Tuesday, August 16, 2022

When Rabbi Moshe Stavsky assumed the role of morah d’atra of Beit Midrash of Bergenfield (BMOB) almost 11 years ago, the congregation was housed in a small, private home on South Prospect Avenue and hosted a membership of 60 families, mainly in their 30s and 40s.

With Rebbetzin Mirel at his side, Rabbi Stavsky oversaw the growth of the shul now hosting over 180 families, housed in a new, state-of-the-art facility, and attended by families with young children as well as empty-nesters and grandparents.

At the recent farewell melave malka for the Stavskys, Rabbi Stavsky characterized the shul as he sees it after more than a decade at its helm. He revealed that the secret to successful leadership is the model that Hashem suggested to our greatest leader, Moshe Rabbeinu in Parshas BeHaaloscha with the appointment of 70 leaders from within the nation to work alongside him.

Quoting “Ner l’echad, ner l’meah,” a light for one is a light for 100, Rabbi Stavsky proceeded to describe BMOB as a model of successful cooperation. “At BMOB, every individual takes from the central candle his/her own special flame and spreads it among 100 others who then spread it to the next 100. Whether their flame consists of hachnasat orchim, chesed, tefillah, learning or simply reaching out with a warm ‘hello,’ this illumination spreads out and inspires others to share their special flame. The greatest success of BMOB is its cohesiveness and the unity of its membership into a cohesive family. It is Mirel’s and my wish that this bond grow and strengthen throughout many coming blessed years.”

As an expression of their admiration and appreciation of the Stavskys for their dedication to BMOB, the congregation gifted them with a silver Seder plate, presented by board member Andrew Parver. Board member Sarit Glass surprised the Stavskys with a scrapbook of memories, anecdotes and pictures from their BMOB tenure.

With the announcement of the Stavsky family’s impending aliyah at the end of summer 2022, the board, in consultation with the membership, decided to identify an interim rabbi to serve the congregation for the upcoming year, during which a search would be initiated for a permanent rav. President Jonathan Price and board members Daniel Bardizeh and Yossi Berger have devised a three-point plan to accomplish this goal, which includes a statement of the profile and mission of the shul, a detailed job description of the rav, and a thorough process of vetting candidates.

In a letter to the membership issued within the last week by the interim rabbi search committee and backed by unanimous approval by the board, the appointment of Rabbi Neal Turk as interim rabbi was announced. Price shared: “Rabbi Turk is a well-regarded and highly credentialed rabbi whose character and skill set align with the feedback we received from the shul membership during this transitional period. We are grateful to Rabbi Turk for agreeing to commit to this role. During the course of the year, we hope to supplement Rabbi Turk’s role with frequent scholars-in-residence.”

Rabbi Turk serves as the mashgiach of the Semikha Program at YU’s RIETS. He is also the director of the RIETS/Ferkauf Joint Program in Mental Health Counseling. He has been a member of the RCA and in both Florida and New Jersey has served as the head of its beit din for conversions. Rabbi Turk and wife Laura grew up in Queens and attended Yeshiva High School of Queens. After studying at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel, Rabbi Turk completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at YU. He has held pulpits at Congregation Ahavat Achim in Fair Lawn and Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach. The Turks are proud parents of six children and many grandchildren who reside in Israel, Baltimore, Florida and Queens.

By Pearl Markovitz


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