2001-04-07 / Letters

Rabbi Weiss Remembered

Rabbi Weiss Remembered

Dear Editor;

A large piece of my own life and the life of the community was laid to rest on March 25 at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont when Rabbi Joseph Isaac Weiss of West End Temple Sinai Congregation was buried. Services for him were held in the Temple before the cortege followed for the interment.

I could almost hear him up at the lectern saying, as he always did, "I am so happy to see you all here on this lovely day." And we all did come. In addition to almost all of the congregation, there were people from other congregations both Jewish and Christian, colleagues from other faiths and neighbors. There were politicians, and local business people. Since Rabbi Weiss was a veteran of World War II, having served in the South Pacific, there was a contingent from the Lt. Bernard H. Weiner Post Jewish War Veterans, of which he was a member and Chaplain. There was also a contingent from the Daniel O’Connel Post American Legion. The Sanctuary was enlarged for the occasion and still it was so crowded that you would not have been able to shoehorn another person into the room.

I have spent many hours in the Temple and have attended services where I was the only member of the congregation that came because the weather was so bad. Rabbi Weiss said that even if he had been the only one there he would have read the service. From my living room window I could see him as he walked to work or bicycled home for lunch. He conducted the service when my mother died. My daughter, Elizabeth, was confirmed by him and later she and her husband Michael were married by him. My son, Richard, was Bar Mitzvah under his tutelage and my son, Albert, and his wife, Pat, were blessed by him before their marriage.

There were reminiscences from family and colleagues but the one that expressed the feelings felt most often came from Msgr. Geraghty. He opened his remarks by saying, "I loved this man."

SARA S. BERGER


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