Dear “God Lives” Jehiel,
I’m sorry that I couldn’t attend the celebration in your honor but I did want you to know that I think of you, often. I remember when we first met, when you took the assistanship at Temple Israel, Great Neck. I believe that I was an undergraduate at that time in the Joint Program. I enjoyed inviting you to speak with my Hebrew High School students and having you as a friend and mentor in the old Youth House. I also remember Sylvia, fondly, from those days.
Later, when I had my own congregation in Toms River, I enjoyed seeing you at NJ- RA meetings. I particularly remember how impressed I was when visiting your synagogue, Beth El, in South Orange. It was obvious from just a visit what an enjoyable, meaningful and vibrant Jewish experience you had created for the community. Now, I have a further connection:
Our daughter, Leah, recently moved to South Orange and is a member of Beth El. Though she has seen you at the synagogue, I don’t know that she has ever identified herself to you. She is the more “reticent” of our kids. She teaches Kindergarten at Golda Och and attends services regularly on shabbat and often during the week.
Incidentally, knowing of your devotion to Schechter schools, I’m also proud to tell you that our son-in-law, Joshua Rabin, who was at Beth El a couple of years ago working on Synaplex, I believe, is rabbi of the Schechter school in Nassau County. His wife, our daughter Yael, is interning at Schechter in Manhattan. She is a rabbinical student at JTS.
Two of our 3 granddaughters will be starting Schechter in Westchester next year. Their father, Eytan is now a rabbi in Mahopac. His wife, Rebecca is Assistant Dean at JTS.
In short, like you, we, too, have “children in the family business.” You have done so much for so many and continue to inspire us.
Warm good wishes and Mazel Tov on the celebration. May you continue to have much nachas both from your immediate family and the Jewish Family which you have inspired for generations and continue to inspire, now, despite your illness.
By: Rabbi Reuven Hammerman