CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL IS A VIBRANT EGALITARIAN AND PROGRESSIVE JEWISH COMMUNITY. WE WELCOME JEWS FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS, THEIR PARTNERS, FAMILIES, AND THOSE SEEKING TO LIVE JEWISHLY. WE ENCOURAGE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN SYNAGOGUE LIFE BY EACH MEMBER ACCORDING TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS AND ABILITIES. WE EMPOWER OUR MEMBERS TO LIVE JOYFUL AND MEANINGFUL LIVES THROUGH PRAYER, LEARNING, COMMUNITY FRIENDSHIPS, AND THE JEWISH IMPERATIVE OF TIKKUN OLAM—REPAIR OF THE WORLD.
Since 1888, Congregation Beth Israel has been an importance presence in the Greater Bangor region, serving as the nexus of Jewish living in this part of Maine.
We are an open congregation with an amazing fusion of tradition and egalitarianism. See what we have to offer:
We are a traditional Conservative synagogue, a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. We use Siddur Sim Shalom as our weekday, Shabbat, and festival prayer book.
All are welcome in our community, whether you are visiting, or are a Jew in search of a new spiritual and religious home.
Brian Kresge grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, coming from one of Central Pennsylvania’s older Jewish families, with ties to all three congregations in the town.
Brian enlisted in the Army as a paratrooper in the early 1990s, and continues to serve today in the Maine Army National Guard. He has a BA from Southwest Texas State and an MBA from Capella University. He works as a consultant programmer, developing and project managing complex business and analytical solutions across a wide array of industries.
Brian and his wife, Leah (who is Director of Education), reside in Winterport with their daughters Amelia and Nezzie. They maintain the blog, Down East Kvetch, which documents their experiences reconciling yiddishkeit with life in the Maine woods.
Leah grew up outside of Philadelphia and attended Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, Pennsylvania. She attended the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, earning a Hebrew School and Youth Leadership certificate. She attended the Habonim Dror Youth Movement's Camp Galil (where she sends her children today), and was an active participant in USY. She spent her last high school summer attending the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program.
Leah is a graduate of Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she minored in Religious Studies and carried a double major in Elementary and Special Education.
Leah started teaching and leading junior congregation at Tifereth Israel in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, her childhood synagogue. She taught at Temple Beth El and Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She has taught in preschool, elementary, junior high, and high school special education classrooms professionally.
Leah lives in Winterport with her husband Brian and their daughters Amelia and Inez "Nezzie" Rose. She and her husband write the blog, Down East Kvetch, about Jewish living in Maine.
Rabbi Bill Siemers joined Congregation Beth Israel in July 2014. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007, where he was a Crown Fellow. Before coming to Bangor, Rabbi Siemers lived and worked in southern Maryland, Philadelphia, and the East End of Long Island. His wife Deborah and his two children, Rebecca and Daniel, are excited to make Bangor their home. Rabbi Siemers teaches courses in medieval and modern Jewish History at the University of Maine, gives public lectures on a wide variety of Jewish topics, and writes on the blog www.dordeah.org. He can be followed on twitter @RavBill , and is a proud Zionist and a passionate supporter of Israel. When he is not learning or teaching, his interests include chess, guitar, bongos and Johnny Cash.