MoTAS Weekly 09/09/20: THIS SUNDAY: MoTAS and MRJ Virtual Meetings | Football Squares On Sale

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:

  1. September Monthly Meeting – First Meeting of 2020-21 – SEPT 13
  4. MRJ SPEAKER: Akiva Tor on SUN SEP 13
  5. First Day Of Religious School Pancake Breakfast Update
  6. Sukkah Building UPDATE

1. September Monthly Meeting – First Meeting of 2020-21 – SEPT 13

Our first meeting of the 2020-2021 programming year will be Sunday, September 13 at 9am. For our meeting introductions, please email Howard ( with a secret clue about yourself, something most people don’t know about you.  It may be a specific talent, an experience, someone you met, etc. Howard will read it and the group will try and guess who you are.  If it is juicy, we promise not to pass it on.

Join Zoom Meeting
Contact Howard at for meeting information

Meeting ID: xxx xxxx xxxx
Passcode: xxxxxx

In our post-meeting program, William Moalem will talk about growing up in China, life in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII (1942-1945), how he was liberated and what life was like afterward.

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Please join MoTAS in our very popular fun-raiser, now in its 9th year.  It is a very important program, which raises funds for temple projects that are not able to be done because of budget limitations.  Much of the money is used primarily for education projects.

You don’t need to know anything about football, or even like football.  It’s all about helping TAS. For one entry, you participate in the entire 16-game season!

The rules are the same as last year, except that 1) if a Monday game is canceled or rescheduled, a game from Sunday will be used instead, and 2) if the season is shortened, adjustments to payouts and refunds will be determined at that time.  The entry fee remains $50 per square. If you wish to pay by check, please mail it directly to:

Roger Lowe
10659 Desplain Place
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(Mark “Football Squares” on the envelope.)

Please also send an email to Bob with your name(s) and # of squares you wish, so he can place you on the grid board (limit 2 per individual or 4 for couple). For more information and to sign up, go to or email Bob Levine,

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New Interest Groups are being developed for TAS Members. During our restrictions due to COVID -19, groups are encouraged to get creative with using Zoom to discuss, share, view, and talk more about your topics. Safe in person distancing is allowed per area guidelines. Down the road when more direct contact is allowed, your groups will be able to expand ways of getting together. Groups will determine their own schedule and facilitate personal Zoom accounts. Please contact Laraine Miller at to sign up and receive more information. Ideas for a group with a focus area not suggested are welcome for consideration.

  • Gardening: Some of us are avid gardeners, both vegetable and ornamental. Some of us need a little more help. This group could also involve photography, “safe trips” to Gardens, like the Huntington, LA Arboretum, Descanso Gardens, areas in the Valley and City. Compare notes, articles on gardening, tips and trips. Help may also be needed to maintain our TAS Garden.
  • Jews Celebrating Together: Creating Community & Finding Joy in Jewish Holidays.
  • The Business World: Discuss the News of the Day, Big & Small Business, the Who’s Who in Business, Mergers, Acquisitions, Investments and more!
  • Sports as a Window into US History & Society: Women’s & Men’s Professional Sports, Negro League Baseball, Anti-Semitism in Sports, Olympic Highlights, Sports Gambling & Cheating, Dangers Inherent with Sports and more!
  • Sporting Book Club: Select sports themed books and engage in discussion.
  • Pirke Avot: Studying the Wisdom of our Jewish Sages. (Our Clergy will assist with start -up).
  • The First Act: For families with Toddlers through High School Children: Parenting Styles, Raising Menschs, How to Stay Sane. (Our Clergy will assist with start- up).
  • The Second Act: The Kids Have Moved Out or Maybe Moved Back Home, Now What? Finding Meaning and Purpose. (Our Clergy will assist with start- up).
  • The Third Act: Wise Aging & Living Fully in Your Senior Years. (Our Clergy will assist with start- up).
  • Bubbies & Zaydes: The Joys & Challenges of Grandparenting in today’s world.
  • In Pursuit of Music: Share and discuss music of the Divas, Crooners, Blues, Jazz and Other Genres, Male Groups, Female Groups and Favorite Singles.
  • Trivial Pursuit: A group just to schmooze and enjoy each other’s company.
  • The Curious Eaters (from a Safe Distance): Virtual and Eventual Dining Experiences! Share favorite places to dine, local and far away. Share photos, YouTubes from around the world and personal food stories.
  • Break A Leg: Virtual and Eventual Live Theater Performances! Select a performance to view independently and arrange time for talking points. One play, several Jews, a multitude of opinions and perspectives!
  • Explore Jewish History Through Historical Fiction Book Club: Select books to read and engage in group discussion
  • Jewish Cooking Around the World: Share recipes, discuss ingredients and unique ways to cook different foods.
  • Hiking/Walking: Grab your mask, hat and water, and within safe distancing walk with a few friends in neighborhoods or public access trails.
  • Movie Club: Select movies to watch independently and meet online or in safe distance to discuss the characters, the plot, the ending, the cinematography, the actors and directors.
  • Photography Club: Virtually share your photos and discuss the location, the reason for the photo, the techniques and camera used to take the photos. Safely meet at locations to take photos and enjoy the experience.
  • Current Events: Pick a date, read the headlines, and engage in the talk of a town, state, country, and world.
  • Travel Bug: Select a travel destination, share its history, its highlights, share photos and stories. Relive your favorite places and inspire others.

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4. MRJ SPEAKER: Akiva Tor on SUN SEP 13

Listen to Akiva Tor’s interview with Media Line about a fiery Christian Orthodox ritual uninterrupted for ‘at least the last couple of centuries: the “Holy Fire” ceremony on April 18 at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Media Line interview explores the annual ritual – and how it has been changed by Coronavirus. Akiva Tor is the head of the Bureau of World Jewish Affairs and World Religions of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

After listening to the interview, join MRJ as we host him for a conversation on Sunday, September 13th at 1 p.m. ET. Register today.

Akiva Tor is the Head of Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously he served as Consul General of Israel for the Pacific Northwest, Director of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, Deputy Director for Palestinian Affairs in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and as World Jewish Affairs Adviser to the President of Israel in which capacity he began the organization of the World Jewish Forum, an initiative for creating a pan-Jewish strategy for stemming assimilation and decline in Jewish life.

Akiva is a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and holds an MA degree from Hebrew University in Jewish political thought and a BA from Columbia University in general philosophy. He has written and lectured on Jewish values in the foreign policy of Israel and on ethical considerations in international relations. He served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces and as an infantry captain in the IDF reserves. He is interested in running, mountain biking and ascending high places. Akiva is married to Naomi, a community social worker. Their home town is Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, and they have four children – Yonah, Zohar, Yehudah and Roni.

Read his blog pieces in the Times of Israel, including “Building a Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” You can also read his piece, “Pope Francis in Israel.”

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5. First Day Of Religious School Pancake Breakfast Update

MoTAS will not be holding our annual free pancake breakfast. We were ready to flip 300 hotcakes but, since there will be no opening day of school this year, we would have been left with a ten foot stack of pure carbs.  Instead, MoTAS will be contributing a family pancake breakfast package to religious school families via Rabbi Becky’s Rosh Hashana gift bags to members.  It will include a note of best wishes to our students. (Return to Top)

6. Sukkah Building UPDATE

MoTAS offered to build the Sukkah this year, even with masks and gloves. However, we could not get the necessary permits without adding air conditioning, air scrubbers, water fountains and Covid19 inspection stations. We were willing to try but it was pointed out that the Torah explicitly forbids the use of electrical power. After all, Moses never stayed in the same place long enough to pay his water and power bills. (Return to Top)


Our October meeting will be very special as we are in for a real treat. TAS’s own space scientist from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Scott Gore, will be presenting a talk on the mission to Mars, including the Perseverance Rover and the Mars Helicopter. Scott’s presentation will be held at 9:45 sharp so that anyone interested one of the most visible space programs can participate at that time.

Scott’s career has been in electrical, electro-mechanical, and electronic parts. His work was mostly in radar, missile, and communications systems until he came to JPL in 2017, when he started applying his  experience to space components.

Since starting at JPL, a big part of his work has been on the Mars 2020 program, which recently resulted in the launch of the Perseverance Rover which is now on its way to Mars. He will talk about the flight – distance, speed, duration, and where Perseverance is going on Mars. He will also talk about the Perseverance Rover, the instruments on it, and the science goals for the mission. If there is time, he will talk about some of the challenges for robotic exploration of the solar system, and future missions planned.

Zoom info will be provided after the High Holidays.

Perseverance Rover with Mars Helicopter

Perseverance Rover with Mars Helicopter

Europa mission visualization

Europa mission visualization

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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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