From the desk of Rabbi Zevulun Charlop
Mr. and Mrs. Murray Mark
We were very much taken by your very fine and not unsubstantial gesture in behalf of our Young Israel. Of course, it brought back great and sweet memories of your dear and unforgettable parents--their coming to shul and on holidays and Holy Days with you and your siblings. The dedication of a beautifully adorned Sefer Torah, your mother's absolute graciousness in everything she did and said.
I shall never forget her reenactment of that faithful time when all of you came to the States for the World's Fair immediately before the outbreak of World War II, and your grandmother in Harlem stood at the door and would not let you return to what would have been the hell fire of the Holocaust... and there is so much more that is conjured. Believe it or not from the beginning of the Bronx, 138th Street to the foot of Riverdale we are the only surviving shul and still open seven days a week.
With best wishes for a happy, healthy and Nachas-filled year,
From Rabbi Pont
In the Torah portion this week, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, comes to congratulate Moses on successfully liberating the Israelites. The text relates eight times in twelve verses that Jethro is Moses’ father-in-law! Further, Moses’ wife and sons, Tziporah, Gershom and Eliezer, are mentioned three times in this section! Why is there so much emphasis on Moses’ family? Jethro reunites Moses with his wife Tziporah, “after he had sent her away.” (Exodus 18:2)
Why did he send her away? Did they fight? Did he regard family to be a distraction, preventing him from concentrating on his mission? Last weekend, our visiting scholar Dr. Jack Wertheimer spoke about the import of the Jewish family. He noted that because many of us live apart from parents and siblings, we lack togetherness and our kids lack multiple role models. This phenomenon does not only have an impact on our quality of life. Since Jewish life depends on community, it threatens the long term vitality of Judaism itself. Jethro urged Moses not to forget his family, and we are wise to follow his advice.
We should take advantage
of every opportunity to bond with family members, in order to flourish
and to reach our full potential.