Rabbi's Greeting


Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky

Dear Friends,
A rich and suggestive teaching from the Jerusalem Talmud [Berakhot 5.1] addresses how to get in the right frame of mind for worship. Prayer is not nurtured by idle chatter and jokes, nor from wrestling with the deepest questions, which might just send you down a mental rabbit hole. Rather, this passage asserts, worship emerges best from studying Jewish norms – reflecting on what God and Israel expect of you. 
At this point, Rabbi Jeremiah adds a side comment which adds poetic possibility: “One who is busy addressing the community’s needs is like one who studies Torah.” 
This brilliant phrase provides a rule about prayer – that acts of communal caring will get you in the right mental space to davven – but also speaks volumes about Jewish values. This religion is not only what you find in the books. That’s important, sure. But working hard to help a community and its members thrive, is just as vital.  
Our honorees this year are both osekim be’divrei Torah and osekim be’tzorkhei tzibbur, they are full of Torah and wisdom, and they are tireless contributors to our community’s needs.  
Martin & Tamara Green, Ellen Braitman & David Shapiro, Vivian Mamelak: each one of you exemplifies what it means to be Ansche Chesed, literally people of love, or a community of kindness. You provide what this community needs, intellectually, spiritually, ethically, organizationally. You’ve all served faithfully as officers and trustees to maintain our community. You take ritual leadership roles. You teach us and learn with us. You visit us when we’re sick and celebrate with us in times of joy. 
Personally, I treasure our friendships. Communally, I am strengthened by sharing our shul with you. 
Please accept this benefit celebration as a tribute to who you are and an expression of this community’s gratitude for all you have done. 
With greatest esteem and warmest regards,
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
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