Monday, October 3, 2011

Rememberances of shuls past

Today I went to St. Francis Hospital to visit a congregant.  As I was leaving, I saw a woman pushing a cart full of Siddurim Sim Shalom.  I must have looked at them strangely (Who can blame me. St. Francis is a Catholic Hospital and why would they want so many Siddurim?), for the woman explained that the last time she was here, they only had one Siddur.  So she brought some from MA.  I told her that I lived in MA for 25 years.

She lives in Northampton and works in Spfld at the JFS which is now housed in the JCC.  I told her that I was a rabbi in Spfld for 19 years.  I go to open up the Siddurim and they are from Bnai Jacob, my first shul!  Names from my past leaped out at me.  Doug Winnaman, Irving and Sylvia Chelder, and Gloria Engleson. I saw their faces as I read their names.  I told the woman that I either married their children or buried those people on the dedication sticker.  I was so overcome, I don't remember if the siddurim come from Bnai Israel in Northampton or from Bnai Torah, the reconstituted Orthodox shul from Kesser, Kadimoh, and Beth Israel.

I am glad that Bnai Jacob is still are good force for yiddishkeit fulfilling its mitzvah mission even though it is no longer in existence.  That community is still close to my heart.