By Anne Rothenberg
Each summer for the past 25 years, five couples, former and current Binghamton residents, have been gathering for a “Binghamton Reunion.” Living in a community where many people were transplants, these couples became each others’ extended family during their Binghamton sojourn. All lived on the West Side, were members of Beth David Synagogue and sent their children to Hillel Academy.
Joined by Susan and Michael Wright, current Binghamton residents and former Binghamtonians Helen and Les Loew, Anne and Jeff Rothenberg, and Meryl and Harold Sasnowitz gather each summer at the home of Roz and Harry Wiesel in the Beaver Lake community in the Catskills. Centrally located between Binghamton, Albany, West Hartford, CT, and Passaic, NJ, their Beaver Lake home comfortably accommodates the couples who spend a wonderful weekend reconnecting and reminiscing.
The weekend starts on Thursday. The couples often take trips to local attractions, such as the Resorts World Casino, located on former Concord Hotel property. They also visited the Woodstock Museum, which exhibits the art and history of the 1960s that changed the world forever. Participants can also elect to relax at the lake, public pool or in the Wiesels’ hot tub. In the evening, they traditionally attend summer stock productions at the Forestburgh Playhouse.
On Friday, serious preparation begins for Shabbat meals that revolve around themes decided on by the couples the year before. Russian, Greek, Chinese, Mexican, Thanksgiving, Brooklyn deli and picnic are examples of just a few themes. Each couple signs up to bring part of the meal and, as a result, many new recipes resulted through research, trial and error. The themes are complemented by coordinated tableware and costumes, ordered online for the occasion.
Shabbat services are held at the Beaver Lake Synagogue, and this year, the Wiesel’s sponsored the kiddush, partly in honor of the group’s 25th anniversary. A quiet, but delicious, Shabbat meal is enjoyed by everyone – napping, sitting on the porch swing and reading, or chatting with each other. After Havdalah, all are invigorated, and enjoy a movie on TV.
By Sunday, everyone is ready to hit the road – to continue vacationing or head home. The Rothenbergs, who made aliyah to Jerusalem several years ago, obviously come from the farthest. But, they promised the group that they would plan their summer vacation in the U.S. around the reunion – an event not to be missed!