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ETZETERA December 2020

President - Shari Mark I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable and fulfilling, and Happy (almost) Hanukkah! Our festival of lights is just days away, an exciting, happy and delicious holiday that we can probably all agree, is a family favorite. While we are not likely celebrating in the same manner as we have in the past, I am looking forward to the first night, Thursday, December 10th, when we as a family of families, can celebrate and light the first candle together, right in our own parking lot. Our history, around this holiday, teaches us about the miracle of overcoming the destruction of the Temple and how one night of oil stretched out and lasted for eight and how good triumphs over evil. How fortunate are we to be the recipients of such a rich heritage, always emerging as people of strength and fortitude, especially at a time that continues to challenge every one of us, from the very young to our seniors. When my husband Ron, aka Captain Ron, and I fry our latkes in the oil, (in the garage as many of you know we do) I will be reminded that like the experiences of our ancestors, from some dark days the sun rises again. Like the generations that preceded us, I remain hopeful that in the coming year we will begin to emerge with even greater optimism for a future, one where we can gather in person to celebrate all our life cycle events. Likewise, I remain grateful for the many blessings that are mine and for the privilege of serving as your Temple President.

In other news, back by popular demand, is the 2021 Men’s Club Scholar in Residence weekend scheduled for February 19th through 21st. Stay tuned for more information and details. I am wishing you and your families a Happy Hanukkah and a new calendar year 2021 that brings us joy, good health, and lots of opportunities to be together and catch up on the missed hugs! Yours, Shari Mark

Shari Mark can be reached at president@templeetzchaim.org


Rabbi Ari Averbach I began working at Temple Etz Chaim on July 1, 2019, which feels like forever ago (and in some ways it was!). As of today, I have spent more time as the Rabbi during lockdown, than I did when we were all in person. With each new reopening and setback, we are adjusting, learning how to reach out to our community to make us feel close together, even though we can no longer share space like we used to. Somehow, we are getting used to this fluidity and flexibility.

He has a brilliant piece of writing where he dissects why he identifies as a Jew; if you want to read it or watch the video, please let me know. The denouement reads, “Take it, cherish it, learn to understand and to love it. Carry it and it will carry you.” Judaism, our culture and history and perspective on the world, is beautiful and ancient and alive. Make sure it still holds meaning, and if not, seek us out: people who can help you find the depth to our shared peoplehood. In his book, To Heal a Fractured World, he writes, “Faith does not mean passivity. It means the courage to act and never be deterred. The future will happen, but it is we inspired, empowered, given strength by the promise - who must bring it about.”

We are currently in the Shloshim, the thirty-day mourning period for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom. While I do not usually keep up with British politics or royalty, Rabbi Sacks made an imprint on Judaism for the beginning of the 21st Century.

I am glad to be working with you to collectively bring about a future that is filled with holiness, strength, and hope.

His message throughout his career was one of unity of all people – Jews and non-Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Scientists. It did not matter if your unique view of the world differed from his, so long as you had something kind and thoughtful to add to the conversation.

Rabbi Averbach can be reached at rabbiaverbach@templeetzchaim.org

Hazzan Pablo Duek Last month, Temple Etz Chaim sponsored “A Time to Embrace,” a program sponsored by more than 40 religious and secular institutions with a simple and powerful message: national reconciliation. The force behind this program, Cantor Ramon Tasat, found inspiration in The Talmud, tractate of Berahot. “How can we determine the hour of dawn, when the night ends and the day begins? Looking into the face of another human being and having enough light in you to recognize your sister and your brother. Until then it is night, and darkness is still within us.”

It is incumbent upon every person to pursue that particular aspect of healing of the world while seeking justice that is meant for their soul alone. (Ba’al Shem Tov) The moral covenant of reciprocity calls us to honor our responsibilities for all we have been given, for all we have taken. It’s our turn now, long overdue... Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and to dance for the renewal of the world. In return for the privilege of breath. ~ Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass. I encourage you to visit this wonderful website with its many songs, videos and art contributions: atimetoembrace.net Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah!

I strongly believe each human being carries a divine spark; we must treat each other with respect regardless of our differences. Something as simple as this can be many times forgotten and we end up in oceans of hatred and violence among us.

Hazzan Pablo Duek Hazzan Pablo can be reached at hazzanpablo@templeetzchaim.org

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights is upon us, and we are commanded not only to light the Hanukkiyah but mostly to spread light among us. The light of kindness and understanding, the light of a smile to a stranger, the light of Tzedakah. I challenge you to find your own creative ways to do so...

‫צריך כל אחד מישר אל לתקן חלק קומת משיח השייך לשמתו‬


Education at TEC

Debbie Blumenthal - Early Childhood Education As I write this article, our ECE Center is already on the countdown to Hanukkah at Temple Etz Chaim Preschool. We are planning all different ways in which we can experience Hanukkah such as learning how to play dreidel, reading stories and reenacting the story of Hanukkah, singing songs, tasting latkes and sufganiyot, making decorations and menorahs, and classroom parties. We are learning throughout this school year how to make the holidays fun in our classroom cohorts without having large group celebrations.

classrooms and having books to wrap for their classroom book exchanges! Plans are in motion to open two to three new preschool classrooms by January 2021 to accommodate additional TEC children who wish to return to preschool. The new furniture is on order, carpets are in and we are awaiting final licensing approval. We are looking forward to seeing the rest of our friends return to preschool. The entire ECE Staff and I want to wish everyone a very Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year! Remember to be safe, wear your mask, social distance, and avoid large group gatherings.

Temple Etz Chaim’s ECE Center will remain open during most of winter break this year. We will be closed on December 24th, 25th, 31st, and January 1st.

Debbie Blumenthal ECE Director Debbie can be reached at debbieb@templeetzchaim.org

Our annual Scholastic Book Fair is online this year. The children always look forward to earning new books for their

Shannon Tepfer - Youth Department December Events:

I was reading an article the other day about a research project that measured the impact of Jewish Education and engagement for today’s children. The words happiness, joy, success, nourishment friendships, relaxation, and stimulation were strewn throughout the article as descriptions of what parents and kids were looking for in their Jewish education. It further went on to give a number of outcomes that you can use to measure the impact and engagement in your own programs. As I read these means of measurement I realized that these were outcomes that have been present at TEC as far back as I can remember. I took a moment to reflect on the years that have passed and I felt whole, encouraged to keep up the good work, and inspired to provide experiences that represent the descriptions above.

12/03: Kadima Hanukkah Pajamukkah Party! 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Zoom 12/06: Machar “Miracles” 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Zoom 12/10: TEC Hanukkah Program 12/17: Jr/Sr USY Hanukkah Game Night 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Zoom

Anyone who knows a school aged child today realizes almost immediately how busy they are, what pressures they face, and what stresses they endure. Our Youth Department is committed to furthering not just the numbers of kids and teens involved but also the quality of their experiences. If you share our commitment to Jewish life for your children I invite you to get involved and join our program and to email/call our office to start a conversation about your child’s continued exploration into Judaism. The door is always open, feel free to contact me anytime. B’shalom Shannon Tepfer, Youth Director Shannon can be reached at shannon@templeetzchaim.org


Joyce Bronstein - Religious School As you may already know, due to rising levels of the Coronavirus, Ventura County has just moved back to the restricted purple tier. Under the County’s guidelines for “Houses of Worship” we are reevaluating our plans to reopen the Religious School in January. We will provide regular updates as we learn more and make decisons. Regardless, it is almost Hanukkah and our students are looking forward to our wonderful traditions of spinning dreidels and eating latkes! Please register to join us via Zoom on December 3rd at 6:45 as we learn how to make the traditional Hanukkah specialty of Sufganiyot, a type of jelly donuts. The first night of Hanukkah is December 10th. That night, in the TEC parking lot we will light the first candle together. K, 1, 2 students will also sing Hanukkah songs for us! Please mark your calendars and join us for a night of fun!

During this holiday, I hope that families will remember to talk to their children about the brave Maccabees who fought for the survival of the Jewish people, the first battle for religious freedom in the history of the world. Hanukkah symbolizes the fight against all kinds of totalitarianism. The Macabees’ ideals are universal: liberty and freedom. On a different note, thank you to all of our families for supporting our Religious School “Zoom-Rooms”. Our teachers have worked diligently to teach their students! I love popping into their “Zoom-Rooms” and seeing our students’ faces. Their enthusiasm lights up my day! The staff and I wish everyone a very Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. Stay safe and healthy. I hope to see everyone in 2021!

Joyce can be reached at joyce@templeetzchaim.org


Men’s Club

Colin Pullan - President of Men’s Club Men’s Club is underway!

If there is a Men’s Club program that you would like to see, let me know about it. Perhaps it is a men’s only event or a father/child activity, a family program or perhaps something for couples. It would be great to have you as an active member of the Men’s Club. It is a great way to meet and make more friends at TEC, it feels great to participate in organizing and putting on our events. If interested, please contact me.

In October, we built and manned our drive-thru Sukkah, enabling everyone to fulfill the Sukkah mitzvah. In November, Mens Club’s virtual brunch featured Dan Meisel of the ADL. He delivered an intriguing talk entitled “The Unlearning of Hate.” Our signature program, Scholar-in-Residence, will be held during the weekend of February 19-21, 2021. Our scholar will be Rabbi Norman Cohen of Temple Bet Shalom in Minneapolis.

Wishing you all the best, Colin Pullan, Men’s Club President Colin can be reached at mensclub@templeetzchaim.org

Upcoming programs include TEC Past President Gary Katz, Professor of Psycology at CSUN, discussing and offering suggestions on coping with the Pandemic; date TBD.

Women of TEC

Cindy Scherr - President of WOTEC November flew by! Our Challah Bake was a great success! Thank you to Dana Gallenberg for organizing the event, and a huge thanks to Shannon Tepfer for teaching us all how to make her delicious challah. And now it’s December, and Hanukkah is right around the corner! Please join us via Zoom on Tuesday, December 8th at 7pm, as we learn how to make Hanukkah candles, and share stories of our own personal holiday traditions. On Tuesday, December 22nd, we’ll be playing Zoom Bingo, complete with prizes. Information with Zoom links will be coming soon. As 2020 draws to a close, I wish you all a wonderful Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. May you continue to bask in the glow of the holidays, long after the lights on the Menorah are gone.

Standard $9.00 Large $10.00

Deadline Jan 31, 2021!

League price increase.

B’Shalom, Cindy Scherr, WOTEC President Cindy can be reached at womenoftec@templeetzchaim.org

Make checks payable to TEC

Mail to Gloria Semer 140 Pebble Beach Drive Newbury Park, Ca 91320 Ph: 805-498-8717



Jennifer Elson - VP of Membership

I know we will emerge from this moment in time together and stronger than we could’ve ever imagined. I wanted to share this poem by L.R. Knost: Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

To my wonderful friends and fellow members of TEC,

Our year started out so beautifully! We had the New Member Shabbat dinner on Jan 10th... Little did I know, that dinner would be the last event I could host on your behalf for the rest of the year. In the last 8 months, I have witnessed courage in the face of tragedy, laughter in the face of sadness, determination in the face of uncertainty and pure love in the face of fear.

I continue to feel so honoured to be your Membership VP. B’Shalom,

There is a collective sense of unity I have personally felt every time we had the opportunity to see each other - even if it was across the parking lot!

Jennifer Elson, VP Membership Jennifer can be reached at membership@templeetzchaim.org

Tikkun Olam Social Action - Judy Gindi November was been a busy month for Social Action; I hope you enjoyed the Shabbat evening service on the homeless. Denise Cortes, the Director of Harbor House spoke; (Harbor House is the organization that cares for the homeless in our area). Susan Pierce and I also participated in the service along with Rabbi Averbach and Hazzan Duek. If you missed it, you can view it on TEC’s Youtube Channel: www.youtube. com/c/TempleEtzChaim.

store them until they will be picked up by Many Mansions and Meals on Wheels. The deadline is Wednesday, December 9th. We continue to feed the Hungry each month. Please contact Lynne at lynneradman@yahoo.com if you would like to participate Mitzvah Day was a lot of fun, we collected over 50 toys and $575 in cash for gift cards for Harbor House that day alone. Women of TEC provided lunches for the hungry. We received quite a bit of e-waste and lots of cell phones; a big basket full! The Religious School led us in stuffing 50 backpacks for Casa Pacifica thanks to Joyce. The Blood Drive was a huge success thanks to Debra Levine. A special thank you to those who volunteered: Jack Gindi, Shane Silverstein, Tami Wank, Susan Pierce, Beth Meyer, Susan Kane, Marshall and Roni Rosen, Mark Goldstein, Cindy Scherr, Joyce Bronstein and Rabbi Averbach.

The Adopt-a-Family program officially ends on Wednesday, December 9th. All those still interested in adopting should do so by Wednesday, December 2nd. We have raised $4,500 to date for gift cards for the homeless and have exceeded our goals in adopting families from Many Mansions and Meals on Wheels. Toys continue to come pouring in for the Westminster Free Clinic. Please drop them off at security in the yellow bin by the preschool gate by Sunday, December 6th. If you want to purchase gift cards through the Temple’s Scrip program, please contact Jessica in the Temple Office. There are always more families to adopt and we continue to have loving congregants contact us almost daily to participate.

Please contact me if you would like to attend the next Social Action meeting. Warmly, Judy Gindi Judy can be reached at socialaction@templeetzchaim.org

If you’de like to drop off presents please contact the Temple Office, they will gladly pick up presents from your car and

Blood Drive - Debra Levine Thanks to everyone who helped us collect 80+ units at our November 1st TEC /TAE Blood Drive. Your donation was doubly important as so many Drives have been cancelled due to COVID. Our next Blood Drive is April 11th at TAE, contact Debra Levine at 818-271-1307 for more info.


Mitzvah Day 2020



Advanced Planning Mt. Sinai

As we embark on a story about a family in today’s world, we all know that our lives have many ups and downs, with few guarantees. We all will live, pay taxes, have good days with bad days and sadly, one day, the end of our lives as well. Today’s story will observe a family in their late 40’ s; married with children. They are happy doing all of the good things this life permits. Their elderly parents, who are also grandparents, love to spoil their children and grandchildrenas they could. They all share the same ups and downs of most average families. Money isn’t plentiful, but there is enough that they don’t have to worry. Work is good, health is good, family is good, life is good. One day, Grandpa becomes ill. His health is not good and is failing at 75 years of age. With uncontrollable sadness, as one of life’s guarantees, he passes away. The first family order of business is to properly plan the act of passing: a proper funeral. But Grandpa, being the wise man, while he was in his 50’s met Josh Ryan at Mount Sinai Memorial Park. He and Josh designed an advanced and pre-paid plan that would take care of all the arrangements so his family would not have to. He knew the rich emotional toll and decisions that needed to be made and didn’t want his family to be burdened with the pressures and financial impact. With Josh’s help, Grandpa took care of the planning for him and Grandma. His family would now have no worries or expenses; everything was pre-planned and prepaid; one great gift you can leave behind besides your legacy. Taking care of your family is one of life’s most beautiful mitzvahs. Shouldn’ t you? What’ s your story..... Tami Wank, twank@templeetzchaim.org and Bob Zonshine bobz@templeetzchaim.org


Weekly Schedule* Sunday 8:30 am Morning Minyan Service

Monday 7:15 pm Evening Minyan Service

Tuesday 10:00 AM Tuesdays with Rabbi Spiegel

Wednesday 7:15 pm Evening Minyan Service

Friday 7:00 pm Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday 9:30 am Shabbat Morning Service 5:15 pm Community Havdalah

* Visit TEC @ Home for updates


Tributes Dunaier Music Fund:: In memory of: Babe Dunaier Claudia Fortney Ruth Rosen Stan Rosen Stan Zieve Dana Gallenberg

Early Childhood Education Fund: Our condolences to: The Kaye Family John and Sandra Lutzker Lynne and Elliot Smith In memory of: Clara Shipow Stephanie Shipow Maurice Schwartz Susan Malchicoff Fienberg-Lerner Chapel Minyan Fund Our condolences to: The Kaye Family Jan and Grace Reiser Jotkowitz Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund In memory of: Marvin Rosen Marshall Rosen Julian Kline Janice and Manny Perlman Lillian Borman Harvey Mahler Gerald O. Hayman Ann Hayman Hazzan Duek’s Discretionary Fund In memory of: Philip Ruvman Maureen Levine Rabbi Averbach’s Discretionary Fund In memory of: Samuel Neustadt Debra Levine Frida Edelman David Wank Lillian Moskowitz Harvey Moskowitz Frances Becker Marc Tuchman Jack Kern Harvey Kern Norman Kwartler Linda Moskowitz Evelyn Greenberg Lauri Arons Dora Bigley Ferne Blaugrund Rose Goldberg Harvey Goldberg Thank you: Ari Stiller

Our condolences to: The Kaye Family Elissa Lazarus Jerry and Dawne Ratzan Lois Girsky Helene and Michael Gollub Sheri and Jeff Schoenwald Linda and Gil Kessler Linda Zweig Shirley Lowy Adele and Jerry Gardner The Polkes Family Alan and Susan Flaschner Liz and Ron Groden Ann and Marvin Friedman Mazel Tov to: The Zonshine Family Ann and Marvin Friedman Religious School Fund In memory of: Sharif E. Moradian Nasser Moradian Alfred Shapiro Barbara Budish Sharon May Friedman Steven Friedman Patricia Rose Pamela Friedman Thank you to: Rabbi Averbach and Hazzan Pablo Fran Friedman Elisa Feldman Memorial Religious School Scholarship Fund In memory of: Al I. Smith Lynne Rosen Our condolences to: The Kaye Family Ann Sturman Nomi Freed Mazel Tov to: The Zonshine Family Nomi Freed

Temple General Fund In memory of: Morris Touby Rose Salzman Harry Waters Cheryl Wolf Leonard Schwartz David Schwartz Matt Wolf Hattie Wolf Israel Weinstein Sofia Kobrin Mike Brooks Sandra Levy Sender Orlin Sarah Orlin Phil Davidson William Davidson William Sherman Jerry Sherman Sofia Landau Gina Landau Esther Miriam Frankel Theo Frankel Judith Miller Marilyn Katz Mark Katz Monaver Shahbaz Jim Shahbaz Hector Cornelio Sofia Kobrin David Birnbaum Mark Birnbaum Our condolences to: The Kaye Family Janice and Yaakov Orlowski Bobby and Michael Sacks The Jacobs Family Sally Leder The Kalinski Family The Polkes Family Debra and David Solomon

Lipnick Religious School Scholarship Fund In memory of: Solomon Stockell Bonnie Rothman

Women of TEC Torah Fund In memory of: Themla Smith Lynne Rosen Our condolences to: The Kaye Family Beth and Israel Perel

Tzedakah Fund In memory of: Frances Greenholt Marie Rubens

Women of TEC Tribute Fund: Congratulations to: Cyndi Mahler Cindy Scherr

USY Youth & Scholarship Fund In memory of: Jeannette Spitzer Leonard Spitzer Our condolences to: The Milberg Family Barbara and Al Ungar Mazel Tov to: The Zonshine Family Patty Kaye

Social Action Fund: In memory of: Sofia Landau Debra Levine Our condolences to: The Gero Family The Kaye Family Judy and Jack Gindi



Clergy Rabbi Ari Averbach Hazzan Pablo Duek Rabbi Emeritus Shimon Paskow Rabbi Emeritus Richard Spiegel

Space is available to advertising in our Etzetera. If you are interested in placing an ad, please send an email to communications@templeetzchaim.org

Staff Gideon Manzur - Executive Director Debbie Blumenthal - ECE Director Joyce Bronstein - Religious School Director Shannon Tepfer - Youth Director Kathy Sharp - ECE Assistant Director Shane Silverstein - Programs/Events Coordinator Jessica Jacoby - Accounts Receivable Lindsey Alpert - Administrative Support Board of Directors Shari Mark - President Eric Feigenbaum - Executive VP Jeff Solomon - Immediate Past President Jennifer Elson - VP Membership Sherri Finn-Werber* - Trustee, Adult Education Mark Goldstein - Trustee Community Outreach Judy Gindi - VP Social Action Elissa Lazarus - Corresponding Secretary Dan Lubetkin - VP Communications Wendy Margolis* - Financial Secretary Beth Meyer - Recording Secretary Tom Milhaupt - VP Personnel/Legal Colin Pullan - Men’s Club President Michael Roberts - Trustee Bingo Cindy Scherr - Women of TEC President Larry Slomowitz - VP Building and Grounds Benny Sommerfeld - VP Religion and Worship Ilana Sweet - VP Youth Felicia Toporoff - VP Religious School David Yodkovik - Treasurer Joe Zwicker - VP Early Childhood Education Terri Zwicker - Trustee Strategic Planning Gary Katz - Past President Marshall Scherr - Past President Myles Simpson - Past President

Temple Etz Chaim Live Stream! At Temple Etz Chaim, all Shabbat Services held in the Paskow Sanctuary are live streamed. Live Streaming allows those in our community who otherwise cannot physically come to the Temple to participate in the Shabbat experience. It also affords B’nai Mitzvah families with out-of-town guests who cannot make it to services the opportunity to participate in the simcha. Please know that if you ascend the bimah, light the Shabbat candles, have an Aliyah, or open the ark, your image and voice will be broadcast on the live stream. Services can now be viewed live! Visit our Facebook page or streamspot.com.

*Past President


Profile for Temple Etz Chaim

Etzetera - December 2020  

Etzetera - December 2020