May 24, 2024
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May 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Life is generally so busy that we find ourselves working almost as robots. We wake up and do the usual things we need to do or are expected of us, and rush through each day rarely taking the time to stop and think about the many good fortunes we have. Some of us actually take more time to dwell upon the “bad things” than all we are so blessed with.

Along the same vein, how often do we sit back and wonder who influenced us in our lives? Some of the people we have never thought of as being consequential we suddenly realize had a major, major impact on how our lives transpired. In fact, in most cases, the person whose action enabled another also has no idea that what he did had a positive effect on the person.

Today we had the pleasure of sharing a simcha with Celia and Stan Nattel, wonderful friends from Montreal. Their daughter Sarah recently became engaged to Zev Hait of Riverdale. Upon being introduced to Ari, the father of the chatan, he mentioned to us that his father had also been a pulpit rabbi. Nina immediately asked if his first name was Paul. It turned out that Rabbi Paul Hait was the rabbi of the Flushing Jewish Center, a shul Nina’s family attended for several years. As Nina’s family was one of the very few shomer Shabbat families in the community, her parents were always most likely to befriend the rabbi of the shul they attended. Yet it was one very small suggestion that Rabbi Hait made to Nina those many, many years ago that actually changed her entire life. Until the very moment that she introduced herself to Rabbi Hait at the party did she realize how significant that suggestion was. Rabbi Hait informed Nina of a program sponsored by the Community Service Division of Yeshiva University called Torah Leadership Seminar. He asked her (she was probably 14) if she would be interested in attending this program, which was taking place during the winter vacation from school at the Lake House Hotel in Woodridge, New York. Keep in mind that this was a time when kids did not travel the way they do today, and shabbatons and retreats were something new on the horizon. Reluctantly, Nina’s parents allowed her to attend. Registration forms were filled out, money was exchanged, and off was Nina to have her first experience ever attending any type of camp, and even more significant was the fact that she was meeting other Jewish students, some of whom also kept Shabbat and Yom Tov. Being a student in a public school, Nina had never met other teenagers who were shomer Shabbat. To say that attending that first Seminar changed her life would be an absolute understatement. Her entire world became consumed with new friends, shabbatonim, kumzitzim and Yiddishkeit. For a while there is no question that her parents wondered what they had signed her up for! Friendships still exist today from those original days at Seminar. Most people in the community outside of the YU world cannot even imagine the beauty and mystical experience those teenagers were exposed to. Major driving forces in the Jewish world met their “bashert” at Seminar. Those who attended so many years ago, upon seeing each other all these years later, still share the memories of those glorious days. Certainly we cannot forget that Nina from Flushing and then Jericho, Long Island, at age 14 met Marvin Glick, age 15, from Malden, Massachusetts. Two different worlds blended together with the original seeds stemming from Seminar.

The most important intention of this article is to state that had it not been for Rabbi Paul Hait, so much in our lives would not have happened. It was to his credit that he directed Nina and her family to a place where Nina’s world would be consumed with kiruv and helping others by the rich traditions that she had learned at Seminar.

Until today we have never thanked Rabbi Hait properly for what he did for us. Truthfully, we rarely gave it much thought. We now realize how necessary it is to give kavod and thanks to those who have most influenced our lives. All of us can probably look back upon our years of adolescence and college and remember one little thing that probably played a major part in our development as human beings. What we realized today is that it is never too late to thank someone, an institution, a friend, a relative, a clergyman for what they did for us. To Rabbi Paul Hait there is no doubt in our minds that without his little suggestion that Nina attend Yeshiva University Torah Leadership Seminar our lives would have been totally different. Thank you, Rabbi Hait, we are glad we still have the opportunity to say that directly to you.

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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