April 19, 2024
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Father and Son United: Rabbi Sam Reinstein Publishes ‘Seven Years of My Father’s Shabbos Table’

Learning lesson behind “following in your father’s footsteps” is one of the ultimate aspirations of parenting. The unique situation of “following in your child’s footsteps” signals an even greater level of accomplishment. Imagine being able to combine the two. Teaneck father and son, Rabbi Alvin and and Rabbi Sam Reinstein have done just that.

This past month, son Rabbi Sam Reinstein self-published a volume of his father’s in-depth parsha questions titled, “Seven Years of My Father’s Shabbos Table.” The volume is a comprehensive compilation of seven years of questions, covering all the parshiot and holidays, which the senior Reinstein contributed to his shul Congregation Beth Aaron’s weekly newsletter. The volume serves as a year-round companion to the study of the parsha and chaggim, and offers challenging questions on all levels followed by answers ranging from those of medieval commentaries to modern day Torah scholars.

The concept for the book began at the suggestion of Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, morah d’asra of Congregation Beth Aaron, who thought the content would serve as a welcome addition to the weekly newsletter. While the rabbi was originally supposed to pose seven questions that coincided with the seven aliyot, the queries soon grew to more than 50 lengthy questions that offered as many as 12 possible answers to each. As the questions and responses grew, Rabbi Sam saw the need to merge the seven years of materials into a unified presentation. After one year of a great deal of merging and editing the volume was published last week by Rabbi Sam, which coincided with the 69th birthday of the senior Rabbi Reinstein.

“My mother, sister and I believe that there can be no greater gift to our father and husband than to see the fruits of his labor, first shared at our Shabbos table, be made available to the Torah community,” he said.

The publishing of this volume is the second piece of the unique and impressive history of father and son. In March of 2017, the two Reinsteins were ordained by Yeshiva University together with 30 other musmachim at their Chag HaSemikhah Convocation which takes place every four years. For the senior Reinstein, this was the culmination of a lifelong dream. As a son of Holocaust survivors, he was raised with their determination to create a true religious home. He attended yeshiva day and high schools and graduated from Yeshiva College in 1972. Married to Esther Lauber, and father to Sam and Margot, Reinstein worked for the New York City Housing Authority for 32 years. Throughout the years of child-rearing and providing for his family, Torah study maintained a central focus in his life. Despite life’s obligations, he set aside time to study on his own and with Torah partners.

Upon retiring in 2010, at the suggestion of his wife Esther, Rabbi Alvin Reinstein joined his son, who was pursuing semicha at Yeshiva University’s RIETS. His son had a bit of a headstart in the program and was often able to guide his father through the intense studies and serve as a mentor by sharing his copious notes.

Rabbi Sam Reinstein, married to Hannah Dreyfus and father of Leon, 3, who serves as rabbi at Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and is also an actuary at Munich Re, shared, “It was been an interesting inversion of mesorah, but one where we were able to work together to both achieve higher proficiency in our Jewish texts. Interestingly, I was my father’s chavrusa and as we opened the daf he was given to learn for his entrance bechina, we realized that it was the same daf that I had been tested on a few years earlier.”

Margot resides in Herzliya with husband Josh and sons Yoshi and Boaz. The couple serves as the OU’s JLI couple tasked with providing religious prayer services, events, celebrations and Torah study to the students attending IDC, a university catering to Anglo students residing in Israel. Their home is a base for religious connection that was inspired by that of her parents while growing up in Teaneck.

To order a copy of “Seven Years of my Father’s Shabbos Table” by Rabbi Alvin Reinstein and edited by Rabbi Sam Reinstein, visit Amazon or email [email protected].

By Pearl Markovitz

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