A Message from
Rabbi Michael D. Howald
A few weeks ago, I was honored to receive the “Spirit of Judaism” award during the “Star of David” dinner at the Jewish Community Center here on Staten Island. As part of that recognition, my family came together to celebrate with me and the other honorees that evening. We were particularly gratified and impressed by the number of members of Temple Israel who attended the dinner with us. Although I didn’t do a formal count, Temple Israel seemed to account for at least half the tables that evening! I wanted to use my article this month to thank every person who attended the dinner and expressed their support by their presence and contributions.
Our family was especially touched by the numerous testimonials and congratulations placed in the digital journal for the event. We hardly had time during the dinner and speeches to read all the “ads” projected onto the overhead screen but, a few days after the dinner was over, I received a digital copy of the entire journal. In addition to those pages placed by family and friends, Robin and I were impressed by the number of different groups and members from Temple Israel who purchased ads. We know that the dinner itself required a substantial contribution. The placement of the ads in addition to purchasing a ticket, accordingly, meant a lot to me and my family. I am so grateful, accordingly, to everyone who attended the Star of David dinner and to those who supplemented their contribution with funds to purchase a place in the journal for this worthy event.
As I write this article, I contemplate the end of 9 ½ years as your rabbi. Over those years, I have received some recognition for the work I do here to support the Staten Island community. Each one of those awards was deeply appreciated and humbling but the “Spirit of Judaism” award the most of all because of the support you showed on that special evening. My family and I will always cherish the presence and encouragement of so many from our Temple Israel family on that special evening. May we continue to go from strength to strength together!
Rabbi Michael Howald