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Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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This past Sunday morning found me outside of Teaneck’s Congregation Keter Torah, where I attended the OU’s biennial 2020 

National Convention outdoors. I went as a proud representative and delegate of my shul but I also went because I had never been to an outdoor OU Convention ever before, nor do I think there had ever been one in the history of the OU.

Although the OU supplied heating towers throughout the tent, I so enjoyed greeting many friends and colleagues that I did not start looking for a seat until all of the good seats closest to the heating towers were taken; I was left sitting 20 feet away from the closest one. Despite the freezing temps, it was nice to check in and network with so many local and shul leaders from throughout the tri-state area and the OU’s local and national leaders present at what was certainly one of the first in-person events that many of us have been to over the past nine months.

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Thankfully, the program, appropriately titled “Reimaging and Unifying the Orthodox Jewish Community During Unprecedented Times,” was not long enough for me to be concerned about developing frostbite and I enjoyed listening to the OU’s two newest leaders and co-executive vice presidents, Rabbi Moshe Hauer and Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph (both from Montreal, originally), speak at their first large in-person OU event.

The program concluded with OU President Moishe Bane delivering his president’s report and I am always amazed at the full scope, reach and depth of the OU’s programs ranging from Yachad, NCSY, Teach Coalition, All Daf and many, many others. The main number that I took away from his report was 4.5 million hours. What does that number signify? He explained that the OU had tallied up all of the hours of Torah that had been learned online via its programs over the past 12 months, and that number totaled 4.5 million hours. Loud applause greeted this impressive number and it was enough to warm all of us that Sunday morning.

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I would like to wish my sister and brother-in-law, Shira and Adam Katz of Passaic, a heartfelt mazal tov upon the engagement of their eldest daughter—and my niece Leah—to Yehuda Spira of Flatbush. For the Kinderlehrer and Katz families, and especially my parents, this represents the first such union of the next generation and represents a special milestone for our entire family. As is customary, I wish the young couple that their home together be a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael and as I know my niece’s parents fairly well and the special home in which she was raised, I have a fairly high level of confidence that the partnership they will create will be a special, klal-oriented and Torah-centered one.

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Last but not least, I want to say Baruch Dayan Ha’emet to the family of Richard Watson, father of Mark (Ora) Watson, Nicola (Zvi) Weiss, and Lisa (Jacky) Fleischman, who passed away this past week. I know two of Richard’s children and one son-in-law. Richard used to visit our office often in the past few years before his illness took a turn for the worse. We would strategize about his Getting Safer website, which our paper wrote about in 2017. In addition, he worked with us briefly on ad sales. During our visits and calls I got to know him a bit and remember well the stories he told me about growing up in Dublin and raising his family in San Diego, before moving to Teaneck to be closer to his family here and in Israel. I always admired his incredible energy and enthusiasm, despite his many health challenges, for anything that he was passionate about, and I am also sad that I did not get to know him in his younger years. Condolences to his children, who are sitting shiva this week and who are each special and involved in only good things in our community.

Happy Chanukah and Chag Urim Sameach!

By Moshe Kinderlehrer, 
Co-founder and Co-publisher/The Jewish Link

 

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