Richard & Suzy Erlich joined Midbar Kodesh Temple when they arrived in Las Vegas from Kotzebue,
Richard & Suzy Erlich joined Midbar Kodesh Temple when they arrived in Las Vegas from Kotzebue, Alaska in 2010. Kotzebue is 30 miles above the Arctic Circle and Rick says
that "we really could see Russia from our front door!" The city itself had about 3200 people when the Erlichs left the area.
Rick and Suzy are both retired. Suzy served as the General Manager of KOTZ Radio, the only public radio station in the area with a broadcast area to Russia. She also served as Chairman of the Northwest Arctic Borough Assembly, the regional government that oversees more than 39,000 square acres of land and water. Suzy was also the President of the local non-profit organization which was responsible for the local hospital and social services in the region.
Rick served as the only privately practicing attorney above the Arctic Circle in the United States and spent his last 20 years in Alaska as the Superior Court Judge of the region.
Rick and Suzy have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that lived close enough to have weekly dinners with 25 family members attending. The family is now spread out in different Alaskan communities, but they all love to visit Las Vegas!
Rick is an avid walker, averaging about 1000 miles each year and walking in the Las Vegas Half Marathon for the past 10 years. He also recently completed a post graduate diploma in Neuroscience & Mental Health from King's College, London. For the past few years Suzy has had health issues but is on the way to a strong recovery!
The Erlichs joined Midbar Kodesh Temple within six months of arriving in Las Vegas, finding Midbar to be the most welcoming while synagogue shopping. They said "that after living thirty years in a community with no synagogue and celebrating a community Passover in a local church, it was nice to feel welcomed." Richard has served on the Midbar Kodesh Temple Board of Directors and generally attends Monday morning minyan. They both enjoy attending Friday night services and continue to do so in the new ZOOM format.
"Passover is over, yet it is not unusual to feel oppressed in these current conditions," said Rick. "Sometimes, just getting in the car and going for a drive makes us feel free! I never thought vacuuming the carpets and cleaning the floor could make me feel like I accomplished something," though our children still think Dad’s favorite activity is vacuuming as he was the cleanup guy after family dinners!
Both Rick and Suzy wish the Midbar family some fun during the shut down, and hope that everyone remains safe and healthy!