by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
Aish Kodesh is a remarkable shul in Woodmere, New York that is filled with mispallelim who genuinely grow in Torah, yirah, and Avodas Hashem, following the pathway of their brilliant Morah d’Asra, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger Shlita. One can see the gadlus of this kehillah from a letter to the Kehillah that was penned by the shul’s now retiring custodian [shades of ma tovu ohalecha yaakov!]
It is with a heavy heart that I inform the Shul that my family and I have decided to move upstate, where I’m originally from. I want to thank you all for always treating me as an equal, and always showing me how good the Jewish people truly are. Your people are the most kind hearted and devout people I have ever met. Before Aish Kodesh I have never met anyone but pastors and priests that actually took religion seriously, your faith in G-d has given me faith and had also brought me closer. When I first started at Aish I didn’t know what to expect and all I heard from people around me were the false perceptions of the Jewish people, I am not the type of person to judge anyone before I meet them so I came in with no judgements at all. I was blown away on how well everyone treated me I started during the high holidays and was told by the president at the time Mr. B (Elliot Blumenthal) “if I could get through this the rest would be a piece of cake”. My first week at aish was simchas Torah, wow what an introduction! I couldn’t believe the amount of candy and chips that were given out. I also saw how dedicated you all were to the religion and I saw how close families were and I knew I wanted that. I married my wife and I strive to have what I saw at Aish, and then I had my son and I knew I wanted to be a great father like I saw so many of you are. I will always keep that with me and the key to it all is Shalom Bayit, something I will G-d willing pass on to my son. I have to give a special thank you to Menachem Lewin, you are like a father to me, you have helped me out countless times and have always had my back in every situation that had come up, you were always someone I could tell anything to and you gave me great advice as well as a shoulder to cry on when bad news came my way, I love you with all my heart I couldnt of asked for a better boss, Thank You. Rebbe, you and the Rebitzen are special people, I can’t believe how nice and welcoming you two are, you opened up to me and let me know that I was a part of the kehilla in a special way and I thank you for that. Rebbe, I will always remember when you congratulated me on my engagement you slapped me in the face after saying mazel tov. Someone told me I would never forget that and they were right, it actually stung for a while. I hope after reading this you will see that your doing a great job as a religious leader that your congregation has effected my life in a huge way and if you all can do that, I believe you can all change the world. Thank you all for accepting me and treating me not as just as a custodian for your shul but as a family member. I love you all and I hope we all stay in touch, I will always remember my time in Aish and cry tears of joy I will miss you guys dearly.
Rabbi Hoffman can be reached at [email protected]