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Three generations of a family help with Temple Beth Shalom’s Kosher Dinner

Three generations of the Morris family will help Temple Beth Shalom set up and clean up for the 75th annual Kosher Dinner on Sunday, March 5.

The dinner is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Temple Beth Shalom at 1322 E. 30th Ave.

Scott Morris again helps with Kosher Dinner setup and clean up.

Scott Morris, his parents Julie and Jeff Morris, his wife Jennifer and their children Payton, 16, Jaxon, 15, and Morgan, 12, will be among hundreds of volunteers who will serve 2,000 meals to members of the Jewish and wider community.

Julie and Jeff began helping with the Kosher Dinner soon after they moved to Spokane in 1970 and became active with Temple Beth Shalom.

About 150 people help set up, work in the kitchen, greet, entertain, serve, pour beverages, wrap silver, set tables, plate the food, refill relish trays, clear tables, wash dishes or sell homemade baked goods in the del bar.

Scott said he has followed the traditional progression of involvement.

When he was five years, he rode with his father, who drove a shuttle from parking to the Temple.

Next, he worked in the coat room, taking a ticket, looking for the number and bringing a coat out to return to a guest.

“Then I was a dishwasher, the typical job at the time for junior high students,” he said, “but now that’s the task of the high school students.”

Scott then moved into clearing and setting tables, and has stayed with that task.  He’s now the team leader for clearing and setup.

“I’ve stayed with that role by choice, while others move on to the kitchen and greeting.  I love the clearing and setting role because it’s a great workout,” he said. 

“I also like to move and interact with people,” he said.  “I work on the dirty side, clearing the tables, and Jennifer works on the clean side, setting the tables.”

While Payton and Jaxon will also help their peers with dishes and Morgan will be with her peers in the coat room, they will each also work one shift on clearing and setting tables, as will Scott’s mother Julie.

“The Kosher Dinner creates a great sense of community, both from the in-reach perspective with Temple members working together and from the sense of it being a service to the community,” said Scott, who has been TBS president for a year and a half.

It’s a service because people enjoy the food, have a chance to see the Temple and learn about Jewish culture through the entertainment.

When people come in and are seated, they sit next to people they may not know.  They strike up a conversation and socialize while they eat, he said.

While some families at TBS practice kosher at home, his family does not.  He said kosher food preparation is another level of observance.

The Morrises, however, have their lives immersed in the Jewish faith and the Temple Beth Shalom community.

Just as Scott’s children have attended Sunday school, Hebrew school, were Bar and Bat Mitzvahed, and have gone to Camp Solomon Schechter, the Jewish camp in Tumwater for children in the Pacific Northwest, Scott also participated in those educational and community building activities.  He went to camp eight years, as has his older son.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree in 1994 in business finance from the University of Washington in Seattle.  He then graduated from Law School there in 1997 and has lived in Spokane since then.

For 12 years, he was in private practice and now is general counsel for the Inland Group, focusing on entitlement and financing of their properties, primarily apartments.

Scott, who has been on the TBS board for 14 years, said that role is about the day-to-day operation of TBS.  He has also been youth group advisor.

“Faith is an important part of my life.  I was born into this Temple, learned about Judaism and share with my children,” he said.

He has been to Israel twice with his mother, who travels there often because of her involvement in Hadassah, a nonprofit which has two hospitals in Israel.  Julie has been involved with that work for 35 years.

Scott visited once before he was married and once with Jennifer.

“Visiting Israel is an important part of any Jewish person’s life.  Once I visited Israel, it brought greater meaning to my practice of Judaism,” he said.

Temple Beth Shalom adds to the community’s diversity of faiths.

“We, as people of different faiths in Spokane, support one another,” he said.  “It’s important that we work together.”

The 2017 Kosher Dinner is the 75th dinner since it was founded in 1941 as a fund raiser.  Last year was set to be the 75th, but the meat was not properly packaged when it arrived, so they had to cancel the dinner.

For information, call 747-3304 or visit spokanetbs.org.




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