Thursday, March 25, 2010

Passover Message from the Shul President

Nissan 5770
March 2010

Dear Friends,

The core idea of Passover is, of course, God’s liberation of the Jewish people from Egyptian servitude. On Passover however, the theme of redemption includes other dimensions as well. Isaiah’s famous prophecy of “A wolf will dwell with a sheep and a leopard will lie down with a kid…,” which is the haftorah for the eighth day of Passover, envisions a universal peace that includes all of creation. On Shabbos chol ha-moed, the haftorah describes Ezekiel’s startling vision of the dry bones, in which God resurrects the dead of Israel bone by bone and sinew by sinew. Redemption here is physical and real, nevertheless, these are apocalyptic visions. Must we wait for the end of days for redemption?

The Haggadah tells us that in every generation there are those who stand up to destroy us. Hearing the hatred spewed by Ahmadinejad and by Hamas, we realize just how accurate the Haggadah is. We are also taught that each person is obliged to view him or herself as having gone out of Egypt. We are to identify with the Jews who left Egypt, but we should also view this as an acknowledgment that God continues to protect us and look after us, not only as a people, but as individuals as well. In these difficult times, we should be remember that God is still with us, and use Passover as an opportunity for renewal.

I am pleased to report that our Shabbos minyonim have been holding steady as has our Sunday morning shiur with Daniel Fridman, an outstanding rabbinical student at Yeshiva University. Each week we have been examining a different midrashic or halakhic topic, such as rabbinic perspectives on Yishmael or the exploring from a halakhic perspective women’s obligation to read or listen to the megilah. We are delighted that the shul continues to be a mokom Torah providing high quality learning.

I am sad to report that we lost one of our long time congregants, Mr. Yisrael Liberman, in February. Mr. Liberman’s association with the shul dates back to the 1950s, shortly after he arrived here from Europe. We will miss him.

I am happy to report that we two of our congregants, Jason Caplan and Michal Sharabi, married earlier this month in the shul. Their wedding was moving and beautiful. We wish them much success and happiness as they build a bayit ne’eman b’israel – a faithful Jewish home.

In December, we had a lively Chanukah party with clarinetist Margot Leverett and tsimbalist Pete Rushefsky. A few weeks ago, we had a warm Purim party with accordionist Aron Gershman. On the following morning, we had a record turnout for our daytime megilah reading, which was followed by breakfast and a shiur given by Daniel Fridman. We are now preparing for our sixth annual community Passover Seder. We are pleased to announce that thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor, we are able to offer a significant discount for the Seder to whoever needs it.

Thanks to the dedication and vision of the Rubinstein, Walfish and Moskovitz families, we now have a new memorial board dedicated to the memory of our late member, Hillel Rubinstein, z”l. If you are interested in purchasing a yahrzeit plaque in memory of a loved one, please contact me at or leave a message for me on the shul telephone, 212 662-9767.

Our website, originally created by Kayla Garelick in 1999, went offline in October 2009 when Yahoo closed its Geocities platform. In order to reestablish our web presence, I created a blog with basic shul information, as well as a yahrzeit calendar, photographs from shul functions, articles about shul history and about important figures such as Rabbi Kret and Isidor Thornschein. Please feel free to visit the blog at and if you have comments or suggestions, please let me know. Please also visit our original blog, created by Seth Chalmer and Jason Caplan, at

Thanks to your on-going assistance, the Old Broadway Synagogue continues to thrive as a beacon of Torah in Harlem, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side. Your contributions have funded our weekly kiddushes, shul programs, and building maintenance as well as enabled us to fulfill our on-going commitment to provide for Mrs. Kret. Please continue to support our shul so that we will be able to continue Rabbi Kret’s work in providing a warm and welcoming center of Yiddishkeyt for many years to come.

Warm wishes for a sweet and kosher Pesach.

Dr. Paul Radensky

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