Talmud Torah Award ó 2014
Congratulations to Jordan Bittel, recipient of the 16th annual Talmud Torah Award, honoring a congregant who has contributed significantly to the Temple by engaging thoughtfully in our adult education programs.
Born in New York City in 1929, Jordan and his parents moved to Miami in 1936. He graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1946 and attended college and law school. Jordan served in the United States Army and married his wife, Judith, in 1953.
Judy and Jordan have three children: Michael, Stephen and Wendy. The family joined Temple Beth Am in 1958, and has remained for over 50 years. Beth Am has played a central role in Bittel family life — Judy taught in the Day School, and 14 members of the family have become a bar or bat mitzvah at Beth Am.
Jordan began studying Torah over 25 years ago. At first it might have been the bagels and coffee that drew Jordan to class, but soon it was the Jewish learning in a communal atmosphere. Today, Jordan studies on Saturday morning in a small, but spirited and dedicated group.
Now retired from a long and distinguished career as a tax attorney, Jordan enjoys his family, seven grandchildren and new great grandchildren. He is proud to receive the Talmud Torah Award that Judy was awarded in 2002.
|Past Recipients of the Talmud Torah Award|
Special Award to Rabbi Morris Kipper (z"l)
2004 Steve Simon
2003 Paul Distenfeld and Anabela Moskovitz
2002 Judith Bittel
2001 Edward Schwartz
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.