MoTAS Weekly 06/17/20: Coming Next Week: Dining Does Good / Mens Discussion Group

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:



As you know, a lot of restaurants and other small businesses are hurting. MoTAS wants to directly help restaurants that have helped us before in our fundraising activities. Plan on ordering lunch or dinner out from Chi Chi’s Pizza on Tuesday June 23. Please be sure to thank them for their past support to The Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom when you pick up your order or call in for delivery. You can even ask for Kenny and tell him directly. An easy way to get out of making dinner and still helping others in need.

To be clear on this: No flyer is needed; the restaurant is not donating back to MoTAS. This is MoTAS giving back to the restaurant by supporting them in thanks for their support for us over the past years. Letting the restaurant know this builds the relationship for our working together in the future.

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Tune into the next installment of the Men’s Discussion Group, Sunday, June 28th, 7pm.  The topic will be a general check-in chat, with some emphasis on how you and your family (including children/grandchildren) are handling the Covid-19, and if you’re doing anything unusual.  Contact Bob Levine at if you wish to participate.  “Seating” is limited.  Bring your own food.

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Date: Sunday, June 14, 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, Joe Blachman, Robyn Blachman (Guest), Bob Brostoff, Karen Davis (Guest), Yale Doberne, Daniel Faigin (Past President), Ken Feldman, Scott Gore, Rabbi Becky Hoffman (Honored Guest), Al Lapides, Bob Levine, Roger Lowe (Treasurer), Fabian Malinovitz, William Moalem, Chuck Mondrus, Larry Pfefer (VP), Russ Rapoport (VP), Mike Rayfield, Bill Shapiro, Bernie Singer, Tammy Singer (Guest), Alan Stepakoff, Ben Tenn, Mike Thornhill, Ken Wolf

Meeting Rabbi Becky Hoffman & D’var Torah: Howard welcomed Rabbi Becky to her first MoTAS meeting. She told us about growing up in the Valley, attending UCSD, receiving a master’s degree in education from American Jewish University (where she met her future husband, Rabbi Joshua Hoffman), being ordained as a Reform rabbi by Hebrew Union College, and teaching at Heschel Jewish Day School and in the Melton Program. For the past 10 years, Rabbi Becky has been associate rabbi at Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills. Rabbi Becky and her husband have 3 children. MoTAS members then introduced themselves to Rabbi Becky and mentioned whether they have dined at a recently reopened restaurant.

Rabbi Becky’s D’var Torah concerned Moses’s complaint to God that his followers in the wilderness were frustrated and dismissive of his leadership, much as many Americans are vexed over the constraints imposed by authorities arising from the coronavirus pandemic. She explained that Moses, like everyone in a leadership position, can never have all the answers and must be willing to share their doubts and to seek the advice of others.

President’s Report:

Our MRJ Man of the Year is Les Birken. Even if there is no formal regionwide recognition due to coronavirus constraints, Howard said that MoTAS would plan its own celebration and eagerly awaits Les’s acceptance speech as our 2020 Man of the Year.

The 2020 Annual Appeal has been completed and exceeded our goal of participation by virtually all active MoTAS members. Howard has personally thanked all contributors.

Howard read a letter of appreciation from another of the seven temple families who’ve received a gift card from MoTAS to assist members out of work. “Hi Howard. Just wanted to thank you and MoTAS for the VISA gift card. It was a nice surprise. Of course, times are scary for all right now…and every little bit helps. Thank you, (Signed).”

ECEC and Religious School teacher appreciation: MoTAS contributed $110 for 11 teachers and received four thank-you notes. “Shalom all. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your generous contribution to the teachers’ gifts. I’ve spent a fair amount of time either working with your students in pods or subbing for other teachers in their Judaica classes, and it’s truly been a joy. This is far from my first job in education, and I can honestly say this is the most exceptional group of students I have worked with. I truly love each and every young person I’ve worked with at TAS. Even with the myriad distractions and interruptions we dealt with, we have had a wonderful year and I can’t wait to get back at it in the fall. Best, (Signed).”

Giving back to Dining Does Good restaurants: About two dozen MoTAS and TAS members patronized Rosie’s BBQ on May 12 and let Rosie’s management know how much we appreciate their support. On June 28, MoTAS and other temple members are encouraged to patronize Chi Chi’s Pizza in appreciation for their past support.

Howard and Larry Pfefer announced that TAS is connected to broadband throughout the sanctuary and school buildings, including the alarm system. The next step is to livestream Shabbat and other religious services via WiFi.

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.

MoTAS has donated $1,350 from the Pride Campaign towards a beautification project to landscape the area in front of the school office that William Moalem has designed and will complete.

Howard encouraged MoTAS members to attend the Gala of Gratitude via Zoom on Saturday evening, June 20, and to participate in the silent auction. He also reminded members to look at their email for information about the many online classes and meetings the temple holds each week via Zoom.

Longtime MoTAS member, “Reb” Mel Janis, has suffered recent health reversals and has moved into a facility which can provide a higher level of care. Cards and letters should be sent to Mel in care of his son, Michael Brooks, 1800 Iowa St., Costa Mesa CA 92626-2003.

Howard expressed appreciation to Daniel Faigin for faithfully editing The Weekly, which provides news and information about MoTAS throughout the year.

Treasurer’s Report, as of 06/09/20:


  • Early submission of annual commitment to TAS: $5,000
  • Avodah support: $1,000
  • TAS Gala of Gratitude ad and game support: $1,250
  • Deposit for October 25, 2020 Poker Tournament: $200
  • Yom HaShoah yellow candles: $651 (for distribution in 2021)

Proposed 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: $700
  • Teacher appreciation gifts: $110
  • Lighting upgrades not covered by DWP: $1,500 (funds have not yet been distributed)
  • WiFi upgrade: $5,000


  • 2020 MoTAS Annual Appeal: $5,310 (48 donations), 2020 Pride Appeal $1,339, Printing & Postage <$210>, Net $6,439
  • Dining Does Good YTD: $1,082
  • Yom HaShoah yellow candles (two donations): $54

Sports Squares:

Prior Years Sports Squares funds: $5,931

  • 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 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 (canceled due to coronavirus pandemic):  Donated funds $551

2019-20 Gross Profits to Date: $4,776

2020 Football Squares: Income $288 (reallocated to Football Squares from canceled 2020 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament)

Total Sports Squares Funds Available for Distribution: $10, 995 ($5,931+$4,776 =$10,707+$288 netting to the 2020-21 fiscal year)

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

Men’s Only Discussion: Bob Levine is chairing this event for 15-20 men on Sunday, June 28, at 7 pm. These discussion groups give MoTAS members an opportunity to discuss issues in confidence and in a friendly, supportive manner. Those wishing to attend or with topics to suggest should contact Bob at  

New Business:

Deinstallation of 2019-20 MoTAS officers. Rabbi Becky officiated at the deinstallation of officers: Howard Miller, president; Larry Pfefer and Russ Rapoport, vice presidents; Roger Lowe, treasurer; Hal Bass, secretary.

Installation of 2020-21 officers, following a May vote to suspend the bylaws limiting the terms of the president and the two vice presidents. Rabbi Becky gave a benediction in honor of the incoming officers: Howard Miller, president; Larry Pfefer and Russ Rapoport, vice presidents; Roger Lowe, treasurer; Hal Bass, secretary.

Rabbi Becky’s Observations: Rabbi Becky has identified “defining characteristics” of TAS, which she finds very encouraging. She is especially impressed with the dedication and skill of temple officers and members of the Board of Trustees. She said we have strong, devoted small interest groups, Caring Community, ECEC, Religious School, Book Group, weekly Torah study, Sisterhood and MoTAS. She recognizes the challenges posed by COVID-19-related social isolation. And she hopes to understand why members leave and how to bring them back.

Adjournment and Next MoTAS Meeting: The next meeting will be held by Zoom or at TAS, as conditions warrant, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, at 8:45 am.

Respectfully submitted,
Hal Bass/Secretary (Return to Top)


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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