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2015-12-18 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


December 18, 2015  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Letter to the Editor

Rabbi faces challenges with dignity

Dear Editor:

Life has a way of throwing each of us many curve balls during the course of our days but my mother always told me that it is not the actual curve balls that you need to worry about but how you dodge or face those curve balls that determines whether the duration of your time on this planet will be one filled with sorrow and distress or one filled with dignity and joy.

There is someone very dear to me who has been facing some very personal life altering curve balls this past year. The curve balls he is dealing with might have sent most of us off the deep end. So today’s personal interest story is about my Rabbi – Rabbi Alan Goldberg, the spiritual leader at the Jewish Community Center of West Pasco, home of Congregation Beth Tefillah.

I have known “Rabbi Al” as he is commonly referred to by most of his congregants, for more than 20 years. For part of those 20 years he was my fellow congregant who I davened with at our weekly Shabbat service, along with a congregation numbering somewhere in the 600 member-range.

Shoot forward another 10 years and our little Pasco Jewish Congregation has dwindled down to 58 members and our dear friend, Rabbi Al, is faced with going blind from glaucoma. Faced with such a life-altering challenge – how does someone cope – how does one go on?

With deep and abiding faith in the almighty, Rabbi Al faced this obstacle with such strength and dignity that we should all be graced with being such a gutte neshama, which in Yiddish means being a good soul or a good person. Here is a man that has always been the rock for everyone else who might be going through a crisis – offering his shoulder for grieving widows and widowers alike, now going through a crisis of his own. Talk about turning your life up side down.

In the Jewish religion, the word “rabbi” means “teacher.” Rabbi Al is the embodiment of a true teacher. Not only does he teach the JCC students their Bar or Bat Mitzvah lessons for up to 12 months prior to the event, but he also teaches each JCC member every week when they attend services through his weekly sermon on the Torah portion specified for that particular week. Often he will convey to us how the portion relates to our daily life. I have gained great insight into my religion from Rabbi Al. This insight has given me great solace during some very dark and difficult times in my own personal life.

As a representative of the board of directors of the Jewish Community Center, I pray that Rabbi Al’s sight is returned to him and that G-d graces this man with continued strength and vitality to continue offering our congregation many more years of his wisdom and guidance.

Eileen M Hochstadt
JCC President

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