Letter to the Editor

Veteran Rabbis Remember
In your fall 2008 issue, Rabbi Max Schreier (“Fifty Years in the Pulpit: Seven Veteran Rabbis Tell It Like It Was”) correctly stated that the University of Florida in Gainesville has a tremendous Jewish population.

However, his statement that there “is no Jewish community within 100 miles [of the university]” is inaccurate. As a fourth-generation Jew in Jacksonville (the oldest of the fifth generation is currently attending the University of Florida), I assure you that there is a large Jewish community only seventy-five miles from Gainesville.

While the Orthodox segment of our community may be small, it is vibrant. Etz Chaim Synagogue, an Orthodox Union-member shul, was founded in 1946. We offer a full slate of daily minyanim, numerous educational opportunities and an active NCSY chapter. There is also an Orthodox school with classes from preschool through seventh grade.

I invite Rabbi Schreier, as well as other interested individuals, to come get a taste of our warm Southern hospitality.

Gary M. Gendzier
Jacksonville, Florida

I read the article on the seven rabbis with great interest.

I truly believe that without these men and others like them, who patiently nurtured whatever Jewish observance they started out with in their communities, we would not have the vibrant Yiddishkeit that we take for granted today.

May these rabbanim continue in good health ad meah ve’esrim, to 120 years.

David Lawrence
Passaic, New Jersey

Your recent magazine dedicated to veteran rabbis featured Rabbi Max Schreier. Rabbi Schreier served in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as the rabbi of our shul. Fifty years ago I expressed a desire to learn in a yeshivah. It was right after Succos, the very day of Rabbi Schreier’s son’s Bris, that he drove me to Baltimore to enroll in the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore. This wonderful act on his part has brought me to see my children and grandchildren following the derech Hashem, God’s path.

Yehuda Lebovics
Los Angeles

Blended Love
Re: “Blended Love” by Dina Bar-Tov (fall 2008). Having come from a “blended family” and having experienced the pain and loneliness of losing my mother after a two-and-a-half year illness, I applaud your positive efforts in what is, unquestionably, a complex situation. How wonderful, Ms. Bar-Tov, that you wanted to be the “proud stepmom with the camera.” I’m sure that your stepdaughter will be grateful one day, if she is not already, for your attention.

I was thirteen when my mother died. Had I been the beneficiary of such love, it would have helped me heal. Now I am an adult—a wife, mother of two grown sons and grandmother of three, and yet I am still struggling to put the pain and confusion in a place where it and I can rest. Thank you for what you wrote.

Carol B. Shichman
Scotch Plains, New Jersey

This article was featured in the Spring 2009 issue of Jewish Action.