The Eighties

Pot luck suppers, oneg shabbatim and Sunday brunches became a part of the activities at B’er Chayim, along with Community Seders and Rabbi’s open houses and sukkah visits. Rabbi Schoffman was elected President of the Ministerial Association and often spoke in the greater Cumberland community for the Jewish congregations.

The early 1980’s were yet another time when many improvements were made to the physical plant of the temple. Under the presidency of Bruce Gurenson, the roof was repaired; a fire door on the bimah was installed, the exterior of the building was repainted and the stained glass windows were protected with a covering of Lexan. A major alteration to the temple was the installation of air conditioning for the Sanctuary and Vestry by Sara Beneman in memory of her husband, Harry. 

The Ark, too, was beautified. In memory of Jacob and Sarah Goodman, their children had the glass above the doors replaced with one depicting the Star of David. A set of torah crowns honoring the 50th wedding anniversary of Babe and Ruth Millenson was given; another set was given as a memorial to Rudy Mendelsohn by his widow and son; a third set was a memorial for Paul Steinberger by his widow Milly; and the fourth one for Frank Kaplon and Helen Kaplon was given by their surviving mates. A silver breastplate to adorn the second large Torah was given by Esther Beerman and siblings in honor of Jacob and Sarah Goodman. New chairs, tables and carpet were placed in the Vestry and were funded by the former Sisterhood. 

In June of 1986, Bernice A. Friedland was elected to the presidency of B’er Chayim, and holds the distinction of being the first woman President of the Congregation. During her tenure she supervised the remodeling of the Temple foyer. Through a contribution from the Lazarus family in memory of their parents Bess and Mark Lazarus, handsome cabinets and carpeting were installed. Many Judaic items from congregants and from the early days of the congregation now reside inside these display cabinets.