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12: Perks

08/02/2019 03:00:00 PM

Aug2

Rabbi Elie Karfunkel

Spending time with so many amazing Jewish leaders, whether in Toronto or abroad, is one of the great perks of being a Rabbi.

The Forest Hill Jewish Centre has welcomed dozens of guest speakers, ranging from IDF soldiers to an actual Super Bowl champion, while establishing relationships that enriched my entire family’s life.

A few of those links span the entire 20 years that I’ve been here, including Rabbi Schiller and Rabbi Tatz.

Rabbi Nota Schiller, who I discussed in a previous email, always gives me an hour or so every time he’s in town—which is often. He has an amazing ability to dig deep into my issues, to articulate my problems better than I can for myself.

Plus, he’s always got something to say about the weekly Parsha that wows me.

Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz, meanwhile, has visited the FHJC at least 10 times, and he’s sometimes stuck around for 10 days.

The first time he was at the Centre for a Shabbos, we were schmoozing before davening, while my two-year-old daughter Mimi (who’s now Mrs. Isaacson) asked me for a cup of piping hot tea.

Well, I was so into my conversation with Rabbi Tatz, that not only did I serve it to her without thinking—she then proceeded to pour the entire cup on her lap. 

What flashed before my eyes was the prospect of spending Shabbos in the hospital, answering questions from social workers, feeling disgusted over what happened. Baruch HaShem, the former emergency room doctor Rabbi Tatz saved Mimi from any pain, in an instant. 

I’ve worked closely with a lot of other local leaders along the way. Sitting on the Beit Din for Jewish converts has involved working with Rabbis Tradburks, Vale, Plotkin, Weber, Azouli, Oziel, the senior Rabbis Assayag and Schochet—and my own Rebbi, Rabbi Lowy.

Being around great people can only help to raise your game. In my case, having so many friends and mentors like these has been one of the best parts of the job. 

Mon, July 4 2022 5 Tammuz 5782