Rabbi Englander honored for 23 years of service at Bnai Torah …

Posted By on June 28, 2022

On Sunday, May 15, Bnai Torah Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Boca Raton, held a buffet brunch in the packed ballroom honoring Rabbi David Englander for his 23 years of service.

I asked Rabbi Englander what changes he has witnessed over the past 23 years at Bnai Torah?

He replied, The changes that come to mind, other than the people who have lived out their retirement years here and have passed away who I think of fondly and often, include these trends:

When asked what will he miss most about leaving Bnai Torah, Rabbi Englander said, I will miss the relationships we have built together over a generation. There is nothing more affirming as a rabbi than to officiate at multiple lifecycle events for the same family, and to experience both happy and sad moments of transition together.

I will miss seeing how Boca Ratons Jewish community manages its post-Covid influx from points north; our new arrivals bring ideas, commitments, and a willingness to be engaged that will hopefully be met with creativity and enthusiasm. And Im not going to lie, I will miss the warm winters.

When sharing special memories, Rabbi Englander said, I arrived in the previous century practically newly married and now a husband of almost 25 years, a parent of two college students and a high school junior. Looking back, the scope of my work and life here has been as interesting as it has been challenging.

Bnai Torah Congregation, is the only large, intergenerational Conservative congregation in the area, which meets the needs of the local Jewish community. Partnership among synagogues of different movements and a unified modeling of civil discourse, public respect, and even love among all spiritual leaders is a hallmark of my clergy colleagues in south Palm Beach county, for whom I have great respect and admiration. I will always carry memories of my blessed time here with me as the next chapter of my rabbinate begins.

Cantor Magda Fishman, Music teacher Laura Lenes and her students each sang during the celebration.

Other highlights from the event included speeches from Congressman Ted Deutch, Vice President Margie Browner-Marks and Elissa Schosheim, a member of the Board of Trustees.

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Congregant Howard Rabinowitz said, I will miss Rabbi Englander. He has made my experience at Bnai Torah very meaningful. I wish him the best.

Synagogue President Ed Sopher added I have taken many classes from Rabbi Englander and will miss him as a teacher. I will especially miss his Talmud class.

Rabbi David Steinhardt, the synagogues senior rabbi, expressed his heartfelt words at the end of the beautiful reception.

Personally, I benefited from Rabbi Englanders strong work ethic. He would take on any job and any responsibility. He was very serious about tradition and Jewish life and authentically went about his responsibilities towards it as both a teacher and pastor. Rabbi Englander has a real strong desire to attach children to Jewish life, the Conservative Movement and to our synagogue. He has deep roots and connection to Camp Ramah and saw that at every possible occasion he would try to influence youngsters to attend.

Rabbi Steinhardt continued, Rabbi Englander offered an alternative Shabbat service that was attractive to many of our younger families as they prepared for and celebrated their Bnai Mitzvahs. His relationship with those young students continued with his involvement in their lives as they grew up here in Boca Raton. He also was our rabbi who taught individuals interested in converting and practicing a Jewish life and synagogue life.

When someone makes a difference in the life of a community it should be noted. The great Bible commentator Rashi asked the question about the seemingly repetitious words in the Torah, when Jacob left Beer Shevah and went to Haran. And Rashi taught that when someone has an impact on a place and leaves that place it is diminished. Twenty three years of dedicated service is meaningful. And Rabbi Englanders service was done with total commitment.

Bnai Torah Congregation, the largest Conservative synagogue in Southeast Florida with over 1,300 membership families, is located at 6261 SW 18th St., Boca Raton. For more information call (561) 392-8566.

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Rabbi Englander honored for 23 years of service at Bnai Torah ...

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