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Board of Directors



Lou Abramovitz


Ruth Zakowski


Susan Baum


Board of Directors

Howard Applebaum

Jennie Levy

Message from President Lou Abramovitz

As I hope all of you are aware, generally on the last Erev Shabbat of the month where TBE doesn’t have another evening meal event, we have a Kabbalat Shabbat service, followed by dinner in the multipurpose room.  The evening almost   always includes a program.  The January program really hit close to home for me. 


Our guest speakers, youngsters from five Orange County Jewish families that were 2023 recipients of the Orange County Jewish Federation’s Passport to Jewish Life Grant Program.  Temple Beth Emet contributed mightily to the Endowment that funds the program.  The grants help make it possible for Orange County children in grades 3-12 to participate in summer Jewish experiences.  The kids joined us to share their summer adventures; what it meant to them; and to thank TBE for helping make it possible.


Barbara ErIer, our Women’s League President, is also a member of the Passport to Jewish Life Board that selects grant recipients.  She, together with Jenny Levy, came up with the idea and Barbara arranged for our January dinner guests.  A few days after the dinner Kathleen Mellon, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Jewish Federation of Orange County, sent Barbara an email, which I was copied on.  Here’s a taste of that email.  “The Passport evening you created at Temple Beth Emet last Friday was truly unforgettable. Your vision – to create a unique Shabbat dinner experience for both TBE congregants and Passport grant winners – became reality in this festive event. Your enthusiasm was infectious and energized all of us to ensure a successful outcome. And your warmth was felt by all, especially the families who were so proud to see their kids not only sharing their stories, but gaining valuable experience in public speaking.”


That evening, as I listen to each boy and girl speak, my memories flooded my consciousness.  You see, I was the beneficiary of a similar program.  The summer of 1966 was the first following our family’s relocation to Southern California and my Bar Mitzvah.  While I grew up in a very Jewish home, my previous four years had been spent in Honolulu; a great place to grow up, except for a lack of Jewish peers.  Our Temple in Long Beach connected my folks to a program that helped them afford me two summers at Camp Ramah.  I know those two summers greatly impacted my personal connection to Judaism. 


While my own kids never went to overnight camps, they enjoyed multiple summers at the Silver Gan Israel Day Camp in Huntington Beach.  The Passport to Jewish Life Grants can go toward a variety of nonprofit Jewish Programs including Jewish day and overnight camps, learning seminars and summer yeshivas, Israel and Israel-Poland experiences, and Maccabi programs.  Not only do these experiences provide great experiences, but great stories from which we all can learn something new.  One of our guests reported on having sha-brownies at camp.  What the heck are sha-brownies?  He explained it this way… they’re pretty much like regular brownies that taste a little better on Shabbat, because just like a Jewish Camp, they have a little something extra that makes the experience a little sweeter.


In 2023, 93 students received Jewish Federation Passport grants to programs which succeed in strengthening Jewish identity and adding a link in a lifelong Jewish chain.  May we all share in the nachas of passing it forward.


Am Yisrael Chai

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