Rabbi Dale Polakoff
From Chazzan Yitzy Spinner
From Daniel Aharon, President
From Rabbi Moshe & Jenny Genack

Wow. 72 years is a long time! Although we are “newcomers” to GNS, we are thrilled to join the shul in celebrating their 72nd Annual Dinner. We wish a Mazel Tov to the honorees Dr. Robert and Sharon Herman and to Shmuel and Ariella Gilad. Both couples play crucial roles in our shul and are very deserving honorees at tonight’s Dinner. We pray that the next 72 years will be even greater than the last 72 years, and that GNS will continue to flourish as a Mikdash Me’at that it is.

In this week’s Parsha we learn about one of the first fundraisers to ever take place - the collection of the Machatzis HaShekel. Each individual would give a half shekel used for the construction and upkeep of the Mishkan. The Torah tells us that someone who is rich should not give more and someone who is poor should not give less. What is the purpose behind this mandate? “Tax the rich!” as some say. And why only a half shekel? Even someone poor can at least afford an entire shekel!?

The Commentaries tell us something fundamental on how we give to a communal cause - 100% participation is the most important goal. True, some of the wealthier donors could have covered for those who are less fortunate, but that would not have resulted in full participation. Therefore the Torah demands - everyone give the same amount. And why a half shekel? The Torah is teaching us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” If you want to do something great, if you want to build a Mishkan, go together, not alone.

At our Annual Dinner, we are celebrating these two themes - full participation, and the community over the individual. Coming together as a community for this special cause will help GNS reach new heights for many years to come.
Rabbi Moshe & Jenny Genack
From Rabbi Dr. Mike & Morah Zehava 
In Megillat Esther, when Haman made his decree that all the Jewish people should be killed both young and old, the Medrash Rabbah tells us that although all the Jewish people were praying, it was the prayers and tears of the children that reached the Kiseh HaKavod, the Heavenly Throne. Hashem literally moved himself from the seat of din, justice, to the seat of Rachamim, mercy. Haman’s decree was torn up, and the Jewish nation was saved.
 Why is it that the prayers of both Mordechai and Esther and all the other Jewish people, did not result in overturning the decree and that it was only young children who were able to achieve this result?
The two answers given are as follows: First, the Medrash tells us that when Hashem wanted to give the Torah to the Jewish nation, He asked for guarantors that the mitzvot would be fulfilled and He only accepted the children of all future generations as these guarantors. 
Second, as Tehillim 8:3 states, children possess an innocence and unique purity “Out of the mouths of babes and infants You have established strength.”
Each week and throughout the year, we, at the GNS youth department, have the special opportunity and responsibility to lead the pure youth in Tefilla, Yom tov programs, Chessed initiatives and so much more. 
When you support the youth program and Great Neck Synagogue, you are emulating Hashem’s will as assigning the children, the youth, as the guarantors of His Torah. 
Mazal tov to the honorees Shmuel & Ariella Gilad and Robert & Sharon Herman, for all the support you have provided to ensure that the values of our synagogue live on in our children for generations to come.
Mazal Tov,
Rabbi Dr. Mike & Morah Zehava 
Youth Rabbi          Youth Director 
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