MoTAS Weekly for 11/22/17: December and January Activity Planning

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:



Our next membership meeting will be Sunday, December 10. We’ll be starting, as usual, with our delicious MoTAS breakfast. This will be followed by a short business meeting where we’ll report on what has been happing in the congregation, plan for our upcoming events, and lay the groundwork for our MoTAS Shabbat on January 5. This will also be your first opportunity to purchase Superbowl Squares.

We will then adjourn to the sanctuary, where we’ll join the religious school for their Chanukah Play.

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MoTAS Shabbat – Friday, January 5, 2018. Once a year TAS celebrates the contributions of MoTAS at the MoTAS Shabbat. This is a special Shabbat service that is primarily led by the members of MoTAS and open to the entire congregation. If you are a male member of TAS and would like to participate in the service, please contact Bob Levine, at Please let him know if you want to read Hebrew. You can also RSVP online at; use a middle initial of “H” if you want to read Hebrew. You can also call Daniel at (818) 438-5781 and the message will get to Bob. Participants meet early at 6:30 PM; the service starts at 7:00 PM.

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Thank you to all those who helped make our MoTAS Meals for the Sisterhood Boutique a success — all the shoppers, the schleppers, and the servers. We all appreciate the time you put in to make sure no one went hungry. A note of extra thanks to a few people. First, to Daniel for honchoing the day and getting the menus prepared. Second, to Bob for helping with the shopping. Third, to Howard for providing exceptional coordination. Lastly, a special thank you to a non-MoTAS member, Idella Smolyar. Idella provided a bulk of the running to collect and deliver orders to the vendors, and she did this not for Avodah or Campership hours, but because she just wanted to help. She is a shining example of our religious school students and their values. Our MoTAS effort could not have happened without everyone’s participation (and that also includes those that came for the congregational meeting beforehand, and who shopped at the Sisterhood Boutique and supported their vendors).

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There are a number of activities in the planning stages for December and January. If you have thoughts on any of these, please drop a note to Daniel at or call him at 818/438-5781, and he’ll get the information to the right people. As the details firm up, RSVP or Ticketing eventbees will be set up for online registration:

  • MoTAS Chanuakah Party. Sunday, December 17. We’re currently looking at this as an afternoon/early evening potluck/hangout. In particular, we’re looking for someone to volunteer a house. This is one of the intermediate nights of Chanukah.
  • MoTAS Jewish Xmas. Monday, December 25. This is the traditional “movie and Chinese Food” on Christmas day. This will be open to the family. We’ll pick a few movies and times to coordinate MoTAS families meeting up, but people will be responsible for their own tickets. We’re in the process of developing a fixed-price menu with Mandarin King in Northridge. Once that is done, we’ll set up an eventbee and collect funds. We meet at the restaurant at a designated time — with no wait because we’ll have a reservation. We’ll then have traditional Chinese food and enjoy each other’s company.

    For those interested in football, we might also coordinate a football get together after dinner, for those that want, if someone volunteers their house and big screen (the Temple will be closed to allow the maintenance staff to celebrate the holiday with their families). Contact Bob Levine at if you would be interested in this.

  • Tu B’Shevat Seder. Sunday, January 28. TAS has traditionally not done much for Tu B’Shevat, and MoTAS would like to change that. A Tu B’Shevat Seder is a kabbalistic tradition that follows the structure of the seder to celebrate all that we get from trees. It is a service with wine, fruit, nuts, and other tree products, with fruit pies in the middle. There will be a small charge to cover the food. This will be open to the TAS community.

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Mike Thornhill, a past president of MoTAS and long time coordinator of our MoTAS Seder, has passed along the following request from his daughter, Jenna:

I am currently a senior undergraduate studying History at UCLA. I am working on a final project in Jewish history, and I have taken as my focus Los Angeles Sephardim. As you may know, very little of U.S. history is focused on Los Angeles, and very little of Jewish history of the Untied States is focused on Sephardic communities. Accordingly, this subject is majorly understudied, and I hope to add just a little bit more work to this field, hopefully with your help. Currently, my professor and a small team are working on different aspects about Sephardic L.A. history. One of this team was instrumental in “Mapping Jewish L.A.” project, which you can see at Unfortunately, largely because of how the existing data skews, I believe that project focuses a lot more on Eastern European descended Ashekenazi people. Part of my project involves helping add to a new map of places associated with Sephardim, including where they lived, their businesses, and community spaces, particularly between 1920 and the 1970s. Any information you can provide would be so incredibly helpful, and with your permission, could be used in research far beyond what I am doing here now.

Thank you, Jenna Thornhill deWitt

Fill out whatever you know and feel comfortable sharing.

  1. Your full name
  2. Any other names you have used (maiden name, legal name change, etc.)
  3. What are your parents’ names, including maiden names or otherwise legally changed names?
  4. Were your parents born in Southern California? If not, when did they move here and from where? Approximate date is okay.
  5. Were your grandparents born in Southern California? If not, when did they move here and from where? Approximate date is okay.
  6. Did your family speak in a language other than English at home? Which one(s)?
  7. Do you know any addresses, cross streets, or simply general areas where your family members lived?
  8. If they owned any businesses, what were they and where?
  9. What do you remember your parents and/or grandparents telling you about the reasons for their move to the Los Angeles area, or certain neighborhoods in particular?
  10. What about their reasons for leaving those neighborhoods for others, if they did?
  11. How would you describe you and your family’s position to the Sephardic community at large?
  12. Would you be interested in answering more questions if needed?
  13. What is the best way to contact you?

Your Weekly Editor Here — Probably the best way to do this is start a message to Jenna and cut and paste the questions and your answers into it.

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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. 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!

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