When I was younger, I didn’t understand why people go to shul every weekend and weekday. I didn’t understand faith and belonging like I do now and I didn’t understand why people have such an attachment to the synagogue. Now, with a young family and having experienced some of life’s ups and downs, I get it, the shul is not just a building or a place of religion, it’s a place build on the kindness and goodwill of the people who make it their home away from home.
My Zaidy is one such individual. He has gone everyday he can for as long as I can remember and even before that. He has served the shul as treasurer forever, selflessly taking the time to ensure the shul’s future is financially sound for the next generations. He has donated his time for countless other charitable events hosted at the shul or by the shul. He has done all this, not because he felt he had to, but because he wanted to. For him it is never about accolades, it’s about making the shul a thriving center of the Jewish community.
He has dedicated his time and money to the shul, and over the years he has garnered a deserved respect among the congregation. He would tell you the thing that gives him the most pride regarding the shul, is that his family has embraced it the same way he has and begun to follow in his footsteps. His son Steven is currently the Vice president of the shul, both Neil and Linda have served in some capacity on the board of directors as well as myself.
The Goldenberg family has been spoiled by his example. Every morning you can find him either leading the morning minyan or being an integral part of it. He goes because he likes to go, feels closer to God and to be with friends. He also goes to help those who have suffered a loss and are in the midst of their shloshim. He would say kaddish for those who can’t make it, ensuring the memory of those lost is honored and of course, helping to ensure a morning minyan so those who are there to say kaddish can and to ensure that torah readings can take place.
For those of us who see him every day, he is not just an unsung hero, but an example of the kind of Jewish person we should all aspire to become.
Sheila Kirshenblatt is the definition of an unsung hero. My early experiences with her go back to when I would have bar mitzvah lessons in her basement with the late Rabbi Kirshenblatt. At that point in the Rabbi’s life, he was getting on in the years and was somewhat limited. Sheila ensured that he was taken care of so that he could in turn ensure that I learned my Torah portion.
For many years Sheila was a staple at morning minyan. There with a smile and a kind reminder to drop a little bit a tzdaka in the pushke when she came around.
She was at the shul every day, willing to help out where needed or do more if required. She has given her life to the shul and its continued success is due in no small part to her efforts.
We wish Sheila a speedy recovery and we hope to see her back at the place she has given so much and that misses her immensely.