Kol Nidre- 5764

Kol Nidre — Yom Kippur

Our theme for these Days of Awe – for this year’s High Holidays – is to Return to the roots that were stripped away from our grandparents and great-grandparents one century ago, as they became Jewish History’s “Lost Century.” To Return to our sources. And to get back to who we were. Who we are. And who we can be again.

As to Ashkenazi Jews in America, we talked about how Reform Jews came to America from Germany and established the first major Jewish institutions here between 1840-1880 — before our Orthodox grandparents and great-grandparents arrived from Eastern Europe between 1881-1914.

We talked about how the German Reform movement created institutions in America aimed at perverting and converting our forebears from our roots to become a “Jewish-flavored” form of Liberal German Protestantism that they sincerely believed would cure all anti-Semitism. And Germany would be their proof that they were right.

They pointed proudly to the way that their new religion – with organs instead of Talmud, with Zionism ripped out of the prayer book, and with Hebrew excised in favor of the “soul-searing” and “uplifting” sounds of Goethe’s German – their new religion would herald a new beginning. For a vision of no more anti-Semitism, in a world in which the Hebrew language was dead-and-buried anyway, a world that was never going to see another Jewish State arise anyway.

The New Progressive Judaism first would solve the anti-Semitism in Germany. Without Zionism and Hebrew, Germans no longer would accuse Jews of “Dual Loyalty.” With rabbis dressed like, and speaking like, German Liberal Protestant ministers – anti-Semitism would stop, first in Germany. Then, everywhere else. Today Germany – tomorrow, the world.

We talked about how our grandparents and great-grandparents from Eastern Europe did not know what they were being hit with, when they arrived in western countries like America and France and England and South Africa between 1881-1914. They arrived in Ellis Island, and they were shipped to Boston. From Boston to Chicago. From Chicago to Milwaukee. No one wanted them. Or – rather – no landed Reform Jewish community wanted them. They were sent to Galveston. They were sent to the Catskills. A Reform Jewish NIMBY — NOJIMBY – No Orthodox Jews In My Back Yard. Or in my city.

But our grandparents and great-grandparents — they kept coming back. Or they just kept coming. And, finally, plans had to be made to deal with them – to strip them of their heritage – right then and there. To strip them of their Orthodox essence – to make them less repulsive, to help prevent anti-Semitism.

So we learned of Reform Jewish leaders, the Rabbi David Phillipsons and Rabbi Kaufman Kohlers, and their published teachings that urged their congregants and communities to alter the Orthodox. So women like Minnie Lewis walked the streets, offering cookies to boys if they would let her cut off their sideburns. We learned of Julia Richman’s directive in the New York City Public School system’s Lower East Side that any child speaking Yiddish should have her mouth washed out with soap.

This is how our grandparents and great-grandparents initially became “enlightened” in the New World. This is why so many of us today are not Orthodox. This is the true reason that, in America in the 20th Century, so many Jews suddenly walked away from a heritage that – through two thousands years of bitter exile — could not be crusaded out of them, blood-libeled out of them, torn out of them, stabbed out of them, stretched out of them, lynched out of them, gassed out of them, burned out of them, or cremated out of them for thousands of years from the Ghettos of Europe to the Mellahs of Morocco.

They gave it up because it was very hard; it was very demanding. They gave it up because it called for sacrifice in a society that enjoys pursuing and taking. (Capitalism is great; don’t misunderstand my import. After having lived under Israeli socialism for two years in the 1980s, I am the biggest believer in capitalism. But America teaches us that, if we want it, we should go for it. And, as soon as we can reach it, we should grab it. And that is not exactly the same as a Torah that teaches some sacrifice, some restriction: If you want to eat pork or bacon – well, you may not. You want to have shrimp to adorn your salad? You may not. The Shabbat is a Day of Delight, even if two Big Ten football teams are fighting it out for the top spot on the AP poll.

(You want to have rotating boyfriends or rotating girlfriends? Well, you have to settle down and make a life commitment to someone, get married with a ketubah, and raise a family. So, Judaism calls for sacrifice and restraint. It means that, if you absolutely have to watch the Kentucky Derby, you set the VCR on Friday and you watch it on Saturday Night – because the Shabbat belongs to G-d and to Holiness.)

That is why so many gave up the Torah that sustained us for 3,900 years. But – most of all – and let’s not kid ourselves – our grandparents and great-grandparents gave it up primarily because they were embarrassed. They were humiliated. They were ashamed to tell the boss that they had to leave work early on Friday, or that they needed to take two days off mid-week for a Biblical festival. They were embarrassed in America. In America, before modern synagogues built mikvahs for dishes, who would drag dishes to the river or ocean to tovel them? Before beautiful modern mikvahs were constructed, who would go to the mikvahs of the prior era? And how could you explain it to the neighbors – or to the children attending public school, the children being taught to melt into the great American melting pot. Well, they didn’t just melt. They dissolved.

They were embarrassed in America. Their friends went to movies on Saturdays, and they did not want to be left out. Their co-workers went to lunch, and they did not want to be laughed-at for ordering only a salad. They gave up the core of Judaism because, G-d rest their souls, they could not handle the embarrassment. They didn’t have time for the shame.

And the Reform institutions that were the only established Jewish institutions when they arrived here made certain they would be ashamed. Orthodoxy was mocked and derided. The very name – “Orthodox” – was a derisive insult. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were told that they and especially their parents were buffoons and second-class morons. People – friends, neighbors — laughed at their parents, laughed at struggling immigrants and refugees who could not speak English or who spoke funny English. Immigrants with quaint customs. And our grandparents and great-grandparents were, oh-so-ashamed and humiliated, humiliated of their roots, shamed by their parents’ poor English, embarrassed by traditions that seemed alien to America.

And the landed Jewish institutions rubbed salt into the wounds. The slogan became “polish for the Polish.” And so, they built Jewish hospitals so Jewish doctors of German descent could practice freely in America, safe from anti-Jewish discrimination. And then they turned around and barred Jewish doctors from Russia or Poland – or even the American-trained first-generation children or parents from East Europe – from practicing in the same Jewish Hospitals. No Jews from East European heritage was permitted to practice medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for several decades.

Their organizations initially denied leadership positions to Jews from Eastern Europe – the American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith, the Jewish federations – all for Reform Jews of German descent. Unbelievable – their contempt for the ostjuden, for the Jews from the East.

And what the Reform Jews from Germany did to our East European Ashkenazic grandparents and great-grandparents in this world, that is precisely what the Socialist-Labor Ashkenazi elite – or, at least, in their own minds they were the elite – did to the 750,000 Sephardic Jews who arrived in Israel during the 1940s and 1950s from Yemen and Tunisia, from Syria and Egypt, from Morocco and Iraq and Iran. They sprayed bug-spray on dignified and genteel men and women, wearing elegant suits and dresses, as our Sephardic ancestors arrived at Lod Airport, as though they carried pests unknown in the Middle East. They barred people from driving buses for the Egged bus company if they had the wrong affiliation. They barred people from playing soccer professionally. They even drove school custodians out of their jobs.

The Socialist-Labor Ashkenazic elite tore children – babies — from their parents and sent them to Socialist Labor kibbutzim, separating them from their parents. “Where is our child?” the parents of Tayman asked. And the Yemenites were answered: “Your children died in the hospital.” And the babies grew up with the gentle lullabies of Karl Marx and the Secular-Socialist Philosophers of Ashkenazic Jewry . . . instead of learning the Torah lessons of the Ben Ish Hai and the Baba Sali.

If you did not speak Yiddish, you could not advance in the new Israel of the Histadrut. You needed your Red Card. You had to take vacation on May Day. They created a system there – paralleling the situation here – that told our Sephardic grandparents and great-grandparents: “If you want to get ahead, if you want to make it in Israel, then you get that Torah out of your head, and you become secular. You get that Sephardic heritage out of your head, and you become like us. You want values? – go to our kibbutzim. You go to our schools and learn our secular ways. Saturday is for kadur-regel, soccer, and not for Torah. Modern Israelis do not worry about the details of being kosher.

And, again, it was the awful, unbearable shame. The children saw their grandparents laughed-at for speaking with Sephardic accents. They saw the ways of Sephardic Jewry mocked. The cooking, the culture. The secular curriculum of the public schools tore it out.

Is it any wonder that an angry generation of Sephardic Jews arose who want nothing of gefilte fish? Who mock the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim as the “Vuss-Vuss” people. And who even refer to the Ashke-NAZIs? I may be Ashkenazi, but it makes sense to me. Makes sense to me.

That is how the Crown of Sephardic Jewry lost its bond – during the recent generations in Israel — with the Torah of the Babylonian Talmud that it created, and its bond with the Rambam, Rav Yosef Karo, Rav Yehuda Halevi, Avraham Ibn Ezra, Shlomo ibn Gabirol – all the great Sephardic Torah scholars way down to the Me’am Lo’ez, the Ben Ish Hai, the Baba Sali, and — yibadel l’chayim — the Chacham Ovadia Yosef.

And that is how the Crown of Ashkenazic Jewry was torn – only during the past century — from the Talmud, from Rashi and the Ba’alei Tosfot, from the Rama – Rav Moshe Isserles, the Vilna Gaon, the Chofetz Chaim – all the way down to the greatest Ashkenazic Torah giants of the past half century, Rav Aharon Kotler, HaRav Hagaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, and HaRav Hagaon Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik.

We did not give up Torah and Jewish practice in America because “it does not make sense in a modern world.” That is a myth. The Torah makes perfect sense in the modern world. The Torah makes perfect sense in a world where you cannot bring a child to a movie that has family themes because an inevitable sex scene or string of profanities will ruin it. In a world of video games where, with the exception of the sports games and the innocent Mario Brothers games, everything has some aspect of violent anti-social behavior at its core. A world in which no one stops for family anymore, in which the family dinner is found only in reruns on Nickelodeon.

A world where people sign up 5 nights a week, 52 weeks a year, to make fools of themselves – on one dating television show after another, not to mention the sensationalist talk shows. Not to mention the “reality” shows. “Joe Millionaire” – real reality, that. Evan gets $500,000. Zora gets $500,000. And, as they say, “Shalom al Yisroel.” Or “Survivor” shows, where people eat toasted rats. Yeah, that’s reality.

Or the ultimate exercise in mass Lashon Hara and Public Embarrassment, where a TV network advertises heavily and posts billboards to encourage millions to devote their weeknight to watch a music executive from England shame, embarrass, deride, and humiliate teenagers on national television. (And what would he have said to Bob Dylan?)

The Torah makes perfect sense – here and now. More than ever.

Rather, we gave it up because the foolish, watered-down version of Judaism that they presented to us was bogus – and, sadly, we did not yet have a landed group of Americanized Orthodox rabbis on the scene here to shout – as in the “Emperor’s New Clothes” — that “The Reform German Emperor is naked — not wearing a kittel or tzitzit or a tallit or even a yarmulke. Nor clothed in Judaism, for that matter. And the prayer book is naked – empty of Hebrew and of Longing for Zion.”

Instead, in America, Judaism stopped becoming about Torah and Study and Shabbat – and it just became about money. “Look at how fancy my Temple is. I do not send my child to Jewish Day School – and my child never goes to synagogue – and my child has not even met a Rabbi – but look at how splashy his bar mitzvah is! Look at the 25-piece orchestra! Did you ever before see Chopped Liver sculpted like that — to look like Dolly Parton?”

Somehow, the vision of Judaism was lost. The Idea of Judaism was suppressed. And, if Judaism has even been about anything, it is about An Idea. The Idea that the intellect of Abraham introduced to the world. The Idea that Yitzchak’s fear and Yaakov’s passion disseminated. But German Reform and Israeli Socialist Secularism buried the idea in so much philosophical compost. We stopped dancing in the synagogue at Simchat Torah and laughing in the synagogue on Purim. Instead, we created a money-culture that turned even the Day of Penitence – the Holy Yom Kippur — into an Ahmanson Theater and a Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where Temples – and now synagogues – got the idea that we better sell tickets for admission because “we won’t see them again until next year.”

What a mess! And what message does it send to children – as Kinky Friedman sings, “you need your ticket and your tie to zip your prayers on through.” If only we could explain to kids that it is not supposed to be like this. Jews are supposed to donate lovingly throughout the year, and then a shul could meet its budget. But, in America, we must appeal on Yom Kippur.

How horrible it has become, as we replaced the rich culture of Torah study and religious practice that sustained us through 2,000 years of Diaspora – and we replaced it with a Country-Club temple and a Holocaust Monument in every town and village.

And there was a similar shortage of contemporary, studied Israeli-born-and-educated Torah scholars in Israel, children of Sephardic yeshivot and the Hesder program, who could teach the same message to the emerging generations of Sephardic Jewry there. It was the Chacham Ovadia Yosef, who led the way back for so many. And the Chacham figured out that – if it’s OK to spend tens of millions of Shekalim to keep bailing-out and propping up the massive failure of the Socialist Ashkenazic Kibbutzim, then it is OK to have Shekalim spent on the needs of Sephardic Torah institutions and Arei Pituakh, the Development Towns.

So, we must ask: has Hitler won a posthumous victory in the campaign he launched to make the Jews vanish from the earth? Has Hitler won? Shall we disappear in America and our Torah be abandoned?

And have the Founders of Ashkenazic Socialist-Labor posthumously achieved their vision of a Marxist utopia of godless kibbutzim in the Promised Land?

At times, it seems that they have won. Or almost have won. When a public school in a community that is 77% Jewish is too ashamed of its Jewish community to admit that it is closed on Yom Kippur because it is Yom Kippur – and instead posts a sign that says “Closed on October 6 for Fall Recess” – it seems they have won.

But The Book remains. The Sefer Torah remains. And as long as we preserve, cherish – and reopen — The Book, learn it, and teach it to our children to speak its words – v’shinantam l’vanekha v’dibarta bam b’shivt’kha b’vetekha u-v’lekht’kha ba-derekh uv’shakhb’kha u-v’kumekha — then the inexorable march of Jewish history continues.

In avoiding that error, we also must recognize that, in all fairness, no one intelligent, sophisticated, and fair-minded should abandon something so precious as a faith and a heritage that bound us for 4,000 years as a people – unless she, at least, has had a good solid exposure to what it is that she is abandoning.

Look at our American philosophy of education. We study math – through high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a mathematician or an accountant? We study science – through high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a scientist or a doctor? We study history – through high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a historian (or a rabbi)? We study literature – through high school. But maybe I don’t want to be a writer or read those dumb books? Maybe I just don’t care. Maybe math has no meaning to me. Maybe science is boring. Maybe history is irrelevant to Now. Maybe I just want to read “Spiderman” comic books. Maybe I am not interested – and I just want to be left alone. Leave me alone! I want to be a basketball player or a baseball announcer or a teenage American Idol. I want to spend my day reading about Britney Spears’s navel and Justin Timberlake’s piercings. Or maybe, with all due respect, I just want to be left alone at home, so I can play video games and listen to music.

Well, guess what? We don’t leave our kids alone. Not in our society. Not we. No way – Yossi! And that’s not all. We give them extra stuff. We give them dancing. And we give them piano. And we give them extracurricular activities. “You don’t want to be a pianist? Fine. But you still will thank me some day that you missed three years of baseball with your friends so you could master the musical scale.”

And that is the kind of Torah knowledge we should be giving our children. Not just Sunday school. Not just Hebrew afternoon school. Not just a few grades. But all the way through high school – and at a real Jewish day school. We have several from which to choose in this Valley and in this City. Think of it is an extracurricular program – like dancing. A chance for your children to learn how to dance. And – of the greatest importance – we should be bringing our children to synagogue each and every Shabbat. Even if we are not there. We owe it to them. So, at least, they can have a fair opportunity to make their own, independent decision to abandon their heritage.

And then — if that child tells you after high school, after 12 full academic years’ exposure to meaningful Jewish education, after attending synagogue most every Shabbat through childhood and the teen years, that he wants to abandon and just-plain chuck the heritage and faith that has bound 4,000 years of Jews — and that has been unbroken through persecutions from the Crusades along the Rhine River to the Almohads of Spain and the Mamluks and Maghrebs —well, at least then it is a fair decision, a fair choice. It is the Apikorus of Vilna telling the Vilna Gaon that “I have studied the Talmud, and I am abandoning it.” And then, like the Gaon of Vilna, we can say “good-bye” with a respectful sense that, at least, you have been exposed to Judaism in its deepest, fullest – and most mature — sense.

Because a Bar Mitzvah is not enough – although it can be a great start. A Bat Mitzvah – alone – is not enough. A year spent learning to master a single page of Haftorah Hebrew is a waste of time. What will be done with it later? It is like a comet in the sky. It passes in four minutes, and then you wait a year or two before it reappears again in your hemisphere – again, only for three minutes. A year of pleasant Bible Stories and Hebrew Letters dancing on honey cakes is not enough.

We would never be satisfied teaching our children only addition and subtraction – but no multiplication or division. Only prose but no poetry. Only a family history or a history of the state – but nothing about history of our country or of the world.

And it is not enough that they learn American history only in 8th grade. We make them learn it again in 11th grade. Well, the Torah and Judaism that we teach to 11th graders also is richer than what we teach in elementary school. A Jewish education, if it is honest, must extend through 12th grade in high school. And a child must attend the synagogue every week. They can attend the prayers. Or they can attend the Kids’ Program. No one says it has to be for three hours — let them come for only an hour. Come at 11:00 am until 12 noon. But they have to come.

I spoke on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah about my grandfather, who came here. He had limited dreams – his dream was to survive, to make an honest living. And his super-dream was to see his sons go to college in America and to see his daughters marry someone else’s sons who went to college in America. I told you that my grandfather himself never dreamt of going to college himself – that was off his radar screen, outside his remotest possible dream. And I told you that, like my grandfather, our generation also may have to satisfy itself with the dream that, at least, our children can return to the faith and fold of 4,000 years – and, even that, only if we get started now.

But I did not tell you everything about my grandfather. He also did something else: he started learning English. Zaydie – my grandfather – always spoke English with a heavy accent. But at least his English reached a level that was comprehensible and coherent.

And, you know what? So can you enter the study of Torah and Judaism. If not achieving the beautiful level of a learned native, then at least the comprehensible and coherent Torah of an intelligent newcomer who has returned to the path in midlife. Yes, maybe you never will learn Torah, beginning at age 40 or 50 or 60, the way that your child can be given the opportunity to study and to learn the Jewish heritage. But you can start. You can begin on the road to comprehension, comprehensihibility, and coherency.

Who knows? You might surprise me. You might surprise yourself. And you might surprise your child.

It may take you a whole year just to learn the Bible books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel I. And that assumes that you attend regularly – and all year. It may take you a whole ‘nother year to learn Samuel II, Kings I, and Kings II. But in 4 or 5 years, if you stick with it, you can learn most Books of the Bible with a Rabbi.

How about that?

It may take you a whole year to study only 3 or 4 pages of the Talmud. But those 3-4 pages may be more than you have studied the previous 30 years. Or in your entire life. It may take you five years to study a single chapter of the Talmud. When you consider that the Artscroll Talmud now is in its 62nd volume, and still continuing, it does point to the limits you may ever reach. Even the greatest Torah scholars, studying at the rapid-fire pace of a two-sided folio every day, need seven years to study the entire Talmud.

But at least you can begin.

I understood Zeydie when he once tried helping me with my homework in elementary school. He was comprehensible and coherent. And your children could understand your cockamamie Hebrew reading and pronunciation – your limited background, your beginner status –when you sit with them to help them with their Talmud or Bible or Rashi homework. But you gotta start. The Torah may not be in the Heavens, too far above us to ever reach it. The Torah may not be across the ocean, too far away to access it. But, on the other hand, it ain’t in the Bar Mitzvah Haftorah either, and it’s not in the Chopped Liver. It is in books, and – like all books – it does limited good there until you open it and begin to learn it.

That is this year’s challenge – to begin. To begin real, honest-to-goodness Torah learning.

That is this year’s challenge – to begin.

Finally, I need your help to make this year — and this vision –succeed. One year ago, I stood before you and promised to help you build a congregation and a community. We had ten family memberships at the time. Remember – only ten founding families? I was ambitious and hoped that we would double our committed paying memberships to 20 by this night. Well, we did not quite double. Rather, with G-d’s abundant help and gracious mercy, we actually tripled – to 30 paying and active family memberships. A membership is $1200 for a family, or $650 for a single. And we never turn away any family membership applicant for lack of funds. That is, we will work with you if you need a discount.

We inaugurated a Navi Class – a Bible Class in the prophets. It began small, with 4 or 5 people attending regularly. And then it took off. We now enjoy attendance of 20-and-more people every Tuesday night at Tanakh / Bible Class. More than half our families attend regularly. This is extraordinary, and it has laid the foundation for inaugurating a Talmud Class this year.

Similarly, we started our shul with only a very few kids and no program. Now we get 20-30 children every Shabbat, with many in the ages between 7 and 13 – and with many teenagers, too. We have a program for the children that will be in place right after the Holidays. The kids will daven together, and they will learn ethics and values togther. An hour a week – while the adults learn at the sermon and then proceed to daven formal Musaf or to participate in the separate and simultaneous Beginners Service and Siddur Class.

As newcomers started arriving in goodly numbers, we offered a class for our adult beginners to learn to read Hebrew letters. Nothing fancy – just the basics. And then we inaugurated our weekly Shabbat Beginners Service and Siddur Class that regularly attracts 8 – 15 people. That class offers a new level of meaning to the service for those who seek it. And, in time, it will funnel real worshippers into the heart of the main service, even as new Beginners arrive.

We are proud of our Shabbat services. The davening is punctuated by community singing. A D’var Torah – a sermon – seeks to enlighten. Our children lead part of the service, and we conclude with a great kiddush every week. Just the kiddush is an attraction. And many newcomers arrive at 10:45 am every Shabbat – to catch the 30-minute teaching sermon, the 30-minute Beginners Service, and the kiddush. Whatever wets your whistle.

We now have a great website – youngisraelofcalabasas.org or dot-com. We run an amazingly fun Purim, and then we do this great community Purim Meal the next day. We have a Shabbat Meals–Visitors program that provides visitors and guests a steady tour of homes where they can visit Shabbat-observant family, be entertained, and have a great Shabbat family meal. We have a great community party on Chanukah, and we have another great one on Lag B’Omer. We learn Torah late into the night on Shavuot. And we even sponsor a Night of Comedy that actually offers lotsa laughs without dirty words or dirty jokes.

For Sukkot, we provide the service of ordering your lulav and etrog – and, because of our unique philosophy, all lulavim and etrogim are ordered from a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria. We do not participate in the French boycott of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Rather, we bank on those Jewish communities.

And we are moving closer to needing a more identifiable street site.

Not everyone remembers what I said at this place one year ago, last Yom Kippur. Many thought I was “California Dreamin’ ” when I said it, but I said that it is time for a shul in Calabasas to be seen at its own identifiable location. I said that we would grow, and we would find a place of our own.

And now I turn to you. We presently are in serious discussions regarding several possible sites we can rent for a shul. This is very hard stuff, and it costs money. But so does food, and so does clothes, so does medicine, and so does anything of value. And how can we ask G-d to hear our prayers if we cannot and do not create a home for Him to repose in our midst?

We are looking at leases that will cost $5,000 a month, maybe six thousand, to rent and establish a House of G-d right here in Calabasas. Already, an anonymous donor has pledged $25,000 towards our campaign. That donor has challenged us to raise $25,000 from “matching sources” in order to qualify for his gift. And we have raised that.

We have an incredible agenda for the coming year, and I am asking your help to help us in two ways. First, you can pledge to become a member. Membership is $1200 – for singles it is $650 – and it is the way that you identify and give voice to who you are, to what you believe. I am asking you to stand now and pledge to become a new member of the Young Israel of Calabasas – that’s us — or to renew your membership in our shul for this Year 5764.

And, second, I am asking you to rise to pledge a gift to help us realize our dreams. So that we may rent a site we can call our own. So that our Youth program may further grow and be formalized. And so that – as we touched 20 new families this past year whose lives have changed dramatically as they never could have anticipated even a year ago – we may reach 20 more families in the coming year, and 20 in the year after, and 20 in the year after that. Why should we not have 100 families davening with us every Shabbat, right here in Calabasas, in four or five years from now? Why not have a Youth Program servicing 100 kids, from ages 7 and up? Why not a Shabbat eruv? Why not a walking community on Shabbat of people promenading up and down Parkway Calabasas, greeting each other with “Shabbat Shalom”?

Please help us with your tax-deductible gift, and then challenge us to live up to the dream.

May you be sealed by Hashem in the Books that assure the fulfillment of all your warmest dreams. G’mar khatimah tovah.