This small, unassuming, beloved house of worship in Long Beach, NY often goes unnoticed by neighborhood residents and passers-by.
Curiously, stories of people who discovered it by chance, yet grew devoted as members are common. But such encounters are deliberate not happenstance, when in G-ds house no?
Our blog aims to capture the power of faith, friendship, and community --pillars that have upheld the physical and spiritual existence of Temple Zion, our Miracle on Maryland, for 66 years.
As recent Parshas have centered on the first Jewish couple,
Abraham and Sarah, it’s fitting that we wish a hearty Mazel Tov to long-time
Temple Zion members, Cal and Riva Outstatcher, who just celebrated their 50th
The patriarch and matriarch of a large, wonderful family generously
shared their thoughts and tips on reaching this Golden Marital Milestone.
“I’ve always looked at others celebrating their 25th
and 50th anniversaries and wondered what it would feel like -- and
here it is,” says Riva, who first met Cal in high school.
“Our parents worked four stores away from each other – my father
in a food store and his parents in a housewares shop in the Bronx,” she says.
Married at age 22, Riva says the pair had three children and
practiced the art of communication early on.
“During the first 7 to 10 years, it can be a trying time. We’ve seen 50 percent of our high school
friends go through divorces.It takes
understanding, respect and communication.When something bothers you, you have to discuss it. We were always able to talk,” says Riva.
Being conscious of what you say and how you say it to your
spouse is equally important.
“Often, couples scream at each other and say things that
they shouldn’t in the heat of anger.This causes stress on the relationship.You can’t take those things back.We’ve never had that kind of a problem,” says Cal, who says he knew Riva
was ‘the one’ as soon as he saw her in his high school Spanish class.
When on occasion tensions rise, “I just dismiss it if Riva
gets mad at me.I let it go in one ear
and out the other. I don’t want to get mad at her, so I just shut down, which
works for me,” says Cal.
Keeping the fun alive in their relationship has helped to sustain
“Vacations are great – you forget your troubles,” says
Weekly ‘date nights’ have also strengthened their bond.
“When we were raising children, we needed a night out away
from the kids.It was important that we
had time to ourselves,” says Riva.
Dancing is another pastime the twosome enjoy immensely.
“We love to dance.Riva taught me everything I know.She’s always been a great dancer.I consider myself good, but only with her.We have rhythm together,” says Cal.
Socializing their kids often --with extended family
including cousins – proved beneficial too.
“We’re so fortunate that our kids' kids like each other – they grew
up together. If you don’t mingle with
your family, your children don’t know how to act around one another. We have a close-knit family because we
socialized together constantly,” says Riva.
Negotiating is another skill to sharpen for matrimonial
“I gave up pushing Riva to go to Florida for the winters. She has cats and grandkids and doesn’t want to
go.I don’t agree with it, but I understand
it.This year, I got her to agree to 9
weeks of vacation (non-consecutive),” says Cal.
Though courtship stomach butterflies come and ultimately fade to a ‘comfortable’
norm, building a life with someone shouldn’t be taken for granted, says Riva.
“This is your partner.A lot of things can happen. I don’t
think about the future. I think about right now. You have to enjoy every day
and make every day count, because you don’t get it back,” she says.
Thank you Cal and
Riva! Wishing you more years of happiness, peace and love! *Copyright 2014 by Erika Prafder
By this time
next week, our dear Rabbi will G-d willing, wed his bride – an amazing young
woman and welcome addition to our shul family.
accepting his pulpit post a few years back– the first of his career – our
congregants have witnessed the evolution and growth of his rabbinical gifts—as spiritual
teacher, advisor and orator.A respect
and admiration for his talent and potential exists, along with sincere
appreciation for the personal connections he’s made with so many of us.
of this approaching milestone event is especially sweet, with the High Holidays
upon us.As we reflect over the past
year, a renewed and stronger commitment to our faith can be felt during Shabbos
services, social hall events and beyond the synagogue doors in everyday lives.
and best wishes to our Rabbi Daniel Vinik and Rachel Fleischer.Enjoy your wedding in Eretz Israel.With G-ds help, we look forward to welcoming
you back and working together toward continued spiritual growth in the New
A heck of a holy lot, as our congregation recently discovered.
Following the gut-renovation of our decades-old, original-condition social
hall, the time came to properly thank our angel-benefactor and fellow synagogue
A dedication plaque was in order along with a celebratory Kiddush in his honor.
But such showing of gratitude was briefly halted, when out of modesty, our
miracle-facilitator rejected our suggestion that the gorgeous new space he’d
gifted us with, be named for him.
Attempts to persuade him otherwise failed initially, but ultimately, he
agreed to name the hall for his late father, Abraham Kurtz.An a-ha
With the designation of this Biblical name, the essence of Mr. Kurtz – a well-loved,
family man-- enlivened many hearts.Suddenly, our congregation’s sense of identity and purpose soared with
higher spiritual value.Just as Father
Abraham embodied qualities of loving kindness, hospitality and peace, so too
should we align our personal and communal aims.
For our generous and esteemed donor and friend, the opportunity to
memorialize his beloved father in this way, proved to be a pivotal,
transformative gift for himself, his loved ones and our synagogue family.
Today, upon entering our once dimly-lit and musty social room, I am grateful
for the warmth, love, and marvelous, inspirational light that radiates throughout
our new ABRAHAM HALL.
Glancing over at the letters, plaque and bio in recognition of Mr. Kurtz,
for whom we’ve been so blessed, there’s a shared pride in being granted the
opportunity to try to continue his legacy and that of our Jewish patriarch.
Copyright 2014 by Erika Prafder
Close up of Dedication Plaque
(Richard Lobell Photography)
the summer of 2011, my friend and fellow synagogue member, Robin, and I were just two shul-going
gals in desperate need of corralling upwards of 20-plus children, (aged 2 and
up) inside our Temple’s small social hall to help ensure a peaceful davening experience in the sanctuary next door.
we’d no formal training, we’d unofficially and electively served as Shabbas Den Mothers during
the winter months and between us were busy raising six youngsters of our
own.However, when the warm season hits,
our membership doubles in size.The
added youth energy proved both welcome and disruptive at once.
to begin?For starters, we turned to
Parsha offers an easy-to-branch-off-of lesson plan for related activities and
discussions.We relied on such weekly teachings
for inspiration, content and themes.
soared in to high gear upon our discovery of a no-fail, time-tested,
kid-approved, edible substance – Marshmallow Fluff.
of respect for Halakha (Shabbat Laws),
we used this sticky white goop as the “glue” for edible Torah Scrolls, Noah’s
Arks, and every other eatable, Parsha-focused craft we could think up.We’d found our fun-factor! Our kids returned
each week eager for more Shabbos enlightenment and yes – a sugar high.
to the support of our congregation and our own dedication, we’re about to launch
our fourth Summer Shabbos Youth Program this year.With two newly-hired Youth Leaders, Robin and
I have been freed up to enrich the agenda and supervise it from the
point of all this? We learned that it doesn’t take much to build community or
to invest in youth education.Just a bit
of elbow grease, commitment and a certain jarred product found on any