Our Upcoming Separation

Dear Temple Family,

One of the great strengths of Riverdale Temple is the participation of our congregants in conducting our sacred services. Rachel Radna, our president, has served as our cantor on more occasions than I can count. Especially during the summers, numerous members take part in leading the worship services, including offering “divrei Torah.” On several Shabbatot one of our congregants, Dr. Craig Katz, a psychiatrist by profession, has delivered an interpretation of the weekly Torah portion. He offered to do so on the Shabbat during Chanukah, and his words continue to echo in my mind. In fact, shortly after that Shabbat, I was packing up the dozen or so pairs of Shabbat candlesticks I have accumulated over the years in preparation for moving to Rochester. I found myself moved to tears as I reflected on the history of each pair and asked Craig if we could include his words in our monthly bulletin.

I did ask if we could delete the last paragraphs, but he gently insisted that I submit the entire sermon. I do not want us to spend the rest of our months together bemoaning our upcoming separation; I want Riverdale Temple to look forward, optimistically and enthusiastically, to an exciting future. Yet I also accept Dr. Katz’s observation that tears are a necessary part of the changes we go through in life, and so I thank him for his fascinating discussion of the Torah portion for Shabbat during Chanukah and express my gratitude for supplying me with a new memory that will add to the warmth and beauty (and, yes, tears) of my future Chanukah celebrations. (click on Continue Reading to see the Dvar Torah with Dr.Craig Katz’ moving observations)

—Rabbi Judith Lewis