Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Second of Kislev: R. Aharon Kotler, Z"L, My Mom, Z"L and the Pike Street Synagogue and its Rabbi, Moses Kalonymus Skinder from 1922-1947.

Ha Rav Aharon Kotler (1891-1962)
from wikipedia​

On this day in 1962/5722, the Hesped of rosh yeshivas Bais Medrash Govoah in Lakewoood, Rav Aharon Kotler was held at the Pike Street Synagogue in lower Manhattan. Tens of thousands of mourners packed the Synagogue and the adjoining streets.

On this day in 1980/5740 my mother Nahama Hadassah bas Ha Rav Moshe Kalonymus Skinder passed away.

​My grandfather Rav Moshe Kalonymus Skinder
Graduate Yeshiva of Lutsk, Rabbi in four countries,
Knew Torah b'al peh.

Her dad, my grandfather, was Rav at the well known Pike Street Synagogue in the lower East Side of Manhattan from 1922 until 1947.  He resigned his post and emigrated to Palestine to build housing in Cholon for Jews settling in Palestine from the European DP camps. His development is known as Givat Cholon.
​The Pike Street Synagogue, also known as the Sons of Israel Kalwarie

His synagogue was one of the 7 Great Synagogues in lower Manhattan. On January 10, 1913,  a crowd of 5,000 people jammed the Synagogue to hear the first of many lectures delivered by the noted Rabbi Judah L. Magnes. 

​The Interior of the Pike Street Synagogue

Rabbi Magnes  had resigned  his post at Temple Emanu-El. and embraced  a more traditional approach and practice of Judaism.

Rabbi Judah Leon Magnes, (1877-1948)
First Chancellor (1925) and
President of the Hebrew University (1935-1948)
Photo courtesy of wikimedia
The reason for the near riot that occurred that night was the announcement of the birth of the  Young Israel Movement. A formidable speaker, he aroused his largely unobservant audience to observe the sabbath and kashruth by making the Synagogue a hub of  fun social activities buttressed by traditional  weekday and sabbath prayer. 

The building  of the the Pike Street Synagogue in 1903, also known as the Sons Of Israel Kalwarie, occurred at a time when there were in excess of 350 Shuls serving lower Manhattan--based on an actual count. . 

It has been estimated that between 1880 and 1915  as many as 500  "Jewish houses of worship"  were founded in the Lower East Side. (The Synagogues of New York's Lower East Side , p.31)

In summary, the second day of Kislev reverberates strongly for me and is a inspiration to continue to add to the unstinting and tireless contributions of our  generational greats, Judaic forefathers and fore mothers as well.

My mom (1910-1980) exuding pride standing next to me

Let it be remembered that my mom was an inspirational teacher of Torah and Tehillim at our local Synagogue in Mt. Vernon, NY,  Emanu-El Jewish Center, and served as PTA President of the Ramaz School. Here at Ramaz, she was inspired by its founder Rabbi Joseph Lookstein and was herself a firebrand in inspiring many Ramaz parents (including my dad who taught the ABC's of Sexuality for many years) to actively participate in school activities as well as in their education of their own children. Thank you, mom, for igniting the spark of  seeking out the Ways of Torah and simultaneously instill a love of poetry, especially in its unique role in connecting us to a higher source. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Second A.B. Davis '58-60 reunion is a smashing success

Standing l. to r. Dick Schwartz, Elaine Einhorn, Carolyn Cohn, Barbara Hutnick
seated l. to r. Miriam Rapp, Jesse Shereff and wife Rochelle 

No matter that the day was cloudy and drizzly along the L.I. Sound in New Roc 'City', our second reunion was an unqualified success.

First off, many many thanks to our organizers Kathy Delany, Fred Diringer, Charles Siegel and  Rich Barnett, DJ extraordinaire.   Many hours of behind the scenes coordination: maintaining up- to- date email lists, sending email announcements, collecting checks, coordinating with the Davenport caterers, etc.

We welcomed Elaine Einhorn this year. She is in great spirits, starting a fresh life  full of energy and grace on the dance floor. Elaine is looking great--seems she has hardly aged in these 50+ years since we last parted ways.

Also joining us this year was Carolyn Cohn Newman who continues to pursue her passions of golf and physical education. Great to connect with you, Carolyn, after so many years and we all enjoy your vibrancy.

Do you recognize some of our classmates:  Jesse Sheref, Judy Petrillo, Kathy Delany, Bettina diVito, Barbara Hutnick, Carol Russo, Miriam Raff, Jean Figliuzzi, just to name a few?

Here is the link to this years photo and videos (as well as last year's as well)

Special thanks to Kathy Delany for all her unheralded contributions over the years and for her bringing our memories of the Beehive up to date. They are still going strong and have moved to Armonk!

What ever happened to Perry Martin? Anybody know?  If so, contact Jesse Shereff.

In case you missed last year's blog, here is the link as well.

Happy holidays to all, good health and good cheers.

I am looking forward to next year's event,...our 57th.

P.S. Eli Newberger: pediatrician, musician and teacher.  I am enjoying your YouTube jazz postings by the Jazz Tuber Trio (and those from Sherborn Inn)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Celebrating Election Day 2014 in Connecticut. Henry Wordsworth Longfellow sheds his grace on US.

Electioneering placards at one of  many
 the polling places in Stamford, CT

Today, Americans across the U.S.A from Connecticut to California, from Minnesota to Texas are exercising their privilege to vote for the candidates of their choice ranging from US Senators and Governors to Congressmen /Congresswomen and Board of Education representatives. 

Too often we take our rights for granted as we tend to forget recent rigged elections in Afghanistan, Iran and Russia. 

For nearly 250 years we the citizens of Connecticut, the Constitution State, by exercising our freedoms, have kept our Ship of State upright, on even keel as she sails forward through challenging waters.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1807-1882) photographed by
Julia Margaret Cameron in 1868

Henry Wadsworth  Longfellow said it right when he penned these words in his metaphoric poem "O Ship of State"

Thou, too, sail, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!