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Talmud Torah Award — 2015

Congratulations to Dianne & Dr. Stuart Gottlieb, recipients of the 17th annual Talmud Torah Award, honoring a congregant(s) who has contributed significantly to the Temple by engaging thoughtfully in our adult education programs.

Dianne & Dr. Stuart Gottlieb began their love affair with Temple Beth Am just after their own love blossomed, 25 years ago.

Their relationship with Jewish study started with Dianne’s preparation for conversion and has enriched their life together since. Dianne, a nurse, has been drawn to the women’s advocacy and healthcare mission of Hadassah, where she has held numerous leadership positions through the years. Most recently she served as President of Hadassah's Greater Miami Region, which encompasses all of the chapters in Miami-Dade County, and is a member of the National Board of Directors.

And as Stuart reflects: “We take advantage of all of the synagogue’s educational opportunities. They have provided us with a framework for examining the values by which we lead our lives, as well as a feeling of greater personal connection to and understanding of our history, our relationships to other Jews and the experiences which help to define us as Jews. Today, we consider the clergy and members of Temple Beth Am a part of our extended family.”

Past Recipients of the Talmud Torah Award

2014        Jordan Bittel
2013        Bob Price
2012        Edith Einspruch
2011        Marty & Shirley Levinson
2010        George Bosin (z"l) and Robert Sandler (z"l)
2009        Susan Henkin
Robyn C. Fisher
2007        Richard W. Hoffman
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

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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