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3. Letters From Our Leaders

4. TEC Education

5. Construction Update

6. Deja View

8. Calender

9. Birthdays & Anniversaries

10. TEC Tributes

11. TEC Community

12. Simchas

13. Upcoming Events


Rabbi Ari Averbach

Interim Cantor Kenny Ellis

Rabbi Emeritus Richard Spiegel

Rabbi Emeritus Shimon Paskow


Executive Director Gideon Manzur

Early Childhood Education Director Debbie Blumenthal

Religious School Director Joyce Bronstein

Early Childhood Education Asst. Director Keri Loventhal

Programming & Youth Director Cindy Goldberg

Programming & Events Coordinator Shane Silverstein

ECE Administrative Assistant Linda Starr

RS Administrative Assistant Sarah Karamas

Accounts Receivable Jessica Jacoby

Clergy Assistant Jill Rosenberg

Musical Director Mariano Dugatkin


President Eric Feigenbaum

Executive Vice President Felicia Toporoff

Immediate Past President Shari Mark

Treasurer David Yodkovik

Corresponding Secretary Elissa Lazarus

Recording Secretary Rachael Pugh

VP, Building & Grounds Dan Wachs

VP, Communications Rachel Carmona

VP, Early Childhood Education Chad Hampton

VP, Personnel & Legal Josh Hopstone

VP, Project Funding Wendy Margolis*

VP, Religion & Worship Benny Sommerfeld

VP, Religious School Education Adya Riss

VP, Social Action Pam Friedman

VP, Youth Ilana Sweet

Trustee, Bingo Marshall Scherr*

Trustee, Community Outreach Mark Goldstein

Trustee, Governance Steve Plotkin

Trustee, Programming Dan Lubetkin

Trustee, Sustainability Ely Jacobsohn

President, Mens Club Irwin Barney

President, Women of TEC Linda Hutchings

Past President, Board Member Sherri Finn-Werber

Past President, Board Member Gary Katz

Past President, Board Member Myles Simpson

*Past President



I have been teaching a class on Friday mornings that has become one of the highlights of my week. We comb through Jewish texts, finding new perspectives on our ancient words. I spend part of each week mining through sources, comparing commentators, reading the words of the greatest minds in Jewish history.

And then I present it to the class, and I am surprised – every week – that the people in our class bring up a different standpoint that I had not considered, that our sages had not elucidated.

How lucky I am to get to think and discuss (and sometimes debate) with the great minds of our generation, right here in Temple Etz Chaim’s Wolfson Auditorium!

This is one of the beautiful things about Jewish text: no one has ownership on one right answer. Every person brings something new to the table, something that they can teach.

Lest someone think they know everything, our books are a reminder that there is always more to know. An example of this is that each book of the Talmud (codified about 1500 years ago) starts on page 2, as if even were you to read the entire book, you will never know everything.

I am grateful to be in a community of learners – people who want to keep discovering what our tradition teaches about the world today, and what the world today teaches about our traditions.


Queen Esther was a reluctant hero. She began life as an everyday person who almost unwillingly was pulled into life of royalty. When bad things started happening, she had every incentive to stay quiet. It would have been easy for her to live her protected and luxurious life and allow the politics around her to be. Moreover, she knew speaking up could be fatal. But with the lives of family, friends and all of her people on the line, she prayed and found the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. To have conversations which were almost unimaginable.

One important truth we can learn from Purim is that in a sense we (and maybe Megan Markle too) are all Queen Esther. There are a lot of large and important topics we face in our individual lives, in our society and as a human race that can feel so big or risky – or so beyond us – that the easy path is to go about our lives and leave the big decisions to others – hoping the outcomes won’t be too terrible

Like Queen Esther, we live lives of privilege and power. Never in history have Jews had as much power as we do here and now. We are equal citizens in a heterogeneous society where we worship freely, have access to high levels of education, can live wherever we want, take any job we want, own property, hold political offices and hold title to the pursuit of happiness. Like Queen Esther, our privilege gives us the responsibility to care about what’s going on and engage in difficult conversations when needed.

With this in mind, Temple Etz Chaim is gearing up to introduce a new speaker series entitled Our World Evolving: Global Thought Leaders. For our inaugural year, we will welcome three diverse guests to our Thousand Oaks community, starting with Professor Jared Diamond this July. Each speaker is an expert in his or her field and each has extremely thought-provoking topics to discuss. Their talks will trigger emotional, moral, and ethical discussion, and you will have the opportunity to take part, accompanied by your TEC mishpacha. Don’t sit this out. Don’t let others make the big decisions. Come learn and be part of conversations that will shape the very future of humanity.

And have a very Happy Purim.

LETTERS FROM OUR LEADERS March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 3

As the month of March begins, the preschoolersarefullyengagedinthestoryof Purim. The classrooms are stocked with crowns, costumes, Purim character masks and of course, groggers. This is a holiday wherethechildrencanusetheirdramaticplay skills to celebrate the bravery of Esther, be sillylikeKingAchashverosh,andbeaheroto helptheJewishpeople.

Every Friday in the month of March we are inviting Grandparents to visit the classrooms with their grandchildren! Grandparents are a valuablepartofourlives. Theyhavesomany storiesandexperiencestosharewithallofus.

We look forward to these intergenerational experiences. Together the family members will participate in activities in the classrooms and will finish the morning at our Shabbat Singalong.

Towards the end of March, we are introducing the next Jewish holiday Pesach, or Passover. The older preschoolers will visit the Matzah Factory and make their own matzah. We will enjoy the story of Passover, special Passover foodsandclassroomSeders.

OurECEparents’group,ParentsofTempleEtz Chaim (PTEC), had a Parents’ Night Out on March 1 at Tarantula Hill restaurant on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. It was a fun gettogether and a great way to meet other ECE families.

Havdallah and Hotdogs, our annual family program,wasonceagainagreatsuccessthis year. We are so grateful to our anonymous donor family for their generous annual sponsorshipofHavdallahandHotdogs,which allows us to offer this fun-filled evening of food,crafts,andactivitiesatareducedcostto families. TodahRabah!

This extravaganza could not have occurred without the outstanding and hardworking individuals listed below. From conception to fruition, all those involved in Havdallah and Hotdogs worked diligently to make this evening a success: Susan Kane, Karen Garelik, Maya Tenenbaum, Heidi Birnbaum, RabbiAverbach,LeoBronstein,

Sarah Karamas, Carl Friedlander, Linda Friedlander,CindyGoldberg,AdyaRiss,Auggie Riss, Merrill Kaminsky, Steve Kaminsky, Felicia Toporoff, Ian Toporoff, Jeff Landes, Matt Sanders, Terri Zwicker, Joe Zwicker, Vanessa Averbach, Cantor Kenny Ellis, Lori Arons, Jessica Dennis, Adam Felsen, Nicole Lodtner, TobiLove,RandeePaller,RivkaMoscovitch,Jill Rosenberg, Dani Urman, Evelinda Urman, Ilana Urman, Niki Stokols, Mark Stokols, and Lior Yakov. Also, a huge thank you to Gideon Manzur, Shane Silverstein, and our fantastic maintenance staff for ensuring everything was setupandtoourteenageaides–SaraBlakely, Mia Sonnenberg-Rhim, Emma Riss, and Ashley Tepfer.

We appreciate all the parent volunteers and those on the committee of the Parents of Temple Etz Chaim for helping us with our school, holiday and family events! We all value yoursupport!



We hope you plan to attend "Havdallah and Hotdogs" again next year. Although the name stays the same, the theme of Havdallah and Hotdogs changes every year. We already have nextyear'sthemeplanned–youwillloveit!

We are looking forward to sharing many more happytimesatTempleEtzChaim.




Westartedthemonthalittleearlywithawalk to combat the rise of antisemitism globally, nationally,andlocallyasaproudsponsorand supporter of the Tri-County ADL Walk Against Hate, held at Conejo Creek North on February 26. TEC was proudly and mightily represented at the event, which brought people from all across Ventura County together. It was a great afternoon of communityandlearning.Thankyoutoallwho volunteeredandwhoparticipatedintheevent in any other way. Your presence made a difference.

BimBamShabbatwillbeheldMarch4onthe Gesher play yard. Mr. Steve will be with us againaswecelebrateShabbattogether.This song-filledmorningisgearedforfamilieswith youngchildren.

Purim is almost here, and we are looking forward to the merriment that only an amazing carnival, megillah reading, shpiel, hamantaschen, and homemade knishes can bring. If you haven’t already done so, please signuptovolunteerforthecarnivalonMarch5 from 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM. This year, we will be adding a street fair component to the carnival for added fun for all ages. The Pop-Up Purim Pizza Party, Megillah reading and Shpiel will be held on March 6, beginning at 5:30 PM with pizzaand6:15PMforthemerrimentofthemain event(s)–themegillahandshpiel.

Our afternoon at the theater to see Fiddler on the Roof will be on March 16. We are looking forward to sharing this cultural experience together.

Sunday StickArounds continue on March 19 with a Town-Hall focusing on educational opportunities at TEC. As usual, the Town Hall willbeginat9:30AM.

Look for upcoming information about how to join us for a group trip to the Ronald Reagan Library Auschwitz exhibit on the Sunday (4/16/23) preceding Yom HaShoah. Rabbi Averbach will also be participating in a community wide memorial at the Reagan Librarythatevening.Wearelookingforwardto ameaningfuldaytogether.

Members of TEC USY joined with Aliyah and Shomrei Torah in their annual Into the Night activity, and Machar and Kadima continue to have fun-filled lounge activities. Our next lounges are planned with Machar tentatively scheduledforMarch19andKadimascheduled forMarch28.

DIRECTOR March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 4

The construction team has been working diligently to ensure that the project is completed on time and with the highest quality standards.

As of now, the interior walls and floors have been stripped down, and the new electrical and plumbing systems have been installed. The next phase of the renovation will focus on rebuilding the walls, installing new flooring, and updating the lighting fixtures.

We would like to thank all of our members for their patience and understanding during this renovation period. We understand that the construction work may cause some disruptions, but we assure you that it will be worth it once the renovation is complete.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the renovation, and we look forward to welcoming you all back to the newly renovated building soon. March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 5





FEBRUARY 4, 2023 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 6




FEBRUARY 5, 2023 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 7
26 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 SAT FRI THU WED TUE MON SUN 28 BOARD MEETING

Thursday, April 6th March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 9
the Date:
Passover Community Seder

Temple Etz Chaim wants to thank you for your generous contributions to our community Temple Etz Chaim wants to thank you for your generous contributions to our community in honor of those we love and in memory of those we have lost. in honor of those we and in memory those we have lost.

TEC TRIBUTES TEC TRIBUTES Early Childhood Education Fund In Memory of Ida Bernstein Marshall & Roni Rosen Elisa Feldman Memorial Religious School Scholarship Fund In Memory of Sara Clara Freed Kenneth & Linda Leon In Memory of Lillian Mezey, Bernard Mezey, Lisa O'Brien & Gertrude Mezey Myles & Gail Simpson In Memory of Sara Clara Freed Les & Debbie Feldman In Memory of Eugene Feldman Les & Debbie Feldman In Honor of the Birth of Zev Isaacs Les & Debbie Feldman In Honor of Stan & Lynne Rosen becoming GreatGrandparents Les & Debbie Feldman In Memory of Jack Borgen Eileen Sachs In Memory of Sadie Borgen Eileen Sachs In Memory of Benjamin Barney Irwin Barney In Memory of Simon Dubinsky Jeff Schoenwald Jotkowitz Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund In Memory of Marvin Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of Sidney Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen Kiddush Fund In Memory of Sara Clara Freed Myles & Gail Simpson Lipnick Religious School Scholarship Fund In Memory of Ira Goldberg Susan Goldberg In Memory of Bertha Winterstein Susan Goldberg In Memory of Sylvia Rothman Bonnie Rothman In Memory of Clara Stockell Bonnie Rothman In Memory of Jim Levin Barbara Shannon In Memory of Walter Michelson Barbara Shannon In Memory of Jacob Stelman Myrna Stelman Men's Club Scholar-in-Residence In Memory of Bella Lewin Varkel Frank Lewin In Memory of Anne Henry Kaufman Joel Shrater Men's Club Silverstein Humanitarian Fund In Honor of Marshall Rosen's BIrthday Myles & Gail Simpson In Memory of Joseph Mason Claudine Marx In Memory of Julian Robert Saly Richard & Gari Saly Minyan Fund In Memory of Joseph Bernstein Marshall & Roni Rosen Rabbi Averbach's Discretionary Fund In Memory of Irwin Gollub Michael & Helene Gollub In Memory of Sara Clara Freed Jan & Janice Orlowski In Memory of Arnold Patent Myles & Gail Simpson In Memory Of Sara Clara Freed Ann Sturman InMemoryofArnoldPatent Peter Jaysen In Memory of Arnold Patent Jeff & Sheri Schoenwald In Appreciation of Rabbi Averbach Marshall & Roni Rosen In Honor of Marshall Rosen's 2nd Bar Mitzvah Jerry & Lynn Hoffman In Memory of Arnold Patent Michael & Martha Kahn In Memory of Dorothy Kwartler Linda Moskowitz In Memory of Robert Lichtmann Martin Lichtmann In Memory of Pinchos Smith Andy Smith In Memory of Alfred Agranoff Eileen Sachs In Memory of Arnold Borgen Eileen Sachs In Memory of Tania Pfefferman Arthur Pfefferman In Memory of Richard Manes Randy Manes In Memory of Abe N. Kessler Gilbert Kessler In Memory of Esther Gollub Michael & Helene Gollub In Memory of Lawrence Oberman Robin Oberman In Memory of Robert Treisman Robin Oberman In Memory of Joseph Engler Richard Engler In Memory of Rachel Sender Fine Lila Oberman In Memory of David Buchbinder Sara Sturman In Memory of Earl Lutzker John & Sandra Lutzker In Memory of Morris Wolf Cheryl Wolf In Memory of Frank Winer Mark Wolfson Religious School Fund In Memory of Anita Levene Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of Arthur Levene Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of Stan Friedman Steven Friedman In Memory of Blanche Bozarth Richard Engler
In Memory of Annette Shapiro Barbara Budish March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 10
Ritual Fund In Memory of Rachel Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of Samuel Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen Temple General Fund In Honor of Sidney Green WIlliam Green In Memory of Bobbie Eisenstadt Harvey Korn In Memory of Sofia R. Weinstein Sofia Kobrin In Memory of Rebecca Weinstein Sofia Kobrin In Memory of Arnold Patent Garvin & Sharon Kotzin In Memory of Sara Clara Freed Itzhak & Yola Kalinski In Memory of Cecil Moll Francine Finkelstein Tzedakah Fund In Memory of Sylvia Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of William Rosen Marshall & Roni Rosen In Memory of Ruth Ann Kalisher Andrea Smith
USY Youth & Scholarship Fund In Memory of Sidney Barnett Jane Spitzer Women of TEC Torah Fund Liz Groden In Memory of Bill Tiefenthal Ann Moore-Ross In Memory of Sidney Reuben
Reuben In Memory of Roslyn Dallek Susan Cohen

Social Action, in partnership with the Women’s Interfaith Network, is asking for donations for newly arrived Refugee Families. These families are here legally and come from all over the world. These familiesarerelocatingtoourarea,andtheyhavesoverylittle.

TheConejoInterfaithTeamwhichworkswiththeInternationalRescue Committee, has asked for our help in gathering much needed essential supplies to help these families settle into their new homes. We will be gathering donated items to make Welcome Baskets for each family. Each family will receive Kitchen, Bathroom, and Cleaning Basket.Eachbasketwillbefilledwithitemstostartahome.

Some of the items needed by our Refugee Families include a saucepan, frying pans, bath towels, wash cloths, bars of soap, toothbrushes,aboxofbandaidsandsomuchmore.Pleasecheckthe Welcome Baskets for Refugee Families Constant Contact for the Signup Genius link for the full list of items needed. Please sign up to donate by March 15th. In addition to your donation, we would love to have you join us in making the Welcome Baskets on Thursday, March 30th.

All the Welcome Baskets will be distributed to local Refugee Families by the Conejo Interfaith Refugee Team and the International Refugee Committee.


During February, the Men’s Club participated in the Federation of JewishMen’sClubWorldWideWrap.Theevent’sgoalistotrytohave allJewseverywhereputonTefillinonthesamedayinFebruary.

Men’s Club members attended the TEC weekly Sunday minyan on February 12 to participate. The event turned out to be truly worldwide as our fellowMen’sClubmemberandTECBoardOfficer,BennySommerfeld, joined us from Israel via Zoom. In addition, in the week prior to the World Wide Wrap day, Men’s Club members worked with TEC Religious School students to help them learn about tefillin and how to put them on. Yasher Koach to Jon Hops for coordinating the Men’s Clubeffortandprovidingmeaningfulteachingsabouttefillintobothour religiousschoolstudentsandattendeesattheSundayminyan.

March is planned to be event filled. The Men’s Club will be hosting a Beer Garden at the TEC Purim Carnival and manning the barbeque. We will be packaging memorial candles and a meditation for distribution to the TEC community for use in commemoration of Yom HaShoah which begins on Monday evening April 17. The last March activitywillbeakosherwinetastingeventtohelpyouselectsomething toyourlikingforyourSedertable.

As a reminder, our Scholar in Residence weekend is scheduled for April 28 – April 30. This year’s scholar is Rabbi Daniel Cohen. He speaks nationally inspiring people to maximize every moment while leadingalifeofimpactandlegacy.Oneofhisbookstitlesis“WhatWill TheySayAboutYouWhenYouAreGone?CreatingaLifeofLegacy.” Please reserve time on your calendar to attend and consider participatingasaProgramSponsor.Ifyouwouldlikemoreinformation, please reach out to us via the Men’s Club mailbox:


The first is the Women's League of Conservative Judaism's Pacific Southwest Region's Annual Conference and Torah Fund Study Day via Zoom is being held Sunday, March 12th from 10am-3pm. The theme for this year's conference is: Chazak v’Ematz: Be Strong & CourageousEmpowering women to make a positive difference strengthening our community through engagement, volunteerism, and support while strengthening ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Synagogue member and WOTEC Member, Cheryl Wolf is a featured panelist . In addition, former WOTEC President, Elissa Lazarus, is being recognizedasanHonoreefromTempleEtzChaimattheConferencefor exemplifyingthethemeofChazakv'Ematz.Youcanregisteronlineorvia mail. The cost for a standard ticket is $36.00 to attend and sponsor tickets are available for $100.00. More info: conferenceaswellatthissiteifyoulike.

WearealsoexcitedtobehostingaPlant'NSiponMarch26thfrom1pm3pm in the Wolfson Auditorium. Join us to create your own succulents bowlandenjoysomewineandrefreshmentsshmoozingwithfriends.This event is $30.00 and open to all Temple Members; registration and payment is required in advance. Please RSVP to

Our WOTEC Board meetings are the second Tuesday of the month and typicallyheldinpersonandviaZoom.


It gives me great joy to share with you that the Clergy Search Committee has 3 wonderful new candidates this month. All are interested in the fulltime Cantor position and we're moving forward, full steam ahead! The committee, while full of excitement, is still ensuring each candidate meets allourcriteria.Aftereachcandidatecompletestheirinterview,shouldthey beagoodpotentialfitforoursynagogue,we'llkeepyouapprisedviaemail about future weekend visits. At this point it's too soon to determine if and when those would happen, though we realize you'd all like to plan your calendarsaccordingly.We'llgiveyouasmuchadvancenoticeaspossible, though sometimes we don't have a lot of notice ourselves. Your flexibility andunderstandingareverymuchappreciatedduringthisprocess

We look forward to sharing happiness and song with you in the coming months! March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 11

Parents: Sydney and Brit Sharon

Big Sister: Thea Sharon

Big Brother: Nathan Sharon

Grandparents: Dana and Dany Sharon and Briar and Jay Grossman

Aiyla Kenzie Friedman

Born February 17, 2023

Parents: Aubrey and Ian Friedman

Big Brother: Reece Friedman

Grandparents: Pam and Steve Friedman and Karen and Steven Nickel

Dalia Nora Stock

Born February 18, 2023

Parents: Natalie and Cory Stock

Big Brother: Jacob Stock

Grandparents: Lynn and Ron Freeman and Anna and Harold Stock

Whether you are anticipating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or a little bundle of joy, please let us know so our entire community can share in the celebration. Send all simcha information to March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 12 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 13 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 14 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 15 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 16 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 17 March 2023 Adar/Nisan 5783 18