphasize heartfelt inclusion and spiritual experience beyond labels and boundaries.

Rabbi David is a rabbinic fellow alumnus of


a former project of CLAL: Center for Jewish Life and Learning, whose participating clergy are helping lead the cutting edge of innovation in Jewish spiritual life.




Temple Beth El of City Island inherits the spiritual tradition of innovation today re-inspiring Judaism and all spiritual life. 

We share the flow of spiritual innovation with cooperative spiritual allies here and around the world. Together we're building a living and breathing Jewish spirituality open to all.

In this spirit, TBE thanks proudly our spiritual partners at –

– which is helping pioneer the next phase of Jewish spiritual building for the 21st century. Learn more at Bayit: Building Jewish.
TBE draws from all streams and denominations of Jewish life, including the pluralist tradition of the New York Jewish seminary, Academy for Jewish Religion
and Jewish Renewal influences flowing in diverse ways, including the founders and alumni of 



Temple Beth El of City Island is a proud supporter of full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life. We were among the first Jewish congregations in New York to legally solemnize same-sex marriages, and we have a long and proud history of LGBTQ leadership of our community.

For more information, please contact us or our friends at Keshet: For LGBTQ equality in Jewish Life.



Temple Beth El of City Island is rated as a top welcoming and inclusive synagogue for persons of all races, ethnicities and religions by the good people at Mocha Juden.



Please also support TBE with every Amazon purchase. Do your Amazon shopping from and designate Temple Beth El of City Island. Thank you!




While we're all making our sacred spaces at home, we ask that all members and guests make a spiritual practice of being aware of the sounds in their surroundings.

Before services, please mute televisions, telephones and other electronic devices. If you have noisy pets, please place them in another room. If noise occurs, please make special effort to mute yourself.

Please consult our customs and policies for helpful guidance about ways to feel most comfortable in our community and make it your own. Thank you!


Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Google Plus Instapaper Digg Reddit StumbleUpon MySpace Netvouz NewsVine Slashdot Technorati BlinkList Design Float

Copyright © 2022 Temple Beth-El of City Island, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp