MoTAS Weekly 05/15/20: Mens Hangout – Sun May 17 | TBS Speaker on the Israeli Mossad – Sun May 17

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:

  1. MoTAS is Here to Help

Note: Please excuse the delay in this week’s weekly. Even working from home, this has just been a busy week and preparation of the Weekly slipped a few days.

1. MoTAS is Here to Help

Our President, Howard Miller, wants everyone to know that our men’s group has talents, expertise, and friendly guys willing to help our fellow congregants in the time of need during the pandemic. If there is something one of our members might be able to help you with, even just a friendly voice, you are welcome to call Howard at (818) 993-0796.  He will help find someone who can answer your questions, find people to provide a friendly call, and work with our Caring Community to help with various needs.

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A Men Only discussion is planned for Sunday evening May 17 at 7pm via Zoom. Bob Levine will facilitate the discussion; contact him at if you are interested in participating. All men are welcome to attend.

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MoTAS normally runs our appeal starting with the Men’s Shabbat in January, and ending on May 31. We’re now in May, so this is our final appeal month for this year. Our annual operating budget depends on the generous contributions of our temple members — now more than ever, as we don’t know what will happen with some of our future events. We use the funds to run our organization, support the ECEC and Religious School, and the Temple. In combination with our other fundraising activities, we support the costs of Camperships, the Avodah Program, the free pancake breakfast, Confirmation L’Taken, and many more activities and benefits that are not part of the Temple budget. If you would like to help us, visit Let’s show that 100% of our active members participate, even if it is just for $18.

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The TBS Brotherhood has invited The Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom to participate in a program with Igal Zaidenstein, a representative of the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center.  It will be held on Sunday May 17 at 10am on Zoom. If you are interested in participating you will need to register in advance for the webinar.  There is no cost to participate. Here are the details:

Temple Beth Sholom Brotherhood // Speaker Series First Zoom Event Presents: Igal Zaidenstein

The Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center (IICC) has been a group exclusively for Israelis within the Israeli intelligence community. For the first time they are sharing their message with American Jewry. The goal is to bring greater awareness of the extraordinary treasure trove of true stories that emanate from the intelligence community. These stories have shaped the shared history and heritage among all Jews that continue to affect Jewish core values around the world.

Igal Zaidenstein, the representative of the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center was born in Israel to parents who made Aliyah from Paraguay. A law school graduate, for many years Igal has worked to strengthen the Israeli-Diaspora relationship. As a student he was an active member of WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students) and later founded an organization called the Young Israeli Forum. Prior to representing the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center he was the political adviser and a fundraiser for the American Friends of the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel and the West Coast Director of ORT America. Igal was also one of the youngest candidates to be a member of city council in Petach Tikva, his hometown.

As always this event is open to all and as always is free.

Please join us on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. on Zoom,

Register in advance for this webinar at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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MRJ invites MoTAS to participate in a webinar led by German Consul General David Gil on the subject of combating Anti-Semitism and Hate.  The webinar will be held at 6pm on Tuesday June 9.  His background includes overseeing the dissolution of the East German Stassi (secret police). If interested, you will need to register at:

Here’s the abstract:

Germany has been a world leader in the efforts to educate and eliminate anti-Semitism and hate. On Thursday, April 30, 2020, Germany outlawed all Hezbollah activities, including those of its political wing. Here’s more infomation:

The speaker is Consul General David Gill, German Consulate General New York. Born in 1966, Gill grew up in a protestant minister’s family in Herrnhut, Saxony, in former East Germany. He was denied a higher education by the communist regime for political reasons. Instead, he trained and worked as a plumber before joining a preparatory protestant school and later the theological seminary of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg. In 1990, he initially was the chairman of Normannenstrasse Citizens’ Committee which oversaw the dissolution of the Ministry of State Security at the Stasi headquarters and served as the secretary of the Special Committee for the dissolution of the Stasi of the East German Parliament. After reunification, Gill became spokesman and head of the research division of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi-Files before studying law in Berlin and Philadelphia. After holding positions in the Federal Ministry of the Interior and at the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Berlin, he served as the Deputy Representative of the Council of the Protestant Church in Germany to the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union. During Federal President Joachim Gauck’s term from 2012-2017, he was state secretary and chief of staff of the President. Since August 2017, he has been the German Consul General in New York.

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Date: Sunday, May 3, 2020 Via Zoom Due to Social Isolation Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presiding: President Howard Miller

Present: Howard Miller (President), Hal Bass (Secretary), Les Birken, Daniel Faigin (Past President), Ken Feldman, Brian Hatkoff, Al Lapides, Bob Levine, Roger Lowe (Treasurer), Fabian Malinovitz, Chuck Mondrus, Mark Moskowitz, Larry Pfefer (VP), Russ Rapoport (VP), Bill Shapiro, Mike Thornhill, Ken Wolf, Scott Yollis

President’s Report:
Our MRJ Man of the Year is Les Birken. Even if there is no formal regionwide recognition, MoTAS will plan its own.

Howard thanked Larry Pfefer for producing the poignant Yom HaShoah video. The video, which was sent to all TAS members as well as to the MRJ and Conservative movement for distribution to their men’s clubs, has been very well received.

Giving back to Dining Does Good restaurants: On April 28, a dozen MoTAS and TAS members ordered from Chi’s Chinese Restaurant. Manager Marco Poon sent Barry Mann a warm note of appreciation, saying “Temple Ahavat Shalom (is) one of our most loyal customers.” On May 12, MoTAS and TAS members are encouraged to patronize Rosie’s BBQ and letting Rosie’s know how much we appreciate their support.
TAS has been approved for a substantial SBA loan, which is probably forgivable.

Larry Pfefer announced that as of last week TAS is connected to broadband. The next step is to provide WiFi access throughout the campus.

The TAS Wellness Connection is an effort of the Caring Community to provide emotional support to individuals and family units. A more detailed description of this program is available on the temple website. In addition, group discussions will be held on May 7 and May 17 to help temple members improve their coping skills.

Howard said that six families to date have been provided with gift cards from MoTAS to help them after a job loss. He shared a heartfelt note from one grateful family: “Dearest Men of Tas, On behalf of myself and my family I would like to deeply and gratefully thank you for such a kind generous gift card. We have never been treated with such concern and care and we hope to make it up as soon as possible. Again, from the bottom of my heart and family we thank you. With much appreciation, (Signed).”

Rabbi Becky Hoffman’s three-year contract as our senior rabbi, to begin July 1, was ratified by the congregation on April 19. Rabbi Becky may join us for our June 14th MoTAS meeting.

Treasurer’s Report, as of 04/29/20:


  • Early submission of annual commitment to TAS: $5,000
  • Annual web domain fee: $50
  • Deposit for October 25, 2020 Poker Tournament: $200

Sports Squares Grants for ECEC & Religious School:

  • Replace floor in ECEC kitchen and build cabinet for a donated oven
  • Landscape area in front of school office

Sports Squares Distributions:

  • Gift cards to families in need: $500
  • Lighting upgrades not covered by DWP: $1,500 (funds have not yet been distributed)
  • WiFi access and possible additional projects, TBD: $5,000 (funds have not yet been allocated)


  • 2020 MoTAS Annual Appeal: $5,154 (46 donations), 2020 Pride Appeal $1,339, Printing & Postage <$209>, Net $6,284
  • Dining Does Good YTD: $1,082
  • Yom HaShoah yellow candles: $36

Sports Squares:

  • Prior Years Sports Squares funds: $6,141
  • 2019 Football Squares: Income $5,000, Winners Paid Out <$1,920>=Net $3,080 (Net includes one winner who returned their $75 prize plus a $5 donation)
  • 2020 Football Squares: Income $288 (reallocated to Football Squares from canceled 2020 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament)
  • 2020 Super Bowl: Income $2,296 (includes $100 remaining from 2019), Winner Payout <$1,151>=Net $1,145. (Final score winner donated $360 to the MoTAS Annual Appeal.)
  • 2020 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic:  Donated funds $478
  • Total Sports Squares Funds Available for Distribution: $11,132

MoTAS Annual Appeal & TAS Pride: We’ve exceeded our fundraising goal of $4,500 for 2020 and are close to achieving 100% participation by our active members. In conjunction with our other fundraising activities, MoTAS, which charges no dues, supports the costs of Camperships, the Avodah Program, a free pancake breakfast at the opening of school, the L’Taken Social Justice Initiative for the Confirmation class, and many additional programs that are not part of the temple budget. Checks can be mailed to the temple or online donations made through

Men’s Hangout, Sunday, May 17, 7 pm: Bob Levine will facilitate a discussion for up to 15 men and Brian Hatkoff will host the meeting via Zoom: How is COVID-19 isolation affecting us? Contact Bob at if you wish to participate. All men are welcome.

Poker Tournament, Sunday evening, October 25: This year’s poker tournament will again be held at TAS.

New Business: 

Election of Officers for 2020-21: Bob Levine chaired the Nominating Committee whose other members were Daniel Faigin, Russ Rapoport and Ben Tenn. Nominees for 2020-21 were: Howard Miller, President; Larry Pfefer and Russ Rapoport, Vice Presidents; Roger Lowe, Treasurer; Hal Bass, Secretary. There having been no additional names brought up, Bob moved to close the nominations and Daniel Faigin seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Bob then moved to elect the officers by acclamation. Bill Shapiro seconded. The motion carried unanimously, and the 2020-21 slate was elected.

Educational Presentation: Mark Moskowitz on “Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Modern Issues.” Mark is a lifelong fan and baseball historian. He and the group engaged in a wide-ranging hourlong discussion centered around the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Among the topics Mark covered were criteria and eligibility for induction into the Hall of Fame, ineligible players such as Pete Rose (bet on baseball games) and Mark McGwire (used anabolic steroids), performance-enhancing drugs, 1919 Black Sox scandal, Negro leagues, women in baseball and election of non-players (umpires, managers and front office staff).

Adjournment and Next MoTAS Meeting: The next meeting will be held at TAS or by Zoom, as conditions warrant, on Sunday, June 14, 2020, at 8:45 am.

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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