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Life & Legacy

Be remembered forever by Temple Sinai with a gift in your will, retirement account, or life insurance policy. Click to complete a Declaration of Intent.

LEGACY CIRCLE MEMBERS  TESTIMONIALS  IN THE NEWS

LEGACY CIRCLE MEMBERS (as of 9/2/21)
Barbara Allen • Anonymous (8) • Marc Adelsheimer & Jamie Stern • George & Laura Arnold • Jan & Drew Barkley • Stewart Barmen & Laurie Moser • Cantor Laura Berman • Ellie & Bob Bernstein • Jennifer H. Bett • Eva Blum • Gloria Bodek • Miriam Botkin • Arlene & Bill Brandeis • Joshua Breslau • Elizabeth & Michael Collura • Richard & Rhoda Dorfzaun • Sally Katzen Dyk • Julian z”l & Rhoda Eligator • James R. & Morgan Faeder • Mark z”l & Anne Faigen • Gina Faiola • Leslie H. Fleisher • Nancy E. Gale • Rabbi James A. & Barbara S. Gibson • Arthur Goldberg • Ruth Goldman • Shirley Goldstein • Edward Goldston • Rabbi Keren Gorban • David Hauptman & Family • Suzan Hauptman & Family • Adora & Stephen Holstein • Stephen Jurman & Jeanette Trauth • Richard D. Kalson • The Kander Family • Mara & Richard Kaplan • Carole & Jerry Katz • Robert & Ellen Katzen • Robert Kraut & Aya Betensky • Susan Berman Kress & Douglas Kress • Rachel M. Kudrick • Bernard Latterman z”l • Dale Lazar & Lynn Magid Lazar • Philip L. Lehman & Jill Fain Lehman • Louise Malakoff • David & Carole Maretsky • Stuart & Linda Miller • Marcia & Thomas Morton • Laurie Mulvey • Elliott Oshry • David & Rita Pollock • Rosalyn Carol Richman • Richard & Carol Rosenthal • Mayda & Barry Roth • Lynn Rubenson • Selma P. Ryave • John & Denise Schiller • Carolyn Schwarz • Frank Schwarz • Jay Silberblatt • Edgar Snyder • The Solomon Family • Saul Straussman • Joseph & Phyllis G. Weinkle • Women of Temple Sinai • Ed & Lynda Wrenn • H. J. Zoffer • Ronnie Cook Zuhlke

TESTIMONIALS

WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN OUR FUTURE PLANS 
By Phyllis & Joseph Weinkle

Temple Sinai has always been an important part of our family’s life. Beginning with Phyllis’ parents who were charter members and helped to shape the vision of the congregation. It took planning and involvement to bring us to where we are today.

Over the years we have celebrated many lifecycle events, both happy and sad. We have seen a lot of growth and change. In addition, we have each been involved in all aspects of congregational life, Phyllis professionally as Executive Director and Joseph as a volunteer. Some are: Sinai milestones, services, senior staff selections, Memorial Park management and growth, Food Festival and other fundraising activities, renovation planning and fund raising, Brotherhood, and WoTS (and the transition from Sisterhood), and many more too numerous to mention. Synagogue involvement and religious observance is also a vital part of our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

All of this is what makes a congregation a warm and welcoming place and very successful. Financial security is what allows it to happen. That is why we are participating in Life and Legacy. It is important to us to make sure that Sinai grows and flourishes for the generations to come.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN OUR FUTURE PLANS 
By Jeanette Trauth & Steve Jurman 

Stephen and I joined Temple Sinai in the fall of 1998 when our son, Beryl, was in the 4th grade and our daughter, Danielle, the first grade. Although I was raised in the Catholic religion, I was nevertheless committed to raising our children as Reform Jews. However, it was, at times, a harder decision than I initially thought. In those early years, Stephen and I were focused on our children’s religious education—Sunday religious school, Hebrew study, preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzvah and finally Confirmation. It was not until after our children had left home for college, that I began to think seriously about my own place at Temple Sinai. What I came to appreciate and love about the Temple Sinai community was that I was accepted as a member of the congregation, even though I had not officially converted. Temple Sinai provided me with the freedom and space to pray and to further my own ethical development. This was especially true during the past year of COVID quarantine. Over the past two years, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to get better acquainted with other members of the Temple Sinai family as I worked with them on a variety of social justice efforts—cooking monthly dinners at EECM, planting the vegetable garden at Temple and the civic engagement work to get out the vote in the 2020 election. Belonging to Temple Sinai is now a very important part of my life. It is one of the things that gives meaning and purpose to my life. It is for this reason that Stephen and I have decided to make a Legacy gift to Temple Sinai.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN 
By Frank & Carolyn Schwarz 

With the pandemic, this past year has been so different. Temple Sinai has been a highlight during the quarantine's isolation with Shabbat dinner, followed by Kaballat Shabbat services as well as the Informal Shabbat services on Saturday morning. 

Additionally, Temple Sinai has offered Frank the companionship and mental stimulation of Hartman Class on Sunday mornings and the monthly Brotherhood lunch. Carolyn finds strength and friendship with WoTS, monthly business meetings, Rosh Chodesh, Chai Mitzvah, and project meetings. We both appreciate the opportunity to help with Tikkun Olam EECM shelter dinners and Civic Engagement.

Being part of Life & Legacy has given us the opportunity to help make sure that our beloved Temple Sinai will continue to offer us —and those who follow after us—a community of Jewish family that supports and sustains us in both joyful and difficult times.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Morgan Faeder

I first heard of the Life & Legacy program at a Temple Sinai board meeting, presented as a way to help ensure the congregation’s future with an incentive that would also help the congregation today. It sounded like a great idea for people planning their estates. I, however, was not planning my estate. Then my friend (and Temple Sinai’s Director of Development), Leslie Fleisher, asked me to attend the Life & Legacy dinner celebrating the participants who had pledged to support one of all the various Pittsburgh Jewish organizations. There were a lot of people, not all of them older than I, and not all of them more financially well-off than I. And so I started to think. 

I thought about what Temple Sinai means to me and my family. About how actively welcoming this community has been to us, at a time when intolerance of queer people has become more acceptable. About how Rabbi Gibson’s and Rabbi Gorban’s sermons so often focus on social justice, calling us to use what advantages we have to help others who are less fortunate. About how my children have been able to engage with their Judaism in their own way within this community. About the focus on disability awareness and inclusion and the recent Mental Health Trialogue, a gathering of providers, consumers, and Temple leaders to talk about the issues facing Jews with mental health challenges and how our community can help. And as I thought it became clear to me that the Temple Sinai community is one that I want to support as actively as it has supported me. It is a place that I want to continue to be there for the generations after me. 

Joining the Legacy Circle by declaring my intent to remember Temple Sinai was, in the end, an easy decision to make. After recognizing what Temple Sinai means to me: a warm, welcoming community, teaching and living the Jewish values that guide me, it would have been harder not to.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Barbara Allen

I have had the good fortune in my life to be a member of two wonderful synagogues, Tree of Life in Morgantown, West Virginia, and Temple Israel in Charleston, West Virginia. After I retired and moved to Pittsburgh, however, I spent several unaffiliated years—events in my life, some momentous, some mundane but time-consuming, kept my mind far away from shul membership.

The horrific events at Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation shocked me out of my complacency and made me remember: I’m a Jew, I’m part of a community that has endured over time, and I want to be a part of that community in a meaningful way. Enter Temple Sinai, which I learned of through my daughter, Leslie Fleisher. 

I knew from the moment I first saw the synagogue, with its Pride flag and its welcoming message, that this was the congregation for me. Temple Sinai’s policy of inclusion, and the ways in which its leaders strive to bring everyone into a loving circle of community and fellowship, checked every box on my mental checklist.  No one is marginalized in this congregation; everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and honored. Services are a wonderful blend of the sacred and the joyous, with Torah teaching, music, and a little rabbinic humor (not too lame, even!) thrown in. Temple Sinai is active in many wonderful programs and initiatives, including help for those experiencing food insecurity, outreach to the Islamic community, support for the disability community, and other programs too numerous to mention. 

When I learned of the Life & Legacy initiative, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it, even though I’ve been a member of the congregation for less than a year.  This is my congregation, and this is my community, past, present and future.  I was in the fortunate position of being able to make my gift to Temple Sinai’s endowment Fund for the Future now—without having to die, such a blessing!—and I am so glad that I made the decision to do so. I feel that I’ve played at least a little part in helping Temple Sinai remain a mainstay in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community for many years to come.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Suzie & David Hauptman

When your child is comfortable, you are comfortable. When your child cries, you cry. When your child laughs, you laugh. And when your child thinks of Temple Sinai as a safe haven, a second home, a place where everyone knows his name and he can feel comfortable being himself…you feel that same way, too. 

From the early days when I would bring our son as an infant and toddler, he would relax and explore, and then through his trying teens and now as he continues to grow as a young adult—Temple Sinai is the space of freedom, expression, and love; for our son, our parents, and us. My father was often in the hospital. He always took comfort when his Rabbi would visit. At his previous synagogue, those visits waned away. I felt sad for him and convinced him to come to services at Temple Sinai. You could see the warmth in his face. He joked that he even listened to the sermon that night. He and my mother joined almost instantly. A few weeks later found him in the hospital again. And not 24 hours later, my father had his first visit by Rabbi Jamie. That sealed the deal for the rest of his life, my mother’s life, and now ours and our son’s.

With the introduction of the Life & Legacy pledge, we saw this as the perfect way for us to tell Temple Sinai how much a part of our lives and the lives of our family, it has always been and now, always will be. From our son’s naming and bris, to my Bat Mitzvah and his, to our wedding, and my parents’ funerals, Temple Sinai has been there. Has been there for the rituals and the support; the hugs and tears; the laughter and the joy. Now we can always be there for Temple Sinai in perpetuity.

“Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved, and if you cannot give me away, at least let me live in your eyes…So, when all that’s left of me is love, give me away.” This is how we feel about Temple Sinai. 

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REMEMBERING MY “ELLY”
By The Kander Family
November 2019

“Please don’t forget me.” That was my Elly’s admonition to me as she knew the end was approaching. My immediate response was, “Please take that off of your worry list.” Ellen is a Hebrew name meaning “shining light,” and she was that and so much more. She lit up a room and a community, she welcomed the stranger and those who otherwise may have felt unwelcomed. She was funny, smart, beautiful, compassionate, loving, kind and pure of heart. She was an activist, doer, volunteer, and change maker, who stood up for any injustice crossing her path. She left legacies of non-profits she both created and volunteered for, that have literally transformed lives.

She was the perfect mother, always encouraging, worrying, teaching, yet finding for her children the perfect balance of support and independence. She was the most loving wife, partner, friend, aunt, and daughter. She loved our community and the Jewish agencies, including Temple Sinai, Hebrew Free Loan, Community Day School, the Jewish Community Center, and the Friendship Circle. All were made better by her involvement.

Temple Sinai was always there for our family during the best and worst of times. Elly and I were married at Temple Sinai, and all of our children’s B’nei Mitzvah were there. And during the entire year that Elly was battling cancer, Temple Sinai clergy provided comfort, guidance, spirituality, support, and a tremendous amount of love. They were there when we needed them most, and I’ll never forget their compassionate and loving hearts.

Elly constantly came to visit me through butterflies during the year after she passed. I am leaving this butterfly garden knowing she will continue to visit her children and grandchildren and continue to be our guardian angel.

My Elly had an absolute “glow” about her and although it has been seven years since her passing, her light still shines bright. May this garden serve as an eternal reflection of Elly’s life, beauty, and splendor, and may you all be touched by her shining light.

With Love and Appreciation,
The Kander Family

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Gina Faiola
October 2019

The beautiful season of fall is upon us and with it comes the communal exhale as we pause and reflect on the year we just traveled together. Personally speaking, this time of year is one I cherish as the days hold a sense of importance and weightiness inextricably bound to our High Holy Days calendar. The rush of summer plans behind me, the cool air, waning sun, and the taste of Jane Kahn’s Rosh Hashanah matzah ball soup always signals to me “t’shuva time!” In other words, a time to reflect on my actions and the happenings of the last year. 

It was a year ago, as I sat under a tree on Yom Kippur, praying, fasting, and waiting by my cellphone for updates on my ailing father’s broken hip surgery, that I thought, this year could be the one in which the book of life has one less “Faiola” name written, his. It was a hard truth to bear when his passing came only weeks later. He made it to the new year, but barely made it through the first chapter! The rush of support and love I felt from the Temple Sinai community at the time I needed it most cannot be overstated. I was bolstered by prayers, calls, tissues, sympathetic hand squeezes, and SO many hugs.

The kindness and mitzvot of the community then was especially bountiful, but as a member of Temple Sinai for the last several years, I’ve born witness to this generosity of spirit over and over again. Through its people, Temple Sinai has become my home. This despite the fact that I now call another Pennsylvania city home, one which is multiple hours and a long, boring stretch of turnpike away!

In seeking to kindle the flame of our community, I have chosen to pledge my support for the Life and Legacy fund, and include Temple Sinai in my estate plan. As a thirty-something, creating an estate plan has never been at the top of my to-do list. However, in honor of that special Faiola name that will no longer be written in that big, beautiful Book of Life, for me, this particular tzedekah is an indelible way to express my gratitude for this ever-evolving family of families.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Leslie Fleisher
August 2019

In May, I had the privilege of attending the Life & Legacy conference in Springfield, Mass. Hosted by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, this three-day conference offered numerous opportunities to connect with and learn what other synagogues and various Jewish organizations across the US and Canada are doing to ensure a sustainable future for their respective communities. I was truly proud to represent Temple Sinai and share stories of our congregation’s inspiring and inclusive environment and innovative programing with fellow colleagues working to advance Jewish philanthropy.

Attending the Life & Legacy conference was personally meaningful for me as well as professionally enriching. When my life was altered by a shocking diagnosis of stage IV cancer in January of 2015 (from which I have thankfully been in remission since fall of 2016), I never imagined that only four years later I would be working in my dream job, dedicating my time and efforts towards advancing Temple Sinai’s sacred and deeply humane mission, which resonates so very much with my own values. Although it was not required to participate in the conference, it felt important to sign my own declaration of intent to support Temple Sinai before attending; it was an invaluable experience to learn and connect with the broader Jewish community as both a synagogue staff member and as a stakeholder in Pittsburgh’s Jewish future.

Considering my recent life experience, pledging a future gift to Temple Sinai by signing a Life & Legacy declaration of intent to remember — and be remembered by — this warm, inclusive, all-embracing organization was a surprisingly easy decision for me. While it can certainly be overwhelming, daunting, and emotional to think about the future when we are so busy trying to keep up with present 
concerns and the pressures of our daily lives, taking the first small step in defining our personal values can inspire important conversations with our loved ones about our shared Jewish heritage, hopes for the future, and how we would like to be remembered by our families, friends, and community.

I’m proud to know I’m helping to assure a Jewish tomorrow for Temple Sinai’s Family of Families. As a Legacy Circle member and staff member, thank you all for welcoming me so warmly into this wonderful community.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Carol Rosenthal
May 2019

One Sunday morning I walked into Temple Sinai to drop my son off at Religious School. We were pretty new members and didn’t know many people. A woman approached me, introduced herself as Estelle Mann, and asked me if I would like to join the Steering Committee. I had no idea what the Steering Committee was at that time, but for some reason I said, “Yes.” It turned out that the Steering Committee was Women of Temple Sinai’s board, and that was the beginning of my involvement at Temple Sinai.

I began to meet people by volunteering for the Food Festival, the Gift Shop, and singing in the Intergenerational Choir. In fact I was at the Temple so often I was offered a job. After retiring, I began my volunteer career at the Temple. Many of my closest friendships were formed from my interactions with Temple members, which continue to this day.

Temple Sinai provided me with a community—my community—which has rallied around me in times of sorrow and loss and celebrated with me in times of joy. Besides my family, the Temple clergy have been my strongest support system.

But Temple Sinai is not only there for me. Temple Sinai is there for all those who need and want a place to belong. They do wonderful outreach so that we can learn about other communities and develop ongoing relationships. They provide a voice for those that need to be heard.

So I care deeply about Temple Sinai and its future. I feel a responsibility to help in any way I can to make sure future generations have the same opportunities that I have had and so the Temple can continue the great work they are doing. My husband and I have chosen to leave a legacy gift to Temple Sinai in our will. I hope you will, too.

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WHY TEMPLE SINAI IS IN MY FUTURE PLAN
By Louise Malakoff
April 2019

Our then mixed married family joined Temple Sinai in 1984, at a time when Sinai alone was known in the Jewish community for its warm welcome of mixed married families. Within days of becoming members and enrolling our children in the Religious School, I (the non-Jewish spouse) received a call from the chair of the Religious School Committee inviting me to join, and another call from a leader in the “Mixed Doubles” group, who welcomed me and also sent me recipes and transliterated blessings to help us celebrate our first High Holidays. 

Over the years, my sense of Temple Sinai as a family has only grown. I was supported and encouraged when I chose to convert to Judaism. I was entrusted with the responsibilities of congregational leadership. And, most importantly, like a true family, Temple clergy, staff, and members have been there for me through the sad and challenging times and have rejoiced with and for me in the happy times. I will never forget the celebration that my Temple family created for our adult B’nei Mitzvah and the sight of my seven-year-old granddaughter dancing with anyone who she could commandeer at the party.

I am also so proud of Temple Sinai’s commitment not only to its members, but to the greater good of the Pittsburgh community. Temple’s clergy and members are leaders on problems ranging from gun violence to religious tolerance to income and racial inequality. Temple is vocal in support of LGBTQ acceptance and the full societal incorporation of the disabled.

For all that Temple Sinai means to me and to the future of Judaism in Pittsburgh, I have included Temple in my estate plan, and I encourage others to help us plan for a long and influential future.

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IN THE NEWS

On Tuesday, April 30, the Jewish Federation of Great Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation hosted a donor-appreciation celebration to honor the more than 350 people who have made a legacy gift with the Grinspoon LIFE & LEGACY™ program. In the program’s first year, all participants raised more than $18 million for Jewish community organizations in Greater Pittsburgh.

Temple Sinai was awarded a total of $7,000 in grant funding from the Grinspoon Foundation—$5,000 for meeting our first year goal of 18 Legacy gifts and an additional $2,000 for exceeding that goal and reaching a total of 25 gifts. We are very proud to welcome nearly 70 individuals, couples, and families 
into Temple Sinai’s Legacy Circle! 

The greater goal of the Life & Legacy program is assuring Jewish tomorrows by taking the future in our hands today. We hope you will join this important initiative and help us reach our 2019–2020 goal of expanding our Legacy Circle by 18 new Legacy gifts, of which we already have four.

You, too, can be remembered forever by Temple Sinai through a gift in your will, retirement account, or life insurance policy. Contact Drew Barkley, Executive Director, at (412) 421-9715 ext. 111 or Drew@TempleSinaiPGH.org to learn more.


Front row (left to right): Denise Schiller, Philip Lehman, Drew Barkley, Laura Arnold, Cantor Laura Berman, Nancy Gale; Back row (left to right): Rabbi Jamie Gibson, Barbara Gibson, John Schiller, Joe Weinkle, Morgan Faeder, James Faeder, Leslie Fleisher, George Arnold, Laura Fehl, Lynn Rubenson, Carolyn Schwarz, Louise Malakoff, and Frank Schwarz 
(Photo: Joshua Franzos)

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Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782