THE INDIAN WELLS VALLEY JEWISH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
TEMPLE BETH TORAH
All Faith Chapel
NAWS, China Lake, CA 93555
The Jewish Community of
Ridgecrest has a small but spirited Jewish
community with services led by student Rabbis from Hebrew Union College, Los
Every year a new student Rabbi serves here
- we learn from their tenure as they learn from us.
This year's student Rabbi is Ron Friedman.
Student Rabbis visit monthly, and hold services
Friday evening and Saturday morning.
We have Saturday
morning services, adult education, and Havdala, religious school for older children on Saturday, pre-K on Sunday.
We invite you to
join us at services, visitors are always welcomed.
Rabbi led services are held at the All Faith
Chapel Friday night at 6:30
When a student Rabbi is here the schedule is
Friday evening services are held at the All
Faith Chapel in the East Wing at 6:30 PM
Saturday morning Services are held at the All Faith
Chapel in the East Wing at 10 AM
Saturday educational activities are held at the
Education Building across from the chapel
Religious school for the younger children 9 -
Religious school for the older children 3 -
Adult education and Havdala 4-5 PM
Lay Advisors meeting - 5:15 PM
REMAINING STUDENT RABBI VISITS
FROM THE STUDENT RABBI
We begin every
Seder with the words “Let all who are hungry come and eat”, but that is much
more easily said than done.
In fact, it
wouldn’t be even remotely possible without the work of many people in our
community. Therefore, I want to give a HUGE thank you(!!!) to everyone who
helped plan, organize, and execute such a wonderful Passover Seder!!
I know Mark has
already listed them by name down below, but I do want to mention them as well,
Katharine, June, June, Judith, Art and Judy, Steve, Sarah, Rosie, and Trish. Y’all ROCK!!!
But I also want to
thank everyone who came, brought friends and family, participated, ate, drank,
smiled, and sang. I’ve led a lot of Seders in many different places, but I think
this was the most geographically diverse one yet, as I’ve never been at a Seder
with someone from Italy. You all have proven once again just how wonderful and special this community is, and I am truly honored to be serving as your student
Rabbi for this year.
I can’t wait to
see everyone on April 27-28 as we honor Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
by reading from and learning about our Holocaust Memorial Scrolls Torah.
(See information below) I have a special connection with this living
history that makes it even more exciting to actually read from it and use it in
See you all soon!
Torah Portions and much more
For listings of Torah Portions, commentary,
information about Holidays and general interest subjects
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Did I mention that putting on
our traditional Community Seder requires a great deal of planning and
cooperation? That was an understatement!
The coordination and
cooperation among the members and families of our congregation was incredible
I especially want to thank
(on pain of death if I forget anyone!) Katherine Posner who coordinated the menu
and who brought what.
The two June Ws who did and
contributed so much (don't mention the parsley, though), and my own Judith,
Crockpot princess and phone operator.
Steve, Sarah, Rosie, Trish and
everyone else who provided a lovely selection of drinks, desserts and salads we
consumed (at step 23).
I had never seen Manachevitz
arrive in six-packs before, but not to worry as most of it disappeared. Thanks
to Art and Judy!
Rabbi Rob answered my
emergency call and brought a years supply of Matzoh when Staters ran out.
I also want to thank the
Chaplain's Aides for table and chair set up, and Chaplain Crabbe for making sure
we had everything we needed.
It was wonderful to see all
the people who made the effort to be there. New faces, old faces, new old
faces, guests who joined us from as close as California City and from as far
away as Rome, Italy.
Rabbi Rob led the Seder and
suffice it to say he is unconventional (and energetic)!
He kept us laughing while at
the same time keeping the Seder moving along and telling the Passover story.
What I did notice, and it
worries me, is the lack of younger families and children. We need a way to
attract the younger crowd, or we will cease to exist as a a congregation in not
so many years in the future. Since we are banned from any form of
advertisement, we count on the Chaplain's Office and word of mouth to let it be
known that we exist.
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.
2017-8 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, at least lately, tries to favor organizations or individuals that
satisfy local needs in the Indian Wells Valley. In early December $650 in Tzedakah donations were donated to the following: $200 to the Salvation Army for
holiday baskets, $150 to the Ridgecrest Women's Shelter, and $100 each to Chai
Lifeline, an organization dedicated to supporting children with cancer or other
life threatening or lifelong illnesses, Mazon and the American Cancer Society.
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 5778th 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
*Lay advisors to the Student Rabbi
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 email@example.com.
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.