MoTAS Weekly for 02/21/18: MoTAS Dining Out TONIGHT / March Event Announcements

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:

  1. **THIS WEEK** MOTAS DINING OUT AT PIZZA REV – WED FEB 21
  2. LAST RSVP CHANCE FOR MRJ MAN OF THE YEAR DINNER — SUPPORT ROGER LOWE
  3. PURIM CARNIVAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – SUN MAR 4
  4. MOTAS/TBH BROTHERHOOD SEDER – SUN MAR 18
  5. MEMBERSHIP MEETING – YELLOW CANDLE PACKING – SUN MAR 11
  6. NCAA BASKETBALL SQUARES ON SALE
  7. BREAKFAST CREW VOLUNTEER CALL
  8. FEBRUARY MEMBERSHIP MEETING SUMMARY (UPDATED)
  9. IN CLOSING


1. **THIS WEEK** MOTAS DINING OUT AT PIZZA REV – WED FEB 21

The MoTAS “Dining Does Good” have returned, and this year they support MoTAS 100%! Our February “Dining Does Good” will be TONIGHT, Wednesday, February 21 at PizzaRev in Northridge (on Reseda below Plummer). You can find a flyer for the event at https://wp.tasnorthridge-motas.org/activities/dining/. We really encourage you to come and support these events: we raise a little extra funds for our work, but more importantly, we come together and break bread as a Temple family on a regular basis. It is a real joy to walk into a neighborhood restaurant and see your Temple friends, to sit down and share a table and talk. This is the heart and goal of MoTAS: Building Relationships.

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2. LAST RSVP CHANCE FOR MRJ MAN OF THE YEAR DINNER — SUPPORT ROGER LOWE

At the MoTAS Shabbat on January 5th, Roger Lowe was announced as the MoTAS Man of the Year. The MRJ Man of the Year Dinner, where our honoree will be feted, together with the honorees from other MRJ congregations from the MRJ Pacific Southwest region, is Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton. . The cost of the dinner is $40, and you can RSVP now by clicking here. RSVPS are due by Saturday, February 27.

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3. PURIM CARNIVAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – SUN MAR 4

This year’s Purim Carnival is being held at TAS in combination with Temple Ramat Zion. MoTAS has been a strong supporter of the Purim Carnival for more than 30 years, preparing and serving food to carnival attendees. This year we will be sharing that effort with the Men’s Club of TRZ. MoTAS will need 3-4 guys to help shop for some of the food on the Thursday or Friday before the event and 12 or more guys to help prepare and serve the food on Sunday. Please call Howard Miller (818) 993-0796 or RSVP at https://motascybermaven.eventbee.com/event?eid=163569512 if you can help. Let’s make this a solid effort from MoTAS.

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4. MOTAS/TBH BROTHERHOOD SEDER – SUN MAR 18

What happens when the leadership of the Brotherhoods of two San Fernando Valley congregations meet at the Theatre? We discuss how to work together. This just happened when Past President’s Bob Levine and Daniel Faigin ran into Mark Singer, Co-President of the Temple Beth Hillel Brotherhood recently. We got to talking, and Mark invited us to join them for their Brotherhood Seder on March 18. So we’re changing our date to match theirs, and we’re going to come together in Brotherhood for their seder, which will be on March 18 at 5pm Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village (with a dinner catered by TBH Brotherhood member Scott Tessler of Silver Spoons).

The cost of the dinner is $25, and there will be carpooling from TAS. Full information — including the menu — is at https://wp.tasnorthridge-motas.org/activities/mens-seder/. You can RSVP for the dinner and pay at the door by clicking here; you can pay online for a small convenience fee by clicking here. Sign up for the carpool list by clicking here.

Let’s make this a real successful event with a great turnout from our TAS Men, and perhaps find more ways to work together on events to strengthen our brotherhoods of Jewish men in the San Fernando Valley, for the betterment of all our congregations.

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5. MEMBERSHIP MEETING – YELLOW CANDLE PACKING – SUN MAR 11

Our regular monthly meeting on Sunday, March 11 will be our Annual Yellow Candle Packing meeting. Join MoTAS at 8:45 AM for our usual meeting breakfast with eggs, bagels, lox, cream cheese, and other goodies. After some brief announcements, we’ll be packing the boxes for our Yom Hashoah Yellow Candle activity. This is always a fun meeting where we get a chance to just socialize while doing good.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have children looking to earn campership volunteer hour credit, this is likely their last chance before the deadline.

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6. NCAA BASKETBALL SQUARES ON SALE

NCAA/Basketball Squares are on Sale! The NCAA finals are rapidly approaching — have you created your brackets. Within MoTAS, the NCAA Basketball championships mean it is time for Basketball Squares. This year, we’ve added something new: We’re “Squaring” both the Men’s and the Women’s Semi-Final and Final Games. You’ll have six games, meaning 12 opportunities to win, for only $36 a square! The procedure is very similar to the Superbowl Squares. Basketball Squares cover the last three games in each of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA championships: the Women’s semifinal and final games on March 31 and April 2, and the Men’s semifinal and final games on April 1 and April 3, 2017. Squares are $36, 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.

Note: Eventbee fees have gone up for tickets that ask additional questions, so we’ve opted to start adding that nominal amount for squares purchased online. But fear not: you can avoid the fee by printing out the form and paying by check, coordinating payment via Zelle or Venmo (or contact us for Paypal), or even paying offline via Credit Card. You can get a copy of the form off the Squares website.

Squares must be purchased by March 28, 2018. 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: http://squares.tasnorthridge-motas.org/. Remember that the real winner is Temple Ahavat Shalom. With a fully subscribed board, $1800 will be available to support specific temple activities, organizations, and projects.

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7. BREAKFAST CREW VOLUNTEER CALL

Do you enjoy the breakfast at our monthly meetings? We all do, but sometimes due our busy schedules, someone from the preparation crew cannot be there. Don’t you want to help and part of our substitutes list?

The tasks that four people currently perform include.

  1. Shopping for the food and preparing some of it.
  2. Purchases and picks up the bagels from Western Bagel.
  3. Cook the eggs.
  4. Making the coffee

The group works at setting up the food service and afterwards the cleanup. We are looking for some good men who can step in when one of the regular crew cannot make it.

For more information contact Roger Lowe at Roger_J_Lowe@sbcglobal.net or RSVP at https://motascybermaven.eventbee.com/event?eid=193169613. Come and support our continued breakfast tradition.

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8. FEBRUARY MEMBERSHIP MEETING SUMMARY (UPDATED)

Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018

Present: Frank Soronow (President), Hal Bass, Lee Baum, William Bigelson, Les Birken, Bob Brostoff, Don Edlin, Daniel Faigin, David Friedman, Dorothy Hoffman, Larry Hoffman, Mel Janis, Ed Lapporte, Bob Levine, Roger Lowe (Treasurer), Fabian Malinovitz, Howard Miller, Russ Rapoport, Mike Rayfield, Howard Schnee, Bill Shapiro, Sandy Stern, Scott Yollis, Jackie Zev

D’var Torah: Frank Soronow gave the D’var Torah. He based his remarks on the sermon by our guest rabbi on February 9, Avivah Erlick, and lessons shared by a candidate for the interim rabbi’s position on February 6, Douglas Kohn.

Treasurer’s Report: Checking account balance as of 02/10/2018 was [see the posted minutes], which includes $4,992.27 for grants from last year’s sports squares of $622.27, $3,000 from this year’s sale of football squares, $970 from the sale of Super Bowl squares, and $400 donated directly for sports squares grant money. Another $125 owed for Super Bowl squares will be added to the grant money once it is received. The Tu B’Shevat Seder netted $20 and Dining for Dollars at Chi’s Chinese Restaurant brought in $200. MoTAS has an annual commitment of $500 for the L’Taken trip by our older students to Washington, DC, and $1,500 for the Avodah program.

More Children & Adolescents at Services: Ed Lapporte and Don Edlin brought up the issue of having more children and adolescents in attendance at Friday night services. This generated a healthy discussion. Ideas presented included honoring members of a different religious school class each month, encouraging students to attend services during Saturday b’nai mitzvot, and offering Israeli dancing and/or soccer during the Oneg Shabbat.

Man of the Year Dinner: Roger Lowe, MoTAS Man of the Year, will be honored at a dinner to be held at Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton by the Southern California region of Men of Reform Judaism on Saturday evening, March 10.

Purim Carnival: The annual Purim Carnival, a joint activity of TAS and Temple Ramat Zion, will take place on Sunday, March 4, at TAS. Volunteers are needed, for which a sign-up sheet was passed around. MoTAS will supply the beverages and Ramat Zion, the food.

New Tax Law: MoTAS members and CPAs William Bigelson and Bob Levine discussed the new tax law and compared some of the changes between 2017 and 2018. They presented 5 examples for single or married individuals and an example for those with business income. For 2018 taxes, to be filed in 2019, individual rates will range from 10-37%; the child tax credit will increase to $2,000 (up to $1,400 refundable); the standard deduction for joint filers rises from $12,700 to $24,000, for heads-of-household from $9,350 to $18,000, and for single filers from $6,350 to $12,000; corporate rate reduced from 35% to a 21% flat rate; pass-through income, which was taxed at individual rates, now has a 20% deduction; the individual exemption for the alternative minimum tax has been increased and the corporate AMT repealed; the $4,050 personal exemption has been repealed; state and local taxes went from unlimited deductions to a maximum of $10,000, but there still is no limit on charitable deductions; and mortgage interest on new loans now has a $750,000 limit (Ed: to be precise, for loans originated in 2018, the interest deduction is capped on the first $750K of the loan).

Regarding fraud, if anyone receives anything remotely suspicious, they should do two things immediately: 1) go to the IRS website, http://www.irs.gov to verify, and 2) contact their tax preparer, if they have one. The IRS will NEVER phone anyone and demand payment, claiming investigators will make a personal visit to collect. (The IRS does have collection agents who will call to attempt to collect a known debt that has been agreed to by the IRS and the client beforehand, so this is not an out-of-the-blue demand phone call.)

Any email sent to a taxpayer, especially one demanding money, is likely to be a scam. Hover over the email to see the actual source, but do not open the email or connect to any links. Principal communication between a taxpayer and the IRS is through regular mail, often certified. A taxpayer should give the tax preparer a Power of Attorney regarding taxes only, to keep the preparer in the loop, to allow the IRS to speak directly to the preparer, and to receive a copy of all mail sent to the taxpayer. A POA can be given only to an attorney, a CPA, an enrolled agent, or the person who signed the return as a paid preparer (if not one of the other classifications).

Next Meeting: Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 8:45 am. [This will be our Yellow Candle packing meeting.]

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IN CLOSING

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!

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