Open Arms Committee


Inside/Outside Summer Social, part deux

We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped us put together another wonderful Inside/Outside Summer Social. The Open Arms committee, with a little help from our friends, did it again by hosting a delight—pizza, ice cream and “Yellow Submarine” movie night in August.  Huge thanks go to the Gillis family for providing the pizza and to Jim Lipow for chauffeuring the 25 yummy pizzas to us. Thanks to the Hermann family for donating all the ice cream we could eat, and all the toppings! Thank you Morris Maduro and the Cruz Family for ensuring we had working audio/visual.  A special thanks to our new congregants Kat Antal and Michael Johnson for creating the amazing “Yellow Submarine” photo booth and to Alan Kwasman for fabricating eight yellow submarines for the aquarium centerpieces on his 3-D printer!  

Thanks, Rabbi Singer, for the calming al fresco Havdalah service!  We could not have done it without you!

“Celebrate Jewish Riverside”

What can I say? A year of planning yielded a fabulous “Celebrate Jewish Riverside” Cultural Faire, and one small monsoon ended it all! At least we had 3½ hours of blissful faire. Over 30 colorful booths which showcased Temple members’ and community Judaica businesses and organizations delighted attendees young and old.

CulturalFaire11Thanks to Rabbi Singer for her assistance and guidance throughout the entire planning and execution process. Thank you to Cantor Bob, Eric Sbar, Jory Yarmoff and Adam Perlstein for your dulcet tones. Eric, thanks for securing the “Mostly Kosher” Klezmer band; they truly rocked. Morris Maduro, thanks once again for your expertise in all things electronic and to Judith Bock for all your help with planning.

Huge thanks go to our selfless members Randy & Ryan Lester-Wilson for welcoming our guests of the community and providing such useful information and the special event T-shirts designed by Marty Tobias. Thanks also to the Religious Practices, Religious Education and Open Arms committees, who were present to educate visitors about Judaism and how they could become more involved with Temple Beth El.

Thank you to Lynn Craven for mesmerizing our visitors with your magic and to Karen Rae Kraut for your captivating storytelling. To all our Temple volunteers who sat at our booths, thanks for all your time spent with this event.CulturalFaire6

Kelli Radensky and Jody Britten and their crew provided several interactive holiday booths where participants learned the significance of the holidays and made crafts such as Shabbat Challah covers, created their own dreidels and then learned to play with them, sampled apples and honey, took adorable pictures in the Purim photo booth, colored their own Hagaddah covers, and made their own Sukkahs. So much fun for everyone, and so much time and effort involved.

And who can forget that Gaga Pit? Stacey Aldstadt and her staff created it, and boy did they come! Thanks Senior Youth Group, Easton Sherman and the Cruz boys who helped assemble it, twice. They outdid themselves. After Rabbi’s brief Sunday School meeting, the children rushed en masse to experience the phenomenon known as Gaga.

Thank you to Jessica Leapman and Diana Goldman, who delighted the young ones with face painting and Henna tattoos.

Carolee Jaspan and the Junior Youth Group provided very colorful “Write Your Name in Hebrew” sheets, and Kara Gilman and family roused social consciousness by providing a make-your-own “Tzedakah Box” craft.

CulturalFaire5Special thanks to Susan Tenenbaum for designing the dazzling Wedding booth—complete with chuppah.  Alan Stein, thanks for hosting the lifecycle booth to help visitors understand our end-of-life traditions and rituals and thanks to those who managed the Birth table to show attendees our customs celebrating new life!

The B’nai Mitzvahs did an excellent job describing what it is like and all the hard work it takes to become a B’nai Mitzvah.

It was a joy to have Sherman’s of the Desert catering truck back on our turf once again.  The deli offerings were to die for. Children and adults cooled off with the fruity Hawaiian shaved ices provided by Ohana (Family) Ice. Thank you, Soto family!

I must also give special thanks to Nancy Sturmer and Easton Sherman, who wielded mops to clean up after the deluge.CulturalFaire2

This event will certainly go down in history, not only because of the monsoon, but because it was a tremendously successful undertaking. We could not have done it without you. Thanks!

Diane Kwasman