MoTAS Weekly 04/17/19: May Membership Meeting | Annual Appeal Continues

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:



Gary Cohn - May 2019 SpeakerOur May meeting will be a speaker meeting. The topic is Working with Hillel 818. As our speaker wrote, “Today, while many of our students live at home, they are still searching for meaningful communities and they are eager to find their place on campus. At Hillel 818, we are creating a not-so-far-“home away from home” for students on all three of our valley campuses! From Pierce in Woodland Hills, to CSUN in Northridge, and finally, to Valley College in North Hollywood, we are finding meaningful ways to create communities and strengthen our students connections to their Jewish identities.” Our speaker is Gary Cohn, Senior Vice President, Israel and Global Philanthropy, for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

Gary began a fifteen year career in banking in 1977 and worked in several banks including Manufacturers Bank, Los Angeles, Bank Leumi, Union Bank and served on the Northern California Advisory board for City National Bank. From 1991 until 2007, Gary was the Executive Director of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, a 2,500 member congregation. In 2008 he joined American Technion leading the Pacific Northwest Region for Technion University in Haifa. He joined the Jewish Agency in 2018 where he heads major gift development primarily in California. Gary serves on board of Hillel 818 and previously on the boards of the Union for Reform Judaism, Wilshire Blvd. Temple Camps, The San Francisco Food Bank, Bentley School, and the National Association for Temple Administration. Gary graduated from Cal State University at Long Beach in Business and was awarded the 2009 Distinguished Alumni in the College of Business.

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In 2012, the Men of TAS eliminated the dues requirement for membership. We moved to an inclusive model where every man in TAS is part of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. Since we don’t have dues, we don’t have steady revenue. So, every year Men of TAS asks you to support our work financially. We do an annual appeal that starts around the time of the MoTAS Shabbat, and continues until the end of May. We depend upon you, our members, to keep this group going. We may disagree at times, but we look past those disagreements in the spirit of friendship and brotherhood, and working together to further the congregation.

By now, you should have received our Annual Appeal letter. You can also find the message on our support page at On that page, you can find a printable donation form that you can mail in, as well as a link to contribute online. It is through your contributions that MoTAS is able to do that work that we do for the congregation. Please think about how much MoTAS means to the congregation, and how much the relationships you have with MoTAS mean to you. Then add 20%, and make a donation :-). Seriously, the MoTAS leadership works hard to make MoTAS valuable to you and the congregation. This is your chance to let us know what we mean to you.

See your friends and fellow congregants that have really stepped up to support us on our website’s Wall of Honor at Join the Wall of Honor yourself by donating $100 or more. Your generous gift will provide fun events for all Temple members, kids to adults, teachers and staff. Continue to repair and improve our facilities. Most importantly, it will help us continue teaching and living the Jewish values that guide and enrich all our lives.

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New in 2019: the FJMC Yom HaShoah Yellow CandleTM program requests your participation in a new project to shed light on what the Holocaust means to us. Lighting Yellow Candles honors the Six Million Jews who perished in the Holocaust through home and community observance. Telling our stories is important, as each of our stories is unique and taken together all of these stories provide a powerful lesson to coming generations. Zachor! Never Again!

Yellow CandlesBy now, you should have received your Yom HaShoah Yellow Candles in support of the observance of Yom HaShoah 2019/5779. MoTAS mails the Yom HaShoah candles to all members of the congregation; we depend on your support — either by a Yellow Candle donation or donating to our Annual Appeal, to cover our costs in doing so. The Yom HaShoah candle program is an effort of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Club (the Conservative Men’s Club organization), working with the Men of Reform Judaism.

To honor the Holocaust and teach about it, we are asking you to tell your story: write, or make, or share videos about what the Holocaust means to you. If your family immigrated before the Holocaust but had family members who did not and were murdered in Europe, please contribute your thoughts as well. Pictures of family members including second generation (2Gs); third generation (3Gs) the grandchildren of survivors; and now we have the fourth generation great-grandchildren (4Gs) and family heirlooms can be included as well.

Post on the Shoah Yellow Candle Facebook Page, on your own social media feeds accompanied by the hashtags #yellowcandle #neveragain and #fjmc_hq, and/or send them to FJCM via e-mail at and we can post for you, all leading up to Yom HaShoah, May 2, 2019.

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Date: Sunday, April 7, 2019

Present: Howard Miller (President), Hal Bass (Secretary), Les Birken, Daniel Faigin, Michael Kantor, Bob Levine, Roger Lowe (Treasurer), Larry Pfefer (VP), Mike Rayfield, Bill Shapiro, Bernie Singer, Alan Stepakoff, Sandy Stern, Mike Thornhill, Scott Yollis.

President’s Report:

  • Howard thanked Bob Levine, Roger Lowe, Mike Thornhill and Scott Yollis for setting up the food and drink for today’s meeting.
  • Howard received a thank-you note from the ECEC brunch committee for MoTAS assistance.
  • The Purim Carnival on May 24 had 16 MoTAS volunteers, who served 300 meals. Howard thanked Larry Pfefer and Scott Yollis for doing the shopping.
  • Howard announced that MoTAS has purchased touch-up paint for the security gates and wrought-iron fence along Rinaldi Place and will use volunteers for this beautification project.
  • The temple has a DWP grant for new lighting. As the grant does not include batteries for emergency back-up, Larry Pfefer moved that MoTAS allocate up to $1,500 from Sports Squared for the uncovered expenses. Mike Rayfield seconded the motion, and it was unanimously adopted.
  • MoTAS will contribute $3,000 from Sports Squares funds toward installation of synthetic turf on the ECEC and Religious School grounds. Bids for the project range from $10,000 to $18,000.
  • The nominating committee for 2019-20 was chaired by Bob Levine, with Daniel Faigin and Scott Yollis as additional members. The committee recommended no changes in current officers: Howard Miller, president; Larry Pfefer and Russ Rapoport, vice presidents; Roger Lowe, treasurer; Hal Bass, secretary. The election will be held at the May 5, 2019 MoTAS membership meeting.

Treasurer’s Report as of 4/6/19:

    • MoTAS sent a check for $140 to the temple for clean-up after the Poker Tournament
    • 2019 MoTAS Appeal: $4,132 (43 participants) and Pride Appeal $566 (7 participants) to date less <$175> for postage & CC fees=$4,523; this exceeds our goal of $4,500
    • Yom HaShoah Candles Income $1,353 (44 participants) minus mailing expenses of <$903>=$450

Prior Years Sports Squares Funds $4,827

2018 Season Football Squares Income $4,975, Winners Paid Out <$1,900>, Remaining Funds $3,075

2019 Super Bowl Income $2,225, Winner Payout <$805>, Remaining Funds $1,420

2019 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament Income to Date $1,687

Sports Squares Funds Available for Distribution: $11,009

Dining Does Good: Will not take place this month, as none of the restaurants MoTAS contacted serves matzo.

Men’s Seder tonight at 5 pm: The Seder for members of MoTAS and Temple Beth Hillel’s Men’s Club will take place in the TAS social hall. Daniel Faigin is in charge of preparations. Twenty-one MoTAS members and 10 from Temple Beth Hillel have made reservations.

Adjournment and Next MoTAS Meeting: The next meeting will take place Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 8:45 am. Next month’s meeting will feature elections and a presentation by Gary Cohn of Hillel 818 Connections.

Respectfully submitted,

Hal Bass, Secretary

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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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