Kyra and Hal Hubis have lived in the South Bay for many years without formally belonging to any synagogue. They thirsted for community-wide adult Jewish education. When the Addison-Penzak JCC (APJCC) re-situated into the new Levy Family Campus in 2005, and Rabbi Joshua Fenton invited people to join him for his study time, they were thrilled.
Kyra’s family moved from New York to L.A. when she was four years old. They were not religiously involved. Hal spent all of his childhood years in New York. He grew up in a socialist family, but both his father and his mother insisted that Hal have a Bar Mitzvah. After becoming a physician and practicing cardiology for 30 years, Hal went back to school for a Masters degree in History, and he began teaching Western Civilization at DeAnza College.
Hal was struck by the fact that the materials used to teach Western Civilization were virtually devoid of Jewish contributions to Western Civilization. He thought this was a profound dis-service for history, given the contributions Jews have made to the betterment of western civilization in so many ways, from the sciences to scholarly teachings in ethics and morals.
Hal is now fully retired. He comes to the APJCC several times every week for Jewish learning. “I love the multiplicity of rabbinic persuasions, ideas, and opinions about Judaism,” Hal says. “You can’t help but learn. All the Rabbis have been wonderful teachers and are never condescending.” Hal also comes to hear APJCC’s Distinguished Speakers, visiting rabbis, and other clergies.
Kyra regularly comes with Hal. Together, they completed the Melton series and have just completed two years’ worth of a weekly roundtable studying Guide of the Perplexed by Maimonides (Rambam), the 12th-century Jewish scholar whose Guide is a classic work of Jewish Philosophy, written in a coded and intentionally esoteric language. Kyra relates, “It is a different way of thinking religiously. Rambam has a variant perception of G-d. In describing the difficulty in comprehending G-d, Rambam suggests that we should focus on what God is not, rather than what G-d is because G-d is indescribable in language. This made the study most challenging.”
In addition to enjoying APJCC for adult Jewish learning, Kyra, and Hal like coming to APJCC on Christmas Day to be with other Jews in the community. They participate in the Seniors Day Trip Excursions and come to many of the APJCC major community events. They remember, with great joy, the snow they saw in the gymnasium during the Hanukah Snowstorm event for young families two years ago.