Weekly - Boca Raton Synagogue

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Weekly - Boca Raton Synagogue

From the rabbi’s Desk

The best talk I have ever heard at a Rabbinic convention came not from a Rabbi, a scholar, a

mental health professional or a Rosh Yeshiva. It came from a 19 year old young man who had

recently returned from his year in Israel. To the credit of the convention chairs, he was invited

to share the perspective of his peers on the state of the Orthodox Community and the role of

Rabbis in leading it. He shared many important insights that day, but one of them in particular

has stuck with me ever since.

“Not

Just Your

Parent’s

Rabbi”

“When kids are growing up and they need someone to speak to,” he said, “they don’t think of

going to their Shul Rabbi for one simple reason. Children perceive ‘The Rabbi’ as their parent’s

Rabbi, not their own.” I thought of his words last week when visiting with students from our

community currently spending the year in Israel. Yocheved and I tried to communicate that

when they return from their year in Israel we welcome a close relationship with them. We told

them that we hope that they know that they didn’t leave their access to Rebbeim and teachers

behind in Israel, but they have others to turn to in America who care deeply about them and are

available to talk, learn together or help in any other way.

Obviously, a relationship between a Rabbi and the children of the community begins long before their year in

Israel and needs to be cultivated from an early age. Since becoming the Rabbi of BRS eight years ago, I have had

the privilege and blessing of naming almost every one of the close to 335 children who have been born in our

community during that time. Sadly, in too many cases, I haven’t had the chance to use that name many times since

then, as it is extremely challenging to spend time with the more than 1,000 children in our community.

In this week’s parasha, Terumah, the Torah describes the keruvim, the two figurines that adorned the top of the

Aron, the ark that housed the tablets in the Mishkan. These golden angels were molded in the image of children.

One would think that the centerpiece of the Holy of Holies would have the image of a pious old man or a virtuous

aged woman. Why would our great Torah, its values and teachings be associated specifically with children?

Though the answer may sound clichéd, I believe it is true – children are our future. As we think about the

Torah we are to imagine it being adorned with and protected by the faces of children. Children are exuberant,

enthusiastic, filled with energy, purity, curiosity and wholesomeness.

Shul Rabbis, in my opinion, need to work harder to not only be Rabbis to adults and parents, but to be the Rabbis

for the children of our communities who are indeed our very future. I personally am committed to spend more

time in our teen minyan, at onegs, visiting our schools and spending time informally with our children.

However, I need your help. Please encourage your children to be receptive to a relationship. Remind them to

come say hello, to wish a good Shabbos and to come to a youth or teen event. There is no better time to forge

a strong bond than when a child is young. For years, I watched with great admiration and frankly with slight

jealously as every BRS child approached Rabbi Klein z’l at some point over Shabbos to receive a candy coupled

with a warm smile and loving handshake.

I don’t have the age, wisdom or charm of Rabbi Klein, but I do have the will and desire to greet every BRS child

and wish them a good Shabbos by name.

I would be honored if you would help me by sending your children up after davening so that I may give them a

candy, wish them a good Shabbos and hopefully, be their Rabbi in addition to just yours.

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Efrem Goldberg

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Good Shabbos,

Page 2 Boca Raton Synagogue

Valuing Diversity • Celebrating Unity

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

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