MoTAS Weekly 09/25/19: L’Shanah Tovah / Sukkah Building Oct 13 / Dining Out Oct 15

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:



The Leadership of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom — your MoTAS Board, your MoTAS Past Presidents — collectively wishes all the men of Temple Ahavat Shalom a sweet and happy New Year. L’Shanah Tovah. May you be written and inscribed in the Book of Life.

For those curious about Jewish customs at this time: There are a number of things you will see. The first is an abundance of sweet foods. Apples dipped in honey. Honey cakes. The sweet foods remind us of the sweet year to come. Apples in honey, specifically, express our hopes for a sweet and fruitful year. Apples were selected because in ancient times they became a symbol of the Jewish people in relationship to God. In Song of Songs, we read, “As the apple is rare and unique among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved [Israel] amongst the maidens [nations] of the world.” In medieval times, writes Patti Shosteck in A Lexicon of Jewish Cooking, apples were considered so special that individuals would use a sharp utensil or their nails to hand-carve their personal hopes and prayers into the apple skins before they were eaten. And the Zohar, a 13th-century Jewish mystical text, states that beauty – represented by God – “diffuses itself in the world as an apple.” With respect to the honey: honey – whether from dates, figs, or apiaries – was the most prevalent sweetener in the Jewish world and was the most available “sweet” for dipping purposes. And as for the biblical description of Israel as a land flowing with “milk and honey,” the Torah is alluding to a paste made from overripe dates, not honey from beehives. Still, enjoying honey at Rosh HaShanah reminds us of our historic connection with the Holy Land. Although the tradition is not in the Torah or Talmud, even as early as the 7th century, it was customary to wish someone, “Shana Tova Umetukah” (A Good and Sweet Year).

Another traditional food is a round challah. Some say they it represents a crown that reflects our coronating God as the Ruler of the world. Others suggest that the circular shape points to the cyclical nature of the year. The Hebrew word for year is “shana,” which comes from the Hebrew word “repeat.” Perhaps the circle illustrates how the years just go round and round. But Rosh Hashana challahs are not really circles; they are spirals… The word “shana” has a double meaning as well. In addition to “repeat,” it also means “change”. As the year goes go round and round, repeating the same seasons and holidays as the year before, we are presented with a choice: Do we want this shana (year) to be a repetition, or do we want to make a change (shinui)? Hopefully, each year we make choices for change that are positive, and each year we will climb higher and higher, creating a spiritual spiral. The shape of the Rosh Hashana challah reminds us that this is the time of year to make those decisions. This is the time to engage in the creative spiritual process that lifts us out of the repetitive cycle, and directs our energies toward a higher end.

There are also apologies, for during the ten days starting Tuesday evening 10/8, Jews examine their lives and see how they can do better. On Yom Kippur (starting the evening of October 8th), Jews apologize to G-d for their misdeeds during the past year. However, for an action against another person, one must apologize to that person. So, in that spirit:

If your MoTAS leadership, past or present, has offended any of you, in any way, shape, manner, or form, real or imagined, then we apologize and beg forgiveness. If we have done anything to hurt, demean, or otherwise injure you, we apologize and beg forgiveness. If we have done or said over the past year that has upset, or otherwise bothered you, we sincerely apologize, and will do our best to ensure it won’t happen again. If you have done something in the above categories, don’t worry. We know it wasn’t intentional, and we would accept any apology you would make.

L’Shanah Tovah.

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JEWISH MEN WITH TOOLS (MoTAS) will be building our temple Sukkah on Sunday October 13. This easy job can be completed in about an hour and needs to be as the school hopes to use it that morning. We cannot build it before then because of the High Holidays. Please come with gloves, Allen wrenches, and friends. Please let Howard ( know if YOU can shop for chicken wire and zip ties. Although we believe we have a source lined up for palm fronds, if you know of an alternative source, please let us know. If YOU have a truck available to pick up the palm fronds, we would appreciate that also. We will have bagels and drinks. Please let us know if you can be there to help out!

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MoTAS’s 2nd Annual Texas Hold-em Poker Tournament is less than two months away —  Sunday October 27. We need players, we need sponsors, we need donations for our raffle tables, and we need volunteers. Anyone who likes poker will have a great time. We are all proud of what the Men of TAS does with our financially supported projects, so please find a way to help us execute this fundraising effort.

This year’s winner will earn $1,000 and there will be cash prizes for everyone making the final table. Other opportunities to win big include our famous 50/50 cash drawing (final selection can win $1,000), a raffle and a silent auction. In addition, there will be $3,000 in total prizes to the players at the final table in addition to the cash prize for the high hand of the night.

The $85 entry fee entitles you to a players seat, a lite dinner, a drink and five raffle tickets.

  • $100 bonus chip for new player registered by a returning player. This will put you 10% ahead of other players when you hear “Shuffle up and deal!”

Feel free to print and fill out the registration form and mail your check payable to Men of TAS (or your credit card information) to Howard Miller at 9656 Geyser Ave, Northridge CA 91324. You can also visit and register and pay online. The event website also allows you to print flyers for the event, and to find the printable registration form you can print and give to your friends.

Various sponsorship opportunities are available on the registration form for those who want to help the Men of TAS fund important activities in support of their temple and local community. Other contributions may include future local sports tickets (Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Galaxy, LAFC, UCLA, USC, etc.) and upcoming entertainment (tickets to local concerts or plays) that can be used for auction items or raffle prizes.

Please forward our invitation to all your poker playing friends so that we can make this event a rousing success. You can download a copy of the flyer from .  If you have any questions, call Howard Miller at (818) 993-0796.

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Would you like an easy way to help MoTAS financially? How about taking your family to dinner. The MoTAS “Dining Does Good” allows you to go out to dinner, and have the restaurant donate a portion of your check support the Men of TAS. Our August Dining Does Good” will be Tuesday, October 15 at Emle’s Mediterranean at 9250 Reseda in Northridge. You can find a flyer for the event at

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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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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