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Talmud Torah Award ó 2007

 Award Recipient — Richard Hoffman

 We are delighted to honor Richard Hoffman with the presentation of the 9th annual Talmud Torah Award.  Read Richard's Dvar Torah.

  Richard and Ilisa Hoffman have been members of Temple Beth Am since moving to Miami in 1984. Both of their children are graduates of the Beth Am Day School. Richard serves on the Temple Beth Am Board as Vice President-Day School, and in June will be installed as the congregation’s Executive Vice President for 2007–08.

Richard began studying Torah with Rabbi Terry Bookman over 10 years ago when his friend, David Schwadron, rekindled his interest in our heritage. He has participated in our “Lunch and Learn” programs, Adult Education offerings and rarely passes up any of the many learning opportunities at Beth Am or throughout our community.

When asked for the motivation underlying his interest in Talmud Torah, Richard responds with a quote from Exodus: "...we will do and we will know..." Says Richard, “The more I study and learn, the more I incorporate the teachings and reasonings into my life, the more I begin to understand the real blessing and lessons of Torah.  After 10 years of learning, I am almost at the starting point. The study of Torah is a life long pursuit and a journey well worth taking.”

  Past Recipients of the Talmud Torah Award

2006        Mark Oren
2005        David Schwadron
                 (Special Award to Rabbi Morris Kipper z"l)
2004        Steve Simon
2003        Paul Distenfeld and Anabela Moskovitz
2002        Judith Bittel
2001        Edward Schwartz
2000        Peter Sobel
1999        Michael Margulies

The Talmud Torah Award

History and Purpose
During the late 1990s, our clergy determined that the Temple Beth Am community should illustrate its commitment to Jewish adult learning by recognizing and honoring those congregants who are committed to adult learning.  Congregants who contribute to the Temple in other ways — financially or volunteering time — already receive formal awards, such as The Harry Gunther Service Award. There was a consensus that devotion to adult Jewish learning also was a contribution to Temple life equally worthy of formal recognition. An award for Jewish learning also would serve to publicize Beth Am’s adult education programs and encourage participation in them.

With the approval of the Adult Education Committee, Temple Beth Am in 1999 instituted the Talmud Torah Award to honor congregants who contribute to the Temple by engaging thoughtfully in its adult education programs.

Nature of the Award

Recipients receive three forms of recognition.
• An article in the Commentator provides the congregation with the winner’s biographical sketch and photograph.
• A plaque on the wall of the sanctuary lobby records the names of the recipients.
• And, most importantly, the recipient receives recognition at a Friday night service in the Spring, and then delivers a D’var Torah on the weekly torah portion.

Selection Process and Criteria

The award is presented to a congregant who has demonstrated superior commitment to adult Jewish education in general, and to the Temple’s adult education programming in particular. The award may also be given to related congregants to honor their joint participation. Recipients should demonstrate both breadth of commitment by participating in a variety of activities, and depth of commitment through consistent and thoughtful participation. Ordinarily, recipients should be members of the congregation not associated with the clergy, although an exception was made in 2005 when a special award was presented to Rabbi Morris Kipper (z"l).

A subcommittee of the Adult Education Committee selects the recipient, based on recommendations from the Clergy, participants in Temple adult educational programming and other interested members of the Temple community. Prior recipients are included in the selection subcommittee.

— Ed Schwartz

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