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

During the past week a very special man passed away in Montreal. He was definitely an essential link in our past. Max Richler was the president of the Young Israel of Val Royal the year we arrived in Montreal and had it not been for him and his family’s warm hospitality to us we probably would not have made the move. Max was a joker and often poked fun that he was one of 14 children. Perhaps some of you have heard of his famous author nephew, Mordechai Richler. Although Mordechai had little to do with many family members, he always spoke of his fondness for “Uncle Max.”

Max passed away at the age of 94. Although for many years he was the scion of a large successful business, his humbleness was worn on his shoulder. One of the important messages to relay about Max was that he never kept his business open on a Shabbos or Yom Tov. His many non-Jewish employees loved these “extra” paid days off. The reason we want to spotlight what Max has taught us is because the legacy which he left to his grandchildren and children is not one that many families are shouting about today. Max was an amazing baal tefillah. His davening was sweet, pure and sincere. One could sit in shul, close their eyes and honestly feel that the tefillos were going straight to the ears of Hashem on behalf of all of us. He continued davening for the amud until just a few years ago. When we visited his daughter’s home in Monsey this week, she played for us a tape that she had which someone had recorded of her father’s davening. That was the legacy that Max had left for his children and grandchildren to hold on to.

We are continually hearing of the acts of kindness that grandparents are doing for their children and grandchildren. Generally they are in the form of gifts, be it monetary or tangible. Does anyone really believe that taking grandchildren on a cruise will be remembered for as many years as holding in one’s brain the melodic and beautiful chanting of a grandfather davening? Even more so of a grandchild wishing to carry on the tradition he was taught by learning to daven the same way.

Max had a special place in his heart for our daughter Naama. He wore the type of sunglasses that would fit over his glasses and he was able to move the tinted lenses up and down. When he wanted the tinted lens to go up while he was indoors he would just flip it up. This was Naama’s favorite game with him. She loved to watch his glasses move up and down. Even when he was in a rush he would stop at her wheelchair to bend down and let her move his glasses. He was a busy man who knew exactly what his priorities were. Max was the father of NCSY in Montreal. Many young people in the community continued on to Torah-committed lives as a result of his endeavors. Another legacy that is carried on through his actions.

We are grateful to have had Max be our shaliach for so many years in davening. May his neshama have an aliyah and may his children and grandchildren have comfort in knowing how many people in his life he affected.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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