In This Issue:
- BEING THANKFUL
- DECEMBER 13 SPEAKER: YIDDISH IN EASTERN EUROPE
- TEMPLE BETH TORAH FAREWELL CONCERT – DECEMBER 5
- TRADITIONAL JEWISH “CHRISTMAS” – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25
- MITZVOT #36: USE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES
- SIGN UP FOR MOTAS ACTION ALERTS
- IN CLOSING
1. BEING THANKFUL
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving…. that distinctly American holiday when we give thanks for the blessings in our lives. If you think about Jewish tradition, we’re always giving thanks to God for the blessings we have (and who arguably is the source of those blessings), but there’s not a holiday where we tell the people and institutions that we are thankful for them. Perhaps that’s why Thanksgiving is so special to all. Everyone, and everything, needs to know that someone finds them important.
- Today, I thank the active members of MoTAS for being there — for creating friendships, for stepping in when necessary, for filling the void, for doing good. Without you MoTAS would not exist, and we would not be able to do the good we do for the TAS community.
- I thank those members who volunteer. Through your donation of time and energy, our ideas become realized, and everyone benefits.
- I thank the men of the congregation — who are members of MoTAS, whether active or not. You’re our source of strength; you’re the well from which new members will come. Those of us who are active hope that at a future activity, we may be able to come up to you and say, “Welcome. Thank you for coming.”
- I thank the leadership of Temple Ahavat Shalom, past and present, for being there and supporting the Brotherhood as it transitioned and grew over the years into the Mens Club and now into the current Men of TAS. We know that other demands and obligations may prevent you from coming to all our events, but we are thankful whenever you show, and thank you for supporting the work we do through your words of encouragement.
- I thank Temple Ahavat Shalom, for being a pillar of strength in this community for 50 years. Actually, to be precise, I thank Temple Ahavat Shalom and its predecessor congregations, Temple Beth Torah and North Valley Reform, from serving the Reform Jewish community of the valley since 1951! Your leadership has created a home for progressive Judaism in the San Fernando Valley, and you have been responsible for many friendships and families over the years.
- I thank the Men of Reform Judaism for its support of Brotherhood throughout Progressive Judaism, and for its work “spreading the world” in communities and college campuses. We are proud to support MRJ to the extent we can.
MoTAS urges you to tell the people in your life what you are thankful for. Make someone’s day by letting them know their impact.
2. DECEMBER 13 SPEAKER: YIDDISH IN EASTERN EUROPE
During the summer of 2015, Yiddishkayt’s Helix program brought a collection of artists and scholars to Belorus, Latvia, and Lithuania as part of a program of exploration of the world of Yiddish Communities. On December 13, starting around 10am, Artist Benny Fernman, artistic director at De Toledo High School (formerly “New Jew”) in West Hills, will be sharing with us his experiences on the trip.
Benny Ferdman is a visual artist and educator whose work draws from diverse narratives of East European Jewish culture; a culture that once expressed itself in Yiddish—his first language. Born in Sweden after the war to Jewish refugees from Poland/Ukraine, Ferdman was raised in L.A. and has lived and worked in California, New York and Israel. Focusing on the nexus between nature and culture, Ferdman’s journey has led him through broad explorations of diverse cultural realities, to a more intimate engagement with his own East European Jewish traditions and history. His work is animated by a mix of mythic, folkloric and natural forms, ancient text, the past, the present, language, renewal and contradiction. As an artist he is both rooted in, and bound by, these themes. Ferdman is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Creative Ways, an L.A based organization promoting dialogue across cultures, generations and communities. His adventurous pursuits have brought him arts residencies and commissions for large sculptures, museum exhibitions and installations, stage sets, the redesign of synagogues and cultural centers, and arts-based curricula throughout North America and Israel.
P.S.: If you want more information and resources on Yiddish, take a look at http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=10859.
We’re working on figuring out how to make this a special Chanukah breakfast, featuring latkes and sufganyot (jelly donuts). Breakfast starts at 8:45a, followed by the review of upcoming activities at 9:00a, and our speaker around 10:00a.
While you’re marking down December, mark your calendar for our January and February speakers:
- January 10, 2016. Our speaker will be from the CHP’s “Age Well, Drive Smart” program. California’s older driver population is numbering about 2.9 million today. It is estimated there will be over four million residents age 65 and older in California by the year 2020. Knowing that much of this community still relies on driving as their primary means of transportation, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides the Age Well, Drive Smart program. The program is supported by the Keeping Everyone Safe grant from the California office of Traffic Safety. The Age Well, Drive Smart talk provides education specifically designed to help older drivers tune up their driving skills, refresh their rules-of-the-road knowledge, learn about normal age-related physical changes and how they affect driving ability. Even if you are under 65 you should attend; you can learn what to watch for when older parents and relatives drive.
- February 7, 2016. Temple member Aaron Weissman will be talking about the California Court System: How it is structured, and how to use it effectively. Aaron J. Weissman has practiced in civil and business litigation for over 33 years, emphasizing civil law and motion and appellate practice.
3. TEMPLE BETH TORAH FAREWELL CONCERT – DECEMBER 5
As we learned at the November meeting, Temple Ahavat Shalom was created as the merger of North Valley Reform and Temple Beth Torah of San Fernando Valley. We learned that North Valley Reform was formed in 1962 as a splinter from TBT, which itself was formed in 1951. Due to some disagreements, a small cadre of Temple Beth Torah split back out 3 years after the merger, in 1969, and recreated Temple Beth Torah as a smaller close-knit congregation. Last month, Temple Beth Torah announced that after 65 years, Temple Beth Torah was closing its doors. Some members may continue on as a havurah, but as a formal congregation TBT was ending. TBT’s Cantor, Sharone Rosen, and the TBT choir, Kolyenu, are closing out TBT with a final concert, an opportunity to sing their favorites for you. There will be traditional and unusual music from all genres and all over the world, in Hebrew and English. This will also help TBT pay closing costs and final bills.
MoTAS has learned the history of the congregations. Our MoTAS logo states that our purpose is building relationships, and part of that building is repairing relationships. I believe it would be a wonderful gesture for those members of MoTAS who are able to show up for a former part of TAS, which whom we have a shared history. This does not conflict with any TAS event; the TAS calendar shows no events (other than an afternoon Bat Mitzvah, and a Shabbaton in the morning) for December 5.
If you are interested, the cost is $18 per person. The event will be held at Temple Beth Torah, 16651 Rinaldi Blvd, Granada Hills, 91344 at 7:00 PM. RSVP at (818) 831-0835.
4. TRADITIONAL JEWISH “CHRISTMAS” – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25
For many Jews, if you ask what they are doing on Christmas day, the answer is the same: They will be seeing a movie, and having Chinese food. Who knows where this tradition got started? Perhaps it is in the Talmud. But who is MoTAS to argue with tradition?
MoTAS is facilitating a TAS Jewish Christmas. MoTAS will be providing a list of recommended afternoon movie showtimes for members to pick their favorite movies and meet other TAS folk (see “Movie Coordination” below). We will reconvene at TAS starting at 4:30 PM to discuss what we saw and have a “pre-neg” sponsored by Sisterhood. At 5:30 PM we will have early Shabbat services. At 6:30 PM will will go down as a group to Golden Hunan (10334 Reseda, 91326) for a fixed menu dinner. The pre-arranged menu consists of Egg Drop Soup and Egg Roll for appetizers; Steamed Chicken Fillet w/Chinese Greens in light white sauce (Gluten Free), Orange Chicken, Beef Broccoli, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mixed Vegetable, and Mixed Vegetable Fried Soft Noodle for the entrees; Ice Cream for dessert; Tea and Steamed Rice.
The cost for the dinner is $22 per person (adult or child); $24.50 with soft drink. Reservations must be made by Monday, December 21 at 3pm; there are no exceptions and no walk-ups. December 25 is an extremely busy night at the restaurant, and we must pre-reserve our space to avoid the wait. The price is based on the Golden Hunan charge plus tax, gratuity, and online processing fees; this is not a fund-raising event.
For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/motas-jxmas-2015; an online signup form may be found at http://tinyurl.com/motas-jxmas-2015-registration. You can also reserve by calling (641) 715-3900 extension 403235#. Please provide the names of the movies of interest. If you are not paying on-line, your check must be received by the day of event; we will also be able to take “day-of” payments by credit card before the service using Square. Payment is due by 12/25 @ 5pm.
5. MITZVOT #36: USE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES
In last week’s installment of “50 Mitzvot for 50 Years”, Mitzvot #36 was: ” Use reusable water bottles for 50 days. Some have their own filters to make the water taste better, others just look cool, whether glass, stainless or BPA free plastic – make the switch, even just for a week.”
MoTAS is making it easy for you to do this Mitzvah, for only $10. MoTAS has aluminum water bottles, with a flip top and internal straw, with a carry handle, that are a lovely shade of blue, with the MoTAS logo in white. These can be your for only $10. If you would like a water bottle, please contact email@example.com, and we will make arrangements to get you one. They will be available at all MoTAS events.
6. SIGN UP FOR MOTAS ACTION ALERTS
The last few weeks have demonstrated that MoTAS needs the ability to reach its active members quickly. These are members that regularly come to events, that volunteer, and who are likely to respond to an email message. The last two alerts have gone to the entire male membership of TAS, because we have no other list. Doing that too often runs the risk of becoming SPAM, and as you well know, SPAM is not kosher.
To address this, MoTAS would like to set up an action alert list. We want this list to be OPT IN, meaning we will only subscribe it to you with your permission. You can give us your permission by visiting http://tinyurl.com/motas-action-alert and RSVPing for the list. We will also be contacting recent volunteers and speaker meeting attendees to see if they will give us permission to add them to the list.
As always, remember that the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom is *your* organization. Keep up to date on our activities at http://www.tasnorthridge-motas.org/ and participate. Sign up for our action alert list at http://tinyurl.com/motas-action-alert. 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 website. Come be part of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom!