Rabbi Kret was the rov of our shul from 1950 until 1997, when he retired. He was educated at the Bais Yosef Yeshiva in Bialystok and went on to establish a yeshiva in his home town of Ostrow Mazowiecka. As a young man, he visited the great Torah sage, the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim blessed the young Rabbi Kret with long life. This blessing came true in that Rabbi Kret passed away in 2007 at age 97. May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.
The Hoshana Rabba service, which takes place on the last day of Sukkos, is one of my favorite moments in the holiday season. It falls on chol ha-moed, yet the davenning is similar to that of yom tov, including the many hakafos (revolutions) around the bimah. It is also a fascinating blend of Sukkos, which is a time of joy, and Yom Kippur, a time of introspection. Before Hoshana Rabba, we wish one another a "gut kvitl" a"good note" submitted to God on our behalf. I have included some photos below of Hoshana Rabba this past October at Old Broadway.
Hallel on Hoshana Rabba
Beating the hoshanos... symbolically removing sin.