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Rabbi Bryks

 
EDITORIAL 5771: HERZLIA SYNAGOGUE TAKES DOWN PLAQUES DEDICATED IN HONOUR OF RABBI EPHRAIM BRYKS

By Rhonda Spivak, September 15, 2010

As an Editor of a Jewish community publication, I can’t tell you how much I applaud the action of the Board of Directors of Herzlia–Adas Yeshurun Synagogue to remove all plaques that were previously dedicated in honour of Rabbi Bryks. Up until receiving an email  to my personal address on September 13 notifying me mail of this action, I had been seriously considering writing an editorial during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the most important time of year for introspection as Jews, calling on the synagogue to take such action.  I am relieved that this is not necessary, and only regret, as no doubt so many in our community do, that such action was not taken many many years ago.

In the email I received, Dr. Earl Hershfield, President of the Board of Herzlia wrote:
 
 “In response to repeated requests, and after much deliberation, the Board of Directors of Herzlia – Adas Yeshurun has decided to remove all plaques on the Tree of Life in the Shul lobby dedicated in honour of [Rabbi] Ephraim Bryks.”

He also wrote “As a Shul, we have a responsibility to provide moral and ethical leadership for our community.”

In the same email, he wrote “In accordance with a recent resolution taken by the Rabbinical Council of America, Herzlia – Adas Yeshurun condemns all forms of abuse in the strongest terms.  Policies and procedures are being developed by your Board to direct future action. Reporting suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities does not violate the Torah’s prohibition of mesirah (turning a fellow Jew over to a non-Jewish authority) or arka’ot (adjudicating cases in a secular court). We are obligated by Jewish law to do so as the concern for saving a life and respecting the law of land are paramount.”

I have read pages 419-421 in Alan Levine’s book  on the Winnipeg Jewish  community entitled “Coming of Age” in regard to this period in  our communal life, and I wish those pages could be re-written and updated  to reflect  the Herzlia Board’s  recent actions, as well as  the content of what is in the article written in the New York Jewish Week  posted on this website entitled Rabbi  Ephraim Bryks Leaves Rabbinical Board of Queens Under A  Cloud.

Is it possible that members of our community had relevant  information that was never disclosed at the time? Did we as a community do the right thing in confronting this period in our community life?  Do the words of the Kol Nidre prayer apply—Ashamnu?.

On Yom Kippur in 1993, 17 year old Daniel Levin committed suicide.  I never met him, nor have I met his parents.

But this year, 5771 on the Jewish calendar, as Yom Kippur, the day of judgment  nears,  is it  not time to dedicate a plaque at Herzlia Synagogue or elsewhere in our community in honour of Daniel Levin, z”l ?

On this Yom Kippur, may we as a community remember Daniel Levin.

Note: Daniel Levin was the son of Sarah and Martin Levin. Martin Levin is now the book editor of  the Globe and Mail.

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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