Shomrei Celebrates: Faisons la Fete

From the Lampert Library

Shomrei Celebrates wall

Thank you to everyone who supported Shomrei by attending Saturday’s gala, placed an ad in my honor, or made a contribution. I was truly touched and overwhelmed by the thought and effort of so many people and the gracious tributes from family, friends and congregants. Instead of a column this week, I’ve posted my remarks followed by a list of books (on display in the Gallery) related to the topic of community, mitzvot ,and tzedakah.

Ann Lippel, the evening’s organizer, asked me to be brief. I knew I would be speechless so to make sure I didn’t just stand here with my mouth hanging open, I wrote out my thanks. Consider them to be this week’s column in Shomrei Week.

Shomrei celebrate 4I can’t remember the last time I attended a party just in my honor. Maybe it was my bridal shower almost 50 years ago.

I never had a bat mitzvah celebration. The synagogue I grew up in wasn’t that forward thinking. In fact, the first time I was actually on the bima was in high school when I accepted an award for winning an essay contest; the next time was when I got married.

Only my parents were at my college graduation and even I didn’t attend my graduate school graduations: the first time because of lack of interest and the second because of too many grown up obligations-like a family and a job.

So tonight is like my bat mitzvah celebration without the mitzvah. Though on the other hand there are a lot of mitzvot involved: MESH, the Lampert Library, IHN, Shomrei Shares, kiddush preparation.

This evening may be honoring me but everyone involved in Shomrei should get accolades. We may put our efforts into different aspects of the synagogue community: the school, ritual, the building, MESH, IHN, the art gallery, Kiddush, Henei Mah Tov, the Cinema cafe. the preschool, fund raising, and on and on and on. But without all those parts, there wouldn’t be a whole.

It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. If one piece is lost, the puzzle can’t be completed. I’m honored to be a piece of that puzzle. And I urge all of you to become part of the puzzle: it’s up to you to choose the size of the piece.

I’ve gained much more than I’ve given. Working in the Lampert Library gave me a new direction on my career path; heading up the kiddush effort has given me a new avocation in retirement. It’s a wonderful feeling to do what I’ve been doing all these years: feeding people, providing reading material, hopefully enriching the preschoolers’ lives with library time. I haven’t done these things for the recognition though it’s really nice to be thanked once in a while. So thank you for this evening of thanks. Every year someone is chosen to be honored. I’m thrilled that it was my turn.

Shomrei Celebrates 2I’d like to recognize my family-almost all of whom are here except for my brother Marty who is visiting his son Sam and daughter- in- law Tehila in their new Jerusalem apartment. I know from personal experience that when the opportunity arises you go visit those expat kids.

I’d especially like to acknowledge my Uncle Robert and Aunt Eleanor who drove down from Hyannis, Massachusetts. Robert, a retired physician and my father’s younger brother, turned 93 just a few days ago. Eleanor was probably at that bridal shower almost 50 years ago.

My husband Marc has listened to many Shomrei stories, prepared and eaten many delayed dinners, washed loads of dishtowels and proofread countless columns.

Shomrei Celebrates 3My daughters Melanie and Rebecca I hope have learned a little bit about being involved in a community beyond themselves. In fact we all cooked-even grandchildren Suzanne and Max and son-in-law Steve— and helped serve the MESH meal last Tuesday night and have the pictures to prove it.

And Max and Suzanne, my grandchildren, they are just the icing on the cake- and I’m especially pleased that the French school system is farsighted and enlightened enough to have a real winter vacation right now.

Thank you, everyone, who is here tonight to celebrate and a special thank you to chef extraordinaire John Lasiter and his crew who prepared this beautiful dinner; to Ann Lippel for chairing this event; to Merle Martin for organizing the ad journal; to custodians Carlos and Armando who labored mightily setting up and will probably be here cleaning up long after we leave. And to executive director Marge Wise for listening.

And, of course, a toda raba -thank you very much- to Rabbi Greenstein for leading the community and providing the inspiration for so many opportunities for all of us.

Now let’s party! Laissez les bon temps roulez! Faisons la fête!

Book list:

Third Jewish Catalog: creating community
Davis, Bone Button Borscht (J)
DiSalvo-Ryan, Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (J)
Dorff, Love Your neighbor and Yourself
HaLevi, Revolution of Jewish Spirit: how to revive ruakh in your spiritual life& inspire your Jewish community
Heller, How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box and other Wonders of Tzedakah (J)
Neusner, Mitzvah (J)
Salamon Rambam’s Ladder
Stead, Sick day for Amos McGee (J)
Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics.: Love Your neighbor as Yourself
Waldman, It’s a- It’s a- It’s a-Mitzvah (J)
Wolfson, Relational Judaism: using the power of relationships to transform the Jewish community


Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterestemail hidden; JavaScript is required
Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

Latest posts by Aileen Grossberg (see all)

What do you think?