Rabbi’s Message

Next year, God willing… in Jerusalem & PUTNAM VALLEY!
– Rabbi Andrew R. Sklarz, DD, MSW, MA

Dear Friends,

As we prepare for Passover, my thoughts are turned to you and your families.
I pray that this year will be one of good health and spiritual liberation for all.

Some thirty years ago, when Susan and I originally became a part of the RTPV
family, we had the pleasure of joining in the long-held congregational minhag
(tradition), of the congregational seder. Soon after arriving at the temple, I
embarked on the creation of a Haggdah – one tailor made for RTPV, and over the
past three decades this “labor of love” has gone through countless modifications
in response to our evolving world and changes within our movement. As I
consider the RTPV seder for the future, I invite all who wish, to share an individual
or family photo at your seder table to include in our next Haggadah. Hopefully,
next year we will all break matzoh in the same space.

We have well learned to live in the era of COVID, and thus, I turned to our temple
artisans and technological wizards to help create a beautiful Haggadah fit for the
computer screen. Little did I suspect, when the work began, that I would need to
undergo a serious surgical procedure. Nevertheless, the team pulled together,
enabling the pre-recording of the seder before I went under the knife.

I must confess, I did not expect my surgery to be as challenging as it was.
However, during the past week, I have been so blown away by the generous
outpourings of love and compassion shared in so many forms by our
congregation. The heartfelt expressions have meant the world to me.
I thank each and every one of you, as does Susan and our children.

From COVID, to the national and global surge of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism,
the war in Ukraine, the violence across the globe and the insensitivity and
inhumanity that persists, the call for “next year in Jerusalem” truly stands as a
metaphoric ideal for all of us to strive towards. There are prayers to be made, and
most importantly, work to be done and stances to be taken.

As we enter this Jewish season of our liberation, let us do all within our power to
see that next year, we will bring about a spiritual Jerusalem for the Jewish people,
the Messianic ideal for all of God’s children, and as a congregational family, may
we be “free” to be together in Putnam Valley for our congregational seder.

With warm wishes to all for a Zissin Pesach – a sweet Passover from our family to
Rabbi Andrew R. Sklarz, DD, MSW, MA