March 2009: Episode Three All in the Temple…

Many people have approached me and asked if I am enjoying my role as President of the Temple. Of course, the answer is yes—I have to say the main reason it is so enjoyable is because I get to interview wonderful members. This week I caught up with Milton Caplan. He and his wife Patti have been members of TBS for 45 years.

After moving to Hamden in 1962, they were invited to a cook-out that was held in the Temple parking lot. Soon after that, they became members. As Milton was recalling some of the issues back then, financial concerns were often the topic at many board meetings. He remembered some very long, heated “discussions” that continued late into the evening.

Milton chuckled as he was telling me that ages ago, he chaired a fundraising dance for the temple and the caterer ran out of food! Of course, he said he can laugh about it now; back then, it wasn’t funny! 

As Milt, Patti and their three children settled in to Temple life, the 1970’s rolled in with some more turmoil. For those who remember the famous cigarette slogan, “We’ve Come a Long Way Baby,” it came to mean more than smoking. This was when the Conservative Movement allowed women to receive aliyahs. Milt recalls many debates over this issue. Good thing times have changed! 

This decade also was the time when another congregation gifted us the Alling St. Cemetery. Today Milt is still a member of the Cemetery Committee, and also five other TBS Committees: By-Laws, Designated Funds, Israel Affairs, Grants, and Endowment. “In view of the current economic decline, we need to foster financial responsibility for the future of the temple,” Milt states. “Needed income can be derived from endowment assets. All interest and dividends are then made available for the general use of the Temple.” Milt encourages you to consider setting up and contributing to an endowment fund to benefit TBS.

Two years ago, Milt and Patti went to Israel with the Rabbi, where Patti and nine other women on the trip had B’not Mitzvah on top of Masada. Thereafter, the “Israel Sisters,” encouraged by the Rabbi, decided to formally study and have their Bat Mitzvahs at TBS. Patti and sister-in-law and Temple member, Barbara Stein, shared this simcha in February. Milt is very proud of Patti. In fact, it has been known that Patti even studied her Haftorah while driving home from a Massachusetts family visit. 

Milt is a retired lawyer and former Hamden State Representative. He grew up in New Haven, going to Hillhouse High School and graduating from Yale. Once an ardent fisherman, his hobbies now include music, photography, reading, art and volunteer tutoring for the Jewish Coalition for Literacy. He also likes to think of himself as an active observer on Israel and politics. Milt is a founding member of a weekly lunch group called “ROMEOS” – Retired Old Men Eating Out Socially. Coincidentally, the majority of its members also belong to TBS. 

Milt and Patti have seven grandchildren ranging in age from five to seventeen. Please stop and say hello to Milt and Patti. As Sunday Minyanaires for more than 30 years, they are part of your Temple community.