The People of Beth El: Arthur (Auchy) Katz

Sample Entry 2: 50+ year member family

In 1961 I became a member of Beth El when Nate Tabor took me to the Beechview location.  Not long after, Beth El moved to Cochran Road. Al Weinstein was in charge of making sure that the road remained open; it was very muddy. To assist with this, he had Nate Tabor, Buddy Minsky, Al Lieberman and Myself on call.

By 1970, we needed to raise money for the congregation. The first fundraiser was an art auction which was very successful. Coordinating this event was: Paul & Eileen Ostfield, Joel & Mickey Roteman, Dr. David Spiegel, myself and my wife, Rhea. After how well the art auction went the same group of people held a Mardi Gras festival. It involved table games, roulette, and card games, which was also very successful.

Rhea’s Bat Mitzvah

I’m very proud to say that three members of my immediate family have made their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs at Beth El. This includes my daughter Gayle, my son Larry, and my wife. And I’m also blessed that this last year, I made my second Bar Mitzvah together with my granddaughters Ashley and Julia, who were having their first Bat Mitzvahs held at Beth El.

A memorable trip to Israel was taken in 1976 led by Rabbi Steindel, myself, and several other members from Beth El Congregation. We spent two weeks there and visited both Jerusalem and Masada. One of our endeavors that sticks out the most when I think back on this is when we were in Jerusalem. Rabbi Steindel took Maury Rosenberg and I to visit the Police Commander of the city. He was an old friend of his whom he had visited often and shared many meals with during his studies. I was so surprised to see the Rabbi greeted as if he were family. Rabbi Steindel even did a Bat Mitzvah for Jennifer Hallee during our trip where we enjoyed celebrations and good fellowship.

Approaching the Western Wall – Jennifer and Rabbi Steindel at her Bat Mitzvah – En route to the Temple Mount

In 1978, two very important events took place. My brother died and the morning Minyan began. Headed by Sam Balk, it began because my nephew, Ben Katz, asked Sam to have a morning service because he couldn’t make it to the evening one. Sam vowed to do his best to get ten men together. Ever since, we’ve never missed a morning Minyan.

By 1982 Alex Silverman had became President of Beth El, and I, Art Katz, became Secretary. We were discussing how to raise more money and were thinking something along the lines of bingo but we really weren’t that sure how to go about starting something like that or what exactly we would need. However, we did know of a bingo held every week at the Fire Station in Bethel Park. We decided to check it out. After two trips, we made up our minds that we could make it work: Bingo at Beth El. We headed to the Strip District and purchased everything we would need. It was a huge success and still is!

Looking back on all the beautiful memories I’ve accumulated over the years, I reflect on how fortunate I am. Having spent them among my wonderful fellow members, this High Holiday, I will be celebrating my 56th year belonging to the Beth El Congregation.



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