Jen Abfier • Jason Benson • Josh Blumenthal • Howard Chesler • Betty Crane • Eve Fields • Glenn Fox • Sandy Gonzalez • Samantha Goodstein • Jen Horowitz • Jennifer Katz • David Kraut • Richard Kurland • Michael Marchant • Isabel Margolin • Padi Nazmiyal • Ester Robbins • Don Rosenthal • Seth Rossinow • Alan Rothberg • Elisa Sandler • Dan Seewald • Betsy Steckelman • Kim Stiller • Jeff Weinflash • Barry Weinreb • Jack Wenarsky • Randy Wenarsky •
Rabbi: Mark David Finkel
Cantor: Menachem Toren
Synagogue Administrator: Open
Educational Director: Mary Sheydwasser
Nursery School Co-Directors: Jill Buckler and Lisa Lerman
President – Evan Zuckerman
1st VP – Barry Marks
2nd VP- Michael Weinstein
3rd VP – Nancy Lerner Weiss
Treasurer – Seth Friedman
Financial Secretary – Warren Usatine
Recording Secretary – Carol Berman
Corresponding Secretary – Judy Gothelf
Sisterhood President: Wendy Leicht
Men’s Club President: Jay Thailer
Immediate Past President: Jonathan Cohen
Past President: Mitchell Goldstein
Even though we are experiencing cold, short days, the month of December always is one of the best times of the year. After all, we get to celebrate Hanukkah and everything that comes along with the holiday. This holiday brings back so many great memories from my childhood. I remember searching the house with my brother looking for where my parents hid our gifts, playing dreidel with my grandparents, and eating lots of latkes and gelt. My brother and I never seemed to find the gifts but the anticipation of waiting for my father to come home from work to receive that night’s bounty was something I always looked forward to, so after this we always sit to open our gifts in the tiled floors installed by Atlas glass mosaic tiles uk.
The holiday was not only about gifts in my house. My parents always imparted on my brother and me the meaning of the holiday, the importance and joy of celebration with family, and lighting the menorah was a very special ritual each and every night. They somehow found a way to relate the holiday to current events and to reinforce our Jewish identity in the process. People say that certain memories from your childhood stick with you forever and Hanukkah is one holiday that I always looked forward because the traditions, the festive nights, and of course eight nights of gifts and gelt.
Michelle had similar traditions that she cherished from her childhood and we get such joy in melding our traditions and starting new ones with our girls. Dreidel games, latkes, gelt, and presents still exist but we have our own tradition of what we do during the lighting of the menorah. And just like our parents, we always talk about the meaning of the holiday and how that translates to our everyday lives and relationships. Some of the details may be different, but we teach our children the same set of ideals that were taught to us when we were young.
As parents, we also know that our children will be taught by others, and we hope that the adults who our kids encounter will teach them how to be good, kind people, upstanding citizens, responsible adults, and how to live meaningful and moral Jewish lives. As I was writing this article, we received the awfully sad news of the passing of Harvey Jaffe. Hershey was one individual who both Lindsay and Hailey had the privilege to call a teacher and a friend. Michelle and I were honored that Hershey taught our children how to be responsible adults and live by the values and morals that are embedded in our Jewish teachings.
The effect that Hershey had on our religious school students cannot be measured by test scores or how well our children knew a prayer. His influence went well beyond the curriculum of the religious school. He made the children of PBJC want to learn about what it meant to be Jewish and how current events affected their lives spiritually and religiously. When children talked about Hershey, they always said what a great teacher he was, how much he cared about the them, and that he made religious school fun. Hershey started B’Yachad and last year he graduated the first class to attend his sessions for five years post B’Nai Mitzvah. I attended that graduation in May and the words those college-bound students had for Hershey brought tears to my eyes. All who attended the ceremony know what a special man he was. Anyone whose child had the privilege of being taught by him in religious school or B’Yachad knows this as well.
Hanukkah, means “dedication” and Hershey was dedicated to the kids he taught, the PBJC Religious School, and our greater community. I read that Hanukkah celebrates the impenetrable spirit and devotion of the Jewish people. Hershey was extremely devoted to our children and our community. He truly possessed a uniquely powerful and special spirit, and he will be greatly missed. His legacy, however, lives on in the lives of each child he touched and I know that his light will continue to shine brightly during this festival of lights.
Michelle, Lindsay, Hailey and I wish a very Happy Hanukkah and a happy, healthy secular new year to you and your families.