MoTAS Weekly for 12/9/15: Speaker on Yiddish Communities in Eastern Europe

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:



Special Chanukah Breakfast. We’re working on making this a special Chanukah breakfast, featuring latkes and sufganyot (jelly donuts). We would love it if you could bring latkes to share. This will be a very special breakfast. Breakfast starts at 8:45a, followed by the review of upcoming activities at 9:00a, and our speaker around 10:00a.

Yiddish Themed Speaker. 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

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.

(Return to Top)


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; an online signup form may be found at 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.

(Return to Top)


In the recent 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, and we will make arrangements to get you one. They will be available at all MoTAS events.

(Return to Top)


MoTAS has recently 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 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.

(Return to Top)


As always, remember that the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom is *your* organization. Keep up to date on our activities at and participate. Sign up for our action alert list at 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!

(Return to Top)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s