July 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Another Jewish Light Upon the Nation

In the many years we spent as rabbi and his wife (also known as the rebbetzin) while in Montreal, we witnessed and shared with families and individuals many crises, smachot, tragedies and challenges. Most do not realize that when a rav begins his life of commitment to the rabbinate, he is very young. How many life experiences could he really have had and how could he ever know about the everyday occurrences that befall so many? Yet immediately, as the clergyman affiliated with a congregation, he is the one who is called upon to give strength to those going through difficult times. We remember just shortly after we arrived in Montreal, a young 16-year-old boy was stricken with an odd flu that worsened and worsened and, eventually, caused him to pass away in the hospital. Mordechai sat by his bed with his parents night and day. Every time Mordechai would come home for a brief respite, our daughter Malkie used to ask, “Tattie, how is Irwin?” We as a young couple were devastated that this could happen. At no time when you are in the semicha program are you truly prepared for these situations. Yet a rav who is 27 and a rav who is 57 both have enough sensitivity to know that in most of these tragedies there is nothing to say because there are no answers. You are there to listen, to daven, to do whatever you can to let families know you are there for them.

In another of our many rabbinical roles we spent much time with our very successful NCSYers. We watched many of them grow and become leading members of the communities they eventually settled in. Recently we had the privilege of reuniting with one who is now a “chief” mashgiach for the OU. We are not even sure if his parents kept kosher at all. The challenges that so many of these kids had to go through in order to establish themselves as Torah observant is hard for many to understand. Many had spots in their parents’ kitchen where they tried to keep kosher. Think today of teenagers in a Modern Orthodox community asking their parents to please reconsider going to a Pesach program because it likely has mixed swimming, and watch the reaction of many of their families. Each day for these children was another challenge, as parents would go to restaurants and expect them to come along. Mothers would choose clothing for their daughters to wear that young NCSY girls would no longer wish to wear due to the sleeve or hem length. Today many of these young people are leaders in shuls and Jewish organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Many have relocated to Israel.

Another aspect of the rabbinate that sort of fell into our laps was our involvement with those in the gerut program. Quite by chance we met our first non-Jewish “daughter” when she attended a learning class at our home for McGill students. She was with several of her Jewish friends and had slowly developed an interest in Judaism. Louise Senez, a French Canadian young woman, later became Temima Markovitz. She became a bat bayit in our home and her devotion to Yiddishkeit was everlasting. Although we are practically the same age, she calls us her Jewish parents and we will soon have the privilege of staying with her at her home in Yerushalayim. Over the years we had many such “children.”

We frequently told our children that a person who grows up in a home and observes his father putting on tefillin every day cannot in any way be given the same amount of admiration as the person who never saw this in his home and chooses to do so. We are now thrilled to be a part of our newest family member’s journey. It was quite a while ago that Mordechai was asked to learn with Steven Nunez, a young man interested in becoming Jewish. Immediately he began to share Shabbat meals at our table and he is fortunate enough to have Rabbi Haim Jachter as his sponsor and Rabbi Michael Chernick as his frequent learning partner. His commitment to Judaism has grown each day, and his passion for learning has impressed all who know him. Step back and think about how many would have chosen to be Jewish and totally observant if they were not born into the family they have. Steve is totally into everything. He recently returned from a trip to Eretz Yisrael geared specifically for people in the process of becoming Jewish. Upon his return he attended his appointment with the beit din and he has now been given word that he will soon be able to be a part of a zimun at a Shabbat table. He has frequently found himself telling people that he cannot be counted for a minyan. Those days will soon be over.

What is important to note is the warmth and hospitality that has been offered to Steven at Shaarei Orah. As well, we each have to look at ourselves and make sure we welcome with love and support anyone who has chosen to join our tribe. Mazel tov, Steven. We are very proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick


Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected]. 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles