October Yarhzeits

10/2 Jennie H. Cohen

10/2 Mark A. Fleishman

10/2 Harry From

10/2 Philip Weintraub

10/2  William Wimpy

10/3  Linda Rosenberg

10/3  Joel L. Tanenbaum

10/4  Bernard Litoff

10/7 Lewis Collins

10/7  Allen London

10/8  Sigmund Litoff

10/9  Anna Adler

10/9 Jeff Kaplan

10/9 Barry M. List

10/9  Abraham Rabinowitz

10/10  Abraham Katz

10/10 Dora Price

10/12 Dora Steinbrock

10/13 Pearl Bernstein

10/13 Jane Teszler

10/14 Guenther Mortge

10/15 Etta Flaum

10/15 Anne K. Finke

10/16 Bertha Finke

10/16 Ruth Levy

10/16 Matthew Poliakoff

10/16 Harris Rabiner

10/16 Beatrice S. Traub

10/17 Herman J. Mittle

10/18 Robert H. Gilpin

10/18 Samuel Miller 1

0/18 Wm. Pressman

10/18 Sol Weinberger

10/22 Philip Gelman

10/22 William W. Schwartz

10/23 Samuel Morewitz

10/23 Rose Packer

10/24 Richard C. Acanfora

10/25 Louis D. Portnoy

10/26 Sylvia L. Margolis

10/26 D’vorah Price

10/27 ChavaRifka B. Kirshner

10/27 Arthur Lutsky

10/27 Sophie A. Pinsley

10/28 Minnie Hyman

10/29 Kate Shapiro

10/29 Saul Tanenbaum

10/30 Ruth K. Arenson

10/31 Dr. Rosa H. Gantt

10/31 Cecilia Robinson

10/31 Nathan Shimkin

September Yarhzeits

9/1 Jessica August

9/1 Julia M. Mittle

9/1  Goldie Mooney

9/2  Alfred Green

9/2  Ida Katz

9/3  Jack Finkelstein

9/4  Muriel Moss

9/5  Joyce Baccile

9/5 Avrom A. Lustgarten

9/5  Sandra Packer

9/6  Robert Parsons

9/6 Rose W. Tanenbaum

9/8  Sara G. Portnoy

9/9  Miriam Antopolsky

9/9  Selma Steinberg

9/10  Risa Sher

9/11  Shirley D. Kohn

9/11 Rebecca Anderson

9/11 Dora Manilow

9/11 William H. Morstein

9/11 Ceil Nussbaum

9/13 Hannah Greenwald

9/13 Sally Witz

9/14 Irving “Sonny” Price

9/15 Harris Abelkop

9/15 Sophia Robinson

9/15 Max Smith

9/16 Louis Farkas

9/18 Irving Lessner

9/19 Annie C. Kassler

9/20 Robert Essman

9/20 Sonya Packer

9/21 Benjamin Frank

9/21 Joseph Kirshman

9/21 Joseph I. Schwartz

9/21 William Schwartz

9/22 Elaine London

9/22 Moshe Weisz

9/23 Michael P. Lewis

9/25 Pearl Tanenbaum

9/26 Sydelle B. Bronstein

9/27 Edward Gray

9/28 Katie Cohen

9/28 Morton Massey

9/28 Bella Price

9/28 Joe Rex

9/29 Charlotte Himber

9/29 Linda Suarez

9/30 Leonard Lewis

9/30 Minnie Silver

August Yarhzeits

8/2 Luevina M. Powers

8/4 Samuel Feinstein

8/4 Meyer Poliakoff

8/4  William A. Poulson

8/5  Eva Geller

8/5 Leo Gunther

8/5 Mitchell R. Price

8/5  Fannie Simon

8/6  Max Greenwald

8/6 Jennie Novey

8/6  Sara Simmons

8/7  Samuel Fox

8/8  Bea Adelman

8/8  Joseph Geier II

8/9  Ben Barbarash

8/9 Henry B. Barnet, Jr.

8/9 David Sher

8/11  Pauline Shinberg

8/12  Ida Koshak

8/12  Max Lessner

8/13  Fannie Rae Cohen

8/13 Edward Shane

8/14 Hyman Fleishman

8/14 Calvin Fuller, Jr.

8/14 Sam Hyman

8/14 Gert Klein

8/14 Miriam Levine

8/14 Rachel Leah Michel

8/14 Rebecca Schaefer

8/14 Irving Zeiger

8/15 David Adelman

8/15 Harold Bronstein

8/16 Leon Britanisky

8/16 Sylvia Leader

8/16 Ralph Tanenbaum

8/16 Dorothy Wimpy

8/18 Rose Gilpin

8/19 Shirley Freedman

8/20 Rose Levine

8/20 Charlie Schrank

8/22 Deborah Schutz

8/22 Fannie Taffet

8/23 Arthur Lewson

8/23 Conie S. Ferguson

8/24 Sam Segal

8/25 Paul Briller

8/26 Harry Wise, Jr.

8/27 Irving M. Margolis

8/27 Jay Weinberger

8/29 Milton Berger

8/29 Lenore Miller

8/29 Muriel Packer

8/30 Irving Briller

8/30 Mildred Tanenbaum

8/31 Emma Abelkop

8/31 Rose Massey

July Yarhzeits

7/2 Maurice Abelsky

7/2 Eleanor Essman

7/2 Ida Litoff

7/2  Bonnie Peregoff

7/3  Sandor Teszler

7/4  Barry August

7/4 Osher Koser

7/4 Benjamin Levin

7/6  Maurice E. Bromley

7/7  Boris Stein

7/8  Rosa Lessner

7/9  Miriam M. Price

7/11 Frances Briller

7/11  Sarah L. Freedman

7/12  Abe H. Morris

7/12 Kathy H. Steinberg

7/13 Evelyn Fleishman

7/13 Evelyn Z. Small

7/14 Richard August

7/14 Lillian S. Lustgarten

7/14 Reba B. Morewitz

7/14 Irving Soloway

7/15 Miriam Shapiro

7/16 Sherron Weinberger

7/17 Louis Anderson

7/19 Isaac H. Greenwald

7/19 Lev Revich

7/20 Edward Reichel

7/20 Trudy Reimer

7/21 Daisy M. Spigel

7/21 Daisy M. Spigel

7/22 Jack Garrell

7/22 Ralph Neufeld

7/23 Abraham Adler

7/23 Freida Anderson

7/23 Toba Mary Segal

7/23 Linda S. Ungvarksy

7/24 Herb Moglin

7/24 Fannie E. Poliakoff

7/24 Fannie Yoffe

7/25 Maurice H. Freedman

7/26 Sidney Kirshman

7/27 Estelle D. Kaplan

7/29 Mickey Berman

7/30 Mayer J. Price

7/31 Pauline H. Bernanke

7/31 Chayim E. Levovitz

In Memoriam: Dr. Michael Henderson

Dear Friends,

I am most saddened to report the passing of Dr. Michael Henderson, husband of Dr. Nancy Henderson, who were members for many, many years.  Our condolences go out to the entire family at this most difficult time.  Notes of concern and support can be sent to Dr. Nancy Henderson at 443 North Markley Street, Greenville, SC  29601.  Our thoughts and prayers are with their family.
Yossi Liebowitz

Condolences to the Family of Norm Bornstein

Dear Congregants,

I am sorry to inform you of the passing of long-time member Norm Bornstein. Our condolences go out to the entire family, his wife Marilyn, and his two children. Funeral arrangements have been planned for this week in Massachusetts. A local memorial service may take place in the next few days here in Spartanburg. 
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz

June Yarhzeits

6/1 Barney Gelburd

6/1  Rhoda Koshak

6/2  Marvin Frank

6/3  Marvin Adler

6/4  Barney Shinberg

6/5  Herman Klausner

6/7  Meyer Cohen

6/8  B. Herbert Shapiro

6/8  Beth Weinberger

6/9  Rosa Levy

6/10  Jacob Barash

6/10  Sidney Captain

6/11  Gittel Smith

6/11 John R. Steel

6/13 Shalom Baruch

6/14 Jessica M. Horn

6/15 Louis B. Freedman

6/15 Sarah Robkin

6/17 W. Zolley Lerner

6/19 Sanford Licht

6/19 Myron Parsons

6/20 Diane Ostrower

6/20 I. Harry Tanenbaum

6/21 Ernest Acanfora

6/21 Fay Friedberg

6/21 Bella Cohen Karsh

6/21 Richard Packer

6/22 Sidney Anderson

6/25 Abraham Gelburd

6/25 Lena From Reimer

6/26 Rae Berman

6/26 Betty Freed

6/27 Marvin Singer

6/28 Edith Silverman

6/28 David M. Spigel

6/29 Goldie Shinberg

6/29 Charles Simmons

6/30 Lucy Britanisky

7 Jewish Essays to Help Us Remember Fallen Soldiers

Gravestones with American flags in front of each one

Although Memorial Day – which Americans will observe this Monday – is not a Jewish holiday, the idea of remembering and honoring those who died in service to our nation is certainly a Jewish value. With that idea in mind, we’ve rounded up these stories and prayers to share with you ahead of the long holiday weekend.

1. 5 Jewish Readings for Memorial Day

Including both ancient and contemporary texts, this compilation of prayers and readings offers a selection to enrich your holiday observance.

2. Why I Serve in the Military

Although the two never met, Aaron Rozovsky shares why he thanked Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Heath Robinson, z’l, each week before Shabbat in Petoskey, Michigan.

3. Hatred and Bigotry Have No Place in “The Purest Democracy”

Rabbi Dan Bronstein, Ph.D., writes about Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, who, as a chaplain for the United States Marine Corps, delivered what became an historic eulogy, following Iwo Jima, one of the most devastating battles of World War II.

4. Rethinking Memorial Day

Rabbi Douglas Kohn reconsiders his own patriotism and relationship with the military in today’s America – and helps readers use a Jewish lens to do the same.

5. Yom Kippur in Vietnam

Mike Rankin, z”l, a military physician, shares his remembrances of a Kol Nidre service aboard a destroyer following a battle with the North Vietnamese Army that resulted in many deaths.

6. The Normandy Kaddish Project

Alan Weinschel recounts how a trip to the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach reminded him of his responsibility – and ours – to remember these fallen soldiers by saying Kaddish for them annually.

7. From Battle to Metaphor: The Meaning of Waterloo in Modern Jewish History

Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D. writes about what connects the Battle of Waterloo – which took the lives of 26,000 souls in one day – and Reform Judaism.

May those we remember on this Memorial Day rest in peace and may we, taking to heart the teaching of the Prophet Isaiah, continue the sacred task of beating our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.

Eulogy for Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D.

May We All Be Disciples of Our Aaron

Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Rabbi Aaron Panken, z"l

This past weekend, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the Reform Movement’s seminary, announced that President Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., age 53, died tragically in the crash of a small plane he was piloting on Saturday, May 5. He served as the 12th president in HUC-JIR’s 143-year history. What follows is the eulogy Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, delivered at Rabbi Panken’s funeral earlier this week.

I first met Aaron Panken at HUC-JIR in the late 80s when I interviewed him to be my rabbinic intern at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. Based on his resume, I tried to figure out what he was like; a degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins? Really? If I was looking for a guy to run the AV equipment maybe, but I also saw that he played guitar, had been a NFTY advisor and so much more. This guy was either a complete misfit or he was one extraordinarily multi-faceted human being.

In five minutes, I knew I was in the presence of a brilliant and immensely personable future leader of our people. And when I learned that Rabbi Jack Stern had just interviewed him to be the rabbinic intern of Westchester Reform Temple (WRT), I knew there was no chance he’d take our job. And, as a former WRT intern myself, I told him he’d be crazy to work with anyone other than Rabbi Stern. I knew at that moment that if I was really lucky one day, I might get to work closely with this remarkable person.

The Torah teaches that: “Aaron shall carry the names of the children of Israel on the breast piece of decision over his heart….” (Ex 28:29)

Midrash Tanchuma elaborates: “When Aaron had to make a decision regarding a fellow Israelite, he was to consult not only the rule book but his heart as well….” (Tanchuma Sh’mot 27)

Aaron Panken was cut from the same cloth as our ancestor; the depth of his heart matched, if not exceeded, the breadth of his brilliant mind. In the past few years Rabbi Panken has not only recruited, taught, mentored, ordained, and graduated a new generation of Jewish leaders, but, more significantly, he has modeled for each of them how to live a Jewish life of depth and integrity, embodying instead of merely espousing our Torah’s timeless teachings. Greatness and goodness flowed forth from this remarkable man.

I was blessed to have Aaron as a close friend and, until six years ago, to be the rabbi of his family’s congregation. It was on this bimah that Aaron dazzled WRT with incisive and provocative readings of our sacred texts, especially the Book of Jonah each Yom Kippur. It was here that Eli and Sam lovingly received Torah from their parents and grandparents and at URJ Eisner Camp and on our URJ EIE Heller High semester in Israel they deepened their own Jewish journeys. Before I had the chance to work with Aaron, I had the supreme blessing to work closely with his amazing wife Lisa Messinger during her years as president of WRT. Lisa, by the way, was very timid at first and I take pride in having helped her come out of her shell.

Fast forward. I was invited to lead the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and in 2014, Aaron became the president of HUC-JIR. What a blessing it has been to work so closely with Aaron. There was only one other time when the Union and the College were more closely aligned and that was at the beginning, when Isaac Mayer Wise held both positions simultaneously.

Aaron Panken didn’t enter our Reform Movement through the front door. Three weeks ago, at our Scheidt Seminar in Atlanta, Aaron shared with 87 incoming congregational presidents how he came to Reform Judaism.

He shared: “It all began when I was in the fifth grade. Inexplicably, one afternoon as I walked home from school in Manhattan, I entered the Lincoln Square Synagogue, an Orthodox congregation on Amsterdam Avenue.”

“I’d like to go to religious school,” I told the receptionist. The next thing I knew, the cantor appeared and asked, “How can I help you?”

“I’d like to go to religious school,” I repeated. “That’s lovely,” he said. “Could I talk to your parents about that?”

Sitting him down later that day, his parents, Peter and Beverly, said, “Aaron, we’d prefer that you go to a place where what they teach is a little closer to what we believe.”

And so, starting at age 11, Aaron attended religious school at New York’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Rabbi Sally Priesand, our movement’s first woman rabbi officiated at his bar mitzvah and the rest is as they say history. Thank God we didn’t have our specialty camps back then because Aaron would have been a stand out at 6 Points Sci-Tech and Lisa would have been a champion at 6 Points Sports, but luckily, they found each other at URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA.

Aaron knew from his experience and his vision that Reform Judaism is truly a movement, not merely a collection of organizations and his leadership covered every part of it. You could have dropped him into any role anywhere in our movement – camp, campus, youth group, pulpit, scholarly seminar, social justice rally, Israel, chaplaincy, you name it; he possessed all of God’s leadership gifts especially humility and kindness.

Aaron didn’t just write about justice. In March 2015, at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement, Rabbi Panken spoke in Selma, Alabama, in front of 400 activists, including Reverend William Barber, Dr. Susannah Heschel, Peter Yarrow, Rabbi Jonah Pesner and host of other leaders in the battle for equality. Aaron said:

We remember the period’s frightening moments when unabashed hatred battered the good and robbed people of life and opportunity; when authorities who we looked to for leadership, morality and fairness used their immense influence for evil and not for good, and when the powerless suffered mightily at the hand of those who held them down.

And Aaron’s love of Israel was full throated and constant. The new Taube Family Campus at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem represents his deep commitment to expanding and intensifying the place of Israel in our movement.

When 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered during the Jerusalem Pride march three years ago, Aaron reached out to the Banki family and in partnership with the U.S. embassy created a program that brings together teachers and their young students to learn about the different groups living side-by-side in Jerusalem. These educators who are Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, religious and secular, have to face the fear of the “other,” the stereotypes, and sometimes the hatred. Aaron knew it was not enough to hope for peace.

This past November during the HUC-JIR Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem, Aaron ordained the 100th Israeli Reform rabbi, signaling the transformative impact the College-Institute has had in shaping a more inclusive and pluralistic Israel. Aaron has modeled sacred partnership with the College-Institute’s lay leadership and especially with his board chair, Andy Berger. Andy and Aaron were always in synch, always deeply respectful of each other.

And if you think Aaron was only a gentle, mild mannered individual, you should have seen him assertively carry a Torah scroll past the security guards as we entered the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza to finish our celebratory prayer service in honor of the four newest Israeli ordinees. Not only did Aaron proudly carry the Torah, he plumbed its deepest layers and lived its most demanding imperatives.

Our tradition commands us: “Raise up many disciples.” (Pirkei Avot 1:1)

Many attempt, and some succeed but only a few, including Rabbi Aaron Panken, have their disciples spread out around the world. Pirkei Avot doesn’t only want many disciples; it specifies which kind; it says, “Be disciples of Aaron.”

And how do Aaron’s disciples conduct themselves? Do they only sit in the academy studying all day and night?

No, the disciples of Aaron spend their days “loving peace and pursuing peace, loving their fellow creatures and bringing them close to the Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12)

Today, this sanctuary and our movement overflow with the many disciples of Rabbi Dr. Aaron Panken, especially Aaron’s beloved sister, Rabbi Melinda Panken. The biblical Aaron and our Aaron inspire us to bring many others to the deep water of Torah and from there, find strength and inspiration to pursue peace and love all of God’s children – not just the ones who are just like us.  Indeed, that was Aaron Panken’s way. May we all be disciples of our Aaron; may we never stop teaching and living his Torah.

In the Talmud, there are some sages who are simply irreplaceable: “Woe to those who are lost and cannot be replaced.” (Sanhedrin 111a)

Today we are the ones who are lost, and Rabbi Aaron Panken is the one who cannot be replaced.