Open Tent – December 2020

TBE’s MENsch Club

Doris Jacobson

During the past few months, a group of TBE men, spearheaded by Chairperson Jaime Lowenstein, have “rebooted” Temple Beth El’s MENsch Club. With special thanks to Marvin Belzer, Bill Brooks, Cantor Ilan Davidson, Barry Gross, Peter Herwitt, Andrew Kauffman, George Mayer, Eliot Swartz, and Bunky Victor for their leadership and creative ideas.

The goal of the MENsch Club is to create a strong community of Jewish men who gather together for service to our TBE community, the South Bay community at large, and to enjoy each other’s camaraderie. The MENsch Club has also chosen to present traveling candlesticks to our b’nai mitzvah recipients. They were honored to present the candlesticks to Sadie Lieb and to Zoe Davidson in August. On December 4, Jaime Lowenstein will present this gift to Sean Igdal prior to his bar mitzvah December 5.

The MENsch Club threw out the first pitch in September with a program featuring three baseball players will play for Team Israel during the next Olympic games. They were interviewed by TBE’s Robin Dreizler. The players shared their pride in playing for our Jewish homeland and spoke about the unique and lasting friendships that developed among the players.

In October, the MENsch Club celebrated Sukkot with Sushi and Sake in the Sukkah. MENsch Club committee member and chef extraordinaire, Eliot Swartz, demonstrated how to make sushi. Cantor Ilan led everyone in the blessings on the lulov and etrog and spoke about the festival of Sukkot. We also learned all about sake. The MENsch Club is beginning the tradition of having a journey speaker at each event. Tom Rosenberg was our first journey speaker during our October event. In addition to sharing the meaningful experiences and the relationships in his life, Tom played some of his music.

Our special MENsch Club journey speaker for the evening is Jonathan Villanueva. Jonathan grew up at Temple Beth El and was a recipient of the Boys & Girls programming. He will share his meaningful journey with us. On December 3, the MENsch Club will present Changing Lives… Saving Lives and will welcome “Club Kids” from the Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor. We will hear their inspiring stories and how the Boys & Girls Club has changed their lives. We will also hear from Anthony Luna, a former “Club Kid” and “Youth of the Year.” Anthony also served as the Director of High School Services and is currently the chair of the Club’s alumni association.

Among the areas of giving back to the community, members of the MENsch Club will offer to serve as mentors to Boys and Girls Club members. Members of the MENsch Club are also available to meet with TBE members and to assist with resume writing, job transition, coaching, etc.

The MENsch Club welcomes everyone to participate in its programming. We are interested in hearing about the kinds of programming that would be of interest.

And TBE is happy to welcome the MENsch Club back!

For further information and to become involved, please contact Doris Jacobson at