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 http://golf.tasnorthridge-motas.org/. 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 hmiller12@socal.rr.com.


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 hmiller12@socal.rr.com.


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 http://www.tasnorthridge-motas.org/ and participate. Sign up for our action alert list at http://tinyurl.com/motas-action-alert. 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!

(Return to Top)


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!!

MoTAS Weekly for 8/31/16: Highlighting Calls for Squares, Golf, Pancakes, Weilers, Denial Movie, Allan Sherman

Fathers and Sons

As I write this post/article, I have just received word that Scott Yollis’ father passed away. He’s not alone: in March, other men in the congregation have lost fathers or fathers-in-law, including Mike Doner and Rabbi Lutz. It is also just after my father’s birthday; he passed away in 2004. Fathers play important roles in our lives: they pass down values, they serve as examples, they teach us how to lead. Our congregation is blessed with many active fathers, including the men of MoTAS and the fathers in our religious school.

One problem we have, however, is a generational divide between the fathers in the congregation. Although we all share the same goal — leadership in our family and leadership for the congregation — we feel we have little in common. The older dads form the core constituency of MoTAS. The younger dads are involved in the ECEC and activities like “Dad’s Night Out”. When we should be cross-pollinating our similar experiences, we separate and think we have little in common.

MoTAS would like to change that. First, we invite the younger dads to come to our Sunday morning meetings (timed to be during religious school), our MoTAS Seder, and our upcoming outing to see the Lancaster Jethawks — affordable, family-friendly baseball. We also want to work with the dad’s group in the ECEC — providing umbrella publicity, and working together to promote fund raisers for our groups and the congregation. If this is something you would like to help with, please contact me at president@tasnorthridge-motas.org .


MoTAS Weekly for 12/16 & 12/23/15: Join MoTAS for a Jewish Xmas: Movies, Shabbat, and Chinese Food