OCTOBER | 2020
Extraordinary High Holiday Services to
start off the new year

This year’s High Holiday services and the full month of events during ELUL leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, were met with nothing but accolades and great appreciation.

Our long stated goal of reimagining our community took a quantum leap with the innovated Zoom services throughout ELUL and on the High Holy Days. Rabbi Robyn Fisher, along with her High Holiday committee, presented Beth Or and the greater Miami-Dade Community, with unparalleled offerings and inspirational worship services.

The challenge of creating music through zoom was beautifully handled by Michael Henry, Samantha Shalit and Bonnie Weiner.

While the pandemic forced us to worship with each other from a distance, the amazing services and added videos interwoven throughout, were extraordinary. Kudos to all the members who uploaded their videos and comments to add the personal touch to our services.

Members of the High Holiday team: Pat Barron, Janie Emerson, Shep Faber, Rob Berse, Sara Horowitz and Stan Bilsker.
Yizkor Memorial Video

One of the special moments of this year’s services came on Yom Kippur during the Yizkor service. Members sent in videos and comments to memorialize their loved ones. Ilien Hechtman did an amazing job producing this Yizkor Memorial. Thank you to all the members who sent in their videos and donations. You can view this special video presentation by going to Beth Or’s website and clicking on:
Beth Or Kicking Off 40th Anniversary Celebration on January 3 with Bubbles, Brunch and BINGO

Can you believe it, Beth Or is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. We aren’t going to let COVID-19 stop us from making it a big deal.

We're kicking off our 40th Anniversary Celebration on January 3rd, 2021 with our 2nd Annual Bubbles and Brunch featuring Beth Or Anniversary BINGO - Remembering the Past, While Looking to the Future.

Plans are underway for additional celebration events as we look back on our 40 years. Keep on the lookout for more information on BINGO and other Anniversary events.

Let’s have 100% voting
participation this year!

This year we all have to vote as if our lives depended on it. 
Beth Or is joining with other synagogues to promote 100% voting participation from each congregation. Beth Orians have a long history of being socially conscious and voting in all elections. Please keep up the good work and make sure you vote.

Take it upon yourself to contact at least 3 other persons and make sure they vote. Ask those people to do the same thing.

In addition to voting for President/Vice President, there are many other important races to consider. Read, pay attention and vote with knowledge before filling out your ballot. Make sure all your chosen candidates support our Jewish principles of morality and justice.

In addition to individual candidates, there are also Florida Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. The League of Women voters has provided the following information on Florida’s Constitutional Amendments

Voting by mail:
If you are worried about mailing your Vote by Mail ballot, you may drop off your completed mail ballot at any early voting location during the hours of operation via the secure drop box. If you do mail your ballot, make sure you mail the ballot with plenty of time to arrive at the elections office prior to Nov. 3rd.

The last day to register to vote in Florida was October 5th.

Here are some other important dates to remember:

Absentee ballot deadlines
Request: October 24
Return by mail: Received by Nov. 3 (election day)
Return in person: Nov. 3 by 7 PM

Early voting
October 24 - October 31st, but dates may vary based on where you live.

For more details:
This link takes you to the voting calendar with detailed information.
Beth Or Needs You on Give
Miami Day - November 19

Why should those of us at Beth Or care about Give Miami Day? Because last year we raised nearly $34,000 for our temple and we need to do it again. Even more significantly, we had a 75% participation rate by our temple members. Something to be proud of. We’d love 100% participation this year.

Give Miami Day is a day where we can contribute on line to Beth Or with the hope of increasing the money we’ve donated. The more we give, the more we earn. The Give Miami Day structure adds a percentage increase to donations throughout day allowing participating organizations to increase their donation total.

To get you thinking about what you’ll plan to give to Beth Or on Give Miami Day, here is a link to Beth Or’s GMD page and video for this year’s Give Miami Day. Take a look: https://www.givemiamiday.org/bethor.
Meet Tom Gammon, a Beth Or Unsung Hero
Married for only a couple of years in 1986, Tom and Marti Gammon were looking for a temple where both of them could feel comfortable. Growing up, Marti had been a member of a very formal temple setting and she wanted something more fluid. And, she wanted her husband Tom, who isn’t Jewish, to feel welcomed and at ease.

Recommended by a friend to visit Beth Or, they both felt they found their Jewish home. And now, 34 years later, it is a privilege to name Tom Gammon a Beth Or Unsung Hero.

During their first few years at Beth Or, they joined other congregants as they met for worship services at the Unitarian Church off Sunset Drive.

“We really liked all the people at Beth Or,” Tom recalled. “Everyone made both of us feel very welcome. No one was judgmental. I was just another member. Accepted and involved.”

Tom often says he is following Marti’s lead in her temple commitment. She has stepped up on many occasions to benefit the temple, including serving on the temple board for many years. And their son, Josh Gammon, is an active participant and volunteer. Marti and Tom were named Members of the Year in 2005-2006.

Tom and Marti gave birth to their son, Joshua, in 1982. Soon after his birth, they learned he had special needs as someone with Fragile X Syndrome. Marti and Tom have committed their lives to giving Josh every opportunity to grow into the independent man he has become. Josh lives on his own and works at Publix.
“Josh is supported by family, friends and so many people from the Beth Or community, who visit with him at work or call and chat with him on a regular basis,” Tom said.

Tom brings an amazing background of service and dedication to our country, which naturally flows into his “go to” attitude in helping Beth Or.

He has been involved with the yard sale, helping at Chapman and organizes an annual Veteran’s demonstration for the congregation.

In non-pandemic years, Tom has been the long serving chair of the High Holiday Ushers committee. Coordinating usher tasks, including the distribution of materials, Tom enlists the help of other temple members to make sure the services run smoothly. Assisted always by son, Josh, he also works with other members to shlep prayer books and other materials to a larger venue for the High Holiday services.

Over the last two years, Tom has been involved in grant writing helping Beth Or receive the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Innovator grant in 2019 for our LGBTQ outreach program. This past month, he worked with the Gallery of Light Committee to submit their grant request to the GMJF for this year.

“Of all the things I’ve done with Beth Or, I think helping to write these grants has made me feel most proud,” Tom said. “I love collaborating with people and doing that while helping Beth Or, means a great deal to me.”

On the fun side, Tom has teamed up with Dick Dorn and Robbie Greene to be part of a trio of bartenders for various fun events.

There are often instances where items, large and small, need moving from point A to point B and Tom is always one of Beth Or’s go to guys for such duties. 

On big event days, Tom has become our official traffic director helping to guide people on the best way to park and not block entrances and exits. On Holiday Bazaar days, Tom has very willingly served as the raffle chair both selling tickets and carefully arranging the raffle display.

If you’re getting the idea that Tom steps up where needed without complaint, you’d be right.

Taking care of others and leading by example is something Tom has done all his life.

After marrying Marti in 1974, Tom joined the Air Force. He was assigned to Fortuana Air Force in North Dakota, a very remote assignment.
“Fortuna did not have a Jewish population. In fact I think Marti was the only Jewish person for miles,” Tom recalled. “The chaplain at my Air Force base—who was Lutheran by denomination—asked Marti to help with a Passover Seder for his congregation. Marti prepared Seder plates and wrote a condensed Haggaddah for the Lutheran minister's congregation of about 100 in the closest town which was 40 miles away. A blizzard, which came on the day in question, prevented us from driving the 40 miles to Crosby, North Dakota and the Lutheran church for the Seder. We had made charoset for the Seder. We ate charoset for 6 months!

“I give Marti so much credit,” Tom continued. “Wherever we lived when I was being moved from base to base,” Marti always pitched in, found a job and was very supportive.”

Ironically, all these years later, it is Tom who leads the annual family Seder and we all know how delicious the food must be with Marti doing the cooking!!

After North Dakota, Tom, with Marti following suit, was stationed in Virginia and then Mississippi. In 1978 Tom left active duty in the Air Force. Tom applied, and was accepted, to the University of Mississippi Law School where he graduated in 1981. Upon graduation from law school he was named Director of the Legal Information and Referral Program. It was a program which helped the elderly and Tom enjoyed the work.

The Gammons moved to Miami in 1982 where Tom briefly worked at a law office. Realizing early on that being a lawyer wasn’t his life’s passion, he decided teaching was his calling. Tom’s decision to become a teacher, not only enriched his life, but his influence as his career grew, helped thousands of students and colleagues to be the best they could be for years to come.

While changing professional careers, Tom also decided to join the Air Force reserve at Homestead Air Force base. During his 19 years in the reserves at Homestead, Tom was involved with the 482 Fighter Wing, and his positions included Personnel Officer, Squadron Executive Director, Squadron Commander, Deputy Group Commander and Inspector General.
Tom and Dick Dorn share bartending duties
He started his teaching career at Little River Elementary. Several schools and education degrees later, Tom was named the Miami Dade County Teacher of the Year in 1997. In 1999, he was a recipient in the The Milken Educator Awards program. An initiative of the Milken Family Foundation, it rewards inspired excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country with $25,000 unrestricted financial awards.

Also In 1999, Tom was selected to serve on the White House Strategy Committee on Hispanic Education. Expected to be a listening member of the Committee, Tom was caught off guard when then President Clinton, after making remarks, turned to Tom and asked “what do you think, Tom?” Surprised, but always prepared, Tom provided an answer.

“I don’t exactly remember what I said but apparently the President considered it a good answer.”

Tom not only taught, but he went on to write and lead a Saturn School program, became a Chapter 1 Mathematics Curriculum Specialist, taught Law Studies and a 9th Grade Leadership teacher program and worked for the Teacher Education Center.

The list of schools Tom taught in included Little River Elementary, Oliver Hoover Elementary, Peskoe Elementary, A.L. Lewis Elementary, Miami Springs Senior High, Teacher Education Center, and Miami Carol Senior High.

His education career was put on hold in 2001 when he was recalled to active duty after 9-11. By September 17, 2001 Tom was stationed in Ohio and was serving as the Chief Mobilization and Readiness Coordinator. Tom’s position was at Headquarters Air Force Air Material Command with the responsibility to review the war plans for Afghanistan and to identify and activate the Air Force Reserve and Air Guard units and personnel needed to fight effectively, matching them up with the airpower and logistics needed for immediate deployment overseas.
He and his colleagues worked in an underground top secret bunker and were required to have an escort when leaving the bunker.

Tom retired from the military in July 2002 as a Lieutenant Colonel with 27 years active and reserve service.

For many people the interruption of his professional career might have meant an early retirement, but not Tom. He picked up right where he left off as a Teacher Trainer for the Teacher Education Center and then started working for the United Teachers of Dade in Professional Development.

While handling his Professional Development duties, Tom wanted to stay tethered to the classroom. He would get up extra early and head to his assigned school where he would teach a class every day before heading to his “regular” job. After handling Professional Development at UTD, he taught in the Law Magnet program at Miami Carol City Senior High.

In 2013, Tom was elected First Vice President of the United Teachers of Dade. He served until 2016 and retired from the school system. He stayed true to his determination to teach. Throughout his three years as vice president, he continued teaching a daily class.

In 2019 Tom once again stepped into a new role. He is now the Educational Specialist of the Military Museum and Memorial. Located adjacent to Zoo Miami and the Railroad Museum, Tom’s new role is supposed to be part-time but to date it has been more full time than expected, but he’s loving it.

Through his long and varied career, Tom has great stories to share which demonstrate the quality of his character. While there are many, these two give you a glimpse into who Tom really is.

* * *

While working at Lille C. Evans, Tom was appalled at the lack of discipline at the school. The principal, who was subsequently replaced, had no strategic discipline policy. Tom would come in at 7 a.m. bringing puzzles, chess and other hands on games, allowing students who would exhibit good behavior to come in early. Within weeks, a previously out of control classroom was a model for the entire school.

* * *

At Miami Springs Senior High, Tom was assigned to teach the 9th Grade Leadership Course. Tom designed the course along with the assistant principal to address the learning needs of those in-coming 9th graders with the most serious deficits in reading and academic performance. These were some tough 9th graders. To encourage them and build their self-esteem, Tom wrote a Milken Educator grant and bought children's books and arranged for his 9th graders to visit the local elementary school. Each 9th grader was assigned to a kindergarten or first grade student and was responsible for reading and discussing the children's book with their assigned elementary student. 

“It was a rewarding sight to see,” Tom said. “Watching those tough 9th graders being so caring and attentive with their little assigned student made it very worthwhile.”
Become part of the
High Holiday Fund Drive

Are you part of the 75% of Beth Or members who have participated in our High Holiday Fund Drive? Don’t be left out. All donations, small and large are welcome.
Donations are easy. Just click on: https://bethormiami.com/give/ to make your donation.
Beth Or comes through for Kosher Food Bank

Jewish Community Services teamed up with Beth Or’s Social Justice Team to collect a wide array of badly needed items for the Kosher Food Bank. The pandemic has cut down on donations to the bank although the need demand has risen.

Many congregations participated in the food drive over the past several weeks, helping to restock the Kosher Food Bank shelves.

Social Justice Co-Chair Andrea Loring headed up Beth Or’s September 13 event, working closely with Debbie Hurwitz from JCS. Debbie gave everyone who dropped off items a lovely red rose.

“We are very grateful for the food, toiletries and household products that were donated by Beth Or,” Hurwitz said. “We are very appreciative for Beth Or’s ongoing support and collaboration”
Shabbat Services are every Friday night at 7:30 PM. On Friday, October 9 we will celebrate Simchat Torah. The celebration will focus on the cycle of our reading of the Torah and listen to the chanting from our ancient scrolls by Rabbi Robyn and Jeff Kaminsky. We will also have the opportunity to learn from five of our congregants, representing each of the Five Books of Moses.
Regular Zoom links are sent out prior to Friday. If you’re not receiving the Friday zoom link, please notify the temple office at 305-235-1419.
In October our Gallery of Light will be overflowing with three spectacular offerings on three successive Tuesdays, October 13, 20 & 27. Keep on the lookout for the invites to these exciting events.
GOL Presents: Cathi Rivera
Be dazzled by the artist, Cathi Rivera, an acclaimed metalsmith and jewelry designer as she guides us through a very visual discussion of her fabulous creations. Cathi’s unique pieces are inspired by her exotic travels and infused with found materials from the natural world. This award-winning artist and educator will discuss her work and talk about her own spiritual connection to the art.connection to the art.
GOL Presents:Patricia Rotino Cummins
Highly acclaimed and sought-after artist, Patricia Cummins, will showcase her exquisite paintings and pastel landscapes. She will discuss her connection with the places and her art. Patricia holds graduate degrees in art and has served as Artist in Residence at 15 National Parks. The beauty of her work will draw you in to her own experience, as if you’d been there on location – “en plein aire”.
GOL Presents: SAQA presented by special guest artist Nancy Billings, member

Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. (SAQA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt: "a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure." 
Over the past 30 years, SAQA has grown into a dynamic and active community of 3,700+ artists, curators, collectors, and art professionals located around the world. To witness the skill and beauty of their work will show why the SAQA vision is to have the art quilt respected as a fine art medium.

This exhibition was scheduled for AQUA at Art Basel 2020 – now cancelled. We are grateful to present it to you in the Gallery of Light at Temple Beth Or.
On October 10th Beth Or is hosting one of our famous Trivia Nights with a special theme - A Walk Down Memory Lane for TV Trivia fun.

Your $18 donation allows the entire family to play. Register and pay by going to https://bethormiami.com/pay. You can also call the temple at 305-235-1419 to register. A confirmation email will resent to all registrants with a zoom link to join in the fun.

Don’t miss out on this exciting event. See you on the 10th.
The following is our tributes list:
In honor of the
BethOr@Home Zoom:

Gail Hochheiser, in honor of the Fantastic High Holiday Zoom Sessions

Phyllis Winnick in honor of Nancy's zoom workshops

Amy Lomaskin in honor of Pat Barron and Janie Emerson for an inspirational and interactive presentation of stringing pearls of wisdom to each and all of us

Amy Lomaskin in honor of Shep Faber, George Emerson, and Pat Barron for a deep and soulful discussion of the book b Rabbi Alan Lew

Amy Lomaskin in honor of Rob Berse, Shep Faber and Pat Barron for an interesting, illuminating, and conversational four week film presentation

High Holiday Fund

Ossie and Harry Hanauer, in honor of the Leadership Team -
Ilien, Andrea and Annette

Stephan Ponak, in honor of Sam and Sarah Ponak

Linda Goodman, in memory of Larry Goodman, who loved Beth Or!!

Diane and Marty Cohen, in honor of Rabbi Robyn for being
a role model to Her daughter Jordyn

Annette and Steve Katz, in honor of Rabbi Robyn and the
Leadership Team partners, Ilien and Andrea

Amy Lomaskin and Mel Tenen, in honor of Rabbi Robyn for leading a
meaningful and inspiring service and program

Lauren Bernstein, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Gail Hocheiser

Karen and Barry Ladis

Ilien and Keith Hechtman, in memory of Iris Chazzen Hodges,
Adrienne Hochman's mother

Ellen Segal, for the High Holiday Prayer Book Fund

Ilien and Keith Hechtman, in honor of Rabbi Robyn, for
beautiful and inspiring services

Fred and Judy Kettler

Robin Bramson

Ilien and Keith Hechtman, in honor of Michael Henry,
for beautiful and inspiring services

Rhoni and Ned Tannebaum

Marcy Prince

Shep and Linda Faber, in honor of Rabbi Robyn for the
inspirational Rosh Hashana services

Ilien and Keith Hechtman, in honor of Samantha Shalit,
for beautiful and inspiring services

Andrea Loring, in honor of the High Holy Days members' team

Ilien and Keith Hechtman, in honor of Bonnie Weiner for
beautiful and inspiring services

Jack & Judy Diamond

Enid Garber & Mark Rosenblum honoring the memory of Shirley Pollack, honoring Rabbi Robyn and her outstanding team, The LT's- Andrea, Ilien & Annette
Marilyn Traeger, Janie Emerson, Pat Barron, George Emerson, Shep Faber, Rob Berse, Sara Horowitz, Rabbi Mark Kram, Michael Henry & Samantha, Bonnie Wiener, Amy Lomaskin, Nancy Kirsner, The Beth Or Congregation

Alan & Mindy Eisenberg

Pat Barron in honor of Rabbi Robyn High Holiday Services, all the teams

Janie & George Emerson in honor of the Little Temple that Could....and Does!

Rose Spector in honor of all the hearts and hands that worked together to make this High Holiday Season special in this very difficult time.

Ellen & John Hanson

Gayle Goodman

Cheryl Goodman in memory of Larry Goodman

Shirley Drevich

Joshua Eisenstein in honor of our children, Hugo and Ian

Amy Lomaskin & Mel Tenen to Rabbi Robyn for a beautiful & inspirational Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. To Michael Henry & Samantha for beautiful High Holiday music. To Bonnie Weiner for her angelic voice, her gorgeous smile,
and her commitment to Beth Or.

Amy Lomaskin & Mel Tenen to Ilien Hechtman for an inspirational Yizkor tribute to our loved ones

Shirley Drevich & Richard Medlock in memory of Sylvia & Arthur Drevich

Gallery of Light:

Eric Polin, in honor of the Gallery

Wendy Bandklayder in honor of Ilien Hechtman (Lieny and Nana Wendy). A beautiful compilation for Yizkor! Memories bring back memories bring back more...

In Honor of:

Phyllis Winnick in honor of the birthdays of Marcy Prince & Gail Ironson

Diane Pearl in honor of Marcy Prince's Birthday

Gail Hochheiser in honor of Michael Henry and his incredible music

Tom & Marti for their commitment to making every Shabbat Special.

Adrienne Hochman with gratitude to Rabbi Robyn

Cindy Amar in honor of Molle Grad

Diane Doyle in honor of Beth Or

Cathy and Bert Tesserot in honor of Audrey Askowitz

Rabbi's Discretionary Fund:

Amy Lomaskin in honor of Rabbi Robyn for inviting Susan Linder to our Zoom class to make chicken soup, matzo balls and entertaining us by playing her guitar and singing Jewish songs related to the recipes she was making

Amy Lomaskin in honor of Rabbi Robyn for bringing Sheryl Berrin-Klein to a Zoom class in which she made honey drizzle cake for Rosh Hashanah

Carol Farber in honor of Rabbi Robyn

Nancy Gilbert in honor of Rabbi Robyn

Terry Bookman in honor of Beth Or

Barry & Lorie Yarchin in honor of Rabbi Robyn

Wendy Bandklayder in appreciation of Rabbi Robyn

Mindy and Nelson Rodney, In memory of our parents,
Samuel Sakowitz and Elkie and Herbert Rodney

Yahrzeit Fund:

In memory of Iris Hodges, Adrienne Hochman's mother

Kathy Fisler

Pat Barron

Ossie & Harry Hanauer

Ellen & John Hanson

Suzy & Paul Breitner

Karen Steinberg-Lewis

Adrienne Hochman in honor of my mother, Iris Hodges

Annette and Stephen Katz, in memory of Annette's mother,
Jean Van Dam. May her memory be a blessing

Celia Belsky, in memory of her beloved father, Frederick Belsky

Ilien & Keith Hechtman in memory of Dorothy Hechtman, mother of
Keith Hechtman

Ellen & John Hanson in memory of Ellen's mother, Loretta Weiss

Be Mitzvah Fund:

Contributions to this fund enhances our innovative Be Mitzvah program

Memorial Plaques:

Permanently remember family members and events
by purchasing a memorial plaque

305.235.1419 | info@bethormiami.com | bethormiami.com