“In each and every generation a person should regard themselves as if they came out of Egypt!” (Haggadah)
There is an old joke that former Congressman Udall used to tell about his party: “When Democrats form a firing squad they line up in a circle!” Such is the nature of pleasing a big tent party or even an organization. I found myself reminiscing after 20 years about my stay here and those that were once with us. Such musings became more acute with the passing of our dear Nancy Rosenberg z”l. I remember, just to name a few (with no disrespect of others not included in this revelry) Sam Witz, Saul Tanenbaum, Helga Moglin, and Michael Yoffe.
Michael, for those who did not know him, had a wicked and wry sense of humor. Some of his precious PG-13 comments made many an eye roll (like his wife Nancy still a part of our community long distance) and made my offbeat comments somehow tame by comparison. Among his outstanding traits was his ability to make the most of things. He told me he did not prefer the piano, but somewhat felt ok about the guitar. Many others in my travels felt the opposite and a few wanted neither. Michael, nevertheless was of a mind to look at the bigger picture and look for the best in any religious service and leave behind what was not his cup of tea. He was the kind of Jewish member who would be there in spite of – to support a person who needed to say Kaddish or any other reason for being at a service.
An oft quoted anecdote from the Yiddish Bintel brief was about a “free thinker,” that is to say an agnostic secularist who went to Shabbat services every Saturday morning. Questioned as to why he went he said: “My friend Beryl, a believer goes, so I go to be with Beryl. That, in brief, is what Jewish community is and should be about.
And so, as our culture tends to make verbs out of nouns, proper or otherwise (think par- enting) let me offer admiration and kudos for those who Yoffe their way to the Temple.
In the word of our Passover Haggadah, “let all who are hungry come to eat!”
May this year’s Passover celebration be one that nourishes you spiritually and materially!
Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.