THE INDIAN WELLS VALLEY JEWISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
TEMPLE BETH TORAH
All Faith Chapel
NAWS, China Lake, CA 93555
March - April 2019
The Jewish Community of
Ridgecrest has a small but spirited Jewish
community with services led by student Rabbis from Hebrew Union College, Los
Usually a new student Rabbi serves here
- we learn from their tenure as they learn from us.
Things will be a bit different next year
as Rabbi Len Muroff will lead us,
see the President's comments for further information.
Rabbis visit monthly, and hold services
Friday evening and Saturday morning.
We have Saturday morning services, adult
education, and religious school for children.
You are invited
join us at services, visitors are always welcomed.
When a Rabbi is here the schedule is
Rabbi led Friday evening services are held at the All
Faith Chapel in the East Wing at 6:30 PM
Saturday educational activities are held at the
Education Building (across from the chapel)
Religious school for the older children 10:00 -
11:00 AM - Noon - Services
Noon - 1:00 PM - Brown Bag Lunch (bring your
own food and drink and a dessert to share)
Adult education 1:00 - 2:00 PM
Religious school for the younger children 2 -
March 22 & 23 - PURIM
April 26 & 27 - PASSOVER
May 10 & 11 - Election of
FROM THE PRESIDENT
SPRING IS HERE!
Alright, maybe not
"spring" as those from New England remember the season, but it's raining as I
write this and that means weather will warm up and the usual pre-summer break holidays
are almost here.
Purim, one of our
more lively celebrations, is always fun as we wear costumes of all sorts, drink
lots of Kosher wine and boo
the villain, Haman. We cheer for the brave Esther and nosh on Hamantashen, and other
goodies. Groggers and masks add to the festivities and you never know what
will happen when certain "staid" congregation members let loose.
month brings Pesach (Passover) where we recall our ancestor's liberation from
Egyptian slavery and our Exodus to our new freedom with Moses leading us to a
better life. As in the majority of our celebrations - small and
large - food and wine are traditional, and our solemn congregation Seder is no exception. I
know Katharine and her crew are already planning the menu and assigning tasks.
Don't stand still or you'll find yourself conscripted!
May will end this
year's Rabbi schedule, the Board of Directors for 2019-2020 will be elected and
we will look forward to a new Student Rabbi.
MAZEL TOV RABBI ROB!!!
Everyone (Family, Friends, Co-workers, Mentors, Student Pulpits),
last 4+ (almost 5) years, I have been on this crazy, hectic journey called
Rabbinical School. Each of you has played a very important role in my life over
this time, shaping who I am as a person and as an emerging rabbi. Throughout my
various classes, internships, and life-processing, you have all guided and
helped me along this path, and for that I owe each of you.
Therefore, I am incredibly excited to announce that (barring anything crazy) I
will finish this part of my journey on
May 12, 2019 as
I become a Rabbi. I would love for each and every one of you to be there and
help me celebrate this special day. I know for some of you, traveling to Los
Angeles might not be a viable option for many reasons (including the fact that
it is Mother's Day). If you are unable to come, but would still like to witness
it, I believe there will be a live stream and will gladly provide that link when
I have it.
those of you who are able to come, the ceremony will be at
S. Wise Synagogue
in Los Angeles, CA.
let me know if you are able to come, as I would love to see all of you.
much love and gratitude for all you have done for me,
Rabbinic Student, HUC-JIR
Chaplain Candidate, US Navy, LTJG
Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation
"It is not your duty to complete the work, neither are you free to desist from
from the Pulpit ~ Rabbi Len Muroff
I have always wondered what it was like to
wander in the Desert for forty years. I may never know exactly what it was like
but since I began driving 165 miles to Ridgecrest, I am beginning to get an
At first it seemed overwhelming to have to
sit in my air conditioned car for the better part of three hours and drive
through an endless number of miles of roadway which are uncharacteristically
barren and seemingly populated by Subway restaurants and non-descript rest
After a several visits back and forth, I am
beginning to raise my gaze as I drive. Instead of being deadened by the endless
asphalt, I am in awe of the vast terrain of beautiful vistas that provide
breathtaking moments for me for mile after mile as I drive along oddly empty
roads (a rare phenomenon in LA County). I have come to cherish the opportunity
to enjoy such peaceful time. Me, my podcasts and God’s Hills dancing in the
sunlight reflecting back a panorama of colors that lift my spirits.
The people who comprise the congregation
understand, like Moses and his crew, that they all must do something to make the
whole enterprise thrive and survive. Just as it was not easy to maintain a
community in the Israelites’ desert, I can appreciate the fulltime commitment
that the community, leaders and service participants alike, must make to ensure
viability and value for all.
It is my hope that as the year unfolds I will
be able to more regularly nourish the souls of all I encounter in this
community. Sometimes I will nourish their bellies. I am glad that I serve as
the Challah Deliveryman. Excellent meals are the hallmark of a vibrant
community. Thank you for making eating traditionally a priority. We all have
food-related memories and Challah is one of the earliest.. I feel satisfied
knowing that the food of the past and food of the present, all of which sustain
the Jewish People, are that which helps keep our community connected to Jews in
the Past and Jews in other communities across the country and the world.
I look forward to adding Jewish knowledge,
music, experiences and gastronomic delights to the lives of you all during the
Torah Portions and much more
For listings of Torah Portions, commentary,
information about Holidays and general interest subjects
THE TORAH PROJECT
A Holocaust Torah
been entrusted to our care by
London's Memorial Scroll
Trust. The trust has enlisted our help with
their project to link over 1000
Torah Scroll holders to the MST and to each other, ensuring their Torah scrolls
are identified, (Ours is number 954), and their location known so visitors to their site will learn about
the special legacy of these survivors and witnesses of the Shoah.
Most importantly, they will never be forgotten, they must never be
Through the scrolls we wish to remember
European Jewish life before the Holocaust as well as its tragic destruction and
challenge those who interact with the scrolls to confront prejudice and hatred,
while inspiring them to action by committing to their Jewish lives and working to
build bridges across communities.
Torahs, however, are
living entities. They tell the history of our people while encouraging us
to live up to those long ago written laws and traditions. Without them, we
would indeed be wandering alone in the desert.
The history of our small congregation
mirrors the travels of the Torahs, and several of our elder members have
memories of our receiving this precious manuscript and the search for an artist
to make the covering. When the memories have been collected, they will be
The Holocaust Torah has been used many times, and
each new student Rabbi has looked at it with awe and appreciation.
Unfortunately, as it resides in the Ark in
our dedicated Chapel on a high-level security base (China lake Naval Weapons
Station), visiting will require considerable red tape. However, there are
several members who will be happy to guide prospective visitors through the
Note from the webmaster- please let me
know of any memories or other information that needs to be added here.
2018 Tzedakah Distribution
Temple Beth Torah makes annual contributions to charity (tzedakah) with money
donated in its tzedakah box at Shabbat and High Holiday services and with money
donated to TBT and earmarked for that purpose.
is usually done around Thanksgiving time, in November or early December.
The congregation Board of Directors selects the recipients at board meetings in
the Fall and tries to favor organizations or individuals that
satisfy local needs in the Indian Wells Valley. In early December $300 in Tzedakah donations were donated to the following: $100
went to the Salvation Army for
holiday baskets, $100 was given to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for
transportation costs for the wonderful "Chemo Angels", who volunteer to drive
patients to cancer treatment venues, and another $100 went to help the
Ridgecrest Woman's Shelter with housing and other services.
have received heartfelt thank you notes from all three recipients with mention
of the good our donations do here in the community. We are blessed to be
able to do our bit to help those in need.
congregation members donated to a special fund sent to the Pittsburgh Tree of
Life congregation to add to their fund for survivors of the massacre.
$272 was forwarded to them in December, with many wishes for healing and
peace, from Temple Beth Torah.
All TBT congregants should be able to participate in the decision as to what
tzedakah our congregation supports. So, if you have other charities you wish to
see on our tzedakah recipient list, or if you wish to confirm our current
choices, or even if you wish to express reluctance for continuing our support of
one of the current choices, please contact me, Art Spiegel 446-7307 or
or any of our other Board members listed in this website. Your comments will be
collected and used in the next increment of deliberation for tzedakah
Art Spiegel, IWVJCA Treasurer
NEW PRAYER BOOKS
The Temple Beth Torah Board voted to purchase new High Holiday prayer books at a
recent meeting, as our current ones are sadly out of date.
They come as a set of two books, one each for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The new Books have arrived, and may be seen at the next service.
Purchasing these books was a considerable expense to the congregation treasury.
If you would like to help us offset the cost, they can be purchased for $37.00 a
set. (Our cost)
We have designed a bookplate to be placed inside with whatever sentiment you
would like. (Donated By, In Memory Of, In Honor Of, Etc.)
These, too, will be available at the next service.
Please send checks to:
PO Box 1598
Ridgecrest, CA 93556
Make checks Payable to IWVJCA, and include what you would like printed on the
information on a movement whose time has come, please visit
Women of the
You have to begin with the knowledge
that there is nothing perfect in this
Our job is not to hunt down
perfection and live within it.
It is to take
pieces we have
found and sew
them together as
best we can.
- Rabbi M. M.
I Am Jewish,
performed by the
enjoy the video.
We Jews are in our 5779th year on this earth! Who would have believed
this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this
long, he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber,
without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic
athletes and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of wandering
in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses;
despite the best efforts of the Christian crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition,
Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation, 100
years of Arab Terrorism, and 800 hate-filled UN resolutions!
How did we Jews do it? We did it by concentrating our efforts on education,
love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate
dedication to life no matter what evil befell us!
We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome its
hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual
We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful. And when we enter our places of
worship, this is what we pray for with all the strength in our
May this year be filled with good health, happiness, laughter,
success, joy, and kindness and may the coming year bring peace and security to
Israel and to the Jewish communities throughout the world.
Hativkah - sung at the Western Wall
Mark A Rosenthal -
Dr. June Leslie
Wieder - Vice President
June L Wasserman - Secretary*
Arthur Spiegel - Treasurer
Board Member/WebMaster: Judith Rogow
Torah - History
Temple Beth Torah is
a congregation based at the All-Faith Chapel at the Naval Air Warfare Station,
China Lake, California.
It was founded in the late 1940s or early 1950s to serve the Jewish
congregational needs of active-duty Navy and China Lake base personnel and
It became affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (renamed
the Union for Reform Judaism) in 1953.
Over the years, Temple Beth Torah has served the Jewish congregational and
educational needs of its members through lay and Rabbi-led services,
celebration of holidays and festivals, religious school and Hebrew classes
and Bar/Bat Mitzvah training and ceremonies.
Since Temple Beth Torah meets on Navy property there can be no formal
requirement for membership application or the payment of dues.
Anyone claiming to be a Jew or having an interest in Judaism is free to
attend all services.
Also, as a member congregation of the Navy’s All-Faith Chapel, Temple
Beth Torah cannot have a treasury, a bank account or advertise its services
in any local newspapers.
Tzedakah and Dues
halt of Navy support for
Rabbinic services at China Lake, members
of the Temple Beth Torah Jewish community began the groundwork for once again
obtaining a student Rabbi. This required community organization, including open
meetings, determining the support level that we could afford, and plodding
through the application process with HUC. We were successful in obtaining a
student Rabbi, who leads services at the High Holidays and at nine other visits.
The fruits of
our labors have been the Rabbi weekends you have attended, Shabbat, holiday, and High Holiday services, and in the education of
our children. But make no mistake, the responsibility for providing most of this
lies with ourselves – our student Rabbi can only be here for the
High Holidays and nine other visits.
The services of our student
Rabbi and other day to day operating expenses, such
as membership for our congregation in the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), are
entirely paid for to a large degree by the dues of our members.
years gifts have been sent to the Women’s Center High Desert, Ridgecrest
Hospital (children’s ward), and to Mazon.
also acquired a long sought after Torah cover for our Holocaust Torah.
separate funds accounts for Tzedakah or donations, which have paid for
charitable gifts and the Torah cover.
Recently, the Navy resumed limited support and contributed a fraction of
the cost of the Student Rabbi's contracted services. However, the member's dues and
donations must cover the majority of that cost, and provide for all
the travel expenses for the Student Rabbi.
Dues or contributions may
be brought to Shabbat services and given to the treasurer, or send checks
made out to IWV Jewish Community Association and mailed to Temple Beth Torah’s
PO Box 1722
Ridgecrest, CA 93556-1722
TBT BOARD MEETINGS
Board meetings are usually held in members’ homes and
meeting dates are scheduled as needed.
All Board meetings are open to the entire membership of the
any board member for information.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS/CONTACTS
Rosenthal - President
Leslie Wieder - Vice President
Wasserman - Secretary
Spiegel - Treasurer
Rabbi Roth's address is
1390 Kelton Avenue - Apt 210
FACES AND PLACES
We do so much in our community, as friends
and committee members, we sing, dance and eat together and this page has
featured many photos of past and present members.
It has been mentioned that a place to
archive these images would be a good idea, so I will sift through my archives
and hope some of you do the same.
If you have photographs to share, please
email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, some images have been
posted and more will be added as time
allows. Just click the title above to see what's there already.