Humans of Beth Am Blog

David Kaplan: Making a Minyan

I believe in prayer and I think it's important for people to have a place to pray. That's why I serve as gabbai for the daily morning service at Temple Beth Am, as well as for the afternoon/evening service.

It's usually not a problem to make a minyan for shacharit, but for the mincha/maariv service we often have to call people to come in. People are usually very receptive when called and we are able to make the minyan.

I'm from Chicago originally. My father was a kosher butcher, and I grew up in a Conservative shul, although it was much less active than Temple Beth Am. I wasn't particularly religious after my bar mitzvah, but I said shma every day.

In 1981 I moved to Los Angeles to take the bar exam, and then started my career as a bankruptcy lawyer. Bankruptcy law satisfied me because it was interesting and allowed me to help those in financial distress.

In Chicago I went shul-shopping, but I never found a place that felt right. In 1988, I discovered Temple Beth Am and it immediately felt comfortable so I kept on coming. I joined the shul in 1989, and started getting involved in various activities and programs.

I've taken many wonderful classes at Beth Am over the years. I started with Rabbi Rembaum's Learner's Minyan, and I also enjoyed Rembaum on Rambam. These days, I take Rabbi Lucas' class on Jeremiah, Rabbi Kligfeld's class on Chumash with Rashi, and Avi Havivi's class on the siddur.

Over the years I've served the synagogue in various capacities. I served as Recording Secretary and VP of House and Grounds on the Temple Beth Am board. I am co-chair of the Chesed Committee along with Rosana Chermisqui, which includes the Shiva Task force, Bikkur Holim and the Host or Be Hosted program.

A few years ago, the daily minyan gabbai retired, so I took over from Nate Milmeister, who is still officially listed as gabbai because he gave so much to the minyan over the years.

The people at Temple Beth Am are good people and very involved with Judaism. All of the clergy since I've been here have been great. Temple Beth Am is my home and I'm happy to serve the congregation every day.