Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
In recent weeks, I’ve connected with some of my very oldest friends and relations — the people with whom I went to elementary school. It was at Yeshiva Rabbi Moses Soloveichik in Washington Heights, and we first met when we were six years old. That was 50 years ago! Over the years, many of us kept in touch on again and off again. Regardless of how much time would pass, we would pick things up in one phone conversation, email, lunch or a text message.
A group of us met for lunch in New York a few weeks ago and this spurred some of us to start chatting on WhatsApp. Admittedly, the group, including me, is spending a lot of time on this chat and really enjoying it. On Sunday morning, someone had mentioned a classmate we hadn’t heard from in a while and I started “googling” his name. Turns out he passed away that Friday at the age of 55. Great guy who never married and quietly was taking care of many people. As soon as our group heard about this, three of them got showered, dressed, met up in New York and New Jersey and went to the Shiva. A day or two later another classmate went to the Shiva house as well. It meant a ton to the grieving family.
This coming week, we are holding our Federation’s biggest event of the year — MEGA. We are honoring David Weiner with Federation’s most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor. We are also giving the third annual Harold & Jean Grossman award for extraordinary volunteerism in the past year, to Esther & Don Schon, M.D. I hope that many of you who have not yet registered will join us Thursday Evening, March 5 to celebrate these exceptional people. They have earned our support and our gratitude. Register at jewishphoenix.org/MEGA2020.
This week’s Torah portion is Teruma (offering), in the book of Exodus and falls on February 29. Yes, this is a leap year! In it G-d asks the people to contribute 13 particular materials to construct the sanctuary in which he will reside while traveling with the people of Israel in the desert on the way to the Promised Land. And the people most willingly give up those materials.
In a week where the stock market took a bashing the same week my old Yeshiva classmate, Dr. David Mehler, z”l , passed away, I’m reminded of the learning in Pirkei Avot (ethics of the fathers). Ayzehu Ashir? Ha’sameach b’chelko (who is rich, he who is satisfied with his lot). This week we honor David Weiner and the Schon’s who give so much of themselves. And please join me in asking Hashem to give Dr. David Mehler’s (a podiatrist who did so much for so many) nishama (soul) an Aliya (may it rise higher).
Light candles on Friday at 6:05pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 7:01pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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