Hesh and Bobbi Altman have been in Las Vegas for 42 years this summer, arriving in 118 degrees, the hottest July 30th on record. They made an auspicious entrance on the final stretch of Boulder Highway, as their new Volkswagon camper van’s a/c started spitting ice and a little fire. Hesh was to start a 4 year assignment at Nellis Air Force base after spending time with the Air Force in Belgium, where they experienced a Rosh Hashanah community service at the massive Brussels Opera House. The services were in French, Dutch, English and Hebrew and offered a very unique experience.
After a month in a Las Vegas hotel with young Joel and Jodi, they were able to move into their new home and get the children situated in school. They had not planned to join a synagogue at that time, but when they purchased their furnishings at Walker Furniture, they were warmly welcomed and invited to have Rosh Hashanah dinner with the owners. Word of a new Jewish family in town spread quickly. They took the opportunity to meet other families from Temple Beth Sholom on Oakey and became part of the synagogue community. Hesh was flying F-4’s and Bobbi worked in a dental office. They celebrated the B’nei Mitzvah of both children at TBS, joined the then Jewish Federation’s Young Leadership program and became advisors to the B’nai Brith Youth organization. Bobbi says “that many of those kids are now leaders at Midbar, Beth Sholom and in other parts of the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.” Joel is now on the MKT Board of Directors and Jodi has been a Midbar USY advisor and religious school teacher. Their daughter-in-law, Marci Riceberg Altman, was one of Midbar’s first youth advisors and has worked in the MKT office. Joel is the Exhibits Director for the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) and Jodi is a Chiropractic Physician. Marci is a teacher at a local private school. They are all still friendly with the people they originally met upon arriving in Las Vegas and with the families and “kids” they worked with. They have added many other wonderful friends to the family.
After retiring from the Air Force, Hesh took a job that transferred him to San Jose, California. Joel and Jodi remained in Las Vegas to finish at UNLV. The Altmans returned to Las Vegas and began their relationship with Midbar Kodesh Temple when Joel and Marci became engaged and married. Hesh and Bobbi wanted to belong to a synagogue where their family, which now included long time friends and MKT members Harvey and Janis Riceberg, would be able to pray together and share experiences. Grandson Noah will become a Bar Mitzvah in the fall, either at the synagogue or on Zoom. Chase and Dax attend MKT Religious School. Older brother Drew rounds out the three generations of Altmans that belong to Midbar Kodesh Temple.
Bobbi remembers the kindness of Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel during a serious illness just 5 years ago. Rabbi visited her at the hospital every day, as did other Midbar members. Bobbi says that she looks forward, once again, to share in prayer with our great extended family that includes the Ricebergs, Goussaks, and “junior” Altmans: Jodi, Joel, Marci, Drew, Noah, Chase and Dax.