When Harvey Lee Block was in junior high school, he took an aptitude test to determine what professional paths might hold the most promise. At the time, he excelled at athletics and had his heart set on someday earning a football scholarship, so he wasn’t too excited to learn he could have a bright future as a clergyman or social worker.
“I laughed at that,” he said. “I really wanted to be an athlete.”
Today, the 70-year-old Block is living proof that the test was right. For the past 50 years, he has served as a cantor and a community leader to congregants of Glendale’s Temple Sinai as well as a newer congregation, Hugat Haverim (Circle of Friends), which joins Reform Jews from throughout the San Gabriel and Foothill areas in small weekly services.
To celebrate his service to the community, Congregation Hugat Haverim will hold a special birthday and anniversary celebration for Block on May 22 in La Cañada Flintridge.
Block’s commitment to Judaism began when he was just 5 years old and was so fascinated by the cantor who sang in the synagogue that he would come home and try his hand at the songs.