May 27, 2024
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May 27, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

As we write this during the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we wonder how many people have given thought to how, many generations ago, family members struggled to get us where we are today. There are those who are fortunate to have not had any family members directly affected by the horrors of the Shoah. However, at some point, many of us had great, great, great-grandparents who came to the shores of the United States because they were persecuted only because of their religious beliefs. It made no difference if you were observant or secular; merely the fact that you were Jewish meant you were considered unworthy of full citizenship in the countries in which you were born.

With the history we have as Jews, we have always deeply felt the importance of family. So many people lost their loved ones, and as a result we are very conscious of maintaining strong ties with our family members.

It has become a pleasure to reconnect with our nieces and nephews now that we can actually get together and spend time with them. Due to unfortunate circumstances, Nina’s side of her mother’s family had nothing to do with one another. Siblings actually had no contact, and she now realizes she has many first cousins who could possibly be living a block away whom she would not know.

Upon our return to the States, Nina decided to try to reunite with some of her cousins. Unfortunately, her first attempt was not successful. She wrote a letter to one who had been the Assistant District Attorney of Nassau County, introducing herself and suggesting that they reconnect, and his response was total silence. She made it clear that she was regretful that the family was scattered and that no one knew each other. She felt that we, the next generation, should not be caught up in the nonsense of our parents. Truthfully, at least a month after sending a real handwritten letter and waiting for a reply she felt a bitter disappointment. Another crazy fact is that she had an uncle and aunt who lived in Hackensack. Who would ever dream we would be living just miles away from there?

We have met and spoken with families here who rarely or never speak with their siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins. In every case there is a “justifiable” reason. The reason, of course, is only real in their minds. There has to be a way for this nonsense to end.

Recently we had a most pleasant experience. We had reached out to a third cousin of ours on the Glick side who lives in Monsey; we aren’t sure if she is a third cousin removed or not removed, as the concept of removal describing familial relationships is one that we were never good at understanding. Nina contacted her several weeks ago. We found such lovely relatives who are now “in the family.” It turns out they are Bostoner chasidim. The Bostoner Rebbe was the mesader kiddushin at our wedding. We left their home smiling, as we could see Mordechai’s great-grandparents (or is it grandparents?) smiling down on us. So many years later, family members are reconnecting. We look forward to a long-term relationship with them.

Our message is short and sweet. Our late parents, grandparents and great-grandparents sacrificed much for us to be here. We should never forget them and we should honor their memories by reaching out to family with whom we may not have been in touch, for various reasons. Do it now. Tomorrow might be too late as no one knows what the next day will bring.

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].

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