Monthly Archives: March 2012

Acts of Loving Kindness

Dear Rabbi Orenstein,

Over our many years together at Beth El, you have always encouraged our mutual interest in music and art.  The program assembled for your birthday celebration attests to your desire to always be (in the presence of) surrounded by beautiful music. Love of music is, after all, an “Orenstein tradition”.

Your artistic talent, on the other hand, has not been primarily expressed in the form of physical paintings, but rather by the way you paint pictures with your words.  Your ecumenical ability and skill in bringing people of diverse interests and faiths together attests to your desire to always promote peace and harmony in a world in desperate need of more transparency, enlightenment, and especially acts of loving kindness.

As one of many of former congregants of yours, rest assured that your efforts will be forever appreciated by those whom you have touched.

Our love and best wishes!

Erv and Harriett Katz

By: Erving and Harriett Katz

Our Guiding Light

Dear Rabbi Orenstein,

You have always been the special guiding light for our family. From the first time that I heard you over twenty years ago, I have always been mesmerized to listen to you speak or teach, regardless of the subject. Always your messages were fascinating with gems of knowledge along with a strong dose of compassion, sprinkled throughout with humor. There is no one like you. Our entire family cherishes you and we were so fortunate to have all three of our children bar or bat mitzvahed under your care and guidance. We pray for you daily and wish you a wonderful birthday.

Bob, Ligaya, Aviva, Ari, and Alexandra

By: Woog Family

Dear Rabbi

Beth El was our home away from home for 27 years, and its heimish atmosphere emanated from you.

You guided our children, Emily and Ari, for their b’nai mitzvah, and you set an example to all of us about scholarship and tradition and especially tolerance and understanding.

We will always treasure our memories of your leadership and friendship, and are happy to celebrate your 77th birthday with you and Sylvia.

Your special day will be filled with beautiful music. May all of your days be celebrated with sweet melodies and elegant harmonies.


Wilma & Marty Steinberg




By: Marty & Wilma Steinberg

Understanding the Scriptures

Dear Rabbi Orenstein:

I’ve never called you Jehiel.  I never dared.  I’ve always been in awe of you.  For me you represent the path to Jewish knowledge through intelligence and study.  Before we had our first lesson you told me to study the first six lines of Genesis.  I never told you but I spent a whole month reading everything I could find on those six lines.  When I study with you I use every bit of intelligence I can find to understand the lesson.  You know so much and I try to understand all I can. 

But being in awe of you hasn’t kept me from fighting tooth and nail when I disagree.  I like to think that I’m following the example of the great scholars, arguing exhaustively just to understand.  Not caring who was right but what was right.  Just to know what the scriptures really say.  Your knowledge is exhaustive but I’ve understood a good deal of it.  When I thank you at the end of each lesson you always say that I taught you.  How I taught you I don’t know but I’m grateful that you’ve had the humility to receive whatever I had to offer.

What you’ve offered me is an appreciation for the brilliance of the Jewish scriptures.  You know things I never would have guessed — Hebrew puns, internal rhymes and letter repetition leading to the next verse.  I’m sure I haven’t understood all the subtleties but I’ve come to appreciate the genius that has gone into these texts.  I believe that’s your most enduring gift to me: an appreciation for how wonderful the scriptures really are.  That may be just the beginning but I’m grateful for the start.  Thank you again and again.

Peter B

By: Peter Barnett