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Arthur E. Kahn Scholarship Fund

When my wife Debra and I joined TBY nearly 24 years ago the two pillars of that community were Arthur Kahn and Rabbi Littman. It remained that way for 25 years until Rabbi Littman retired.

Arthur never retired from TBY.  He was president of the board twice, Executive VP for life, on the board ever since there first was a board...he was Mr. Temple Bat Yam! He got the same pay for nearly 30 years. Arthur took every call, answered every emergency, made innumerous, important decisions and called so many of our congregants when they were sick or needed the help of our synagogue. Arthur had more energy and dedication than any man I've known. He loved our Synagogue and we loved and respected him in return. A Temple building is bricks and Mortar, our Shul is more than that - its composed of friends and fellow spirits that enjoy being with each other, socializing, consoling each other when one suffers a loss, breaking bread together, and of course praying together. Arthur communed with all of us at Shabbat services and Onegs, at High Holy Day services at Pine Crest or Parker Playhouse, especially in his role of collecting the Kol Nidre pledges.  He knew the children in the school, their parents, the snowbirds, the full timers, part timers, teachers, staff, contractors, and workmen.  But he was most especially interested in the activities and running of our religious school, and always interested in our children. For years he made all the presentations to B’nai Mitzvah children on behalf of the TBY Board, he loved doing that. I made many presentations for Brotherhood when he would be there for the board, and now in that capacity as President of the board I use his famous lines to the nervous Bar or Bat Mitzvah child – “Relax, you passed the test.”

When he could drive himself to the Temple he was there nearly every day, and when he couldn't drive himself to meetings any longer Elaine would drive him and wait patiently for him to finish. And I need to emphasize the word patient – as he would keep Elaine waiting as meetings ran longer than expected.

As I became more active at TBY I served on many a committee and on the Board with him. He was never shy about expressing his opinion, and he would argue his point relentlessly until with a twinkle in his eye and a sly smile he would tell you..."well I'm just saying, you do what you think is best". Many times he was just playing Devil’s Advocate, sometimes he was subtly teaching a lesson in running a synagogue...but ARTHUR DID LOVE AN ARGUMENT. When he had something on his mind involving some matter of import to the operation of TBY he was single minded in his determination to be heard, to deal with the situation, and to resolve the issue no matter how difficult or if it ruffled some feathers. Arthur was not one to let go or drop a matter until his point was made well known. Later, as his hearing failed, this could prove to be...difficult.

What always amazed me most was his recollection of people's names and situations. He seemed to know everybody's business and stories and everything that was going on within and outside our temple. He was MR TEMPLE BAT YAM. For me personally Arthur was a mentor in Temple leadership. He has helped me in countless ways over the years deal with different positions in leadership and what those responsibilities entailed. He always enjoined me to deal fairly and kindly with members when dealing with delicate personal situations that we occasionally must help our fellow congregants with. He also exhorted me to be diligent in follow through when dealing with matters of a financial nature for our synagogue. He was a great mentor because he was a great leader. He had a great facility for budget matters and numbers, and could keep more financial data stored in his head than most of us had stored on our computers. I than still haven't figured out how Arthur always knew everything that was happening, every problem that needed solving...even when his ability to come to the temple was diminished. I think he had secret video cameras recording everything.

Personally, Debra, Paul and I will miss Arthur very much. Debra was the Temple maven in our family when we first joined TBY. She rose through leadership ranks in Sisterhood to be President, worked closely with Elaine in Sisterhood. Arthur was always at Friday night Shabbat services offering Debra "kindly advice" on the cost of Onegs, or if there was too much food, too little cake, too much of one type of desert or too little sugar free for, as Arthur would put it, the older folk. Needless to say at times when Arthur’s critiques were unsubtly offered they were not necessarily appreciated. But Arthur's kindness to my family, and the mutual affection we shared with Arthur and Elaine, has endured and grown over these past 24 years. Arthur always engaged our son Paul in conversation, showing him kindness and sincere interest in him. Arthur loved Paul, and always asked about him in every conversation we ever had, and I know that in some ways Arthur's German accent was reminiscent to Paul of his grandparents – “What accent?” he would ask.

Arthur has been a real friend to me personally, to my family, and to our Temple family. He will be greatly missed, and can never be replaced. On behalf of the congregation of TBY, as President of the Board and on behalf of the board, we express our deepest sympathies to Elaine and the entire Kahn family, and profess our abiding love and admiration in the memory of our friend Arthur Kahn.

Nathan Werner, President

Sat, August 24 2019 23 Av 5779