I thank you for your vote of confidence in me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at MHJC and I look forward to many more years of growth together with you and your children.
The first year in a synagogue involves a lot of learning. It takes time to understand the individual congregant’s needs and how the synagogue functions as a whole. There are things that have been improved since my arrival and things yet to be improved. Some of my future goals are to develop a better relationship with our post bar mitzvah youth as well as with our members who aren’t regular shul goers. There may be things that I’ve changed that you’re not happy with. Please feel free to speak to me. Although I do have my own thoughts how to grow the synagogue and meet the needs of current day Jewry, my first priorities are to you. If, nonetheless, you would like to use somebody as an intermediary, Elliot Morris, Barbara Dicken, Larry Sommer, Mark Hirsch and Robert Goldman are on the Liaison committee, and as a unit we’ll discuss how to best address your desires.
Since I’ve started, we’ve gained over twenty families each year. The credit is truly yours though, for by word of mouth, and by your personal recommendations, others have been attracted to the warmth and personal service of our synagogue. Keep it up, for soon we’ll be financially solid, with a thriving synagogue, consistent Bar and Bat Mitzvot of young and old, and the sound of learning and music coursing through the halls.
With regards to our solid core of young families, I’d like to share with you the Benediction I gave at this year’s POB Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, held at St. Pius X Church on November 24th.
“We had a party at our synagogue this past Saturday night, and at one large table there was a group of young couples who all had children the same age. I was admiring how this close knit group of friends, were also excellent, loving parents.
Then I was thinking, this wonderful trait is not something unique to my synagogue, rather, it’s something shared throughout the Plainview-Old Bethpage community. Families don’t move here to own a McMansion, or have a view of the bay, or to show off their expensive cars; they move here because the schools are excellent, the area is safe and there’s a plethora of extra curricular activities for the children. Families that want children and love their children move to our area.
That we are such families and live together as a community of caring parents is something we should all be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Yet, there’s another component to this blessing. Since these children are so well loved, I believe we could confidently project that our community is going to produce many healthy and functional citizens and leaders of the future.
We live in troubling times. Last week with bombings in Paris, attacks in Mali and murders in Israel, I felt almost as miserable as I did around the time of 9/11.
Einstein most notably said, ‘No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.’ We have problems that need new solutions. Doing the same thing we did in the past will only perpetuate the problems. We need a new generation of leaders that can think outside of the box and be willing to make bold new efforts for peace. The children that we’re raising with love and self-confidence are the ones that may be able to achieve a brighter future.
The Jewish prayers typically end with the petition: עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו, הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְעַל כָּל יושבי תבל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן. ‘May the One who makes peace in the Heavens make peace for us and all the inhabitants of the world and let us say Amen.’
Perhaps the real intention of this prayer is to ask G-d to inspire us to think of new ways to create peace. G-d put the world in our hands; we are the ones who need to take efficacious action.
Therefore, my blessing is: May we appreciate our community and our children. May we shower them with so much love and confidence that they’ll become a generation of leaders, and may G-d enlighten them and us about how to create a worldwide lasting peace.”