MoTAS Weekly for 8/27/14: Pancakes, Passes, Pipes, Pars, Players, and People

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:

  1. It’s Pancake Breakfast Time
  2. Jeopardy Answer: The Skirball, Stephen S. Wise, and AJU
  3. If You Tell a Jew It’s Elul…
  4. Par for the Course – Golf Players Needed
  5. Going, Going, Football Squares Are Almost Gone
  6. Meet the Men of TAS: Robert Levin
  7. In Closing



pancakeReligious School starts on Sunday, September 7th, and that means it is time for annual MoTAS  Pancake Breakfast. Join the men of Temple Ahavat Shalom at 9 AM for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, juice, and other goodies. MoTAS reviewed the pricing since last week’s weekly, and we’ve decided that no child should skip breakfast for lack of funds. Therefore, the breakfast is free for kids and teachers in the school; for other adults, the cost is only $5 for pancakes and $1 for juice/coffee only. This is a “pay at the door” event; although we would like to know if you are coming, reservations in advance are not required. The morning provides you the opportunity to learn about the different ways to get involved with TAS and strengthen that relationship. As parents, we are the role models for our children. If we get involved with the synagogue, we’re demonstrating to our children the value of  involvement.

If you would like to volunteer to help at the Pancake Breakfast, please contact Joel Lowell at 818/832-1525 or email Volunteers are needed to setup, prepare the food, and clean-up afterwards. You can also fill out the contact form at

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Erik Greenberg (9/14/14 Speaker)The question is: What Jewish institutions are located in the Sepulveda Pass? Now that you know what institutions are there, the next question is: Why are so many Jewish institutions clustered in the Sepulveda Pass? You can find out the answer to that question on Sunday, September 14th at our first speaker program of the 2014-2015 year. Join the Men of TAS at 8:45 AM in Activity Center 5/6 for a scrumptious breakfast typically consisting of bagels, lox, eggs, cookies, fruit, juice, and coffee/tea (donations appreciated). Our normal monthly meeting (d’var torah, introductions, and a review of upcoming activities), starts at 8:45 AM, followed by our speaker at 10:00 AM. This month, our topic is “Jewish Institutions of the Sepulveda Pass“.

The Jewish institutions that line the Sepulveda Pass offer physical evidence of LA Jewry’s westward movement and a glimpse into the beliefs and ideals that helped shape American Jewish observance and culture over the past fifty years. Dr. Erik Greenberg, Director of Education at the Autry National Center and participant in the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies’ web project, Mapping Jewish LA, will explore and explain the connections between the Jewish
institutions of the Pass and their connection to some of the most significant developments in postwar American Jewish thought.

Erik Greenberg received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and also holds MAs in history from UCLA and California State University, Northridge. Erik has spent over a decade teaching a range of students from k-college and beyond a wide variety of historical subjects ranging from the history of the American West to the intellectual and cultural history of the American Jewish experience. Erik is a frequent contributor to a number of academic journals as well as the Autry’s quarterly magazine, Convergence. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the American Jewish Archives’ Lowenstein-Wiener Research Fellowship and two Monkarsh Family Fellowships at UCLA’s Department of History. Erik has lived in Los Angeles for twenty-two years, and has spent a considerable amount of time stuck in traffic in the Sepulveda Pass.

Future speakers include our executive director, Aaron Solomon, on how the temple runs; Dr. Allan Katcher on managing your strengths, and a Judaica show-and-tell. Full information on the speakers program may be found at

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Sukkah BuildingIf you tell a Jew it is Elul, they will start preparing for the High Holy Days. If a Jew is preparing for the High Holy Days, they will know that Sukkot is not far way. And, if you tell a Jew—especially a Man of TAS—that Sukkot is not far away, they will start readying their gloves, Allen wrenches, zip-ties, and other accoutrements of construction. Why? Because Sukkot means it is time to build a Sukkah. Start marking your calendar for the first Sunday in October, October 5th, at 8:45 AM. That morning, we’ll gather together under the watchful eye (and voice) of our Sukkah Foreman, Robert Levin, to build our Sukkah. I find this one of the most fun activities of the MoTAS year—men working together to build something. Come join us for the fun.

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Golf Tournament 2014The Annual MoTAS Charity Golf Tournament is on Monday, October 27, 2014, and (as I’ve mentioned before) you’re going to be seeing weekly reminders until then to participate. Each week, we’ll try to highlight the different ways you can help the Golf Tournament; this week, we’re talking about playing in the tournament, and finding new players.

One key element of the success of any golf tournament is the number of golfers. At one time, the MoTAS golf tournament actually hit a high of almost 100 golfers. Last year, we were back down to the more typical number of about 70. WE MUST ALL TRY AND INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS. How can you help us do that? It’s easy. Here are seven ideas:

  1. Play yourself. First, and foremost: come out an play yourself! If you are an amateur or a pro, we want you.
  2. Ask your friends. Ask and invite your friends who you know golf, whether regularly or occasionally. The tournament is about community and having fun, even for a duffer.
  3. Ask your business contacts. Look at your network of business contacts: vendors, bankers, accountants, lawyers, colleagues, etc. There are sure to be golfers among them; however, they will not come just because you want them to. You have to invite them. So get out there and put together a foursome or two.
  4. The power of networking. The allure for vendors, bankers, accountants, lawyers, is they can network while on the links. One new contact/client makes the cost more than worth it.
  5. Share your belief in the product. Don’t be bashful. Getting players is a sales activity, and sales is extending your love of the product to someone else. This tournament will help MoTAS support TAS. Share your love of the links, or your love of TAS, by extending yourself personally by calling or meeting with prospective players. Don’t be afraid to push a little, they can always say “no”… but one or more may just say “yes”.
  6. Get help from the committee. If you need help convincing a potential player, talk to others on the Golf Committee and maybe they can help. Just drop a note to Barry Mann at or call (818) 231-4856.
  7. Set a goal and work to achieve it. If you measure your success, you are more likely to achieve it. If every man in TAS brought in a player or a foursome, our tournament would be a resounding success.

As always, you can find more information on the golf tournament and how to be a player at Our Golf website also provides information on how to make prize donations, sign up for golf sponsorships, and place ads in the calendar/ad book.

P.S.: Sisterhood will also be running Mah Jongg for those interested during the Golf  Tournament. For more information, contact Anita Hoch, the Sisterhood Mah Jongg chair, at 818-360-0160 or email

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Sample Sports Squares GridAs of Tuesday, August 26, there were just about 10 Football Squares
left for purchase. If you have been putting off buying your football square, it is time to do it before the board is completely full. Once it is full, we’re not opening a second board. If you have reserved a space but haven’t paid, please get your payment in—once the board is full, unpaid reserved squares may be subject to release to those with payment.

As a reminder, $50 is all that is required for an individual to purchase a square, and you could quite possibly win that back. Each week during the Monday Night Football season, prizes will be awarded for those squares matching the scores at the quarter, half, three-quarter, and final marks (based on the last digit of the total score, and the randomized numbers along the top and side of the grid – no skill involved). Not only can you win, but the congregation wins as well. If the board is fully subscribed, $5000 is raised, and $2000 is paid out in prizes, leaving $3000 to be allocated to specific temple activities.

There is only one way to ensure you get a square: visit to learn how to purchase your square today. There you can find an on-line sign-up form, or a form you can fill in, print, and mail.

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Robert LevinThe best way to build a relationship with someone is to get to know them. In support of this, we’re using our weekly newsletter to introduce you to the Men of TAS, starting with this year’s officers. If you’re a man of TAS — especially if you’re a regular participant in MoTAS activities — we would love to share your bio. Just mail it to This week, I’d like to introduce you to Robert Levin, who runs our Sukkah Building activity.

Bob Levin and his family have been members of TAS for some 28 years now. When they joined the Temple, they were placed in a Havurah with members who had children similar in age to ours. This Havurah is still going strong and continues to get together each and every month for all types of interesting activities.

Bob’s wife, Brona, and Bob have been happily married for 40 years. She is a retired LAUSD  special education teacher and both of their children followed her lead into teaching. Their daughter, Ariana, teaches at the elementary school level and their son, Jared, is a high school world history teacher at Marshall High and is the varsity basketball coach there as well.

Bob began his working career as a lawyer, but later became a contractor. For 32 years he has owned and operated the American Awning & Blind Co., an enterprise that has been in business since 1910. They manufacture and install canvas and aluminum awnings for commercial, industrial and residential customers.

Bob is a racquetball addict and if anyone is interested in a game, please let him know. He is also a past president of the TAS Men’s Club and has chaired the Sukkah set-up and Purim Carnival food service for over 20 years. He wishes all the best to the current President of MoTAS, the board and all its members.

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As always, remember that the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom is *your* organization. Keep up to date on our activities at and participate. We want to serve all the men of Temple Ahavat Shalom and welcome new participants from the TAS membership. Join our Facebook group and “follow” our new website. Come be part of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom!

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