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Afflicted Women: ReReading Lamentations Today as a Man

On Tisha B’Av we remember the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. It is a time of mourning for our exile from our political, spiritual, and ancestral homeland. On Tisha B’Av we spend a day collectively reflecting on the plight of our ancestors—who suffered at the hands of their oppressors. But only spending time reconnecting with our own long history of persecution, we are missing a profound lesson of the day. We also reconnect to these memories so that we can empathize with others who are experiencing pain and suffering. 
To these ends we will sit on Saturday night and Sunday morning and read Lamentations. There we will read:
Our fathers sinned and are no more; And we must bear their guilt.
Slaves are ruling over us, With none to rescue us from them.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives, Because of the sword of the wilderness.
Our skin glows like an oven, With the fever of famine.
They have afflicted women in Zion, Maidens in the towns of Judah. ( Lamentations 5:7-11)
In this time of darkness, we experienced pain, suffering, and degradation. In his explanation of “violated women in Zion” the Ibn Ezra says, “all sex that is against her will is called ‘affliction.'” It seems that ultimate expression of declaring the line between “us” and “them” is that they raped our daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives. While sex aught to be an expression of intimacy, love, and closeness, here it is violent, a means of subjugation and objectification, and represents a deep division.
I have been thinking about this the last two weeks as we have seen the unfolding of the case Israeli teenagers falsely accused of rape being released from a Cypriot jail returning to a heroes welcome back at home. In her compelling analysis of this case Chen Sror Artzi wrote:
But the culture of rape, which has been around for millennia, does not skip anyone. The story of what happened in Cyprus is just a distilled version of a rotten culture, in which consent is deemed to be the yardstick, not desire or active willingness. (The Lesson We Should All Learn from the Cyprus Affair, Ynet)
Artzi is correct, that this rape culture has existed long before it was even reported here in Lamentations. One of the challenges is our black and white thinking. Even if it was consensual and not rape, it does not mean that these teens were right.  It is not just two options of right or wrong. And we need to stop just thinking about us and them.
How can we immerse ourselves in Lamentations and Tisha B’Av and not look deep inside and recognize that our boys did wrong? While it was not rape, what they did was clearly not love or an expression of closeness. Sharing that video was clear objectification. Our giving them a heroes welcome  represented a deep division.  Surely this young degraded British woman did something wrong by accusing them of rape, but she too is someone’s  daughter or sister. She was not raped, but she was surely afflicted. She too demands our empathy.
As a man, father of daughters and sons, husband, son, and human being I feel compelled to do more. But what can I do?

As men, it’s time to say clearly that we do not condone any sex — or any other behavior — that humiliates women, whether it’s consensual or not. As men, it’s time to teach our boys that a higher moral law must guide our conduct. That we are watching. As a community of men, we must take full responsibility for individual acts of violence against women and for a culture that systemically abuses and takes advantage of women.

Consensual. Irrelevant. A loophole. When it comes to our behavior as men, what another might accept — or what we might get away with in secret or under the law — does not absolve participation. It’s a short slide down a moral ladder from gang sexual humiliation of a woman to becoming the next Jeffery Epstein.

Where are the men? Where are the men who — at the airport — would have clopped those boys on the head and told them that they are a moral disgrace and a disappointment to true masculinity? Where are the men who stand for integrity and accountability, the men who would have required each of these boys to do acts of community service and to learn about healthy sexuality?

The global ManKind Project has launched a campaign in response to the #MeToo movement called #IamResponsible. ( Times of Israel)

As a man reading Lamentations I must wrestle with these “sins of the father”. We do not need to be enslaved by toxic masculinity. If we want to see change we must commit to breaking this chain afflicting all women in our society. Solovy offers us the ManKind Project pledge:

As men, we are committed to individual and collective evolution, we take responsibility for creating the society we want to live in and share for the generations to come. We are responsible for the GOLD and the SHADOW of masculinity, for the gentleness, fierce caring, and protection, AND for the abuse, violence, and domination. We are responsible as creators and as role models. We are responsible as victims and as perpetrators. We recognize the pervasive systemic factors that promote abuse of power and teach harmful gender roles to both boys and girls.

This year when reading Lamentations I will have to interpret it anew in the context of this Cyprus Affair, Jeffery Epstein case, and the larger #Metoo movement. There is nothing to celebrate this Tisha B’Av. When I think about the “women in Zion, Maidens in the towns of Judah” and all women who have been afflicted I will meditate on the words of Rabbi A.J. Heschel when he said, “In a free society, some are guilty; all are responsible.” 

Eulogy for James Joseph Orlow z”l

My father James Joseph Orlow z”l passed away on August 23rd,  the 12th of Elul 5778. I had the honor of delivering a graveside Hesped, eulogy,  for him. Seeing that today we did his unveiling it seemed appropriate to share the eulogy today.  I truly appreciate all of the love and support that I have received from my family, friends, colleagues and community members this past 11 months. There is do doubt that this loss will be a weight I will carry for the rest of my life, but with your support it is not at heavy. 


As the baby of this large clan and my father’s son “the Rabbi”. I “get to” have to go last and say what has not yet been said.

Named for my father’s father Abram Orlow who died when my dad was just a boy, I always has many questions about the the shoes I was supposed to try to fill. And to be frank reflecting back on my father’s life, my Pa was also a bit of a mystery to me. My dad was a puzzle. This was not shocking for someone that was a member of Mensa, loved a complicated law case, or could win Trivial Pursuit in one turn. Pa always liked a good puzzle.

It was not always easy for me to get him. He was at once self defined as irreligious and yet I have so many memories of him spiritually sitting in his chair reading the Bible. He was a sort of modern-day tormented Rav Nachman.

I have spent a lot of time in the last 44 years trying to figure out the puzzle of my Pa. Since his passing it has been meaningful for us to get together as a family to put the pieces back together- A bit of a jigsaw.

Who was James Joseph Orlow- Yakov Yosef ben Avraham V’Leah z”l?

As the baby brother coming home I can relate to the character of Yosef in the Torah portion of VaYeshev. There we read:  

Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef ben Sheva Esreh Shana…

These are the generations of Yakov, Yosef was 17… when he went to taddle of his siblings. (Bereishit 37:2)

Interestingly the Torah never actually outlines the generations of Yakov.

And no, I am not here to share a tell-all about my siblings.

But I wanted to share one story. When I was around 17 like Yosef and clearly taller than my brothers. They would often joke that the milkman was also tall.

Seemling on this point Rashi, the premier medieval biblical commentator, provides an alternative reading of VaYeshev. Instead of  reading it as “Eleh Toldot Yakov- These are the generations of Yakov”. Instead he reads it as, “ Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef- These are the generations of Yakov Yosef “- my dad’s name. Rashi quoting the midrash said:

Yosef’s facial features bore a striking resemblance to those of Yakov. Further whatever happened to Yakov happened Yosef. ( Rashi on Bereishit 37:2)

The puzzle of my father was a puzzle of looking in the mirror. My interest in Halacha and those alienated by it was to emulate his devotion to immigration law. My desire to learn Torah was a reflection of his constant brimming with pithy wisdom. For many of us he was a fount of wisdom. A life filled with my father’s Perkei Avot:

Found in his wallet on Friday was a fortune cookie, “Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog the scenery never changes.”

Profound work Ethic- “ The harder you work the luckier you get”

“Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life”

Marry up- do not be afraid of a strong and smart woman like your mother. Or as he like to say, “ Don’t marry a woman who is pretty but stupid, because your children will think like her and look like you, you ugly bastard.”- Luckily with Mom and my wife Adina we got both brilliant and beautiful life partners.

Let people share their own good news, “Don’t rain on my parade or I will piss on your’s.” – And look around Dad, it is such nice weather today.

Theodicy- “ We live in a world in which no good deed goes unpunished”

Always be intellectually interested and interesting. One of my earliest memories was giving a mini Dvar Torah  as a rider to his  Dvar Torah in the Chavurah- library minyan. Or later his pushing me regarding the rigor of going to yeshiva in Israel. “Always be curious and confident.”

His favorite belt buckle reads “ Dazzle them with your brilliance or baffle them with your bullshit.”

And there was the profound reflections in actions that often spoke loader than words. Build things (including community) with your hands:

Chop your own wood

The tree house for Beth Hillel Beth El Preschool

The Aaron for the Chavorah

My Shtender

The porch add-on for the cabin in the Poconos

Endless projects in the Berkshires

His deep love of Sukkot.

For him the the Sukkah was never the Aninai HaKavod, he was into the Sukkah Mamash.

Family First- From sailing trips, time at the beach, Poconos, and Bershires

Shabbat Meals, Holiday Meals, so many family meals from clients to St. Michaels.

Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef

When I look in the mirror I see my father (not the milkman)

Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef

When I look in the mirror I see a puzzle

Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef

When I look in the mirror I see the man I am striving to become

Eleh Toldot Yakov Yosef

When I look around I see the generations of Yakov Yosef  

James Joseph’s highest joy was his 14 grandchildren. They will carry his legacy.

As we place Pa into his final resting place. We help him finish the puzzle- putting it all together:

Profound Wisdom and Curiousity

Deep connection to community

Family First

Thank you all, family and friends.

Special thank you to Doda Rachel who has played a critical role in the lives of my parents. We all owe you a profound debt of gratitude.

Finally James Joseph Orlow Yakov Yosef ben Avraham v’Leah

We lay you in your final resting place; a life well lived and a puzzle complete.


Other posts in memory of my father James Joseph Orlow z”l

Seen This One Before: The Border Crisis, the Three Weeks, and My Father

Tomorrow I will headed down to Philadelphia for my father’s unveiling. He passed away 11 months ago and I miss him. My missing him is not just the love of a son to his father. I also miss his expertise from a lifetime of experience as a highly regarded immigration lawyer. I have been thinking how livid my father would be if he was alive to see this administration’s callus expression of xenophobia. At this moment we are deep in the crises of ICE rounding people up, separating families, intentional administrative slow down, and the horrifying abuse at the detention centers. We could use my father’s wisdom and insight at this time.

When he passed away at 83 he was still working. In the week’s that followed my brother Daniel nobly went down to shut down his practice and pack up his office. There he found some interesting piece of art. One of pieces he found was this framed cartoon from 1946:


It is sad to say, but we have seen this before. How might we learn from history to ensure that we do better in the future than we have done in the past?

In my work with Jewish camps I have been thinking how we might help them prepare their camp programming in the three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av. The refugee crisis is a continually evolving situation, and we recommend reading the most up-to-date information on detention and abuse of immigrants at the US border before this discussion. To supplement that information and provide a Jewish lens to help facilitate discussions around the topic, we offered camp the resources and discussion questions in this attached resource to reflect on today’s events in the spirit of the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, Check out: Within the Borders: A Text Study & Discussion Guide on the Border Crisis

We have seen this before. We know better. Now, lets make it better.  Miss you Dad. 

Check it out on the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s resource bank :



In or Out: Reflections on Tzitzit and Pride

At the end of Shelach, this week’s Torah portion, we read about the commandment of putting tzitzit (fringes) on four-cornered garments. There we read:

Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge. Thus you shall be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God. I the Lord am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I, the Lord your God. ( Numbers 15: 38-41 )

When looking at the fringes we remember all the commandments and refrain from following the temptations of the heart. Clearly tzitzit  are meant to be a remind us to choose aspired over desired actions. It is clear that wearing tzitzit is not just for the purpose of inspiring us to keep commandments, but it also keep us connected to our identity as people redeemed by God from Egypt. Even if today we see the Kippah as the iconic Jewish designation, from our parsha and the Torah in general it seems more accurate to claim that wearing tzitzit is the authentic expression of Jewish identity.

In reading an article by Rabbi Dr. Marc D. Angel on the topic of the diversity of Jewish customs I learned that there are different opinions as to the custom to how to practise this commandment. Are we supposed to wear one’s tzitzit in or out? The Shulhan Arukh (O.H. 8:11)  ruled that the mitzvah of the Tallit Katan entails wearing the tzitzit “on one’s clothes” so that one will always see them and remember God’s commandments. On this the Mishnah Berurah comments on this passage:

Those men who place their tzitzit within their pants, not only are they hiding their eyes from what is written [in the Torah], “and you shall see them and remember etc.,” but moreover they are disgracing [mevazin] a commandment of God; in the future they will have to stand in judgment for this. (Mishnah Berurah 26)

It seems pretty clear from both the Sephardic and Ashkanazic authorities that we aught to wear our tzitzit on the outside.

Rabbi Haim David Halevy, late Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, indicated that although the Shulhan Arukh called for wearing the tzitzit so that they can be seen, the Ari haKadosh held otherwise, teaching that according to the kabbala, tzitzit must not be worn outside one’s pants. Virtually all Sephardic posekim have followed the opinion of the Ari, not that of the Shulhan Arukh. Rabbi Halevy notes:

In truth, we have never seen even one of the Sephardic hakhamim and rabbis who has removed the tzitzit outside the pants; certainly they took into consideration the opinion of the kabbalists, and the ruling of the Hida whose rulings we have accepted.(Asei Lekha Rav, Tel Aviv, 5738, vol. 2, Orah Hayyim, no. 20)

From this it seems that it is a normative  Sephardic practice to wear the tzitzit of the Tallit Katan inside one’s garments based on a kabalistic notion. But it seems that there were also Ashkenzim who also thought you should wear the tzitzit inside one’s garments. The Mahari Bruna (15th century German Rabbinic Authority) wrote that it is considered haughtiness to wear the tzitzit exposed (siman 96). In the end it seem that the reasons for tucking or not tucking are valid both for Ashkenazim and Sephardim.

I have been thinking about this question of Tzitzit this week not just because of our Parsha, but also because June is LGBT Pride Month. This month we commemorate 50 years since the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world. It also deserves note the central role Jews have played in the advancement of LGBT rights, equality, and celebration.

Pride Shabbat

In this context it is too easy to see tzitzit as a totem driving people away from their desires or simply to see it as a question of “keeping it in your pants”. Both readings would miss how wearing tzitzit is fundamentally an expression of gratitude for our liberation from slavery. As a person with many privileges it is hard for me to connect with our ancestors’ experience of  being constrained or limited in Egypt.  Seeing what we have achieved and still have yet to achieve in the last 50 years to ensure that our society is affirming of LGBT identities and the LGBT experience, I can better relate to the need to continuing to work for liberation. In or out, gay or straight, Trans, or Cisgendertzitzit is an expression of identity which we should wear with pride.  We take a moment  on Pride Shabbat when we read Parshat Shelach to celebrate our modern heros who gliitter-bombed the world, liberated all of us from slavery, and taught us to never back down or hide an inner truth.  Shabbat Shalom

All in One Place: All of Our Speeches on the Occasion of Yishama Becoming a Bar Mitzvah

We had a great time this past weekend celebrating Yishama becoming a Bar Mitzvah. There were lots of words shared. Here are all of our speeches in one place:

Remember the Name: My Talk to Yishama on Becoming a Bar Mitzvah

It is rare that we take moments to ponder who we are and who we are becoming. It feels like a moment ago we were standing in Bais Abraham in St. Louis at Yishama’s bris explaining the meaning of his name. Notably this will be a different speech then the one given at your bris. I remember vividly,walking back from your Bris when Oma asked me,” Are there any Boys with this name?” I answered her telling her about the prophecy of Jeremiah yadda yadda yadda “He Shall Be Heard”. And my mother lovingly cut me off,”No, are there any boys with this name?”

So, beyond the the comment from my dear friend Aryeh Bernstein who emailed post bris saying“ Mad Props on the Nifal”, what is the meaning of your name?

  • On your Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to share some more reflections on why we gave you such a unique name?
  • Even from the start we had a sense that you would be a unique child.  Check!
  • We hoped that you that you would be a middle child. Check! Check! Thank you Emunah and Libi.
  • We wanted to ensure you would be heard. Your siblings look up to you. Check!
  • And somewhere in there your Mami and I thought that the world needed to hear your voice as well.

As we read in Jeremiah:

Thus said the Lord: עוֹד֮ יִשָּׁמַ֣ע- Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say is ruined, without man or beast—in the towns of Yehudah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man, without inhabitants, without beast—the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride, the voice of those who cry, “Give thanks to the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for God’s kindness is everlasting!” (Jeremiah 33:10-11)

Although the world might have been desolate, destroyed and ruined, Jeremiah had a vision for a future in which the voice of happiness will be heard. Thus we will hear the multivocality of ק֣וֹל שָׂשׂ֞וֹן וְק֣וֹל שִׂמְחָ֗ה. Yes, that makes me cry at every wedding. That will be the next installment of this talk. The vision of Jeremiah is meting out happiness middah k’neged middah– measure for measure our happiness filling the void of sadness, When we named you we had no idea how broken the world would become. We also had no idea of your immense capacity to fill that void

You are our little philosopher. Your capacity to reflect and commitment to improve is unrivaled. You are all about the grind on and off the court. There is no doubt to anyone who knows you that you will do great things in this world. You are profoundly committed to get the most out of every moment. You are mature way beyond your years. From an early age you knew that life was really about the experiences you would have along the path. You never want to waste a moment.

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories from the Talmud. We learn in Berachot:

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei said: I was once walking along the road when I entered the ruins of an old, abandoned building among the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. I noticed that Elijah, of blessed memory, came and guarded the entrance for me and waited at the entrance until I finished my prayer. When I finished praying and exited the ruin, Elijah said to me: Greetings to you, my Rabbi. I answered him: Greetings to you, my Rabbi, my teacher. And Elijah said to me: My son, why did you enter this ruin? I said to him: In order to pray. And Elijah said to me: You should have prayed on the road. And I said to him: I was unable to pray along the road, because I was afraid that I might be interrupted by travelers and would be unable to focus. Elijah said to me: You should have recited the abbreviated prayer instituted for just such circumstances. Rabbi Yosei concluded: At that time, from that brief exchange,I learned from him, three things: I learned that one may not enter a ruin; and I learned that one need not enter a building to pray, but he may pray along the road; and I learned that one who prays along the road recites an abbreviated prayer so that he may maintain his focus. (Berachot 3a)

Yishama, your commitment to stay on the path and learn everything from every moment is inspirational. You make we want to be a better person. And the story in Berachot continues, “And after this introduction, Elijah said to me: What voice did you hear in that ruin? I responded: I heard a Heavenly voice, cooing like a dove” (Berachot 3a)  The dove was saying ” And this is why we cannot have nice things” ( this translation/interpretation is my own).

Image result for dove ruins jerusalem

Like Rabbi Yosei, when we allow ourselves to stop along life’s path to reflect we realize that the diversion itself was the journey.
The tangent was the actual lesson. We also realize that beyond the lesson is another deeper lesson. If we allow time to have sacred moments, we can even hear the voice of hope and happiness in a place that would otherwise seem ruined. Like Rabbi Yosei, we can and must learn from everything along the way.

With the meaning of your name in my heart and the image of Rabbi Yosei on the journey in my mind I wanted to share part of C. P. Cavafy’s Poem, Ithaka, as a blessing for you:

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Yishama, along your journey, I hope that you stop in many places. If you are open to it, even in places of desolation you will hear the voice of the dove bringing peace and the voices of joy filling the void of sadness. Echoing your Dvar Torah, which you shared so beautifully, our blessing to you is not just that you be open to hearing those voices, but also to step into your role of being that voice. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives. Your striving to live an inspired life is itself inspirational. Speak truth to power, bring joy to those who need it, and keep on inspiring people. In doing so, Yishama- you will be heard.

We are excited for the journey ahead. We give thanks at this moment to hearing your emergent voice and are confident that you will fulfill the vision of your name. Your voice will bring joy to our broken world. Yishama, in thinking about the person you are and your name, its seems only fitting to close by quoting, Fort Minor.

This is ten percent luck
Twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure
Fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name

Mazel Tov Yishama Frydman Orlow, Yishama ben HaRav Avram v HaHazan Adina Devorah. Remember the name.

Essential Wisdom of Yishama Frydman Orlow: Adina’s Speech for Yishama’s Bar Mitzvah

Adina’s speech to Yishama on becoming a Bar Mitzvah:

Yishama, these are some words that capture your essence sprinkled in with sayings from Pirke Avot, because I know how much you love a good inspirational quote.

Perseverance and Grit
I need only say one word, basketball, and I think everyone in this room knows what I mean. What they don’t know is that in addition to the hours you spend on the court, you wake up most days at 6:30am to do your workout routine, spend your lunch and recess hours doing drills, and even your down time is watching players you admire and studying their best moves on you tube. I love that after games you seek out the referees to ask if there is anything you can improve, and they look as stunned as you do right now. Whether you are headed to the NBA or to become a renowned physicist, this virtue of perseverance will take you all the way! , לְפוּם צַעֲרָא אַגְרָא: Ben He He said: According to the labor is the reward.

Shama, you are someone who deeply cares and emotes in ways that people many years your senior cannot match. As you grow up to be a young man, embrace this superpower and do not shy away from expressing your feelings. Remember that real men cry. It is this empathy and ability to be vulnerable that will make your relationships real and deep.

Friday nights in our house, aside from the usual bewitching that takes place at Shabbat dinner because everyone is exhausted from the week, Mami and Aba wanting it to be the perfect family dinner, and the four of you being as goofy as possible. These are some of my favorite family memories. Whether it is you and your brother doing some impression of a famous singer, actor, or made up character, or you simply chasing Libi under the table screaming, catch me if you can! Or doing your belly and but-cheeks high five, you keep me laughing. Never lose that ability to keep things light – a trait you no doubt learned from your father, not me.

Every night one of us puts you to bed, because at an early age you realized that these few minutes were time for you to have our undivided attention. And every night you ask me “so, how was your day mom” followed by “what did you do today” I can never get away with fine or “had a few meetings” because I know that your follow up question will be “but what did you DO today” because you are one of these rare creatures who understands and values the preciousness of life and the great responsibility we have to seize every moment. You make me a better person.

But it isn’t only that, Shama, there have been numerous occasions where you literally took my breath away with the deep reflections you shared. Like the time I was 9 months pregnant and driving your 3-4 year old self to school and and you asked me, “Do mommy’s ever die when they have babies?” or on our weekly walks to shul, when you share “Deep thoughts by Shama Orlow” And say things like, “You know, he is a really nice kid. He has matured a lot over the years.” Or “you mean we are paying double for our education? Once through our taxes and another through our tuition”  You have always been our wise old man in a little boys body (with a scrabble dictionary vocabulary to boot).

Shama, you always stand up for what you believe in. Whether in school, on the court or at home your character takes the front seat. It is not lost on us that you wear your kippah on the court with unbridled pride, no matter who is playing . וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אֲנָשִׁים, הִשְׁתַּדֵּל לִהְיוֹת אִישׁ In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.
You make us so incredibly proud – not only today but every day in all the small moments when your true character shines through. Anyone who knows you knows that you are destined for greatness but more importantly that you will inspire others to greatness.

As we spend many a nightly conversation pondering the state of our country, world and humankind I am lifted up thinking that you and your brother and sisters will be agents of change in fixing all that is broken and healing all who are suffering.

As you know, Mami and Aba have devoted themselves to serving the Jewish community professionally and to being involved in our local community through the shul and the Hevra Kadisha. So, when we are home late from a meeting, or travelling for days at a time and missing tucking you in at night, know that we are doing our small part in fixing this broken world so that we leave it a little better than we found it.

Whether you choose to work in the for profit sector and make a lot of money to become a baal tzedakah or your choose work in the nonprofit sector giving back through your daily work, remember that the day is short and the work great. הַיּוֹם קָצָר וְהַמְּלָאכָה מְרֻבָּה and that It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it; לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה: And one final saying as I leave you with some parting wisdom,  הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי: He [also] used to say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am for my own self [only], what am I? And if not now, when?
Shama, be intentional every minute about the person you want to be, surround yourself with people to care for and that care for you, and continue to live each day to the fullest, seizing every moment as if it were the last.

Yadid, Emunah, and Libi

We love you so much and too much and we hope that looking around you see all of the people that are here who love you and together with Mami and Aba have helped us raise 4 metsches. Remember always that no matter what, you have one another and you have to be there for each other. You are each a unique creation that was put on this earth for a reason and one of those is to take care of each other and of your parents in their old age (but not for many years to come – you hear that honey!)


Thank you for being my bar plugta, my soul mate, for ever challenging me to be the best version of myself and being my co-pilot on this life journey. Together we strive to be the best parents we can be – each in our own unique ways. As you often say to me, “we have some pretty awesome kids” as if to say, “we didn’t mess them up too badly”. Don’t worry there is still time.
“Honey, I love you so much”

Oma, Abuelo and Abuela

Thank you for schepping naches with us and for giving us all of the tools we needed to get to this moment. I know that PJ is here with us to smiling with his cockeye grin from ear to ear as are your great grandparents who could not physically be here today.

To our family and friends
We feel so blessed to be a part of this community. We could not have dreamed of a better place to be raising our children together with you. From the first time we came 11 years ago to “Check out the community” and moved in with Rabbi Chaim and Suzie and their seven kids for a week, we knew this was the place for us. Today, Yishama and his squad wander the streets of White Plains and dominate the Highlands court and couldn’t be happier. To so many loving friends who came today representing different parts of our lives we love you all and look forward to continuing to share many simchas together in the coming years.

Adina, I am so honored to call you my Bar Plugta, accountability buddy, and the love of my life. Much love.

Image may contain: Avi Orlow and Adina Frydman, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

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