I was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts of an Orthodox father and a secular mother. They compromised and joined a Reform synagogue. I graduated from Columbia University in New York City, and graduated Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati as President of the Student Body.
Bobbie, my wife, was raised Roman Catholic in Niagara Falls, New York. She was converted by Rabbi Joel Dobin, who was my predecessor twice removed. Her first husband was a Reform Jew and she became close to Judaism during that marriage. Bobbie says, “I approached my new Rebitzinhood with trepidation, but all of you made it easier.”
We had just been married when we came to Beth Tikvah and I became the step parent of four boys. They have all had good business aptitude and have done quite well in business. We had a daughter after we left Beth Tikvah. She graduated Tulane (Newcomb) and is quite good with poetry and the arts. We just celebrated 40 years of marriage.
Bobbie remembers, with fondness and amazement, the number of Beth Tikvah families who invited our whole family to dinner, what courage! They might find it even more daunting a task because we now have a 5ft. 11inch daughter as well as three daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.
We remember son Jeffrey’s Bar Mitzvah which the Sisterhood of Beth Tikvah graciously catered, also number one son, David, was confirmed at Beth Tikvah. I can remember happily the Hocking Hills outing and tennis with a member. I am still at 76 ½ an avid tennis player.
There was a difference in outlook with my previous temple in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls was more classical Reform and Beth Tikvah was somewhat traditional. Bobbie remembers I came from a classical Reform congregation to Services at Beth Tikvah which brought a whole new aspect of Judaism through tradition as embraced through Beth Tikvah.
I taught Hebrew classes for children with great joy. But there developed a procedural disagreement with Beth Tikvah leaders who wanted me to use the Ulpan Memorization Method rather than the traditional textbook approach. While I acknowledge the legitimacy of the Ulpan Memorization Method, I couldn’t adjust to it after the other textbook method was so popular previously. It didn’t work for me.
As for community events, I participated at events at the State Capital, TempleIsrael, the Conservative Temple, Hillel Day School with Dr. Ginot. I served in the Autumn as an aide at Hillel doing Services for 2 ½ months, very fulfilling as a kind of interim. Bobbie and I liked Columbus as a city.
I served several synagogues in the New York area, the deep south, and Jackson, Michigan where I served a synagogue and large prison chaplaincy for a little over a decade. I am Rabbi Emeritus there. I have written the Jewish section of a book called “Encounters With Eternity” which has done well as a college textbook. I can send you a copy for your library upon request.
I have done many chaplancies besides synagogue work, mostly part-time. These are: a prison ministry written up in the Jerosaleti Post and a New York prison ministry with especially high-profile prisoners. I have also done mental health, boy scout, U. S. Navy and hospital part-time Chaplancies.
Above all (I mean this good naturedly) I learned from you NOT to come to a temple without afull-fledged contract. My previous temple was going to give me a life contract. Although I was a greenhorn type, and probably an undeveloped Rabbi, this experience made me more demanding in contract negotiations.