Ian Silverman, Rabbi

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 I bid adieux to my colleague of now 14 years, Cantor Ralph Nussbaum. It has been a joy and an inspiration to work alongside him.

The parasha mentions three functions in regard to Abraham that applies to our Chazan Nussbaum. First, Abraham is a teacher–he even teaches God that so important is hospitality, it is even more important than a private meeting with God. Abraham runs from his audience with God himself to welcome his guests. Thus, Abraham is a teacher, even instructing God himself. Chazan Nussbaum is also a great teacher.

The portion of Torah also mentions that Abraham caers a feast–a mishteh gadol–literally, a festive meal. Customary at festive meals was instrumental and vocal music. I am not sure Abraham sung, but Cantor certainly has embellished and beautified our ritual with his melodies and his chanting. As a musician, as a soloist, as choir director, as teacher, as balabus, as administrator, Chazan Ralph has graced this community for 23 years. We are so very sad to see this relationship come to an end, but we are happy to have been blessed by so many years of his dedication.

I was intrugued when, at the Men's Club Dinner, the Past Presidents awarded him with a decanter and proclaimed him an honorary Men's Club President. It was, as one congregant said, “decanter for de cantor.” It is interesting, though, that there may be a word origin relationship, although I may be completely wrong, etymologically. The root of the wrod "decanter" is to pour, and doesn't a cantor also "pour" out his heart and emotions as his soul "pours" upward the thoughts and aspirations, the petitions and the praises of the congregation? Certainly it can be decisively said that our Cantor Nussbaum poured out his heart for his congregation, in so many ways— in teaching, in his Chesed projects, in his visits to the sick, in his tending to the mourning and needs of our members. He has poured out his energies in so many respects, and yet we saw a maayan mitgaber, an overflowing, continuing spring of energy. It is therefore appropriate that in his words, “excitment fill the air tonight,” as we honor this man, our excellent chazan, both for his professionalism and his menschlichkeit.

For the blessing of clear vision, we thank you
For the blessing of humor and kibbitzing, we thank you
For the blessing of professionalism, we thank you
For the blessing of love of children, we thank you
For the blessing of melody and musicality, we thank you
For the skills of prayer and Haftorah, we thank you
For the blessing of your wisdom, we thank you
For the blessing of love of Torah and being able to convey it, we thank you
For the steady hand of instruction to our adults, we thank you
For the welcoming encouragement as choir director, we thank you.

Baruch ata be voecha o varuch ata betzetecha, Blessed are you and Avrille.

May the blessings you brought as you came into our shul redound upon you in your exit,
May your retirement bring you recuperation, added strength and new horizons.
May it be blessed with the joys of your wonderful family and deep and etched fond memories of your work at ENJC, and many more years of vitality.

We are forever grateful to you, our beloved Cantor, and to this, let us say, Amen.

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Israel Items of Interest

Israel's medical clowns- they cheer up sick kids, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and alleviate depression. They are Jews, Christian Arabs, and others. Watch a YouTube video about them HERE.

Learn about the connection of Jews with Israel, the decades-long quest of Israel for peace with it's neighbors, the failure of Palestinian leadership to turn conflict into coexistence, and the contrast between the fate of Palestinian and Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict, HERE. 

Women of the IDF video

 

Rabbi Silverman's Suggested Sites to See

Watch a YouTube video of Chloé Valdary, an American 23-year-old who is inspired by Israel and the Jewish people, and who communicates Israel engagement to her generation, HERE.

Read a blog from The Times of Israel about how to discuss and deal with Israel's future with regard to the numerous factions in Israeli society HERE.

Palestinian activist and BDS Founder Omar Barghouti was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award- a tragically misguided and insulting action. Read about it in the New Haven Register HERE.

Read about the "Forgotten Jews" and a pastor that is helping in the fight to bring their story to light in a blog from The Times of Israel HERE.

With a recent op ed article by Palestinian Marwan Barghouti published in the New York Times, the paper has again demonstrated its bias against Israel. Read about it in the Jerusalem Post, HERE.

A heartwarming story about friendship. Watch the video HERE.

The next Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, wrote a letter addressed to all Palestinian students instructing that studies and terrorism go together. This does not bode well for hopes for peace. Read about it HERE.

Hamas hid explosives in medical supplies accompanying two sisters crossing from Gaza into Israel for cancer treatment. Read the story HERE.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, writes that the greatest threat to world Jewry is the campaign to delegitimize Israel by UN agencies. Read his article HERE.

Read a Wall Street Journal article by a Syrian, discouraged by the inaction of the Obama administration and hopeful by Trump's bombing in Syria last week, yet wondering where the protesters are to remove Assad, HERE.

Are your Israeli donations going where you think? Many investments are going to Qatar, UAE, Malaysia and Indonesia instead. Read about it HERE.

Read about a brave anti-Hamas writer in Turkey HERE.

Watch a YouTube video of Rabbi Sacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign HERE. 

Read an article by Alan Dershowitz demonstrating the illogical and demonizing agenda of the far left "intersectionality" movement HERE.

Protest a UN petition denying Israel any part of Jerusalem. Demand the UN recognize Jewish history in Jerusalem and stop the anti-Israel campaign of hate HERE.

Read The Truth Behind Bar Mitzvah Tears, by Wendy Jaffe. A reflection that says it all perfectly, HERE.

Learn the proper protocol to handle Palestinian activists on campuses as exemplified by Georgetown University HERE.

A video about all the wonderful aid Israel provides worldwide, that will bring a tear to your eyes HERE.

 

 

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