A Message from our Esteemed Rabbi
Rabbi Chaim Marcus
The theme of Congregation Israel’s 49th Annual Gala Tribute Dinner is one of the most important values in all of Jewish life: Unity/Achdus. A little over two weeks before the dinner is the holiday of Purim, and two weeks after the dinner is the holiday of Pesach. For both of these redemptive ‘Sanctuaries in Time,’ unity played a major role. It was Queen Esther who understood that for the Jewish People to survive the murderous and genocidal aspirations of the wicked Haman they had to gather together and plead together for their fate and future. Before the Jews could leave Egypt, they had to demonstrate their commitment to Jewish nationhood and unity by offering up the first Passover sacrifice. For both the very first exile experience and for arguably the most dangerous, achdus was the key to salvation.
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan zt”l, also known as the Chafetz Chaim, explains that just as achdus was the precursor to redemption so long ago, it will also be the precursor to the ultimate redemption at the end of days. He teaches that when the Jewish People face immensely difficult challenges, we must examine whether we are truly unified. This is one of the secret ingredients of Jewish continuity and success.
Our shul, a microcosm of Am Yisrael as a whole, also needs this secret ingredient of achdus. The amazing success that Congregation Israel of Springfield has had for over 49 years, is a result of so many remarkable individuals dedicated to fostering greater unity and achdus in our shul and the Jewish People as a whole. The annual dinner is an opportunity to recognize the achievements of our Mikdash Miat, the temple in our midst, but even more so to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the yechidim, the individuals who have given so much to further the achdus of our community and the spiritual and physical growth of our kehilla. We are deeply grateful to them for allowing us the honor to honor them, and to highlight their communal efforts and accomplishments:
●      Miriam and Josh Stern, Guests of Honor, Rabbi Israel Turner Memorial Award;
●      Ariella and Eric Bloom, Young Leadership Award;
●      Miryam Smilow, Aishet Chayil Award;
●      Gabe Nadel, Edward Konigsberg Memorial Award;
●      Noa Bitansky, Joseph Tammam Memorial Youth Community Service Scholarship Award.
May Hashem continue to grant our honorees and their families, and our entire kehilla, the blessings and rewards that come from Divine and communal service.
Mazel Tov!!!
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