Oct 2014-a Rabbi Susan Heneson Moskowitz Installation – (Berland)
At this point in our service, and in our program tonight, I want to say a few words about Rabbi Susie Heneson Moskowitz.
I’m a lawyer, so I’m going to give just the facts. Rabbi Susie grew up in the Baltimore area. After graduating from Randallstown High School, she went on to Duke University. In 1986, following her graduation from Duke, she entered into the five-year program in Rabbinic Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cinncinati, including a year of study in Jerusalem. She was ordained in 1991 and became assistant rabbi at Temple Beth El of Great Neck.
She went on to become Family Educator at the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Plandome, where she implemented one of the first UJA-Federation Continuity grants.
And then, in 1996, she joined Temple Beth Torah as our Rabbi Educator. When I first met Rabbi Susie, our kids were in pre-school together. She and my wife, another Susie, and several other parents, often shared car-pooling duties. From time to time I pitched in, albeit very rarely. Susie did everything she was called upon to do as our Rabbi Educator, and much, much more. In those days, her day job was to educate our kids as Jews. Off the clock, her responsibilities were to her family. She did all of that, flawlessly. Shira and Ari, who are here tonight, beaming for their mother, are testaments to that, and Steve has dome pretty well, too.
And like the cream that inevitably rises to the top, our Ravsusie has risen to the Rabbinic top as well.
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Oct 2014-b Kol Nidre – (Berland)
Good Yontif – and Tzom Kal – an easy fast.
Did you read the “Elul” stories that Rabbi Moskowitz emailed to the Congregation daily in the month leading up to the New Year? These were very personal stories from congregants, many of them from childhood, each a reminiscence about the high holidays and their emotional reverberations. Each was wonderfully unique, touching and illuminating. We each have our own backstory. But what struck me and, I think, everyone who read them was how familiar they seemed. That despite our differences, despite how far we individually may have come, we’ve all emerged from common ground, our roots entwined in so many ways.
Look at how many people are here tonight. There will be at least twice as many tomorrow – three times as many when you include the family service.. I think that we, collectively and individually, understand that we are part of a cherished, ages-old community of shared values and beliefs, and that we are coming together now, as we do (at least) every year – and many of us much more often than that – to assert our membership in that community and to receive nourishment from it. Atonement, yes, but nourishment, too. It’s our community.
Unfortunately, the Jewish community at large is increasingly at risk. And we need to do our part in addressing that risk.
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Sept 2014-a The Arc – (Berland)
Shalom. I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and refreshed as the relative leisure of summer fades into memory and school and work schedules kick back into high gear. Summer always seems to end too soon.
This year, the season has been bittersweet. On the sweet side, Rabbi Moskowitz has moved smoothly and confidently into the role of Senior Rabbi, setting the wheels in motion for great things in the coming year. Summertime Shabbat services, in the Dubner Courtyard and under the stars, were beautiful, inspiring, and well attended, and our wonderfully talented congregants Hannah DerAris and Brandon Kaplan, Jodi Siegel, Steve and Jiya Kowarsky, and Debbie Fratello and Sheryl and David Haber filled in admirably for Cantor Appelbaum, who spent part of the summer studying in Jerusalem.
Grateful thanks to Mary Resnick Chan, Randy Bender and Janice Hassenfeld for representing TBT so well over the summer with the community service projects they organized and led, and to everyone who pitched in. Grateful thanks, as well, to Cindy Kaplan and Aimee Goldstein for the mid-July reception they conceived, planned and hosted in honor of Rabbi Moskowitz at Jewel Restaurant, a hugely successful event that brought together nearly two hundred congregants, friends and well-wishers for a wonderful evening; Kudos to Cindy, Aimee and everyone who contributed to this wonderful occasion. In addition, the new caterer, Gala Event NYC, is now fully up and running.
Still more is scheduled for the fall, including our first-ever multi-synagogue Golf Outing, set for October 6, in partnership with the South Huntington and Dix Hills Jewish Centers. And on October 17, at a very special Friday night service, Rabbi Moskowitz will be formally installed as our Senior Rabbi; planning is well under-way for a weekend of unique festivities to celebrate this joyous occasion in the life of our Congregation, so please mark your calendars for October 17, 18 and 19.
On the other side of things, summer has seen Israel under siege as never before short of all-out war. While the Iron Dome, thankfully, has spared Israel the huge number of casualties Hamas’s rocket onslaught would otherwise have produced, far too many lives have been lost on both sides of this needless conflict, a conflict cynically provoked by a Gazan regime that evidently has as little regard for the lives of its people as it does for Israel’s. Israel needs our support as never before, and under Rabbi Moskowitz’s leadership, we have joined with other local synagogues to help raise money for critical, badly needed ambulances and other live-saving equipment. But more is needed, and in the coming weeks we will be alerting you to many other opportunities to help out and to show your support for Israel in this difficult time.
Surely, the events in the Middle East are a stark reminder of the essential role our Temple community plays in our lives. I hope you and your family will take advantage of everything we have to offer in the year ahead – not just the warm and welcoming Shabbat services that our incomparable clergy lead throughout the year, but our fabulous holiday celebrations, social gatherings, Youth Group, JTV, Sisterhood, Men’s Club, Mishpacha University, speakers’ program, adult learning, TLC@TBT and other social action and Tikun Olam activities, Torah study, social networking, and much, much more. We are here for you. Please join us, please get involved, and please invite your friends and neighbors to do so as well.
Again, I hope this finds you well and ready for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing you at our High Holiday Services and throughout the year. Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy, peace-filled and sweet New Year.