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Rabbi's Blog: Coin & Completion

03/10/2023 01:02:21 PM


Dear OZ family,


The Parsha this week begins with a call for the donations of a half-shekel to the Mishkan fund. This was a coin almost exactly the size of a US nickel, and by way of comparison, we see a worker’s salary of room, board and clothing for a year together with a salary of ten shekels, at the end of Sefer Shoftim. The half-shekel donation reminded every Jew that we are not really complete unless we join with another in some way. It is hard to find anyone in our community who has connected with others for so long, as much as Glenn and Lenore Richter. They have spent a lifetime in the service of others, and leave a trail of kindness and support wherever they go. Their dedication for Soviet Jewry from the 1960’s helped take down the Iron Curtain that so drastically squelched the religious lives of millions of Jews. Thanks to the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, which they helped to found, Jews were allowed to emigrate from the Russian dungeon that closed any spiritual connection to which Jews aspired. They literally changed the course of history for our people.


I write this now, because I am calling for a mishebeyrach for Lenore who just underwent surgery for a hip-replacement. Glenn just informed me that the procedure was a success, but we can still pray for Leah Devorah bas Sarah. Having had two such procedures myself, I know that the rehabilitation is intense, and we have already sent out a meal train to help Glenn and Lenore in the coming days and weeks. Lenore’s dedication to her community knows no boundaries. Just yesterday, she was busy at the Yeshiva Ketana, which will somehow have to continue functioning without her. I suspect that Lenore will want to return to her work there well before the doctors permit it. For all the accolades and profound honors that Glenn and Lenore deserve, they are both intensely humble and unassuming. I hope to be able to report to you soon that Lenore has returned home safely.


I am also happy to inform you that Bina is steadily improving day by day. She is still in Brooklyn with family, but expects to be back on the West Side soon. Her Central Park benches miss her, as we do. I had the pleasure last night of attending the wedding l of Daniella Herskowitz and Isaac Inkeles. The symbolism of two halves becoming a whole fits very nicely with the half-shekel donations of this week’s Parsha. Please join me in extending Mazel Tov to both families as they celebrate their first Shabbos with us.  Mazel Tov to Robbie and Johanna and the entire Heskowitz and Inkeles families.     


Stay well and healthy.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Allen Schwartz




Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635




Mon, December 4 2023 21 Kislev 5784