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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MoTAS Weekly 08/26/20: Drivers Needed | Sept 13: MoTAS and MRJ Virtual Meetings

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:

  1. Drivers Needed to Deliver High Holiday Gift Bags to TAS Members ~ SEPT 1
  3. September Monthly Meeting – First Meeting of 2020-21 – SEPT 13
  4. First Day Of Religious School Pancake Breakfast Update
  5. Sukkah Building UPDATE
  6. MRJ SPEAKER: Akiva Tor on SUN SEP 13 – Despite a Pandemic, the Holy Fire Will Burn

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MoTAS Weekly 07/15/20: MoTAS Trivia Contest / Meeting Sun Jul 19 | Monthly TAS Poker Game

MoTAS Weekly Newsletter In This Issue:

  1. MoTAS TRIVIA CONTEST /  Get Together, Sunday July 19
  2. Monthly TAS Poker Game – Calling all Poker Players
  3. Help Us Spread the News about Rabbi Becky

Note: As we enter into the Summer months, the MoTAS Weekly make take the occasional week off if there are no new items for the week. As always, you can find the weekly posted on our website at

1. MoTAS TRIVIA CONTEST / Get Together, Sunday July 19

Our guys like to see each other and catch up.  While we don’t have our monthly meetings during summer, we are planning a morning Zoom on Sunday July 19 at 9am.  Just for fun, we will hold a short trivia contest.  If you would like to participate, use the following link to meet up with us on Zoom:

Topic: MoTAS July Get-together
Time: Jul 19, 2020 09:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting: Contact Howard Miller at for meeting information.

Please have pen and paper ready!

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2. Monthly TAS Poker Game – Calling all Poker Players

If you like to play in a monthly game of poker and help out the temple, MoTAS is putting together a safe monthly online game of No Limit Hold-em.  A monthly tournament is a fun way to increase your skills at poker and make a bit of mullah.  Games would be played at 7:30 on the first Tuesday of each month.  The $20 buy-in would be handled by MoTAS.  MoTAS would take 15% of the stakes for our temple fundraising and the rest would be split 60% and 25% by the top two players.  Tournaments will take about 90 minutes.  If you (yes, men and women) have an interest, contact Howard Miller at

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3. Help Us Spread the News about Rabbi Becky

Now that Rabbi Becky has started at TAS, we need to let our community know about the changes at TAS. This is not the TAS of yore: all of what might have inhibited folks in prior years is in the past. We have a new Rabbi, a new Cantor, and most importantly: a new spirit and a stronger family. We need to let our communities know: not only the local North Valley of Chatsworth, Northridge, North Hills, and Granada Hills. We need to let the folks in all directions nearby know: the Southern portion of the valley (Reseda, Woodland Hills, Van Nuys, Encino, etc.), the communities to the East (Arleta, Sylmar, San Fernando), Simi Valley to the West, and, to the North, the southern portions of Santa Clarita and Stevenson Ranch.

The best way to do this is to invite someone to sample our Friday night service. They can do this via Zoom, or that can join via Facebook Live via the Temple’s Facebook page. You’ll get the Zoom information in your weekly temple mailing that you can share. You can also recommend that folks contact the Temple office for information.

We also want you to go beyond asking local friends and family to meet her and our temple. First, you can spread the word on those social media sites you use. Spread the message on Facebook about our service. Look at the Temple’s Facebook page for information to share. Second, you can  introduce Rabbi Becky to your neighborhood using . If you already have an account, you are ready.  If you need to register / create a new free account, click here: Once you have your account:

  1. Go to your account on
  2. Select “General” under “Neighborhood”
  3. Post a story about Rabbi Becky

We also encourage you to go write a rewiew of the Temple on Yelp. Jews across the Valley look to Yelp for reviews and recommendations for all sorts of products, services, restaurants and even which temple to join. If you were asked to recommend TAS, what good things would you say? Now is a particularly good time to write your review, with Rabbi Becky joining us and Cantor Ken continuing to make our musical moments magic. In case you wish to share your opinion and add a review on the TAS Yelp page, it is simple and easy:

  1. Go to
  2. In “Find” type “Temple Ahavat Shalom” and in “Near” type  “Northridge”
  3. Then click on “Temple Ahavat Shalom”
  4. Then click on “Write a Review”
  5. Select Your Rating of   *    (5 stars is best!)
  6. In your own words write a review / answer the question “Would do you love about being a member Temple Ahavat Shalom?”

Here are some suggestions for things to mention in your post or review:

  • Temple Ahavat Shalom is a 54 year old warm and welcoming Jewish Reform Congregation in Northridge.
  • Mention how long you have been a member.
  • Join us for a dynamic Shabbat service with our new rabbi, Rebecca Hoffman, and provide the date and time.
  • Invite people to come check us out.
  • For more information on our Zoom service or attending via Facebook Live, call Ben Tenn at (818) 360-2258 or contact Aaron Solomon at (818) 360-2258.

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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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MoTAS Weekly 04/10/20: Congregational Meeting 4/19 | Restaurant Suggestions

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:


Apologies for the delay in this week’s weekly. Passover preparation combined with light news. Chag Sameach to all, and may all stay well and healthy.

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MoTAS Weekly 03/20/19: Purim Carnival Help Needed (Sunday) / Dining Out at Islands (Tuesday) / and more….

MoTAS Weekly NewsletterIn This Issue:


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2019 MoTAS President’s Message

Rabbi Kalfus, Rabbi Samansky and Cantor Ken, on behalf of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom I want to thank you for helping our group put on this wonderful Shabbat service.  Thanks also to Bob Levine for creating the service and coordinating it with our participants.  The men of MoTAS look forward to our annual Shabbat evening in which we are recognized for the service these good guys provide to our temple.  In fact, would every individual in the audience who considers himself to be an active member of MoTAS please stand and remain standing for a moment.

I call us the good guys because we are the men who consistently work to ensure the success of some of our largest Temple events.  This small group of men prepares and serves the food to an average of 180 people at each of our two annual Shabbabaques.  They flip pancakes and serve 160 kids plus their parents at our annual first day of religious school pancake breakfast.  These are the men who risk the loss of brains and fingers while building our Sukkah for the school and temple celebration.

Many of our active members have been around since the Men’s Club was reinvigorated by Bob Levin in the early 90s. Raise your hand if that includes you.  It is kind of telling that our average age is greater than the average age of our temple community, there is something to be said for stamina and dedication.  I know that our temple community appreciates the work we do to support our temple and improve it for our younger families.

Now, except for the past presidents of MoTAS, please take your seats.  These are the men who have taken the mantel of responsibility for leading our fine group over the last 25 years.  Note that the majority of our group are past presidents.  Gentlemen, thank you for your leadership and continued support.  Please take your seats.

You know, I did not plan on becoming the leader of the Men of TAS.  In fact, most people think that I have already been president.  For many years, when our presidents were not able to attend meetings and before we had vice presidents, I led those meetings.  I have worked behind the scenes because I have been dedicated to ensuring the success of our group and out temple.  But I had ulterior motives.

I established our bylaws to create a plan for the succession of our leadership, so that I would not need to be president.  I even convinced the group that we needed a Nominating Committee to ensure we had candidates for officers and I chaired that committee for probably ten years to make sure someone besides me would be president.  But last year I was told that it was my turn.  I am glad to be here today and hope to do my best to lead this fine group of dedicated men.

This year, our goal is to use our resources to help our Temple through the rough waters we have experienced over the last year.  We are creating programs for our monthly meetings that will appeal more to our religious school parents.  We are opening up our Tu B’Shevat Seder, to be held this coming Sunday morning, to include all students in the 5th through 7th grades and their parents.  Thanks to Daniel Faigin for creating his wonderful Seder service.

Please stand by for this short commercial break: Guys, please remember that there will be a short meeting at 8:30 this Sunday in the Social Hall and then we will be setting up and participating in the Tu B’Shevat Seder.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

Based on the contributions of temple members to our annual appeal, the hard work of our Golf tournament and Texas Hold-em poker tournament committees and the Dining Does Good dinners, run by Barry Mann, The Men of TAS have provided thousands of dollars over the last year to support the Avodah program, camperships for needy students, assisted our confirmation students so that they could attend the Le Taken program in Washington D.C., gifts for confirmands and Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, and generously supported the temple Gala and Cantor’s Concert.  As another example, when there was an emergency last month because the main kitchen water heater failed, The Men of TAS provided $3,000 toward the purchase and installation of a new industrial grade water heater.

In addition, through the efforts of Bob Levine and our Grid Maven Kathy Pullman, our single game and season sports squares programs have brought in thousands of dollars that we have used to help the temple and the school.  In the last year alone, the Men of TAS have helped pay for the foyer bathroom renovation, the addition of our hand-held microphones, a pressure washer for the ECEC so that they can keep their playground equipment clean, and the renovation of our main office kitchenette.  All this was accomplished via our sports squares program.

So when someone asks what is it that MoTAS does and what does it stand for, that is our answer.  We are proud to be of service to the needs of our temple community.

At this time, Debby Lieber would like to make some remarks.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank a few individuals who have been very helpful to MoTAS.

First, I want to remember one of our long-time members, Jeff Shulman, who passed away last year. Jeff always brought entertainment and compassion to our meetings and events.  He has been and will be missed.

I would like to thank Kathy Barker, our Sisterhood President, for teaming with MoTAS on a number of events and projects this year.  We have always appreciated Sisterhood’s support to our endeavors.

I wanted to also thank Aaron Solomon and his staff for all their help in promoting The Men of TAS and in coordinating our temple facilities in order to meet the needs of our events.

At this time I would like to thank a number of temple congregants who have long been financial benefactors and cheer leaders for The Men of TAS.  They have contributed significantly toward our primary fundraisers and have always stood with us in our efforts to help the Temple.  If you are here, please give us a wave: Ken and Lynn Miles, Ron and Sandy Friedman, Barry and Wendy Krowne, Ed and Fran Handler, Rick Field, Gordon and Karen Silverstein, Glenn and Lisa Kantor, Les and Mel Birken, and Irv and Sherry Lucks. There are many others in this room who have also contributed to our success, many within our own group. Our fundraising events would not be as successful as they have been without your consistent hands-on support.

Over the last two years, The Men of TAS have had a new partner in a number of our events.  We teamed with The Men of Temple Ramat Zion in providing the food for our combined Purim Carnival.  This year, the Men of TRZ worked with us on our renewed Texas Hold-em Poker Tournament.  We have found they are great teammates and we have developed a great comradery working with them to carry out these events.  Tonight I invited my counterpart for the Men of TRZ, Alberto Hananel, to talk for a moment about our new relationship.

At this point in time, we come to an exciting moment for our group. Every year the President of The Men of TAS is responsible for selecting our Man of the Year.  At TAS, the selection of our Man of the Year is based on identifying an individual who has made extraordinary efforts to help our group succeed via their leadership, hard work and enthusiasm.  This award is well deserved in light of the contributions the recipients have made to The Men of TAS and to the temple overall.  So, would all previous Man of the Year honorees please stand and be recognized.

Every one of our honorees has continued to serve our community after they received the award, many as officers on the temple board.  Congratulations and thanks to all you.  Please take your seats. We have never simply given out such an award simply because it was that time of the year.  Our honorees have truly earned this recognition and this year’s recipient has also earned it.  At this time, following our long term tradition, I invite Roger Lowe, our 2018 Man of the Year to come up and announce our 2019 Man of the Year.

MoTAS Weekly for 9/13/17: Course Language Means It’s Golf Tournament Time — This Monday

In This Issue:

29th Annual MoTAS Golf Tournament
Sunset Hills Country Club, Thousand Oaks CA

This coming Monday is the MoTAS Golf Tournament, and we need you to make it a success. It’s not too late, even if you don’t play golf, to ensure the success of the tournament. This tournament is what provides the funds so that MoTAS can operate. Here’s how you can help:


Our tournament has one of the lowest fees around, and for it you get not only a great day of golf, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You also get the opportunity to bid on silent auction prizes and play a bunch of great games. Even if you don’t play golf, you likely know people that do: military buddies, business associates, colleagues, friends. Encourage them to support our men’s club by coming out to play. They can sign up online at Entries are only $215 per player.


We need raffle and silent auction prizes. We don’t have enough donations from local businesses. Any we can get for free saves us from spending our own money. Here is what I am asking you to consider. Lots of us have gift certificates for restaurants, movies, yogurt shops, gas, etc. that have been sitting around and are not likely to be used. You might even have tickets to an upcoming play you cannot use. If you were willing to donate those to MoTAS for our tournament, you can write that off as a donation. You can also talk to businesses you frequent to see if they would like to donate a gift certificate to the tournament (donation forms are at this link). If you have a donation for the silent auction/raffle, contact Howard Miller at


We need volunteers for the day or even half the day. People are needed to help register and to observe play at the par three holes where we have big prizes for a hole in one. Please see if you can take some time off to help our tournament succeed. It is a beautiful course with lots of shade and we provide our volunteers with breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus, you get the opportunity to bid on our silent auction items. We need at-least six more volunteers. If you are able to volunteer, contact Howard Miller at


Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels, from $18 three-line messages to $36 business card ads to major sponsorships. Sponsorship shows that you support MoTAS in what we do and how we help the congregation. Visit here for more information on sponsorships. Sponsorships must be in by Friday in order to be included in the program.


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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2017 MoTAS Man of the Year: Daniel Faigin

At the 2017 MoTAS Shabbat, the 2016 Man of the Year, Barry Mann, introduced this year’s Man of the Year as follows:

This year’s Man of the Year can truly be called a Renaissance Man. His interests are so varied that he should be up for “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.

If there is a job to be done, all you have to do is ask him and it will be done.

He is selfless to a fault. His knowledge of Judaism is astounding.

Having grown up in West Los Angeles and attending high school there, he received his undergraduate and masters degrees at UCLA.

He has a profound and varied interest in theatre and seems to never miss a performance, whether it be large or small theaters.

He is also a fanatic on board games and has an extensive collection of some of the most esoteric games you can imagine.

As a computer whiz, he has worked on our website, created flyers for our dining events and our various special events (including the golf tournament.)

He has maps in his head and is an expert on our California highways. He runs a number of blogs on the LA theatre scene and our LA streets and highways. His knowledge of  computers and cyber security are well known.

He is our last two years president of MoTAS. He is our own DANIEL FAIGIN!!