Membership : : President's Message

Monthly Message from Temple Co-Presidents Arnold Miller and Sandy Shapiro

Summer is officially with us, though you might have your doubts looking out the window and seeing the remnants of June Gloom. Visitors to Southern California may be disappointed by the morning cloud cover but your co-presidents love it. We are both distance runners and the cool, overcast early mornings are perfect for our jaunts and the sunny afternoons are a daily reminder of why we relocated to this area. If you see us on our daily circuits, WAVE.

While we have started preparations for the upcoming High Holy Days, this is a slow period in the Jewish calendar. With that in mind, we would like to take a quick historical perspective of Temple Judea:

Temple Judea 1.0 – From its founding in 1965 and for the next twenty years or so, our wonderful synagogue was in growth mode. Temple Judea opened to serve the needs of the Jewish residents of then Leisure World. Leisure World represented a new cultural phenomenon in the United States, a community dedicated to providing an active, secure environment to Americans over the age of 55. Leisure World grew over a 20-year period and so did Temple Judea – beginning with only the Jack & Florence Berlin Sanctuary and then the Dr. Benjamin Bendat Social Hall.

Temple Judea 2.0 – During the next 20 years, from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s, Temple Judea reached maturity. Leisure World grew to about 18,000 residents as the “Greatest Generation” of Americans retired. About 20% of this population was Jewish and more than half of them belonged to Temple Judea. The congregants led religious life in Temple Judea and Friday night Shabbos services filled both the sanctuary and social hall. To accommodate the large membership, the Smotrich Chapel and Molly Blank Office were added. Members skilled in carpentry designed the chapel ark, and built the Torah reading tables, lecterns and parking lot Menorah.

Temple Judea 3.0 – Change comes to Temple Judea: Leisure World renamed Laguna Woods Village; Temple Judea employs full time religious leader. The demographics of Laguna Woods Village are changing and the proportion of Jews has declined. Temple Judea adjusts with a rigorous outreach program to Southern Orange County and today more than half of our congregants are non-Laguna Woods Village residents. Rabbi Dennis Linson, the only full time Rabbi Temple Judea has employed, recently reached his “Bar Mitzvah” year at our synagogue. Superbly supported by long-term clergy Cantor Josef Chazan and Cantorial Soloist Susan Kotses and active congregant volunteers, Temple Judea continues to adapt to our spiritual and social needs and desires.

Wishing us all and Temple Judea a wonderful future,

Arnold Miller & Sandy Shapiro, Co-Presidents