May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 26, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

As we reminisce about the many yamim tovim that we have spent together, we were discussing recently some of the interesting, sometimes very serious, and other times very funny experiences we have shared.

Our early married life never heard the term “sharing” with regard to which family we needed to spend a chag with. We generally did in the early years of our marriage what was most convenient and practical.

For instance, in the first years of our marriage, while we lived in Washington Heights and Mordechai learned in both the Semicha program and the Kollel, we made it a point for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to offer Mordechai’s services as a “whatever the congregation needed” and we would take a job for the holidays. Yeshiva University’s Department of Community Service had a list of many shuls that were looking for students to hire for the High Holidays. We remember the first year that we set out to a community of egg farmers in New Jersey (maybe Absecon, not sure). They held their services in a senior’s retirement village. They gave us an apartment and we brought all of our own food with us for the two or three days. They definitely were not interested in melodious long davening. They were interested in going to shul and going home to take a nap. Nina remembers sitting there with all of the elderly ladies, kind of wondering what she was doing there as they would continually exclaim how cute she was (a 21-year-old rebbetzin).

When we returned for Yom Kippur we were not prepared for the women spending a good part of the day scurrying around behind the area being used as a shul to prepare the after-the-fast repast. We remember that there was gefilte fish and couldn’t wait to get back to our apartment to eat what we had brought with us. Much of what the ladies had prepared was not kosher enough for our palates.

Another year Mordechai participated in davening at the Kew Gardens Synagogue and Nina uncomfortably sat in the women’s section worrying about her husband being well-received by the baalebatim.

By the time we were in Montreal, other memories of our yamim tovim together reminded us of many things. Most importantly, a message which many do not realize is that when a rav and his rebbetzin commit to serving a community, they lose the ability to ever visit with their families on Yom Tov. We absolutely never went to our families for a Yom Tov together with our children. Unless your family is able to visit, and Nina’s parents did many times, you substitute a new family in the form of close friends.

We remember the harrowing experience of Yom Kippur 1973. Nina arrived in shul and noticed that all of the women were whispering amongst themselves. She had no idea of what was going on. Finally someone turned around to tell her that a war had broken out in Israel. It was a day of tefillah writhed with worry and concern. We screamed to Hashem to care for our brothers and sisters who were living in our homeland and especially for those whowere on the front lines.

Fortunately it was a victorious war but it never happens without lost lives. Two weeks after the Yom Kippur war our son Akiva was born. Nina remembers being in the hospital and a lady in the next room came to ask “the rabbi” a question. She and her husband wanted to name their baby Jordan. However, they were getting a lot of flack from their family. What should they do? They did, by the way, name the little boy Jordan.

One year on Yom Kippur, a young father of two was rushed to the hospital for having experienced seizures early in the morning. When the word reached Mordechai he immediately walked ten miles (each way) to the Royal Victoria Hospital to see how the man was doing, to find out that he had already been discharged. Back to shul, several hours later he trudged in.

One year as Rosh Hashanah approached, Nina especially was extremely nervous. Each year we had the pleasure of hosting Yossi and Marta Motzen who lived in Tel Aviv. They would come to Montreal to visit with their son Yaakov and his family (famous Yaakov) and each year Yossi would be the baal tefillah at a shul near to our house. We always looked forward to their wonderful company. However, this particular year was like no other. During the Lebanon War in 1982, their youngest son, Avumele (Avraham Chaim), was killed in his tank. As is so often the case, Nina’s jittery feelings were immediately put to rest by the sincerity and comfort we felt while speaking with our guests. They told us the story of how the IDF offered to take the families of the young men who had been killed to see the area where their tank still remained. Yossi refused to go but Marta was anxious to do so. She said that one of the very young women who was with their group found her husband’s glasses right next to the tank that he had been killed in. May both Yossi and Marta’s souls forever rest in peace.

The unknown is always something difficult to cope with. We remember two different years that we cringed (Nina sobbed) at the blowing of the shofar—worrying at two different specific times about our severely ill daughters and wondering where we would be the following year. It was an awakening that we had done the best that we could do in our davening and now our lives and those of our children were in the hands of Hashem.

This year once again Mordechai has the privilege of davening at the home of Moshe and Eliza Skoczales. Another quiet hero in our midst. May all of our tefillos from whichever direction they come from, and in whichever way we feel most comfortable to daven, resonate and be heard by Hashem to bring us all the ability to understand that not all of Hashem’s plans are necessarily to be understood but that we need to accept that they are ultimately for our good. Shana Tova.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles