Dear Fellow Members of Ansche Chesed,
I am delighted to welcome you to our Tribute Dinner this year honoring Navah and Jules Harlow, Brad Rothschild and Michele Sachar, and Nicholas Lemann and Judith Shulevitz. Navah is known for her sensitivity, caring, and listening to patients, improving their lives at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. Rabbi Jules Harlow is a liturgist of great renown who has shaped our prayer books and the Torah commentaries we use weekly. (And an accomplished clarinetist as you will soon hear.) Brad and Michele are leaders in their secular and religious institutions. They are known for their deep connection to Israel, as evidenced by choosing Caesarea as the site of their wedding. Judith and Nick have had so many bylines in the New York Times, the New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic and so many other publications that like friends on Facebook, we know them even when we don’t.
Our Tribute Dinner is one of the most important dates and events on our calendar. It is a moment when we can express our gratitude to members of our congregation who have made exceptional contributions and a moment when we can celebrate ourselves too.
I am deeply grateful to our Tribute committee, Jennifer Cowan and Dan Jacob, Eric Fishman and Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Naomi and Mark Paul, Nancy Reibstein, Nicole Rothschild, Roberta Shapiro, Carol Ingall and Carolyn Reinach Wolf, co-chairs. I am also grateful to our honorees for allowing us to honor them and their accomplishments, and to each and all of you who have given your time and resources to make this year's Tribute Dinner a brilliant success.
A lot of life is ordinary and prosaic. But certain moments are special and magical, when you are really at your best. In individual’s lives, it might be a wedding, a graduation, or a professional achievement. In Jewish life, we think of Shabbat and holidays.
And in the life of Ansche Chesed, our annual tribute event displays us at our best. Our dress-down shul dresses up, we look our best and we gather to honor people who represent our community at its best.
Jules and Navah, Brad and Michelle, Nick and Judith, thank you so much for being our honorees at this year’s celebration.
When I think of Ansche Chesed at its best, you represent what I hope our community stands for. You are teachers and students, activists and artists, loving parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends. You do mitzvot. You care for others in our shul and beyond. You give tzedakah.
You give Ansche Chesed a good name. And, says Kohelet, טוב שם משמן טוב, “a good name is better than perfumed oil.” Thank you for your leadership and example.
And to all of you who are celebrating with us tonight – thank you, too. Thank you for coming out on a special evening, to support a special community and its very special honorees.