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Transcript of interview with Hershel Brooks by Barbara Tabach, December 8, 2016






Hershel Brooks was born December 3, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in an orthodox Jewish household, along with his four siblings, and attended Jewish community schools before pursuing his rabbinical studies. He studied at TelsheYeshiva in Cleveland, Torah Vodaath in New York, and Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Before assuming his first rabbinical position, Brooks married his wife, Alma, and graduated with his BA from the University of Miami. He was first hired by a conservative congregation in Miami, and subsequently led congregations in Savannah, Georgia, Greensboro, North Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eventually, he joined a temple in Anaheim, California, where he served for twenty years. In 1996, Brooks retired to Las Vegas. He was soon asked to lead services at Temple Bet Knesset Bamidbar [BKB] twice a month as its rabbi. He still is active at BKB, though he retired in 2011. In this interview, Brooks reflects on his family background and the path that lead to his becoming a rabbi in the Conservative Jewish Movement. He talks about his career, including his involvement with BKB as well as other Jewish community service, including facilitating adult bar mitzvah classes and serving on the local Rabbinical court of Judaism, known as Bet Din.

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Hershel Brooks oral history interview, 2016 December 08. OH-02916. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH HERSHEL BROOKS An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Amanda Hammar iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE Hershel Brooks was born December 3, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in an orthodox Jewish household, along with his four siblings, and attended Jewish community schools before pursuing his rabbinical studies. He studied at TelsheYeshiva in Cleveland, Torah Vodaath in New York, and Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Before assuming his first rabbinical position, Brooks married his wife, Alma, and graduated with his BA from the University of Miami. He was first hired by a conservative congregation in Miami, and subsequently led congregations in Savannah, Georgia, Greensboro, North Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eventually, he joined a temple in Anaheim, California, where he served for twenty years. In 1996, Brooks retired to Las Vegas. He was soon asked to lead services at Temple Bet Knesset Bamidbar [BKB] twice a month as its rabbi. He still is active at BKB, though he retired in 2011. In this interview, Brooks reflects on his family background and the path that lead to his becoming a rabbi in the Conservative Jewish Movement. He talks about his career, including his involvement with BKB as well as other Jewish community service, including facilitating adult bar mitzvah classes and serving on the local Rabbinical court of Judaism, known as Bet Din. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Hershel Brooks On December 8, 2016 by Barbara Tabach in Las Vegas, Nevada Preface??????????????????????????????..?..iv Talks about family?s immigration to United States from Poland; father originally living in Georgia with siblings before moving to New York; growing up in Brooklyn with five siblings and parents; attending religious school from childhood, then rabbinic school, and later college. Recalls first rabbinical job, with conservative congregation, which led to a deep commitment to Conservative Judaism?????????????????.1-7 Discusses family?s support for joining conservative movement versus orthodox; different positions in the South and East Coast before taking appointment in California, where he worked for next twenty years. Talks about moving to Las Vegas, with intention to retire; becoming involved with Temple Bet Knesset Bamidbar and the congregation?s growth???????????????????????????????..8-13 Talks about serving as Bet Knesset Bamidbar?s Rabbi Emeritus, Cantor Jonathan Friedmann; the two of them holding services every other week; reasons why the temple doesn?t have a permanent structure. Mentions facilitating adult bar mitzvah classes; serving on Jewish Court. Shares about his four children; he and wife?s integration into the local community, being embraced, including in social life............................................14-21 Reflects upon evolution from identifying as orthodox to conservative Jew; growth of Chabad movement in Las Vegas. Mentions Board of Rabbis. Ponders why there are so many different congregations, and why so many Jewish people are unaffiliated in the city. Talks about continued involvement in the community; changes in Bet Knesset Bamidbar?s membership over time; former city-wide congregant recruitment day, Meet Your Rabbi???????????????????????????????...22-32 Index....................................................................................................................................33 1 1 This is Barbara Tabach. Today is December 8, 2016. I'm sitting with Hershel Brooks in his home as part of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage project. Rabbi Brooks, as I mentioned, it's really a wonderful starting place to talk about what you know about your family heritage and ancestry. Could fill me in on that? My family came here from Poland, my father at approximately the year 1918, I think, right after World War I. It was about close to ten years later before he was able to bring my mother over. There had to be five years until they got citizenship papers and then this paper and that paper and green paper. Of course, he went back to Poland to visit and then she finally came. He started to have his children ten years after their marriage. So even though they were married and they were living in two different countries? They were living in two different countries. I can't imagine what that would be like in that period of time. I know, but that's the way it was in those days. They didn't come from wealthy people, from a small, little town in Poland. That's how we began. The name Brooks is because his brother, the oldest brother, came to America before him and settled in Athens, Georgia. Then he brought over his sister and then he brought over my father. So first the older brother, then a sister, and then my father. But my father, he was married whereby those two, the older one and the sister, were not married yet and they got married here. Even though I could say that the oldest one that came from Europe to America is a story by itself. He was the first one here. There was a young lady living in Athens, Georgia, where the University of Georgia was. We must be talking even before World War I, you understand. She graduated college. 2 Now, a lady graduating college at that time, say, 1916, 1917, you can well imagine, or 1915, was a unique thing. Oh my, yes. As a gift for graduating college, her father gave her a gift to travel through the entire world, world travel, on a ship in those days. But the father asked her, "Would you do me a favor? While you're traveling?I know you're going to visit Poland?why don't you visit this small, little town where my father, your grandfather came from." What town was that, do you know? Do you remember the name? Yes, I know the name, but I don't know if I can pronounce it. Dlugosiodlo, something like that. As a matter of fact, I visited that town when I went to visit Poland in 1990. Nevertheless, so she went to visit into that little town. Lo and behold, she met a young man whose name was Abe. I think the last name was Brok, B-R-O-K. Of course, there was a river running through it called the Broker River; something like that. She fell in love with him. He couldn't speak English, I assure you that. Neither could she speak Polish. But I guess love speaks to each other. It transcends language sometimes. It transcends itself. She loved him so much that when she came back home, she told her father, "I've got to bring him back here to America." That's how she brought him. Of course, when he came, Ellis Island or whatever it was, he said, well, living in Athens, Georgia, in the early 1900s, Brok would not do with an accent. They changed his name to Brooks. Now, he brought his sister over who moved to Atlanta, all Georgians. Fell in love 3 with somebody there and married them. They brought over the youngest brother, which was my father. There was still an older brother or two that was killed by the Nazis. They never came to America. When he came, he changed his name to Brooks and he moved to New York. How did he choose to go to New York? Well, first he went to Atlanta. That's where the sister brought him. But he was a man by himself. He felt that he wanted to be with his kind of people. He was Orthodox whereby the others living in America had already changed from orthodox to not as orthodox as he was. But in New York City there would be a lot of orthodox men; and, indeed, there will be a little synagogue by that name who were people who came for that little community to America. Oh, by the name of the? Dlugosiodlo. The city, of the town. It's like people who came from a town in, let's say, Italy or in Sicily, they're the Sicily church. So that was how they knew they would find people of similar background. That he would be okay and he would find and go into business at first and other things like that. Eventually he went into the diamond business. My sister was the first one born here within a year that my mother came, or a couple of years. She was born in 1928. She's still alive, God bless her. What's her name? Her name is Esther. And then another sister, her name was Temi, T-E-M-I, or Thelma. They change it to Jewish, Temi. And then I came along, Hershel. He wanted to 4 Americanize me also. So he gave me Hershel H. Brooks; the H stands for Harry. And then after me another brother by the name of Moshe, Moses. And then another sister, Hendle. So it's a family of five. He worked very, very hard. Oh, I imagine. We lived in Williamsburg, New York, which is quite different from Williamsburg, New York today. Today you have high-rises there and [it is] a fortune to buy a home now. And you told me you were born in 1930. Nineteen thirty. I was already the third child born. So he had these five children within six or seven years. Made up for lost time. Made up for lost time perhaps. Anyway, but he was very, very orthodox. I never went to public school. I went to what we called at that time parochial school. You've heard that word before. Which was in Jewish called a yeshiva. That's just a word. I can only explain to it like in this day and age you've heard so often. In the Arab lands, they go to medrese. I never had, quote, ?a calling to become a rabbi.? I just studied religion all the way through. So you didn't experience pressure to? To be a rabbi, no. ?to become a rabbi from your parents. No such thing as pressure from them, no. They were not rabbis. My brother is not rabbi. But all my sisters are married to scholarly rabbis, all of them, who are heads of schools, of rabbinic schools in New York. Go ahead and mention names for me here. That would be great. My sister Temi is married to a rabbi, Shmuel, S-H-M-U-E-L, Kaminetzy, 5 K-A-M-I-N-E-T-Z-Y, who is known as the greatest scholar here in the United States among the orthodox people. That's it. The other one married a Rabbi [Harvey] Waxman who was the head of a school in Spring Valley [New Jersey]. Esther, the oldest one, married Waxman. Nevertheless, I went through this type of school myself. And then as a teenager, I kept on going?Hebrew high school and we're learning English, too, and then on to rabbinic school to become a rabbi and I was ordained. However, I decided I wanted to go to college because the very orthodox never went to college. Oh, really? They really, really didn't. Just study your Hebrew and your Talmud and that's it; then grow up to be a scholar. And being a scholar you can be a teacher in a school or whatever. But no, never went to college. But I did. I was the only one in my whole family that went to college, University of Miami, as I told you before. That's where I went. Is that the University of Miami in Florida? Yes. Why University of Miami? I got a scholarship to go there. You see, I couldn't afford to pay or anything like that. What were you studying when you went? I was studying two subjects, government and philosophy, two useless subjects, I suppose, but there it is. I knew all the time I would be a rabbi even though I once had in my mind to go to law school because one who studies rabbinics has already an insight into law. Indeed, a lot of my friend rabbis went into law school even after they were ordained, but that's not the point. As soon as I graduated I got my first job as a rabbi there. I met my wife [Alma 6 Brooks] in Miami?Where does one like me meet a wife? In a young adult dance in a conservative synagogue?You see, I didn't know much at all about conservative. So you chose to become a rabbi in the conservative movement... Right. Then I chose to become a rabbi in the conservative system and I really loved it. What was the name of the congregation there? In Miami? Temple Zamora. It's called Temple Zamora simply because it was on Zamora Avenue. It wasn't a big temple. It was a small temple. They needed a rabbi. So they called. I was so raw. What was I, thirty years old at the most? I had already been married to my wife at that time. I married her, finished up my college degree, and I was a Hebrew schoolteacher. She was working as a medical technologist in a hospital there. Then I got my first job. It turned out the money that I was getting for my first job was more money than her job and my teaching job. So there it was; I was a rabbi. In a sense, I learned to be a conservative rabbi, because I never went, quote, ?to conservative seminary.? I can't say never?I did go there years later, but not for a degree, just to study and learn in the summertime and the evenings, when I had an opportunity. So you had graduated thinking you would be? I was already graduated. But you thought you would be in a more orthodox temple? I didn't know. I just didn't know. But this conservative synagogue opened up. So I said, "Okay, I'll go to conservative." I used to go to a synagogue in Miami Beach, to an orthodox temple?which, by the way, now is a museum. Oh, really? Right. I knew exactly where I was sitting and I was going to school at the University of 7 Miami. I decided: Okay, I'll be a rabbi instead of lawyer. Mostly because this [other] position opened up. From there to Savannah, Georgia. They needed a rabbi so badly in Georgia. Someone heard of me one way or the other and they called me, would I come and try out. I came and tried out, and I get the job. While I was in Savannah, Georgia, I wanted to join the conservative rabbinical organization, but you had to be a rabbi at least for three years before you could even apply. The conservative rabbinic organization was called the Rabbinical Seminary. I just fell in love with Conservative Judaism. What about it appealed to you? Well, Conservative Judaism is the Judaism that keeps the laws of the Torah even in a modern world and still follow orthodox teachings. You do everything that our Torah says we should do. However, things that are minutia that makes no sense in this day, change it for living in this day. But things that make sense and you can live with in this day, still follow it. What's wrong with wearing a yarmulke? I still wear the yarmulke. If in this day and age, the only way you can speak from the pulpit is in a microphone for people to hear what you're talking about or sermonize in English, sermonize in English. In this day and age, man and woman are together all the time. So in a conservative synagogues, it's okay for a lady and a man to sit next to each other, not so by orthodox. [Women] sat upstairs, separated. Not only that, conservatism is a questioning kind of spirit. The Bible is not taught with a don't-ask question attitude; if that's what it says; that must be it. No, you can ask questions. You can read archeology. You can study history. You can compare the culture of the time when the Bible was written to the culture of other peoples of that time, things in 8 the Bible make sense also because that's the way they did things in those days. The people at the time did it this way and we have archeological proof, et cetera, et cetera. Whereby the very orthodox tradition, its motto is study Talmud, study this, don't ask questions, this is the way it should be. Now, my family knowing that I'm a conservative?my father knew that, too. Of course, I was young and in the conservative spirit. But they always showed respect. They always felt that he's an uncle, he's a brother, he's studied, he's learned, I want you to always respect somebody for what he is, (not for what you want him to be). Not only honor thy mother and father, but honor thy sister, thy brother, thy father-in-law, thy mother-in-law, the elderly and so on. So you found your family was supportive of your choice. My family has always supported me even to this very day. They may have a beard and they sit and study, they always wear yarmulke, they always have a black hat. I would come with to visit wearing a gray hat or modern dress. But I would never visit without having a hat since I should respect them, too. I imagine your father?he was in the diamond industry, you said, in New York City. Yes?He was clean shaven. But he wore the hat? He was orthodox. He would. Yes, he always wore a hat or yarmulke, right. Go to synagogue every day, twice a day, in the morning and the evening. Whenever he had a moment to study, he would open up the Bible and study the Bible. He would open up the Talmud. You know what the Talmud is. He?d study with other groups and so on and so forth. When I came to visit, even 9 with my wife, we?d respect each other. Now, my brother-in-law or sister-in-law hope one day I'll see the true light, that I come back to the fold. Now even this day, I still sit and study. One always studies. I was brought up to always be with a book. Whenever there's a study session in any synagogue here, even the Chabad, the religious Chabad here, I go there and I study Bible with them. Some of the things they say may not be, as far as I'm concerned, scientifically possible, but nevertheless, we go and always study with them and the same thing here. My first job was Savannah, Georgia, and then in Greensboro, North Carolina. From Greensboro to Philadelphia. You know we rabbis travel. Yes. From Greensboro to Philadelphia and a Philadelphia position opened up here in Anaheim. Oh. When you say "here," you mean in California. Here in California, in Anaheim. I lived in Anaheim, or Garden Grove, for twenty years. What was the name of that congregation that you served there? Beth Emet; B-E-T-H, E-M-E-T. As a matter of fact, there was a very little synagogue in Ontario that was having trouble. It just couldn't keep the membership; they couldn't keep a rabbi; things like that. So I was asked if I would go to a synagogue in Ontario, live where I lived, don't change anything, you don't have to move away, and see if you can go there and find nicer Saturdays and get them to move itself up to where it should be. The synagogue in Anaheim was very, very friendly with me all the time. As a matter of fact, I go there now every once in a while. My son, who is an attorney, became their cantor, this very synagogue that I was rabbi. Oh, really? 10 He studied there, had his bar mitzvah there, and now he is cantor there. What's your son's name? Zev, Z-E-V. Here's a picture. Now, after twenty years in Anaheim, it came time to retire. So I thought, I'd like to retire to a community that has a university. I only visited Las Vegas once even when I lived in California. As a matter of fact, the hotel that I stayed at with my wife was a hotel that was owned by a Nazi sympathizer. I forgot the name of the hotel. Oh, that would have been the Imperial Palace. Yes, the Imperial Palace. That's where I stayed the first time. I never gambled in my life. That's an infamous story, yes. Yes. I never gambled in my life. But that's where I stayed that one time in Las Vegas. So I wanted a community where there's a university that if I want to go to school, if I want to learn something, it was available. And at the same time, it has big city things with little community things. There's a butcher here. There's a shoemaker here. There will be a tailor here. You understand? Yes. There would be doctors here and all these things. So I was thinking of Las Vegas. This is after I retired. I didn't want to stay anymore in California. What year did you retire? I retired in the middle of 1996. Let's put it this way. I came here August 1996. Somebody got wind?I think Rabbi Akselrad or somebody else, or Chabad or whatever Chabadish people?that I was thinking of moving to Las Vegas. So I got a call from this place called [Temple] Bet Knesset Bamidbar, ?the synagogue in the desert?; 11 wanted to know if I would consider to perhaps be a rabbi just twice a month, Friday nights only because they only have services on Friday nights on the second and fourth Friday. I said, "Well, I'll talk it over with my wife and we'll see what's what." Now, God works in strange ways. Somewhere in California someone mentioned a community called Henderson, because I didn't know any communities around Las Vegas at all. So we drove up here. We began looking at houses, in Henderson. A real estate agent showed us around. Well, I used to go to the gym. So I said, "Come, let's go to the gym and exercise a little bit." It was five or six o'clock in the evening. I went to the gym and started to exercise on a bicycle. Right next to me was a woman; a conversation started up and I said, "We're looking for a house to move to Las Vegas." She says, "You know, there are other communities. There's a place called Summerlin." "What's Summerlin?" "Yes, there's a place called Summerlin." I said, "Okay. You know what? We were only in a hotel for a day or night to two nights. I'll come back again and we'll look in the area called Summerlin." So somebody showed us, when I came back the second time?We met a real estate agent. How did we meet him? We were looking at a house on our own and this real estate agent was in this house showing somebody else. We started up a conversation. He says, "Here's my card." We were ready to go back to California already?we were here two days looking around. He never thought that I would call him back again, but we did. About a month or so later we called him and he was the one that showed us our present home. Oh, okay. Right. Even as he showed us this house, we were getting calls to come to visit Bet Knesset Bamidbar. Before we even moved in, I did visit one Friday evening service to see what it is 12 like. It turned out it wasn't a conservative service, but it's more or less reform. They call that traditional reform. What does traditional reform mean? You must understand Sun City?that's where the synagogue was?is a senior citizen community. Senior citizen, I figure to myself, must be people who grew up in the same atmosphere that I grew up, mostly from Chicago, New York, Cleveland; and if they're my age they were either conservative in the first place or from an orthodox background, and I was right. So though we use, a quote, reform prayer book, they know when I speak and say something which is a little more religious-wise, they can understand what I'm talking about. Speaking Jewish to a lot of them who speak, or at least understand, the Jewish language. I learned how to speak Jewish because that's what they spoke in my house. When they wanted to tell a secret, it was in Polish. Who hired you? Who was leading that congregation at the time? A man by the name of Sid, S-I-D, Kliffer, K-L-I-F-F-E-R. Now, let me explain: The congregation started out some years before I came, meeting in houses. A Rabbi Lederman retired from his congregation and he moved to Sun City. So the congregation asked him to be their rabbi on a voluntary basis. The services were held in a small community room in one of their buildings in Sun City. He didn't charge them anything; just to keep himself a little busy. After a year went by the congregation grew. They said, "Let's see if we can get a rabbi to be here permanently, but we'll have to pay the guy." They paid me very little, not much. That's when they hired me. 13 The congregation board decided to hire a rabbi permanently to conduct the service twice a month. That?s when I was hired. Within three or four years, the congregation grew from 300 people to 1300?one thousand three hundred members. Big synagogue. Yes. We moved to the largest social hall or one of their activity buildings actually called Desert Vista. It's one of their clubhouses. By that time, they already had a small bulletin going, and at that time, only people who lived in Sun City could be members of the synagogue; and yet, we had thirteen hundred members. Yes. There's a lot of retired Jewish people who live in Sun City in Summerlin. Right, right, right. There's another little synagogue in Sun City, also, a breakaway from us. Which one is that? It is called [Temple] Beth Emet, a small one. Each month they meet on one Friday; we meet on the other two Fridays. I wasn't even here then when they broke away. I suppose it must have been one argument between one president and other people. Who knows what? I've been Bet Knesset Bamidbar?s rabbi until I retired. The synagogue doesn't have thirteen hundred members now. So I used to go Friday night to do my thing. The other Friday nights I would visit other synagogues because I would always go to synagogue with my wife. On Saturday morning I would go to Beth Sholom or to one of the other ones. That's how I got to know all those other people and they know me. Regarding the board of rabbis here, I was one of the first ones on it. That's how it is for twenty years here. Do the members at Knesset pay dues? 14 Membership pays dues. The dues amount was a laugh. When I came here the dues was, I think, thirty-five dollars per couple. For the year? For the year. And they still made it. Of course, people give donations as well. When you have 1300 members, even if took three or four years to build up to that number, you still come out, OK. . ? So where are services held? Our services are held in this clubhouse. Still to this day. Still to this day. But it's a big room. We have services packed with people. And the peak membership of 1300, about when did that happen; what year would you say? Well, if I came in 1996 that happened in 1999. What do you think was the cause of its growth? Well, I think the cause of it going up is because they liked the way I gave my sermons, always a little story, always a little joke. They came there despondent; they always left happy. As a matter of fact, a member of the synagogue said, "You've got to put all these little stories and all these little jokes in a book." So I did that. I call it a book; it's short. I'll give it to you. It's a soft-cover thing called Worship the Lord in Joy. Okay, I'd love to have it. There's little stories. There's little jokes. There's little things, which are not referred to jokes 15 that you would say on a pulpit, but jokes. By now they're already old jokes. But at that time they were new. Anyway, a lot of people came to the service, they liked it. For $35 how could you go wrong? Eventually they raised it to $50. Right now it's a $100 or $110, whatever. I think a $115, maybe. I really don't know. It isn?t a back breaking dues for membership. They do their thing; let me do my thing. So are you the active rabbi there now? Yes. Yes and no. What do I mean by yes and no? Now I am called Rabbi Emeritus, but they have no other rabbi there. They do have a cantor. So I do all the rabbinic requirements that they need a rabbi for?answer a question on the telephone; Rabbi, could my mother-in-law...dadada. All life cycle requirements like visiting the hospital, I go. If someone dies, I do the funeral. They did have rabbis, but they left. Some of them retired or so. So I'm their rabbi emeritus. Are they looking to replace you? Not that you could be replaced, but... No, they're very happy with the cantor as of now. They had rabbis for a year, two years, three years, as replacements when I retired. But they didn?t work out, so now they have a cantor only; though he does give a sermon as well. I didn't retire until the age of eighty-six. What is the cantor's name? The cantor's name is Jonathan Friedmann. He's a nice young man. When I say cantor, he teaches music in a cantorial school. He's got his doctor's degree in music. He writes books about music. He lives in California, though. But he drives up every second Friday night to do his thing and then drives back. 16 Do they have services every Friday night now? No, no, every other Friday night and, of course, the High Holidays, too, he's here. How did he find the congregation or how did they find him? Again, when I first came in 1996, I did the cantorial stuff, too. I would do the singing with them and reading the prayers with them. One day, years later?let me see, around 2005?they decided to have a cantor. It isn't that they can't afford it. They could afford it. Now, you see, a full-time rabbi, like Rabbi Felipe Goodman or Rabbi Sandy Akselrad or even Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel?these are all full-time rabbis with full service synagogues. They have schools and classes and bar mitzvahs and all that stuff. We don't have that. So when you are having services in a temporary room as opposed to a synagogue, where do you keep the Torah? The Torah is moved out into a storage closet. And for Friday night services, the Torah is brought back out. Chairs are set up. And there you go. That way. When you say "temporary," I think you're referring to...It's not temporary. In other words, they know that every second Friday night, Sun City, their offices know that we rent it; it?s contracted for a full year. That goes to the idea that you don't have to have a brick-and-mortar type of synagogue. Correct. We don't have to have that. Even though I understand that they offered it to them; that is, Del Webb, their community offered free to build the synagogue or to build a church, just like they build the clubhouses. But we didn't want one. The church did; so therefore, there is one or two churches. If you ever drive around Sun City, you'll find a 17 church there. Why do you think they did not want to have a permanent (building)? They did not want to have it because they realized it as the board or the small board that they had that we're all seniors. Somebody has to keep (a synagogue) up when it is built. If you do have a building, you're going to have to keep up the building. There will be expense for the building. And for what? We're not having Sunday school classes. You understand? We are seniors. We're not having grandchildren coming here for bar mitzvahs. Oh, I did have an adult education class and I have taught adult bar mitzvah classes. For the adult bar mitzvah? For the first adult bar mitzvah class, about fifty-eight or sixty-two signed up. I don't remember exactly the number. So I had to do it broken up. That seems like a large number. I know, a lot. We had a bar mitzvah for twenty, men and women, men who never had bar mitzvah for some reason; they just grew up as a bar mitzvah?and women who came from that kind of family background that forbade women from being a bat mitzvah. Nevertheless, we had to have two classes, two bar mitzvah services, and it was beautiful. I mean, after the bar mitzvah, each one of them went to people's homes and they had parties. Their families came. It was a whole big thing, got certificates and so on. My wife was always very helpful to me. As a matter of fact, she was the editor or put together the bulletin. And that's why the bulletins even now memorialize her, a little circle of memory. I'll show you one. You'll get to see it. She did that for twelve years, from the third or fourth month that we moved here until she died. Anyway, when I say she 18 died...We were married over 40 years when she died in 2007. I go to the other synagogues to pray or study. I was ordained in orthodox, not conservative, though I am conservative in my personal Jewish mannerism. Sometimes people have questions, I mean, among the rabbis