President’s Pesach Message 2021/5781

Dear Friends and Members of the Young Israel of Chomedey:

One year ago, at exactly this time, I noted that a plague of Biblical proportions was sweeping the world. As I wrote those words, 20,000 people worldwide had already died from COVID-19. A year later, as I write these words, over 2.6 million have died worldwide, a figure we could not imagine at this time last year. It is a sad figure to contemplate, as we approach our Pesach holiday for the 2nd year still in some sort of lockdown and under curfew of one sort or another.

Thankfully, the Young Israel of Chomedey and Congregation Shaar Shalom, whom we partner with on a daily basis have so far – B’H –avoided the virus in our midst, and we have managed to keep our shuls going throughout the past year. With strict protocols being enforced every time we come to shul, we have kept our Yiddishkeit alive; we have managed to have our shul open every Erev Shabbat and Shabbat, and some other days in between, albeit with only a Minyan of 10 people allowed at this time, with trust in Hashem that this will change for the better. Between our two shuls, Mike Andradi and I find ourselves playing spiritual chairs, in trying to give everyone who wants to come to shul on Shabbat, a chance to do so, and we are trying to plan for services in shul throughout the Pesach Holiday, B’H.

The lockdowns and curfews have certainly taken their toll, as many of us have barely left our homes except to do some shopping or for medical requirements, now thankfully for vaccinations. Yet, we have managed to stay together. Our spiritual needs are being looked after as we continue to have evening services every Sunday through Thursday on Zoom. Rabbi Banon, our spiritual light during this time of darkness has guided us through these tough times with his weekly Bible classes, as has Rabbi Halperin every two weeks with his classes. Our very successful drive-bys on Hanukkah and Purim (and as I write these words hopefully on Pesach), have given those of us who have not been in shul a chance, if all so fleetingly, to greet and say hello to each other and wish each other well. Emails and newsletters etc. have kept us all informed, and I personally thank everyone who sends me items of importance to send to all members; I apologize that not all are distributed, for different reasons. I’d also like to thank Mike Andradi, President of Shaar Shalom, who presents extremely interesting and varied programs every Wednesday night for the benefit of members – and friends – of both our shuls. Every Monday morning we have a Zoom “shmoozaton” where members contribute their views on different topics, a very popular part of every week’s programming. All these programs are there for everyone to take part in, and I urge you all to do so.

As we once again get set to prepare for our Pesach Seders – however we will celebrate them – let us think of those who are less fortunate than we are, who for varied reasons may still not be able to celebrate the holiday fully. Let us keep our children and grandchildren and other family members and friends in mind, as we recite the Hagaddah for two (or more or less) instead of for a table of 35 or 40, as my wife and I did at the Rabbi’s house 2 and 3 years ago. How I miss those Seders!!! And let us remember – and I paraphrase one word of the first sentence of the 2nd part of “Aleinu L’Shabeach,” the prayer at the end of every Amidah service, which says…”Therefore we put our hope in you Hashem, our G-d, that we may soon see your mighty splendour, to remove this detestable ‘plague’ from the earth… perfect the universe through the Almighty’s sovereignty.”

Again, as I write these words, many of us will have already been vaccinated. I urge everyone who can to do so, for yourselves and your family. Israel’s vaccination program has already proven that it is effective and will keep us B’H safe. On behalf of the Young Israel Executive, and on behalf of my darling wife Zila, who continually and daily forgives me my trespasses in skipping too many games of Rummikub to send emails or a newsletter – and is my Eshet Chayil – I wish you all a Kosher Pesach, a Frelichen Pesach, most important a Healthy Pesach, and may Hashem help end our “wandering” through these trying times by showing us more light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. Kol Tov!

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