Two years ago Rabbi Richard Camras invited me to his congregation in West Hills, California to do a Scholar-in-Residence weekend. There are two memories from that experience that I want to share with you. First of all, he was the same rabbi and mentsch that he was when he served our synagogue 18 years ago. He was wonderful, talented, dynamic, fun, honest, sensitive and authentic. And his congregants loved him, and that brought me joy.
The second memory is from Shabbat dinner in the Camras household. After singing Shalom Aleikhem, and before reciting Kiddush, Richard and his lovely wife Carolyn blessed their children (Talya will soon begin her third year of college, and Noah is entering his senior year of high school) with the traditional words found in every Siddur. And then they whispered to each of their children a few private words, words that lifted both the parent and the child. It was a very moving, intimate moment.
We at Chizuk Amuno encourage all of our parents to bless their children every Friday night, and every Yom Tov. You will be building a strong bond with your child that will endure throughout your lives together.
This year we have decided to make the parent blessing a centerpiece of the service on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. We encourage all of our families to come, and we will model this beautiful tradition for you. And then, we will invite parents of every age to bless their children of every age.
I wish all of you a Shanah Tovah u-Metukah, a good and sweet year.