Rabbi Simon, check the light bulbs
Thank you for highlighting the leadership and work of Rabbi Matthew Simon, rabbi emeritus of B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville (Last Word, Feb. 17). He represents a generation of rabbis whose dedication to building the Jewish community and serving its members will not be exceeded.
I have known Rabbi Simon since I was a child at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, Calif., where he was the senior rabbi while his son and I used to unscrew yahrzeit bulbs during Shabbat morning services for fun. Several years later, we reconnected when I became the executive director of B’nai Israel Congregation. Thirty years later, we connected again when I joined the staff of the Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park where he has served on the board since the nonprofit memorial park’s inception.
It always amazed me in how many organizations Rabbi Simon was not only involved but served in leadership roles. “My hobby is the Jewish community” he told me once when I asked him what his favorite pastime was as I was leaving work early one day on my way to Opening Day at Orioles Park. But baseball is also among his interests and used to occasionally crop up in his sermons.
Rabbi Simon followed the example of his esteemed father, Rabbi Ralph Simon (z”l), was influenced by his remarkable wife, Sara, who is a community leader in her own right and was a mentor to many — including a 10-year-old troublemaker in the halls of his congregation, a new 24-year-old staff member at his synagogue or a sixty-something communal professional at Gan Zikaron.
“Biz hundert un tsvantsig” (May you live to 120), Rabbi Simon!
GLENN S. EASTON
The writer is executive director of Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) Memorial Park, in Clarksburg, Maryland.
Cogent and convincing
Regarding “Did Whoopi Goldberg take a page from the ADL?” (Opinion, Feb. 10):
Kudos to Gerard Leval for his cogent and convincing article responding to the Whoopi Goldberg fiasco and the ADL’s whitewash. Whoopi’s sociological insights can be attributed to stupidity and the imbecility of the vacuous platform that invites her comments on race. Greenblatt’s dancing observations are the product of politics and posturing that are much more harmful to our people. He is now a welcome member of the “Some of my best friends are Jewish” club.
Leval deserves the “Kol hakavod” award for his courage to respond to the ADL in such a trenchant and persuasive article.