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Talmud Torah Award ó 2009

    Award Recipient — Susan Henkin

We are delighted to recognize Susan Henkin as the recipient of the 11th annual Talmud Torah Award. Read Susan’s Dvar Torah

Susan and her husband, Ed, moved to Miami from New York 11 years ago and enrolled their three children — Sydnie, Maddy and Leo — at Temple Beth Am Day School. Susan then became active in PATIO, and at Lenore Kipper’s request, served as a Day School representative to the Adult Education Committee. This led to serving on the Executive Committee of the Day School Board and many other Temple Committees, culminating with her installation on April 20, 2009 as Beth Am’s Executive Vice President.

Far and away Susan’s favorite part of our community quickly became her weekly participation in the Saturday morning Minyan service. She learned to chant Torah and gradually became a regular, not only at services but at Rabbi Bookman’s weekly Torah study as well. Susan also studied
with Rabbi Simon for the last seven years with a small group of women on Monday mornings. First, they tackled all of the five books of Torah, and this past year moved on to the Books of Joshua and Ruth, and most recently began study of selected Psalms.

Susan’s passion for learning spilled over into teaching, and for the last six years she has taught the “Mitzvah” component to seventh graders during Monday Night School. As a teacher she really became a more committed student. Ed and Susan still have found time to study with Miami friends, and even enjoyed the pleasure of attending Shabbat morning Torah study with their youngest child, Leo.

The Temple Beth Am community proudly honors Susan Henkin on this well-deserved achievement!

   Past Recipients of the Talmud Torah Award

2008        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

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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