MoTAS Weekly for 2/10/16: The Kitchen Challenge: Will You Meet It?


By now, you should have received your MoTAS Annual Appeal letter. Why do we do an annual appeal? Simple. Unlike many other mens clubs and brotherhoods, MoTAS has no dues. As a male member of Temple Ahavat Shalom, you are automatically a member of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom (MoTAS)? In 2012, MoTAS moved to an inclusive model where every man in TAS is part of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. Since we have no dues, every year MoTAS asks you to support our work financially.

MoTAS strives to encourage the men of TAS to be leaders. Leadership comes in many ways, one of which is visible participation and support. MoTAS is stronger when it is supported by all the men of TAS. Wouldn’t it be great if we could say that every man in the congregation has supported us? The amount you contribute is up to you-large or small. Select a meaningful amount that is comfortable and reflects the value of the MoTAS relationship to you. We recognize contributions of $100 or more on our wall of honor at .

So where do the funds raised by MoTAS during this appeal go? Here’s a sample of what they (and the funds raised by the Golf Tournament) support:

  • Expenses for MoTAS activities not covered by donations or activity fees. This would cover breakfasts at meetings, expenses for the Sports Squares programs, and similar expenses.
  • Expenses for specific TAS needs that were not part of the TAS budget. The Kitchen Challenge is an example of that: the funds for the challenge were raised in past appeals.
  • Support for TAS students through Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts, camperships, and other funding.
  • The MoTAS contribution to the Temple’s general fund, either at the annual meeting or through sponsorship of events.
  • MoTAS contributions to the regional Men of Reform Judaism and the charitable activities it supports, such as Reform on Campus.

You, the men of TAS, are the ones that make the above possible through your contributions during this appeal. Contribute online by visiting you can either pay online, or print a form and mail it in. Note that MoTAS receives no financial support from the TAS budget; our funds are separate.

(Return to Top)


Back at the June 2015 Shabbabaque, MoTAS arrived to prepare our usual scrumptious meal. To our dismay, we discovered that the refrigerator we regularly use was not holding a food-safe temperature. We improvised that Shabbabaque by storing food in the Sisterhood refrigerator, while we started to investigate the problem. Since June, a team headed by Frank Soronow and including Scott Yollis, Les Birken, and Aaron Solomon has been investigating the problem. We discovered two primary issues:

  • The refrigerators and freezers are limping along and may fail at any time. We were able to temporarily get them working, but recent reports are that they are failing again.
  • The cooling system for the kitchen space has not been working for a significant number of years. This has lead to increased heat in the kitchen, which serves to shorten the life of the refrigeration units.

Since then, we’ve learned more about the poor shape of the TAS Social Hall kitchen:

  • Repair of the make-up air system the prolongs the life of the equipment (heat exchanges, swamp coolers) is approximately $4,500.
  • Replacement of each refrigerator is approximately $3,400 each. One has already failed; the other is working but could have problems in the future. Sisterhood has already replaced their refrigerator.
  • Improvements are needed in the fire-prevention systems and the vent hoods. Estimates are in process.
  • The freezers are working, but we should budget for their replacement. Each costs around $4,100.
  • There is no maintenance contract for the kitchen equipment.

MoTAS recognizes that we are not the primary user of the kitchen; we feel these repairs are so important to the heart of the Temple that we need to make them happen sooner rather than later. MoTAS would like to get this problem resolved before the next Shabbabaque, and build a fund that can keep the kitchen in top maintenance.

To that end, MoTAS allocated $1,100 from the Football Squares funding towards the kitchen. We issued a challenge grant of $1,500 from our reserves. Since doing that, the Temple has offered its own challenge of $1,500, and an anonymous member of MoTAS has joined the challenge and has offered to match all fund raised (a top limit hasn’t been given yet, but it is over $1,500). This means that every dollar raised will be matched by 1-3 additional dollars! The matches end 4/30/2016.

Anything you donate will help us help TAS improve the kitchen. As with the Annual Appeal, online and printable donation forms are at, and donations of $100 or more will be acknowledged on our Wall of Honor. We thank you in advance for your support.

(Return to Top)


At the MoTAS Shabbat on January 29th, the leadership of MoTAS announced the 2016 MoTAS Man of the Year: Barry Mann. Barry Mann has served as the chair of the Golf Tournament for the last two years – a task involving lots of time and work. Barry has also served as Treasurer of MoTAS and as a MoTAS Vice President.

Barry will be honored at the MRJ Regional Man of the Year Dinner on Saturday, March 5, 2016 (Note: The Menorah had an incorrect date) at 6:00 PM at Temple Beth Shalom, 2625 N. Tustin Avenue, Santa Ana, California 92705. Let’s show Barry how TAS supports our man of the year by filling up the room. Dinner is $36 per person, with an entrée choice of Chicken, Salmon, or Vegetarian. Reservations are due to MoTAS by Tuesday, February 23. You may email your reservation to or reserve online at . Put your meal selection (C, S, or V) as your middle initial. You can also bring your checks to the meeting on February 7. We will contact you to coordinate payment and your meal choice.

(Return to Top)


Due to the Purim Carnival, we have moved the March meeting up one week to March 6, 2016. Our speaker in March will be Rosalyn Kahn on “Reducing Stress”. Rosalyn writes: “What if there is way that you could turn stress into your friend vs your enemy. This is not a fantasy ….this is reality. Come out and listen to Rosalyn Kahn sharing the research from Shawn Anchor a leading researcher on Happiness and Kelly McGonigal’s talk Stress is Your Friend as well as her own experience from her book on Random Acts of Kindness are Changing the World.’”

As always, before the speaker, we will have our scrumptions MoTAS breakfast and our review of upcoming activities. Join us at 8:45 AM for Breakfast, with the event review starting at 9:00 AM. The speaker starts at 10AM.

(Return to Top)


The Purim Carnival is scheduled for Sunday, March 13th, if El Nino cooperates. MoTAS traditionally has provided the food service for this event. If you are available and willing to volunteer to help, please sign up at

(Return to Top)


On Sunday, March 13th at 6:00 PM we’re going to be having a very special Mens Only Hang Out and Discussion Group – we’ll be hanging out and talking with Rabbi Lutz. We thank Rabbi Lutz for providing this opportunity, and encourage the men in the congregation to come and discuss issues that are unique to men. Dave Friedman, our event coordinator, is working up some special discussion topics for the evening – and remember, everything said during the meeting stays in the meeting. Additionally, we’re going to be joining the Rabbi for dinner before the meeting with a Barbeque dinner from Stonefire Grill. Space is limited, so RSVP at or directly to Dave Friedman (at 818/970-7701 or and mail your check for $15 (made payable to Dave Friedman) to Dave Friedman at 19707 Buckeye Meadow Lane, Porter Ranch CA 91326. Dave will provide you the location of the hang out once your reservation is confirmed. This is a Mens Only event.

(Return to Top)


NCAA/Basketball Squares are on Sale! Now that we are past the Superbowl (congratulations to all our winners), it’s time to think about the NCAA Men’s Basketball championships. They are rapidly approaching, and that means it is time for Basketball Squares. The procedure is very similar to the Superbowl Squares. Basketball Squares cover the last four games in the NCAA championship: the semifinal and final games on April 2-4, 2016. Squares are $18, and adults may purchase up to 3 squares for themselves, and 3 squares for their partner. Payouts are $150 for both the halftime and final scores of each game. You can win once or twice in a game. If the board is not fully subscribed, the payout is proportional based on the number of subscribed squares. To address the possibility that all 100 squares might not be subscribed, the following is the procedure for empty squares that win: each player will make a guess as to what the total number of points will be (i.e., you add the final scores of both teams). This number will be used to settle all cases, for all games. If you purchase more than one square your “number” will apply for all your squares. Closest to actual score wins (payouts divided with ties). If there is no halftime winner, the final score prediction will still be used.

Squares must be purchased by March 30, 2016. Forms will soon be available in the Temple Foyer. You can also print the registration form — or register online — at the usual online home of the Squares program: Remember that the real winner is Temple Ahavat Shalom. With a fully subscribed board, $900 will be available to support specific temple activities, organizations, and projects.

(Return to Top)


One of the organizations supported as a TAS Social Action partner, and by extension, a MoTAS Social Action partner, is LA Family Housing (LAFH). LAFH has asked me to extend the following invitation to MoTAS:

Our congregations respond. Our congregations drive change. Our congregations, each rooted in different faiths, understand that we need to take care of each other. Together, through the Valley Interfaith Council (VIC), our congregations created Valley Shelter more than 30 years ago to respond to a growing crisis of homelessness in the San Fernando Valley.

In 1984, under the leadership of VIC, and with the support of Mayor Tom Bradley, we came together to buy the old Fiesta Motel on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. The motel became Valley Shelter and served 40 families who were allowed to stay for one month each. Our congregations volunteered—we cooked, we danced, and we tutored the kids. We listened to the parents’ challenges and we supported the families and their transitions out of homelessness.

In 1986, VIC facilitated the merger of Valley Shelter and a new non-profit called LA Family Housing (LAFH). LAFH immediately began to grow and expanded its footprint on Lankershim—adding administrative offices, a health clinic, and a second shelter for homeless individuals. Today, LAFH owns 23 properties across the city and helps 5,000 people as they work to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Los Angeles continues to confront a homelessness crisis much like the one that caught the attention of VIC leaders back in the early 1980s. More than 5,000 individuals in the Valley alone experienced homeless in 2015. LAFH has established itself as a regional coordinator and leader in the fight against homeless and has continued to rely on the support of all of us and our congregations in working towards the goal of ending homelessness. LAFH is excited to launch a new development on the original site of the Valley Shelter: The Campus at LA Family Housing. The Campus will include 50 new units of permanent supportive housing—housing that includes services such as mental health counseling and job skills training, a 6,000 square foot health clinic, and nearly 5,500 square feet of new office space to house the service providing program staff.

This spring, Trudy and Norman Louis Valley Shelter will be razed to make way for the new Campus. We invite you to join the VIC and LA Family Housing to celebrate the legacy of Valley Shelter by sharing any photos or memories or experiences you had either as a volunteer, donor, resident, or staff member. We also invite you to save the date and join us at Trudy and Norman Louis Valley Shelter (7843 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood 91605) on Sunday, February 21st 2016 at 1 pm to celebrate the history and legacy of Valley Shelter and look forward to the future.

RSVP by email to Additionally, LAFH invites you to share any photos and experiences you have from Valley Shelter as a volunteer, donor, resident, or staff member to the same email address! Email your photos & memories to by Feb. 15th.

(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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s