July 18, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 18, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

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

Rabbi Chaim Strauchler Installed at Rinat Yisrael

On the morning of Sunday, December 12, the mantle was passed from Rabbi Yosef Adler, morah d’asra of Congregation Rinat Yisrael for 42 years, to Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, most recently rav of Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto since 2008. To an in-person audience of over 300 and close to 400 viewing via livestream, a dignified and meaningful installation program ushered in a new era for Rinat Yisrael and the larger community.

Michael Richmond, vice president of Rinat, set the stage by introducing the roster of speakers. President Bina Faber noted Rabbi Strauchler’s impressive accomplishments in the brief time he has spent at the helm of the congregation. Faber praised Rabbi Strauchler for his inspiring shiurim and divrei halacha, his personal reaching out in response to questions, his comfort in times of illness and loss, and his hands-on participation in community activities such as packing for the food pantry. Faber praised Ari Mermelstein for his thoughtfulness and insight in spearheading the search committee that brought Rabbi Strauchler to Rinat.

Rabbi Emeritus Rabbi Yosef Adler cited Yaakov Avinu’s unusual response to Pharaoh’s query as to his age. In answering “130 few and bad,” Yaakov was expressing a negative outlook on life, which resulted in his lifetime cut shorter than those of his predecessors, only 147 years as opposed to 175 and 180 for his forebears. Rabbi Adler urged the Rinat community to always focus on the positive going forward and to appreciate the already wonderful accomplishments of their new Morah D’asra Rabbi Strauchler.

Rav Moshe Taragin, ram at Yeshivat Har Etzion, remembered Rabbi Chaim Strauchler as a young 17-year old studying at the Gush. Even at that tender age, he was irrepressibly entrenched in the world of ideas and displayed an inordinate curiosity. Yet he always carried himself with the utmost intellectual humility, thirsting for learning from the wells of knowledge surrounding him at the yeshiva, the deepest source being Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l. As he matured, alongside this humility he developed into a people person, investing time into talking to and forming bonds with people. “Rabbi Strauchler will be a rav of relationships and accomplishments, partnerships and not partisanships. Rabbi Strauchler will effectively lead Rinat in its distinction as an outpost in the study of Torah in the path of Rav Soloveichik, as a home for the meta study of Tanach and as an achsania, abode, for Torat Eretz Yisrael,” Rav Taragin said.

A proud member of Rinat for the past 16 years, Rabbi J.J. Schacter, senior scholar for the Jewish future and professor of Jewish history and Jewish thought at Yeshiva University, welcomed Rabbi Strauchler to his new position. In exploring the actions that merit one to become a leader, Rabbi Schacter cited the actions of the tribe of Yehuda at Yam Suf. Through their “jumping into the sea” they were mekadesh shem shamayim, sanctifying the name of Hashem. True leadership is accomplished through extending oneself to sanctifying God’s name in matters between man and man as well as in matters between man and God. A leader must be a role model of Torah for others.

As the Meshech Chochma teaches us there is no such thing in Jewish life as the intrinsic value of items. Even the luchot, the Tablets of Law, were holy only as they related to the nation. When the nation sinned, the luchot were disensable and thus Moshe Rabbeinu shattered them. Only Hashem has intrinsic value. The holiness in our lives comes from how we relate to the Torah and its outline for living. As congregants, we too must be mekadesh shem shamayim through accepting and carrying out our responsibilities and through partnering with our new rabbi and giving him the space to lead us.”

Rabbi Schacter concluded his remarks with the recitation of the bracha extended to the chatan Torah upon the completion of the reading of the Torah on Simchat Torah. “Therefore may it be the will of the Omnipotent that He bestow life, kindness, diadem and crown upon Chaim Binyamin ben Yitzchak Dovid V Rivkah Hinda … to strengthen, bless and make him great in the study of Torah, to seek him out for life, to glorify him, and to establish him in society … to grant him virtue and distinction, to teach him knowledge and logic … to support him … to draw him near, to show him mercy and to protect him against every distress and trouble.”

In accepting the brachot of the speakers, Rabbi Strauchler credited his parents and grandparents for establishing the foundation upon which he was raised to become a proud Modern Orthodox Jew and now a Rinat Jew. He thanked his wife, Avital, for providing him with the strength needed for all of his accomplishments. Rabbi Strauchler recalled the surprise that his response elicited when he responded to an interview question asking him in which era of Jewish history he would have liked to have lived. He responded that he is happy to be living in the current era. He explained that despite the world facing so many problems, our task is to pick one force and champion it above all others. And as we are followers of Hashem who unifies everything, we are not required to pick one force over another. Like Avraham Avinu, we believe in a God that holds it all together, unifies the world in harmony.

And as people of faith we are able to celebrate and cherish the good within us and the good people around us. “I look forward to being here with you during this moment of Jewish history and sharing your strengths in creating amazing accomplishments together, which will serve as a legacy to the next generations.”

Concluding the event, Assemblywoman Elect Shama Heda, representing District 37, read a Congressional Resolution announcing the installation of Rabbi Chaim Strauchler as Rabbi of Congregation Rinat Yisrael.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles