At Touro Synagogue November 12, 2016
by Aaron Ginsburg
On Saturday we had quite a crowd. Elie and Marcia Cohen sponsored a special Kiddish, and we were joined by many of their friends and family to celebrate this special day. Elie read the Torah, just like he did at his Bar Mitzvah in Egypt back in the days.
It was a special treat to see Eleanor Davis and her son Bobbie. When I saw Eleanor outside, I went out to greet her, and Mike asked me to take charge of the gate while he helped Eleanor go upstairs. Wrapped in my woolen tallis, I stopped people to make sure they were coming to pray, and stopped traffic while a couple of people crossed the street. In truth it was rather quiet in Newport, and there wasn’t any traffic to stop! A cool breeze came from the sea. Next time, I’m wearing two taleisim!
Some people were pleased by the election results while others were upset and disconsolate.
Using the parsha, Lech-Lecha, and the examples of Abraham and of Marcia and Elie Cohen, Rabbi Marc Mandel urged us to move on:
It’s customary to give a few words of greeting and of Torah.
Yasher Koach to Dr Herstoff for leading us in the pesukei dezimra and in the shacharit, and to Saul Woythaler for the first part of the musaf, and to the Renee Cohen for the prayer for the United States Government and to Audrey Paiva for prayer for the State of Israel, and to co-president Naftali Sabo for the prayer for the United States Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces.
Thank you to our kiddish sponsors Marcia and Elie Cohen in honor of Elie’s Bar Mitzvah.
A special welcome to Renee and Audrey and Joe-Jillian and Joline, and to Larry and Charlene and all their friends who are here for this special Kiddish.
Well, the election is over and now is the time to move on.
Today’s Torah reading is Lech-Lecha-that’s what Lech-Lecha means-move on-carry on with your life. It’s over, and now we can go back to managing our lives in a productive way.
These words, Lech-Lecha, are very powerful. Marcia and Elie Cohen guide their lives with these two words, Lech-Lecha. They are always on the move. They are always moving on and doing something productive.
One day last week I was talking to Elie and he had 7 meetings that day, at the hospital and the University, etc. And Marcia is alway on the move. Lech-Lecha-she’s taking someone to Boston and Providence to visit their doctors or she’s hosting people who are visiting.
It’s always Lech-Lecha-it’s always something productive and helpful. Of course, Eli left Egypt-and he went like Avraham to search for a better life for himself. At that time Egypt wasn't the right place for him to live.
Like Elie and Avraham, we are all in search for a better life for ourselves and for our families and for our country. Jews have been here in Newport since the 1600s. That’s a long time. Why are they here? Because they were looking for a better place to live, and they found one. So we have a lot of stake in this country.
Every Presidential election is important for us. That’s why Moses Seixas wrote the letter to George Washington. He wanted to know, “Did they make the right choice by moving here?” And George Washington told him, “Yes you did!”
And that’s what we want to hear from every president. We want to hear them say, “You made the right choice by moving here, because every American citizen has rights to freedom and happiness.”
That’s what Elie wanted when he left Egypt and that’s what every American wants for their families.
In today’s Torah reading Avraham and his nephew Lot go separate ways- and that’s what seems to be happening in the United States today-people are divided. We have to learn from Elie and Marcia to bring people together-because that’s what they do-they bring people together like they are doing today with this special Kiddish.
Let us hope and pray that we will come together as a country and that Jews in Israel and all over the world will live securely. Shabbat Shalom
The Rabbi words were not just about the election, but about any time things don’t go the “right way.” It’s not easy, but with the help of the Rabbi and Shabbat, let’s give it a try!
After services, most of us went across the street for the wonderful Kiddish and a chance to schmooze. Marcia and Elie brought us together. Let’s emulate them and Lech-Lecha!