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Darchei Noam Goes to a Wedding! By Rabbi Richard Hirsh

25/07/2018 01:13:20 PM


In the musical “Rent,” we are reminded: “Let's celebrate! Remember a year in the life of friends.” On May 27, under a glorious 6:00 PM sun on Peugeot Sound in Seattle, we were privileged to celebrate not just one year, but thirty-seven years of connections.  Several of our “longest-running” Darchei Noam friends gathered with us to celebrate the wedding of our son Nadav and Maayan Simckes.

The guest list was limited both by a cap on how many guests the couple wanted, and by their choice only to invite people with whom they each had some significant personal relationship. While we have many Darchei Noam friends that we wish could also have joined us, Maayan has only had time to get to know some of our closest friends with whom she has spent time during some recent Rosh Hashana visits to be with us in Toronto.

It says something about what a spiritual community can be that some thirty-seven years after I first arrived at Darchei Noam to be the first full-time rabbi (1981; membership: 40 households), so many of the people we met back then are still a part of our life now. And, in many cases,  their now-adult children are also a part of our life, and often a part of Nadav and Maayan’s life as well. The interlocking and multi-generational relationships that connect us to Darchei Noam across nearly four decades are deeply meaningful to us. 

Nadav and Maayan – with no prompting from his parents – chose to invite Rabbi Grimberg to lead the wedding ceremony. Nadav has known Rabbi Grimberg since he was eleven years old, and accompanied us for the 2002 High Holidays in Toronto. Maayan has been to Darchei Noam several times in more recent years for those same Fall holidays, and Rabbi Grimberg has always graciously invited us all to Rosh Hashana dinner. When we learned that she was their choice to officiate at their wedding, Barbara and I could not have been more delighted.

We consider the deep friendship between our family and Rabbi Grimberg’s family to be one of the greatest gifts that our connection to Darchei Noam has given to us. We cannot find the words to begin to tell Rabbi Grimberg what her friendship means to us, and what it meant to us to see Nadav and Maayan standing with her as they exchanged their words of commitment.

It is neither a cliché nor mere rhetoric to say that our Darchei Noam community is very much a family to us. We have been privileged to travel many decades together: we have shared births and deaths, b’nei mitzva services, weddings, illnesses and recoveries, career ups and downs, many High Holidays…and by last count, at least 200 things we have learned about teshuva. We are grateful for the connections that continue to grow deeper, and for the mutual affection and love we continue to share with Darchei Noam as a community, and with so many of you as our friends.

May we continue to meet often for simchas, and to sustain each other in sadnesses, and, in-between, may we continue to enjoy the delight of durable and sustaining relationships.

Rabbi Richard & Barbara Hirsh

Thu, 23 May 2024 15 Iyar 5784