Speakers Program

At most MoTAS monthly meetings, we have a speaker who is (hopefully) of interest to the men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. These speakers come from a wide variety of fields and cover a wide variety of subjects, but they share one trait — they are interesting.

Upcoming Speakers

 Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saving for College

Whether you are a parent or grandparent, we’re all concerned about how we’re going to pay for our children to go to college. In this talk, our speaker will address the following: (1) The Total cost of college, it’s more than just tuition; (2) Increasing tuition and related education expenses; (3) Tax credits available; (4) Pell grants and scholarships; (5) 3 main savings/funding vehicles for college; and (6) How to balance saving for college with saving for retirement/other goals. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers at the end.

rischallOur speaker, Stephen Rischall is an award winning financial expert helping families plan for the future. He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and live on KNX 1070 Money Hour. Stephen was recently ranked in the top ten for the “Investopedia 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors” and is an “InvestmentNews 40 Under 40” honoree.  Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Stephen began investing at the age of thirteen using his bar-mitzvah money. During his junior year in college he started his career in the financial services industry by helping his mother recover from an unfortunate incident of financial fraud. He earned his degree in Finance at California State University Northridge and received a special honors commendation for his participation in managing the University Corporation Student Investment Fund. After several years working for a national brokerage firm he met his business partner and put plans in motion to launch 1080 Financial Group, a fiduciary Registered Investment Adviser firm. Stephen actively serves his community through volunteerism and leadership; he is the current YALA Board Chair for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and past President of the San Fernando Valley Junior Chamber. He enjoys gardening and is an avid adventurer; spending most of this time outdoors mountain biking, skiing and hiking.

Sunday, October  13, 2017

Planning for Long Term Care

The need for long term care may happen to anyone…at any time. By planning now, you can help reduce the emotional and financial impact of long term care on you and your loved ones. Join us for an informative educational seminar. You’ll learn more about long  term care, how much it may cost, if your other insurance will cover it, and what you can do to prepare for a long term care need.

rwsmithRobert M. Smith, CLU, ChFC, CLTC, RICP, has been helping people protect their families and businesses since 1988.  A graduate of Stanford University with Honors, Robert received his MA from the University of California, Berkeley, in History.  An active member of the local community, Robert is married to Susan and has four children.


Past Speakers

Meeting Speaker Topic
10/2016 1610-denialMoTAS Goes to the Movies — Denial Instead of our normal monthly meeting, MoTAS factilitated an outing to see the new movie Denial, followed by a facilitated discussion… Based on the acclaimed book “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial”, DENIAL recounts Dr. Deborah Lipstadt’s (Academy Award ® winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Rampton (Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson), to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred.
9/2016 Video Presentation The Oxford Debate“. At this meeting, we viewed and discussed two speakers from the Oxford Union debate: The Motion: This House Believes that Hamas is a Greater Obstacle to Peace Than Israel. Speaking in favor of Israel: Dennis Praeger. Speaking in favor of Hamas: Mishana Hosseinioun. Note: From these two links, you should be able to get to the links of the other speakers.
6/2016 Erin FaiginErin Faigin Yiddish in Los Angeles“. This talk explores the Yiddish Literary Culture of Los Angeles, and its expression through the Yiddish Culture Club. This club pioneered Western Yiddish literature, informed by European and Jewish literary traditions, expressing both anxieties about being a Jew in the twentieth century, and the particularities of Jewish identity in the American West.
5/2016 Dave FriedmanDave Friedman Panama“. Panama Is the South American Financial Capital and also has Villages in financial need. I had the pleasure of traveling to Panama City and surrounding villages through Rotary. I look forward to discussing the differences from big banking to kids in need of school repairs. Rotary has contributed to remodeling a school south of Panama City including bringing the kids into the internet age. I also viewed the massive expansion project in the Panama Canal. The U.S had a very big history going back many years as the canal is a vital transportation route to the other side of South America.
4/2016 No Speaker Yom Hashoah Candle Packing“. This is our annual meeting where we pack boxes for the Yellow Candle program of Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. This program sends Yellow Candles to every household in Temple Ahavat Shalom to encourage home remembrance of Yom HaShoah.
3/2016 Rosalyn KahnRosalyn Kahn Reducing Stress” What if there is way that you could turn stress into your friend vs your enemy. This is not a fantasy ….this is reality. Come out and listen to Rosalyn Kahn sharing the research from Shawn Anchor a leading researcher on Happiness and Kelly McGonigal’s talk Stress is Your Friend as well as her own experience from her book on Random Acts of Kindness are Changing the World.
2/2016 Aaron WeissmanAaron Weissman The California Court System”  The California Court systems has multiple levels and types of courts. At this meeting, TAS Member Aaron Weissman will discuss the differences between the courts, and present information on how to use the court system effectively and efficiently.
1/2016 CHP Age Well Drive SmartCHP Age Well Drive Smart Program CHP Age Well, Drive Smart“. California’s older driver population is numbering about 2.9 million today. It is estimated there will be over four million residents age 65 and older in California by the year 2020. Knowing that much of this community still relies on driving as their primary means of transportation, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides the Age Well, Drive Smart program.  The program is supported by the Keeping Everyone Safe grant from the California office of Traffic Safety. The Age Well, Drive Smart talk provides education specifically designed to help older drivers tune up their driving skills, refresh their rules-of-the-road knowledge, learn about normal age-related physical changes and how they affect driving ability.
12/2015 Benny FerdmanBenny Ferdman Yiddish Communities in Eastern Europe” During the summer of 2015, Yiddishkayt’s Helix program brought a collection of artists and scholars to Belorus, Latvia, and Lithuania as part of a program of exploration of the world of Yiddish Communities. Artist Benny Fernman, artistic director at De Toledo High School (formerly “New Jew”) in West Hills, shared with us his experiences on the trip.
11/2015 Hal DaumHal Daum (February 2015 Speaker) The Early Days of North Valley Reform“. As a student rabbi, Hal was the first spiritual leader of North Valley Reform. Since then, Hal has had a long and varied career, including working in real estate, as a parole officer, and as the Executive Director for a number of congregations. Hal will be sharing stories about the earliest days of North Valley Reform.
10/2015 Hal BassHal Bass Al Capone“. Hal Bass reprised a presentation he developed for CSUN on the life and times of the gangster, Al Capone.
9/2015 Dr. Joshua RokawJoshua Rokaw Men’s Health Issues“. Dr. Joshua Rokaw led an engaging discussion regarding a wide variety of health issues and concerns for men as they age.
6/2015 No Speaker Jewish Comedy Club”. This was our annual “comedy club” meeting.
5/2015 Jerry Fenning, May 2015 SpeakerJerry Fenning The Renewal of Judaism in Poland“. Jerry Fenning spoke about the work being done to foster a vibrant renewal of Judaism in Poland. Working together, the Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland along with the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the European Union for Progressive Judaism are opening the doors of Judaism to many of Poland’s estimated 200,000 potential Jews and building the framework for renewed religious life.
4/2015 Food ForwardFood Forward At this meeting, Samantha Hill, Backyard Harvest Coordinator for Food Forward spoke. Food Forward is a volunteer-powered non-profit that rescues fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste, connecting this abundance with people in need, and inspiring others to do the same. Volunteers convene at private properties, public spaces, and farmers and wholesale markets to recover excess fruits and vegetables, donating 100% to local direct-service agencies who feed our community’s most vulnerable.
3/2015 Yellow Candle BoxNo Speaker Yom HaShoah Candle Packing Meeting. At this meeting, we packed boxes for the Yellow Candle program of Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. This program sends Yellow Candles to every household in Temple Ahavat Shalom to encourage home remembrance of Yom HaShoah.
2/2015 UC Master GardenerRandy Thompson
UC Master Gardener
Home Composting“. Why buy expensive fertilizer when you can compost at home with little effort? Our speaker educated us on how easy it is to compost at home.
1/2015 gutierrezLilian De Loza-Gutierrez
LA Metro
Transportation Issues in the San Fernando Valley“. Our January speaker spoke about transportation issues in the San Fernando Valley, including the various transportation projects in the works, such as improvements to the Orange Line, potential projects between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, improvements to the freeway system, and much more.
12/2014 Judaica Show and TellNo Speaker Judaica Show and Tell“. All of our houses are filled with Judaica. From Chanukiahs we have collected in our travels, to kiddish cups, havdalah sets, and spice boxes, to Jewish books and other Jewish art. This meeting is a meeting for the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom to share their Judaica… and their stories. We’re asking everyone attending the meeting to bring one or two objects of Jewish art from their homes, and to share the story behind that piece. Where did you find it? Why does it have special significance to you? In sharing our art and our stories, we’ll be sharing ourselves.
11/2014 Dr. Allan KatcherDr. Allan Katcher Managing Your Strengths“. Have you ever wondered why you’re successful in some situations and not in others? In this presentation you will learn how to confirm and capitalize on your own personal strengths. Using The Life Orientation Method you will identify which of the four major life orientations characterizes your way of coping with ordinary and stressful conditions. You will also learn about the strength-weakness paradox which demonstrates the interrelationship between strengths and weaknesses. The presentation will also provide six basic strategies for making you more effective in dealing with people and helping them to deal effectively with you, You will also receive a complimentary copy of a book to further enrich your understanding.
10/2014 aaronAaron Solomon, Executive Director,
Temple Ahavat Shalom
“How Temple Ahavat Shalom Works” You probably understand how our synagogue is structured, clergy-wise. You may even understand the volunteer structure of the Temple. What you probably don’t know is how Temple Ahavat Shalom operates as a day-to-day business entity. In this presentation, Aaron Solomon, Executive Director of TAS, will describe the business
organization of TAS. He will cover each department including lay leadership and auxiliaries. He will provide a summary of the staff within each department including their titles and primary roles and responsibilities. He will also talk about how funds received are handled and the processes to ensure funds are correctly allocated to operational budget lines or restricted funds. Lastly, Aaron will
discuss how each department works together to serve the larger Temple Mission: to provide a caring and joyful community, with diverse opportunities to discover personal meaning through enriching and sanctifying our relationships (k’hillah kedosha), exploring our connections with the Divine (brit), celebrating Jewish Life and Torah (talmud Torah), and being a force for healing and justice in our world (tikkun olam). Aaron will leave time at the end for your questions on Temple operations.
09/2014 Erik Greenberg (9/14/14 Speaker)Erik Greenberg Director of Education,
Autry Museum
“Jewish Institutions of the Sepulveda Pass” The Jewish institutions that line the Sepulveda
Pass offer physical evidence of LA Jewry’s westward movement and a glimpse into the beliefs and ideals that helped shape American Jewish observance and culture over the past fifty years. Dr. Erik Greenberg, Director of Education at the Autry National Center and participant in
the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies’ web project, Mapping Jewish LA, will explore and explain the connections between the
Jewish institutions of the Pass and their connection to some of the most significant developments in postwar, American Jewish thought.
05/2014 Rick Mervis History of the San Fernando Valley

Suggestions for Speakers/Topics

If you would like to suggest a future speaker or topic, or would like to volunteer to speak at our organization, please contact the Speakers Chair. The following topics have been suggested for futuremeetings:

  • General Election Related Topis (Propositions, Voting Security, Voting
    Fraud)
  • Jewish Genealogy
  • Jews in Sports (perhaps Rabbi Arnold Stiebel)
  • History of the TAS Brotherhood / Mens Club / MoTAS
  • Mens Health Issues
  • Jewish Sites in the San Fernando Valley
  • Buildings built by Jewish Architects
  • Comparative Religions
  • Jewish Music
  • Entertainment Industry
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