Page 1

2008 FEBRUARY 5768

INSIDE This Issue

Howard Custis, Compelled to Get Involved page 3

Touro Chanukah with Mad Science

Not A Bad Year By Andrew Lamchick, Chairman, Community Involvement


Committee to make the decision to once again eeding the hungry, warming cold sponsor as many Jewish students as possible with people, and educating students about our scholarship. We decided that we would take the Holocaust – not a bad year. half of our $4000 commitment from 2007’s What a problem to have: the end budget. of the year was approaching and The next discussion centered the Community Involvement on the dramatic cuts that have Committee had $6000 to spend. taken place in the state’s “Meals That was our situation when on Wheels” program due to the we sat down the night before budget shortfall. Although we Thanksgiving. If we didn’t use it, don’t have the $100,000 in our the community would lose it. budget to cover their deficit, we Coincidently, our guests for wanted to do what we could. the evening were leaders of the We also wanted to assist Jewish upcoming March of the Living people in need during these program. Since learning of this Andrew Lamchick trying times. We contacted Jewish Family program to send Jewish high school students Services and discussed our goal. They informed to visit the concentration camps in Poland, us that the Kosher Meal site Program at Temple and then to Israel to experience its beauty and Torat Yisrael was in dire need of funds. The price freedom, Touro has been a loyal sponsor. It Year- continues on page 4 didn’t take long for the Community Involvement

Nominations 2008

page 4

By Art Poulten


Trivia Takes a Schiff-ing page 5

he year 2008 is a big election year! Not only are we going to elect a new person to reside in the White House and a new Congress, plus a number of local leaders, but we’re going to elect 15 men to lead Touro into its 91st year of existence. Every regular Touro member is an integral part of that process. You have the power to vote … the power to nominate someone you feel would serve the Association well … and, above all, the power – perhaps even the obligation – to serve as an officer or board member if you feel you can make a contribution to the growth and success of Touro. The first step in that election process starts

HARMONY LODGE News from SFA Committee Chairman Alan Lury page 5

Wednesday, March 5, with the nomination of candidates for eight lodge positions and seven seats on the Board of Directors. Every regular Touro member in good standing is eligible to run for office, but first must be nominated by another regular member. In addition to the board positions, nominations will be accepted for President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of each of the two lodges. The actual election will be held Wednesday, May 7, at Touro Hall. You are urged to participate by either nominating a candidate or being a candidate yourself.


Nominations March 5 at Touro Hall • 7:00 PM BOARD OF DIRECTORS ~1~

From the Chairman

Social Scene

by Robert Miller

By Jeff Horovitz


olitics, economics, what is right, who is wrong. These are interesting times we are living in, for sure. The same can be said for Touro. The difference is we at Touro have more control over what we do and how it affects us. We just completed another calendar year, which is important to us on the financial side of our organization. Our Budget and Finance committee met to review last year’s budget and to set the new budget for 2008. Each committee chairman submitted his budget; the committee discussed it, approved or rejected it, and then sent all of the approved requests to the Board for its approval. This represents just a small part in the system which exists to keep our organization running and, believe me, it runs smoothly. Yes, we have made changes throughout the years to make it better. Have we always been right? No, we have not. Will we continue to make changes going forward? Yes, absolutely. One of the changes I see going on right now is in the leadership of our organization. It is getting younger (shhh…it’s not really me getting older). I see it on the Board. I see it in the lodge officers and most importantly, I see it in the attendance at all Touro functions. Let’s look at the Board. At one point, I was concerned. I felt we were losing our wisdom on the Board until I realized that the younger members were not only wise for their age, but had great new ideas to help propel us into the future. The same thing can be said for the officers. They are really getting younger, but no younger than I was 30 years ago when I first became active in Touro. Where I feel it is most important is in the attendance at meetings. Over 200 people at our Hanukkah party of which 100 were kids. Over 200 people at the Chinese Buffet. We now regularly have in excess of 100 members at our monthly meetings. So I take this opportunity to encourage you to get active … to be a part of this thrust into the future. Come to a meeting. Join a committee. Take an interest in becoming an officer. Volunteer to work in the kitchen. Believe me, if you want to get involved, we can certainly find a place for you!


“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

y Brothers, we have many exciting events planned for this Spring/Summer season. But first, a brief recap of this past winter’s activities. On November 28, we had a very informative evening with Executive Director Jack Mulvena and Conservation Program Coordinator Lou Perotti, both from one of Rhode Island’s more prominent attractions, the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Then, on December 2nd, Touro sponsored a free Warwick Symphony Orchestra concert at the JCC. On Dec19th, Harmony Lodge meeting featured a traditional deli menu and TV bloopers directly from the closets of Andrew Lamchick. There were laughs galore. And finally, rounding up another active year at Touro, our Annual Chinese Dinner & a Movie event was on the 25th. And now, for the festivities to come: On March 26, 2008, the Membership Committee is proud to bring you Ron St. Pierre, direct from the studios at WPRO Talk Radio, who will be our guest at the New Member Open House. Ron has a vast sports/news background, was instrumental in bringing Buddy back to Rhode Island radio, and should be very entertaining. On April 12, 2008, we have the Spring Two-fer to be held at Johnson and Wales in Seekonk Mass., with a special showing of the “Rothschilds.” This sophisticated, tuneful and witty score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, composer and lyricist of “Fiddler On The Roof ”, will be performed as a one-man show by Bernie Dean. On April 16, 2008, Harmony Lodge presents Rabbi Peter Stein, who will bring us colorful stories from his recent trip to the Vatican. May 21 is the annual Installation Dinner. On June 14th we have another exciting Two-fer at the Venus DiMilo Restaurant, where we’ll dance to the soothing music of “Windsong.” Then, on to the summer of 2008 when we will have annual events like the Touro Steak Fry, A Night at the Pawsox with fireworks and the Touro annual picnic. Details will be forthcoming. While all of these events are exciting, we can always use fresh minds and ideas. If you want a say in some of Touro's social activities, or just want another excuse to hang out with your brothers, come participate in the Social Committee meetings, held the first Wednesday of every month at Touro Hall.

Fraternally, Robert D. Miller Chairman-Board of Directors ~2~

Tourography: Howard Custis By Jed R. Brandes


or long-standing Touro brothers who are avid readers of the Tourogram, the name Howard Custis should be familiar. Howard joined Touro in 1988, and among his first efforts in becoming involved as a member was penning articles for our publication. In fact, after a period where his contributions declined, it was the Tourogram, which once again lured Howard to activity. For Howard Custis, it is the process of communication that is most compelling. Born and raised in New Jersey, Howard attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he earned his BA in History. Shortly after graduation, Howard moved to Rhode Island. He has lived here since 1982. Perhaps it is his fervor for interaction that led Howard to a career in sales. Since coming to Rhode Island, his focus has been on auto parts, selling for Astro Bumpers, Keystone Automotive Industries, and now, with JJ Bumpers. But when he wants to get away from it all, Howard counts fresh water fishing as his great passion. Though he was not born to Judaism, upon his marriage to Sharon, he started to attend services with his wife and her

family. His experiences were compelling and Howard decided to pursue conversion. With the help of Rabbi Scott White (formerly of Temple Am David), Howard completed his studies and accomplished his conversion. Wanting to expand his connection to his new religion, Howard sought additional opportunities to interact with other Jews. Naturally, he joined Touro, along with his brother-in-law, David Fink. Howard especially likes the exchange of ideas and camaraderie he has with his Touro brothers. He appreciates that he can stay in touch with the state and local communities through these friendships. Last summer, Howard was nominated to the Board of Directors by Chairman Bob Miller to fill the post vacated by Brother Aaron Sherman. His election to the post by the full Board was swift and unanimous. He repays that faith with his wholehearted commitment to fulfilling the requirements of the position. Howard also facilitates the furtherance of Touro’s progress through his continued participation with the Social Committee and his writings for the Tourogram.

Where Did You Go? By Steven White, Harmony Lodge President


o you remember going to summer camp when you were a kid? In order for you to go in the swimming pool or lake, you were always paired up with another kid until you passed the swimming test. At that point you had a friend, a pal, a buddy. Then you passed the big swim test. The buddy was not required any more. You were still friendly with him but it just wasn’t the same. You were free to go into the deep end all by yourself. A friend, a pal, a buddy invited you to come to an open house at Touro. You enjoyed the event and made a decision to join and become a brother. You were initiated into the deep end and disappeared, never to come to another meeting, never to be with that friend at Touro. Never to meet me! I want to meet you in the deep end. Come to the next event and sit with me. Let’s get to know each other. Step up, put your hand out and introduce yourself. Touro is a great place to feel welcome. We all have something in common. We all like to eat, have a night out with some entertainment and listen to a good story. Let’s go back to having buddies. Invite the brother you asked to join, to come to the next meeting. Make him feel welcome. Sit with a brother you never met and get to know him. So where did you go? The answer will be Touro. I went to a Touro meeting with my buddy. ~3~

Help Wanted Touro Kitchen Administrator For nearly 20 years, Nate Lury has done a masterful job supervising Touro’s kitchen! His labors have resulted in the excellent meals our members have enjoyed at our monthly meetings. Now Nate is retiring and we are looking for someone to volunteer to step into that role. Our new kitchen administrator will oversee the planning, preparation and serving of the meals. Interested parties should call Chairman Bob Miller at 401-230-7553.

Year- continued from page 1

A Wild Night at Touro By Barry Schiff

Jack Mulvena and Lou Perotti


riendship Lodge hosted Executive Director Jack Mulvena and Conservation Program Coordinator Lou Perotti from the Roger Williams Park Zoo on November 28th. After a short Powerpoint presentation, Mr. Perotti gave us an overview of the current global conservation programs the Zoo is participating in. He stressed the importance of ecosystem preservation; especially how insects and the plants they feed on should be highly ranked on the preservation scale as megafauna. Director Mulvena gave us a brief history of the Zoo, its organization and its place in the community. He followed by detailing the $ 35 million renovation the Zoo is undertaking which will feature an all new polar bear enclosure and North American Wildlife Trail. The Zoo has also taken significant steps towards being 100% green, recycling everything from shopping bags to animal waste. A question and answer session wrapped up the evening.

of serving the meals, like everything else, had gone up, and they have had to pass the additional cost onto their patrons. Many Jewish seniors do not have the ability to pay the increased costs. The committee was pleased to underwrite the cost with a donation of $1500. We also gave $500 to Jewish Family Services for its Emergency Fund. This money is available to Jewish Families in distress and covers needs such as heating oil, etc. This brings me to the remaining $2000 in last year’s budget. We contacted philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein. His foundation provides matching monies to beneficial Rhode Island causes annually. We discussed the problem with “Meals on Wheels” along with the ongoing needs of the hungry in our state. He agreed to use a share of his $100,000 holiday campaign to help us support “Meals on Wheels” and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Apparently, Thanksgiving came a night early for many needy people, and for a few students in our area. Not a bad night’s work guys, thank you for being there!

Touro Chanukah with Mad Science


New and Improved Financial Aid Program for Students!!! FIRST PLACE: Norm Tobin with Barry Schiff (left)

The Pursuit of the Trivial By Lester Nathan


an you name five 19th century American presidents who were former army generals? Or the country of which Ulan Bator is the capital? If so, Touro’s 2008 edition of Trivia Night, featuring Barry Schiff as the new M.C., would have been your cup of tea. Held on January 23rd in Touro Hall, members enjoyed Chairman Miller’s meatloaf dinner following the monthly business meeting and initiation. After clearing the tables, members paired up into teams and the contest began. Barry’s questions came from a variety of areas, including: sports, history, currency, TV & movies, automobiles (of course), geography, food and Judaism. And they were quite challenging, as the top score was only 20 correct out of 40. Next year, we hope Barry will show some more mercy on us. The winners were: First place: Norm Tobin; Second place: Bill McLaughlin & Jeff Davis; Third place: Lester Nathan & Bruce Wasser.

By Alan D. Lury, Chairman, Student Financial Aid Committee


ouro’s Student Financial Aid Program continues to get better!!! There will be two major changes in the program for 2008! First, in order to help offset the unfortunate yearly increases in college tuitions, the Student Financial Aid Committee now is authorized to make interest-free loans of up to $3,000 each, a boost of $500 over last year’s maximum. This, of course, is in addition to the three $3,000 outright grants awarded to qualified Touro family member students each year. A major change approved by Touro’s Board of Directors makes it easier for students to repay their loans by extending the payback time. Here’s how it works: if the student has a single loan, under current arrangements it would be due in one year. The new schedule extends that time to 18 months – a 50% increase. If the student owes for two loans the payback period grows from two to three years. Three loans go from three years to four and one-half years and four or more loans, are due in six years. By increasing the time of payback, the amount of each payment is reduced, which also eases the burden on the student. The loans, of course, can be repaid before they are due. The change is effective only for students who have yet to commence their loan payback. Complete details will follow in a mailing in early March announcing our annual Program kickoff.


SECOND PLACE: Jeff Davis and Bill McLaughlin with Barry Schiff Melissa Weiss

THIRD PLACE: Bruce Wasser and Lester Nathan with Barry Schiff

In our October 2007 issue, we inadvertantly switched the captions of the photos of two of our scholaraship recipients, Melissa Weiss and Dena White. Please accept our apologies and note the correction shown.

Dena White

Mazels, Mitvahs & Milestones Congratulations to Judah and Dorothy Rosen on the celebration of their 62nd wedding anniversary on December 2, 2007 ••• Brother Ken and Donna Podrat of Cranston, announce the arrival of their granddaughter, Samantha Grace Fishman, November 5, 2007. ~5~

Touro "Memberfits" By Arthur Poulten This is another in a series of Tourogram features highlighting the - at the cost of the adjoining grave site and the next one reserved, “perks” of being a member of Touro. at no charge, for the member. Again all this depends on the availability of Touro land at In the last edition of the Tourogram, we spoke of Touro’s Mortuary Lincoln Park. Based on past experience, we have enough land to Benefit, the “insurance policy” to which all regular members are cover our members’ needs for several decades. entitled. It seems appropriate, then, that the next “perk” to be Touro recently purchased two additional sections of land at featured is every regular member’s right to a plot at Lincoln Park Lincoln Park. When that land goes into rotation, the member’s Cemetery as they are available. gravesite will still be free but there will be other arrangements for If you are a regular member of Touro at the time of your perpetual care and the adjoining gravesite, which will be discussed passing, you can be interred on Touro land at Lincoln Park. The when they become effective. only costs to your family will be those levied by the cemetery for The member and his family are subject to all rules and such things as burial charges and perpetual care. There will be no regulations pertaining to the cemetery adopted by the Chased cost for the land. Gravesites are assigned in rotation at time of Schel Amess Association, operators and caretakers of Lincoln Park need. Cemetery. In addition, your Jewish spouse may reserve the adjoining Please note: This gravesite is for the exclusive use of the Touro plot at a reduced rate, currently $300. This is only the cost for the member and his Jewish spouse. If it is not used that way, the land – it does not include perpetual care or burial charges. Those ownership of the land is retained by Touro. must be paid to the cemetery. If a regular member’s spouse predeceases him, she may be Another very valuable perk enjoyed by regular members of Touro interred on Touro land – theoretically in the member’s free site Fraternal Association.

In Memoriam

New Touro Brothers 2007

Brothers Who Have Passed Away in 2007 Richard B Applebaum Albert Schwartz Benjamin E. Adler Jordan P. Bergel Dr. Joseph Berger Dr. Bernard J. Berstein Ira Davis Maurice Goodman Gerald D. Hodosh Louis J. Jacobs Ernest Kortick Dr. Milton Levin Dr. Baruh B. Motola Julius Nasberg Samuel M. Price Irving D. Scherr David M. Sherman Leon Stone Leo L. Swartz Herbert Talan Irwin A. Yarnel Manuel Young

Charles H. Dress Moshe Gabai Jason Goldditch Adrian J. Horovitz Steven Kreiger Daniel Levenson Arthur A. Little Daniel J. Lowinger Steven L. Marcus Stanley A. Roberts M. David Seidman Jerry Snell Sanford C. Spraragen Danny Warshay


Fall Two-fer and Bloopers Night


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Providence, RI Permit #719


Visit Touro's Website at


Bruce Weisman, Editor Columnists: Jed Brandes Howard Custis Edward Deluty Andrew Lamchick Lester Nathan Arthur Poulten Barry Schiff Adam Smith Gerald Tebrow Touro Fraternal Association 45 Rolfe Square, P.O. Box 3562, Cranston, RI 02910 Phone: 401-785-0066 Fax: 401-941-8781 E-Mail: Website:

HARMONY LODGE Steven White, President Adam Halpern, Vice President Adam Smith, Secretary Peter Hodosh, Treasurer



TOURO BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2007-2008 Robert Miller, Chairman Andrew Lamchick, Vice Chairman Steven Waldman, Treasurer Marc Gertsacov, Secretary Judah Rosen, Chaplain Arthur Poulten, Chairman Emeritus Jed Brandes Milton Bronstein Morton Coken Howard Custis Jeffrey Davis Edward Deluty Stevan Labush Rodney Locke

Touro's Annual

Membership Open House

Alan Lury Nathan Lury Lester Nathan Barry Schiff Barry Shaw Stuart Solup Michael Smith Bruce Weisman

Wednesday, March 26 • 6:30 pm Touro Hall, 45 Rolfe Square, Cranston, RI Guest Speaker

WPRO Talk Radio's

Ron St. Pierre Watch for your flier in the mail or visit

FRIENDSHIP LODGE Jed Brandes, President Jeff Horovitz, Vice President Ried Redlich, Secretary Steven Waldman, Treasurer

For additional information contact Touro at 785-0066


Winter 2008  
Winter 2008  

The Winter 2008 edition of the Tourogram