As part of our MoTAS Shabbat, we invited a number of men to share a reflection of what their relationship with MoTAS means to them. This is the reflection that Howard Miller shared:
When my wife Laraine and I joined TAS 21 years ago, I was looking for three aspects of Jewish life: Worship, Service to my Jewish community, and a sense of belonging and comradery. Worship was straightforward, our Temple prayers and melodies were identical to those I had been brought up with in a Conservative temple. I found the opportunity to provide service and enjoy the comradery of friendship in the TAS Men’s Club.
It started a couple of weeks after we joined. The Men’s Club was building the sukkah. Coming from Seal Beach, I got there late. I walked in and was handed a palm frond. It was pretty dark, so I worked as a team with a stranger by flashlight. We had so much fun working and talking for an hour. When we turned around and introduced ourselves, it turned out that he was one of my best friends from childhood; we had not seen each other in 20 years. At that time, Bob Levin and Gordon Lester had basically restarted the Men’s Club. It was simply a group of guys who wanted to support the needs of the temple. There may have been 12 guys in the group at that point. Within a few years our roster grew to 70 or so members.
I like to tell people that our lives are often a swirl of all the things we are involved in over time. At different points in our lives, each of us can look back and think about the groups of people that we have spent our time with, who we have watched become the people they are in part because of our time and chemistry within the group. A group like the Men’s Club provides the immediate friendships and comradery in service to the temple, doing more together than we can do individually. Together, we have painted the whole school, we have raised $15-20K per year in support of temple unmet needs, and we have served hundreds of burgers and hot dogs a year fighting hunger in the congregation. There is a sense of accomplishment on a monthly and annual basis.
The Men’s Club is for those men in the congregation who know that there is more to setting a religious example for their children by simply providing a ride to Hebrew school. Of significance, you will find that probably three quarters of the men who have been on the temple board and its officers have been members of the Men’s Club. The Men’s Club is where you will find nice guys from all walks of life that you can be proud to share your time with. This group of men has been worthy of my time, respect and appreciation for 21 years. I hope many other members of the congregation will participate in MoTAS and gain the same perspective.