It all started when Dr. Lawrence Copeland had a dream of a URJ Reform congregation on the west side of Las Vegas over 30 years ago.
Dr. Copeland spent countless hours funding the purchase of books, cleaning toilets, personally making payrolls, and schlepping materials and arks to casino banquet facilities so that our events and activities could happen. His goal to satisfy our responsibility to educate the next generation of Jewish children never faltered.
There were a few false starts; years of meeting in storefronts; potluck meals; High Holy Day Services held in the rented banquet halls; part-time Rabbis hired; and Cantors rented for High Holy Days. Through all of these struggles, here we are!
Dr. Copeland shared this dream with anyone who would listen, and one day he met
Stephen Haberkorn (z”l), who heard about his vision for Reform Judaism in Las Vegas. At that time, Dr. Copeland's vision was called Adat Ari El, and educating Jewish children was the legacy he wanted for his life's work. Haberkorn was touched and impressed with Dr. Copeland's conviction.
Haberkorn mentioned that he had a small charitable foundation, and maybe he could help. What an understatement that proved out to be!
Simultaneously, Temple Beth Am met with then 1st Vice President Seymour Kaplan (z”l), reflecting that they were interested in selling their campus to Adat Ari El.
The conversation became very serious when Temple Beth Am went into default on their mortgage in May 2007. The high cost was the assumption of a $4.5 million mortgage.
Armed with $1 million and a conviction to help Dr. Copeland, Haberkorn set up an appointment with Sheldon Adelson (z”l) to challenge him to donate 75% of the funding needed to eliminate the mortgage. The meeting between Adelson and Haberkorn lasted for hours, and though they did not strike a deal, Haberkorn had great admiration and respect for Mr. Adelson and his work elsewhere. The rest of this story is genuinely touched by the hand of G-d.In early 2009, the stock of the Venetian was plummeting from a high of $140 to under $2 a share in February. Yet, Haberkorn believed that good things happen to good people like Mr. Adelson and Dr. Copeland. So Haberkorn invested $1 million in Las Vegas Sands stock (Mr. Adelson's Company).
This gamble paid off quickly as the company, and ultimately the stock recovered. Temple Sinai’s miracle occurred!! The mortgage was paid off and we had enough left over to finance the construction of our new campus.
When Haberkorn was asked what he thinks about this miracle, he replied he would never have taken any of these actions without being moved by Dr. Copeland's selfless vision.
Temple Sinai Past President (2014-2016)