RECOGNIZING THE MARS FAMILY
Jacob & Anna Mars came to Florida from Philadelphia and settled in NMB in 1953 where they joined the Jewish Center of Monticello Park. Jacob became a daily minyanaire from the start. He attended daily morning minyan and afternoon/evening Mincha-Maariv Services as well as Shabbat Services each week. That was part of his daily routine and he lived around the corner from the shul. Ida Mars, Jacob’s mother, moved in with them and little could she know that five generations of the Mars Family have been an integral part of the history of Beth Torah for the past 68 years.
In 1952, Bill Mars opened Mars Drapery and Upholstery on NE 163rd Street and remained as owner/operator for 33 years until his passing from cancer at the young age of 52. He had opened the first commercial bank account at County National bank just down the block from Corky’s.
Beverly and William (Bill) Mars were one of the original five families who founded Adath Yeshurun in 1954. They were very active in the Couples Club and Bill served on the Board of Directors and Treasurer and Beverly active in Sisterhood. Their first child, Faith, became the first baby naming at Adath, followed by Ricky and then Gary four years later. All three children attended Adath Nursery School until the family all joined together at Beth Torah Congregation in 1970. They went to Religious School at Beth Torah and all became a Bar & Bat Mitzvah. All continued their education at Lehrman Day School. Faith went on to the Hebrew Academy and participated in Beth Torah USY. Rick went to NMB and Gary to the Jewish High School of South Florida.
After high school, Faith attended University of Florida, Rick to Emory and then on to Georgetown for Dental School, and Gary to Emory and the Law School at University of Miami.
Rick joined the Dental Care Group in 1988, became Managing Partner in 1994 and begins his 34th year in the very successful practice in the same location at NE 207 Street off Biscayne Boulevard. He met and married the love of his life, Alison, in 1990 and they are the proud parents of 3 sons, Zachary, Blake and Cory, who were born and bred at Beth Torah from Brit Milah, Bar Mitzvah and family life. Alison’s family, Sandy & Diane Weinstein, and her brother Jamie, with Bunnie and Brodie also became part of the Beth Torah community.
Rick was a very young Board Member in 1989 and came up through the ranks of leadership and President, 2003-2005. Rick & Alison helped found the Solomon Schechter Day School at Beth Torah and was the first President. The school later became the Hochberg Preparatory School. Alison served as PTA President and helped start the Social Action Team at Beth Torah. Together, they have chaired many special events at the synagogue. In 2011, Rick was “asked” to step up once again as President which had not been done in 50 years. He served another two-year term.
Professionally, Rick speaks internationally and wrote the book, “The Big Smile”. He was a Little League baseball and basketball coach for all three boys. Rick & Alison participated on the March of the Living in 2000. Zack, Blake and Cory all participated when it was their time and Rick accompanied the group again in 2014.
Zack is in Brand Marketing locally; Blake is with ICM Talent Agency in LA; and Cory is at FIU School of Hospitality Management.
Gary married Ariela Halberstein in 1993 and continued the Mars family tradition at Beth Torah. Gary served on the Board of Directors and a legal consultant for 14 years. He is on the Board of Directors of GMJF and was Chair of the North Dade Division. He was also the North Dade Chair and Officer of AIPAC and remains very active in AIPAC. He served on the Board of Scheck Hillel for a decade. Ariela grew up at Adath where her parents Alex, and Elsie of blessed memory, were very involved and began the Halberstein Infant Toddler Program which came to Beth Torah with the merger. Many Halberstein Family simchot continue to be held at Beth Torah.
Ariela serves on the Board of Kesher and was active in PTA at Hillel. She is currently very involved with Ellie’s Army Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis and Friendship Circle and many community events to support young adults and children in need. Gary is an Equity Partner in Siegfried Rivera P.A.
Their children, Erika, Jacob & Brian all went through Mommy & Me and Nursery School at Beth Torah before going on to Hillel for the rest of their education through high school graduation. All three participated on the March of the Living. Erika & Jacob went to the University of Michigan, where Erika is in Graduate School as a Physician Assistant at Mercy College. Jacob is currently attending the School of Law at U of Miami and Brian is at Indiana University.
The Mars Families continue to participate and support Beth Torah. Together they have endowed the Mars Family Field and the Mars Family Entry Pavilion and Rick currently serves on the Campaign Cabinet for the Renovation of the Main Sanctuary. The Mars Family is one of the very few five generation families in our history and Beth Torah is most fortunate to celebrate this 80th Anniversary milestone with such a remarkable family over the past 68 years. May the next generation continue to lead us into the future.
Each week one of our generational families will be recognized by our congregation blessed
by the rabbis at both the “virtual” Friday evening and Shabbat morning services.
Over 50 families have been identified with 50 + years of membership at Beth Torah and another
25 families as their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who are currently members of Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus.