Speech written by Richard Zeman
Shabbat Shalom! Does it sound a bit cliched to begin by saying what an honor it is to present this year’s Bernie Entin Brotherhood Man of the Year Award? I truly mean it. Let’s see how long it takes for our recipient to realize ‘tis he!
Rabbi Diamond describes Our Brotherhood Man of the Year as “Meticulous, thorough, deeply committed, and highly competent.” Hmmm . . . but does that really narrow the field?
Our Man of the Year is a “local”, born and raised in Southern California. He could accurately be described as… a “Valley Boy”. He was a curious child who loved to take things apart and put them back together. He was a computer geek before the Age of Computers.
Our Man of the Year was . . . a Dr. Demento fan, but, then again, who wasn’t? Some of you may not remember Dr. Demento’s radio show. It was . . . fabulous.
Cantor David, where do you suppose our Man of the Year attended college? Clearly, he’s one of your favorite congregants.
As a young boy, our Man of the Year revealed himself to be hero material. Little sister (Barbara) reveals big brother (Jeff) once saved her life by grabbing her, preventing her from falling out of the family car when the rear door opened, as Dad deftly negotiated a turn.
And if that doesn’t convince you, there was that time when a neighborhood boy threw a dart at a board as Barbara walked by, hitting her in the back of the head. Jeff was so mad, he took his slingshot and went after the lad… Rabbi, would you accept this as another take on the David vs. Goliath story?
Permit me to expose another behavior that reveals a hidden side to Jeff’s personality. (Jeff, feel free to express your gratitude to Barbara for these vignettes after the service.) A favorite activity was placing ketchup packets under the back tires of cars in parking lots, hoping to see them squirt!” Freudian? Jeff, you’re not still doing that are you?
Jeff’s major hobby is photography. He is proud of his camera and loves photographing nature and animals. He often goes to the zoo to take pictures of animals. And you often see him taking pictures at Temple events . . . Not that the two are directly related.
Our Man of the Year is a mensch. He is hardworking, and completely devoted to his family.
I want to share with you Rabbi Diamond’s excellent summary what Jeff means to TAE.
Quote: “After having spent decades working in the aerospace industry managing computer networks and attending services on a regular basis, Jeff became our first “Media Maven”, devoting a good amount of his time to helping us clergy figure out how we can use technology to provide a meaningful prayer experience both in the Sanctuary and at home. If you find the prayer project on the wall of the Sanctuary or displayed on the bottom of the screens to be valuable, then know that they are there and rotating at the proper time because of our primary media maven, Jeff. To say that he is invaluable is an understatement.
Continuing Rabbi’s words: “Often, when I walk into the sanctuary and peer into the media room, I can see that Jeff is working on those computers, at all times of day and night, making things better. And at each Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, Jeff directs our stream from his home, changing camera shots making sure the sound settings are correct and providing the professional expertise that a congregation our size so desperately needs. Jeff is rather shy and avoids the limelight, but if that limelight is working, it is, no doubt, because of the committed work of Jeff Gottloeb.” Well said, Rabbi!
And these words from Cantor David:
“In addition to what the rabbi wrote, Jeff, during the High Holy Days takes on the directing hat for our services, enabling me to not have to worry about changing camera shots and allowing me to pray and focus on our music. It really is a gift to me, as it allows me to place myself into the prayers I am leading rather than worrying about the logistics…. I know the product will be terrific because Jeff pours his heart and soul into everything he does at TAE. How fortunate we are to have him as a part of our community, and I cannot think of a better person to be given this honor!”
There isn’t a better person. Our 2023 Brotherhood Man of the Year – Jeff Gottloeb!