היום שנים ושלשים יום שהם ארבעה שבועות וארבעה ימים לעומר
Today is thirty-two days, which is four weeks and four days of the omer
A day of perseverance in a week of humility
There are many joys involved in being a part of a multigenerational community, but along with that comes sharing in the sorrows. Today marked the burial of a wonderful man, Joe Salem, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 89. Joe was a loyal member of the Beth Sholom minyan community for many years. He was there when I began attending in November of 2000 until a couple of years ago when his Alzheimers kept him confined to a home. He had a loving family--his wife of 62 years, a daughter and 2 sons, 5 grandchildren who he adored.
Being a part of daily minyan meant he became part of our family as well. When his health began to fail and he could no longer drive, we organized rides for him so he could still attend. And for some years after that became untenable, his son brought him to this place that was a comfort to him--a place that, even with the onset of his dementia, he felt at peace and could still follow and participate in the rituals. A strong, elegant yet quiet man, he had a wonderful sense of humor that would manifest in one line zingers that would make us all smile.
Zichrono l'vracha -- his memory is a blessing to his families--those related by blood as well as those related by community. We all hold him in our hearts.