THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF
1 EUSSI 2202 YRAUNAJ
T H I S
I S S U E
A LOOK BACK AT OUR HANUKKAH LIGHTS CELEBRATION PAGE 4 IN HONOR OF TU B'SHEVAT, INFO ON THE TEC COMMUNITY GARDEN PAGE 9 HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE PAGE 17
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3. Letters From Our Leaders 4. Deja View 6. TEC's January Calendar 7. Birthdays & Anniversaries 8. Simchas 9. In Honor of Tu B'Shevat 10. TEC Education 11. TEC Community 12. GET TO KNOW ME: TEC Board 13. MYSTERY PHOTO 14. Kids Corner 16. TEC Tributes 17. ETZ-ITING EVENTS 20. Community Partners CLERGY Rabbi Rabbi Rabbi Rabbi
Ari Averbach Intern Rachel Simmons Emeritus Richard Spiegel Emeritus Shimon Paskow
IN HONOR OF TU B'SHEVAT Learn More About the Community Garden READ MORE ON PAGE 9
Executive Director Gideon Manzur ECE Director Debbie Blumenthal Religious School Director Joyce Bronstein ECE Asst. Director Kathy Sharp Program/Events Coordinator Shane Silverstein Accounts Receivable Jessica Jacoby Marketing Assistant Alex Steinhauer Clergy Assistant Jill Rosenberg
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Shari Mark Executive Vice President Eric Feigenbaum Treasurer David Yodkovik Corresponding Secretary Elissa Lazarus Financial Secretary Wendy Margolis* Recording Secretary Beth Meyer VP, Building and Grounds Larry Slomowitz VP, Communications Dan Lubetkin VP, Early Childhood Education Joe Zwicker VP, Membership Jennifer Elson VP, Personnel/Legal Tom Milhaupt VP, Religion & Worship Benny Sommerfeld VP, Religious School Education Felicia Toporoff VP, Social Action Judy Gindi VP, Youth Ilana Sweet Trustee, Adult Education Sherri Finn-Werber* Trustee, Bingo Marshall Scherr* Trustee, Outreach Mark Goldstein Trustee, Strategic Planning Terri Zwicker President, Mens Club Colin Pullan President, Women of TEC Cindy Scherr Past President, Board Member Gary Katz Past President, Board Member Myles Simpson *Past President
LETTERS FROM LEADERS RABBI ARI AVERBACH We greet people at this season with the words, "Happy New Year," signifying a goal that the year is filled with joy. We spend our lives chasing this ephemeral idea of happiness; an American destination to be sure, written right there in our founding documents, emblazoned that every person’s unalienable rights guarantees a pursuit of happiness. So we strive anew as we optimistically change the calendar. But in Judaism, we note the new year (in several months) with the greeting, "Shana Tova," may this be a year of goodness.
In our religion, in our tradition, we strive not for happiness, but for being good. Being better versions of ourselves. Is this because Judaism does not believe in happiness? If you take a look at all of our fast days and the easy jokes about kvetch culture, then that might seem the case. But really, Judaism believes in embracing where we are and being satisfied with our lot. We should all seek happiness in what we have, not in what we lack.
SHARI MARK, PRESIDENT Chag Sameach! The holiday for which I am wishing you well is Tu B’Shevat, Jewish Earth Day, or Arbor Day, also known as "The Birthday of the Trees." What can be better than a day dedicated to caring for our environment as prescribed by our sages and those who have come before us? Whether you actually plant a tree or donate to one of the groups or organizations who do the planting in Israel, know that you are doing a mitzvah for our sensitive planet. This ties into the theme gratitude. Tu B’Shevat calls for
Finally, I’m especially grateful for those who are unconditionally saying yes to financially securing our future and to being part of the renovation of our Beit Midrash. Our capital campaign, while in still
As we say on Friday nights: Barukh HaTov v’HaMeitiv - Blessed are You, God, who brings us goodness and helps us realize the goodness all around us.
its infancy, is shaping up to be successful due to all of those who have enthusiastically, unreservedly and definitively said YES so far. The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same '' couldn't be more true and apt at this moment for me. Our world has changed greatly since the founding of TEC in the Conejo Valley and even more so in the past couple of years. But what hasn’t changed is the heart and soul of this congregation of which I am so appreciative to be an integral part.
A time for facts and a time for faith.
A time to be generous and a time to advocate for ourselves, A time to open ourselves and a time to set boundaries, A time to reach out and a time to sink in, A time to hold on and a time to let go.
A time to feel anger and a time to choose peace, A time to celebrate individuality and a time to champion what we have in common, A time to question and a time to accept, A time to repeat and a time to create.
A time to make sacrifices for the common good and a time to focus on self-care, A time to say “I love you” and a time to say “I forgive you,” A time for hope and a time for grief,
I hope that this is a happy year for all of us - not because we are pursuing happiness, but because we are pursuing the ability to open our eyes to all of the goodness that surrounds us already: health, friends, family, delicious food, spiritual wholeness and an amazing community.
gratitude to Planet Earth, of which I’m immensely grateful to be an inhabitant. In addition, my gratitude extends to the team of gracious individuals who give their time and expertise in various ways and are part of leading us into the next wonderful stage of TEC’s future.
RABBI RACHEL SIMMONS For everything, under heaven:
A time to be brave and a time to be kind A time to be childish and a time to grow
A time to make mistakes and a time to apologize A time to nurture our humanity and a time to honor the Divine image in each of us.
May 2022 bring balance to us all!
D E J A
V I E W
A LOOK BACK AT TEMPLE EVENTS & PROGRAMMING HANUKKAH LIGHTS DECEMBER 5, 2021
TEC celebrated the Hanukkah season on the final night of Hanukkah. After an amazing pasta dinner, we entered the hallway outside of the sanctuary and lit chanukiyot we had brought from home for the occasion. Then, in Spiegel Hall, there was an assortment of amazing food, including two kinds of sufganiyot, latkes served by Men's Club, and lots of arts & crafts for kids of all ages. There was also the reveal of the winners of our DIY Chanukiyah competition, with prizes going to the Dvir Family and sixth-grader Hunter Majors. All in all, it was a wonderful way to close out the 8 nights of Hanukkah and spend time with members of our TEC family! Thanks to all who planned and participated!
D E J A
V I E W
A LOOK BACK AT TEMPLE EVENTS & PROGRAMMING ADOPT-A-FAMILY PROGRAM DECEMBER 1, 2021 Social Action organized an Adopt-aFamily program where members bought gifts for those in need for the holidays. Tons of toys went to the Westminster Free clinic on Dec. 15. In addition, $3,750 worth of gift cards were given to Harbor House. One loving TEC family donated enough funds for a Foster young adult to get new tires for his car. Thank you all for your generosity.
COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS CANDLELIGHTING CEREMONY DECEMBER 12, 2021 Rabbi Averbach and Rabbi Emeritus Spiegel participated in the Compassionate Friends Candlelighting Ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 12. With a local service held at the Ascension Lutheran Church but broadcast internationally, it was a service for families who had tragically lost a child. It was wonderful to unite as one in kindness, support and love.
WOTEC'S MAH JONGG AFTERNOON DECEMBER 12, 2021 A fierce Mah Jongg battle for the ages unfolded on the afternoon of December 12 in Spiegel Hall. In addition to Mah Jongg, members of Women of TEC joined in multiple board games, puzzles and activities. As 2021 came to a close, it was a lot of fun to have members of Women of TEC join in an epic Mah Jongg competition. But there were only winners at this fun afternoon, as a great time was had by all!
4 KADIMA LOUNGE
NO RELIGIOUS SCHOOL (WINTER BREAK)
9 JR. USY LOUNGE
16 TU B'SHEVAT DAY 1
TU B'SHEVAT DAY 2
WOTEC KICK-OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH SHARSHERET
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
TEC BOOK CLUB
GUEST SPEAKER: MARTHA SHAPIRO WITH SENIOR CONCERNS
26 MONTHLY MITZVAH WEDNESDAY
SOCIAL ACTION SHABBAT
15 SR. USY LOUNGE
BINGO MARATHON NO RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
NEW YEARS DAY
OWEN URBACH'S BAR MITZVAH
29 CARTER LICHT'S BAR MITZVAH
JAKE LICHT'S BAR MITZVAH SAM LICHT'S BAR MITZVAH
SO MANY COOL EVENTS IN JANUARY AT TEC
Whether you have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or a little bundle of joy on the way, please let us know so our entire community can share in the celebration. Send all simcha information to email@example.com
IN HONOR OF
Sunday evening on January 16 is the start of Tu B’Shevat, which is also sometimes referred to as Rosh Hashanah La'Ilanot, or “The New Year of the Trees¸” a time to consider planting new trees and helping to revive nature. As you may know, a group of dedicated individuals helped to revitalize our Community Garden over the last year, including by planting three new fruit trees. At this point, we have 11 trees – orange, apple, lemon, pomegranate and fig. Later this spring we will be planting a new etrog tree as well! The vegetables we raise, from six very large raised beds, and the fruit from our tree, goes to help the less fortunate at the Westminster Clinic. On Sunday mornings, we gather from 8am to 10am to work in the garden (“Work,” often is just chatting, catching up and planning.) Yuval Aviv Hopstone
Please consider joining us on Sunday mornings. If you’re early to drop off or pick up your kids from Religious School or you’re a kid yourself - instead of waiting in your car, come down and relax on one of our benches in a beautiful sylvan environment. Take a look at what we’re doing down in the garden and what our Temple has to offer.
If you’ve got ideas for the garden, have experience as a gardener or are handy with a shovel, think about joining us the morning of Sunday, January 16 to celebrate Tu B’Shevat and join our efforts. Learn about the Temple’s little slice of the outdoors, our efforts to maintain our trees and the ecological oasis TEC has created.
TEC EDUCATION DEBBIE BLUMENTHAL Happy New Year! As we begin a new year and the second half of our school year, we look forward to coming back from winter break and getting back to our classroom routines and learning. Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees, will be celebrated in the month of January with planting in our garden boxes, singing songs, and reading stories about trees and how important they are to our world. Outdoor learning is so good for all of us. The children love to visit our apple trees, pick up pinecones from the pine trees, and do creative art with all the different leaves around TEC. This year the holiday happens to fall on Martin Luther King Jr Day so we will
have our annual “peace outdoors under the trees.
I had the pleasure and honor of attending Liam’s ceremony as he became a Bar Mitzvah on our bimah on Saturday, December 18. Every B’nai Mitzvah is unique, but Liam’s was one that we take special pride in as his community. From receiving his parents' handmade tallit to his use of
Before we know it, we will be starting registration for the 2022-23 school year. In the month of February, all current TEC preschool and infant families will be asked to register for the new school year and then we will start filling open spaces from our Wait List and new registrations after that. Our January Tot Shabbat will be on Friday, January 14 at 6pm. We look forward to having dinner and celebrating Shabbat with Rabbi Averbach, Rabbi Rachel, and all our friends and TEC families.
JOYCE BRONSTEIN Liam Joseph Lefko is a student in the seventh grade. Although he is nonverbal and non-ambulatory, he has attended Religious School since Kindergarten. He has had almost perfect attendance with his mother or caregivers alongside him through the years. Liam’s classmates have embraced him and included him in everything and anything.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DIRECTOR
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL DIRECTOR
technology that enabled him to chant prayers and blessings before and after the Torah, every part of Liam’s service was inspiring. His classmates, as his voice, also led prayers and sang songs. Religious School teachers held the chuppah over their students as they were honored with an Aliyah. The entire ceremony created a heartwarming moment we will always embrace and treasure. Liam becoming a Bar Mitzvah was an emotional experience that will forever be in our hearts. Yasher Koach to Rabbi Averbach, who led a beautiful ceremony that embraced Liam and his family. Rabbi Rachel and Shannon Tepfer sang so
The staff and I all appreciate your support and helping us with all our health and safety protocols, mask wearing, social distancing, and Brightwheel communication. We are so happy to be at school with your children and working very hard to keep everyone healthy and safe and have fun learning all at the same time! Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and bright New Year 2022! Thank you for being a part of our Temple Etz Chaim family!
firstname.lastname@example.org beautifully as Mariano Dugatkin and Jeffrey Prince accompanied them. Rabbi Spiegel gave a heartfelt speech about the family and the Torah portion. I was deeply moved by the voices, the words and the music. As his parents wrote, “Liam would not have reached this milestone without the many people who make up their ‘village.’” It isn't easy to find the words that genuinely capture the feelings that we shared in this experience. Temple Etz Chaim is a family of families, and that was never more evident than when Liam became a Bar Mitzvah.
TEC COMMUNITY JUDY GINDI
VP, SOCIAL ACTION email@example.com Social Action had an extremely busy December. We want to thank all those who donated to our most successful Adopt-a-Family program to date. With your support and tremendous generosity we were able to provide gifts for seniors, families in need, young adults who have aged out of foster care, families from the Westminster Free Clinic along with hundreds of toys for their children. We were also able to provide $3750 in gift cards to the homeless and near homeless. TEC congregants also volunteered to help build townhouses for Habitat for Humanity in December. It was a fun day! Please join us on Friday, Jan 7 for a special Shabbat. Martha Shapiro from Senior Concerns will tell us about the wonderful programs available for seniors in our community. We will feed the hungry on January 11th. Please participate in this important mitzvah. Look for the sign up genius in your email. The Social Action Committee’s next meeting is Weds, January 12th at 8pm on Zoom. Join us!
PRESIDENT, WOMEN OF TEC (WOTEC) firstname.lastname@example.org Happy New Year! I can hardly believe it's 2022... where did 2021 go? Women of TEC is busy planning events for the upcoming months. Join us as we start the new year with an event focusing on women's health issues. On Wednesday, January 19, we will have a speaker from Sharsheret, followed by a wine and dessert reception. Thank you to all the ladies who joined us for a fun afternoon of mahjongg on Sunday, December 12. We had several tables playing. Everyone enjoyed themselves so much, we'll be planning another mahjongg day in the spring! Thanks to Dana Gallenberg for organizing. Please consider becoming an active member of WOTEC in the new year! We are always looking for volunteers to work in our Judaica shop, or to help plan our events, or to serve on our board. If you have any questions about how to become more involved, please feel free to contact me.. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and joyous 2022!
Hello TEC! Thank you for your participation in the survey that was sent out a few weeks ago.
Men’s Club had a blast participating in TEC’s Hanukkah Lights celebration. Many thanks to Ryan Winthrop, who organized, supplied and led dreidel-making for the kids. Additional thanks to our many volunteers who joined me cooking and serving latkes, including Irwin Barney, Buzz and Carol Schoenkerman, Myles Simpson, Benny Sommerfeld and Esther Pullan.
CHAIR, CLERGY SEARCH COMMITTEE email@example.com
The data from the survey has been compiled, allowing us to spend time as a committee discussing the specific desires of our synagogue. While most of it was what we'd anticipated, there were a few surprise findings which will help us set the goals for our future clergy candidate. Candidates are sending in their applications and the committee continues to review each one based on numerous parameters. We hope to continue having new applications come in through the new year. It has been an interesting, exciting and at times moving experience to get to listen to each candidate. We look forward to being able to share that joy with all of you when select candidates are invited to the synagogue in the spring!
PRESIDENT, MEN'S CLUB firstname.lastname@example.org
We have many fantastic Men’s Club events coming up this year in 2022. Save the following date: our World Wide Wrap, where we will be putting on Tefillin together, will be held on Sunday, February 13. Also, please mark your calendar's for this year's Scholar in Residence Weekend event March 2527 with Rabbi Mitelman.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns we're only an email away.
This will be an engaging weekend of important Jewish Contemporary thought on "How do we navigate advances in Science, Technology, and Social Media in today's rapidly changing world?"
If you would like to email the members of the Clergy Search Committee, please email email@example.com.
Please consider a sponsorship level, or contact us if you would like to help bring this great event to our entire community.
GET TO KNOW
OUR ONGOING SERIES OF INTROS TO
MEMBERS OF THE TEC BOARD
MEMBER SINCE 2008
What I do: I notify members of the Board of upcoming events and encourage them to attend; also dealing with any correspondence that might need to be read at meetings. Originally from: Brooklyn, NY, but living in Denver, Colorado for over 30 years where we raised our children. My Occupation: Retired Senior Marketing Coordinator for Principal Financial Group in Denver, CO. My Family: My late husband, Steve, and I moved to Southern California 13 years ago and we have two children in the area; son Michael and daughter-in-law Robyn (members of TEC) and granddaughter Eden; daughter Jean and son-in-law Brian Virtue and grandchildren Liam and Rose and a son, Stuart, and daughter-inlaw, Jenny and grandchildren Ben and Olivia who live in Deerfield, Illinois. When I'm not at TEC, you can find me: Reading, volunteering at University Village
Favorite Movie: An Affair to Remember OR West Side Story Favorite TV Show: Grey's Anatomy OR Mare of Easttown Favorite Musician/Band: Neil Diamond Favorite Jewish Holiday: Rosh Hashanah
MEMBER SINCE 2003
TRUSTEE, COMMUNITY OUTREACH
What I do: I enhance congregational membership with creative meaningful programming. Originally from: Massachusetts Occupation: I'm an Intellectual Property Attorney My Family: I am married, with two kids - now 18 & 20. Both kids went through TEC Preschool and Religious School When I'm not at TEC, you can find me: Hiking Favorite Musician/Band: Woody Shaw, Chicago Favorite Jewish Holiday: Passover
from the TEC vault
The Location looks veeeery familiar But when was this issue's photo taken?
If you recognize someone in this photo or know the story behind it, please let us know!
Our November 2021 Photo continues to get more attention! Bonnie Rothman writes:
"Harvey Dunaier is the center accordion player. I recognize the faces of the two men behind the musicians but their names are lost to me... This may have been a celebration of Israeli Independence Day."
SEND YOUR COMMENTS & MEMORIES TO COMMUNICATIONS@TEMPLEETZCHAIM.ORG
Kid's Corner MACHAR NEW YEAR'S LOUNGE!
Machar, our K-2nd graders, create Tzedakah boxes and wrote their top New Year's resolutions to put inside
KADIMA NEW YEAR'S PARTY!
Kadima, our 3rd-5th graders, enjoy a New Year's party with confetti cooking decorating to kick-off the New Year!
JR. & SR. USY MOVIE NIGHT!
Jr. and Sr. USY, our 6th-12th graders, have a fun night seeing Ghostbusters: Afterlife!
IF YOU WANT TO JOIN, PLEASE EMAIL YOUTH@TEMPLEETZCHAIM.ORG
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Barbara & Harvey Scherr Memorial Fund In Memory of Leonard Krupin Barbara Krupin
Rabbi Averbach's Discretionary Fund In Memory of Theodora Aronson David Sachs
Ritual Fund In Memory of Samuel Freed Nomi Freed
Capital Campaign In Memory of Katherine Spero Lynda Kessler
In Memory of Anne Platt Ronald Groden
In Memory of Sid Adler Dina Adler
In Memory of Joseph Markowitz Bonnie Garfinkel
TEC Garden In Honor of Katia Lysobey On Her Bat Mitzvah Judy Gindi
Dunaier Music Fund In Memory of F. Ronald Gross Alicia Gross Early Childhood Education Fund In Memory of Charles Arthur Koppel and Beatrice Foster Richard & Sylvia Koppel In Memory of Irving Dallek Susan E. Cohen In Honor of the Birth of Yuval Aviv Hopstone Debbie Blumenthal Elisa Feldman Memorial Religious School Scholarship Fund In Memory of Pinney Kanter Marc & Carole Firestone David & Rebeccah Schwartz Zona Pidgeon & Family In Honor of Alan & Susan Flaschner Nomi Freed Feeding the Hungry for Harbor House In Honor of Emily Habib David Munowitch Penny Sterling Betty Zonshine Jotkowitz Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund In Memory of Sylvia Mahler Harvey Mahler Lipnick Religious School Scholarship Fund In Memory of Emil Altenburg Myrna Stelman In Memory of Ira Goldberg Susan Goldberg
In Memory of Sarah Wank David Wank In Memory of Esther Kane Daniel Kane In Memory of Joseph Geller Evy McCauley In Memory of Cecelia Pfefferman Arthur Pfefferman In Honor of Alan & Susan Flaschner Elissa Lazarus In Memory of Sheri Ganstwig Gideon Manzur In Memory of Pinney Kanter Ron & Liz Groden In Honor of Michael & Miriam Carmona and David & Rachel Carmona on the birth of their son Rhonda Averbach
In Honor of Katia Lysobey On Her Bat Mitzvah Patty Kaye Temple General Fund In Memory of Hilda Presser Francine Finkelstein In Memory of Betty Honigsberg Max Honigsberg In Memory of Vivian Sterling Matthew & Paula Cohn In Memory of Robert Assael David Assael Carl Friedlander In Honor of Giving Tuesday Itzhak Zvi & Yola Kalinski In Memory of Manuel Label Lorne Label
In Appreciation of Rabbi Averbach David Jacobs
In Memory of Lillian Nelson Phyllis Bayewitch
In Honor of Sybil Goldstein Barbara Unger
Tzedakah Fund In Honor of Alan & Susan Flaschner Barry Goldberg
In Memory of Shirley Zeitlin Lubetkin Lori & Dan Lubetkin In Appreciation of Rabbi Averbach Phil Ganz
In Memory of Isidore Finn Sherri Finn-Werber In Memory of Sarah Pancirer Alicia Gross
Men's Club Scholar-in-Residence Fund In Honor of David & Rachel Carmona On the Birth of Their Son Gary Katz
In Memory of Seymour "Denny" Denkensohn Neil & Carolyn Bordofsky Richard Engler & Ellen Zucker Ron & Liz Groden David & Rebeccah Schwartz Nomi Freed
In Memory of Jack Treger Shirley Lipkin
In Memory of Yetta Storch Lawrence Storch
Men's Club Silverstein Humanitarian Fund In Memory of Bernie Silverstein Gari & Richard Saly
In Memory of Irving Peisner Robert Peisner
Women of TEC Torah Fund In Memory of Paul M. Moore Ann Ross
In Appreciation of Rabbi Averbach David & Eileen Sachs
In Memory of Sophie Tenenbaum William Tenenbaum
In Memory of Marcia Pomush Steve Pomush
In Memory of Marcia Marks Kenneth Marks
In Memory of Manuel Label Lorne Label
Women of TEC Beautification of TEC Fund In Memory of Leona Edelstein and J. Neugroschl Cindy Scherr
In Memory of Joe Simpson Myles Simpson Ner Tamid Education & Community Center Fund Janis Leshnov
Religious School Fund In Memory of Abraham Goldstein Susan E. Cohen In Memory of Josephine Berman Cynthia Urbach In Honor of Buzz & Carol Schoenkerman Larry & Judy Mayer
USY Youth & Scholarship Fund In Memory of Norma Smith Andy Smith In Memory of Max Avol and Celia Scherr Avol Marshall Scherr
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