Rob, today you and I joined the Temple B'nai Brith 2021 annual meeting via Zoom. We participated because Aunt Pam told me a few weeks ago that the Temple was planning to honor her, recognizing the 24 years that she has been music director at the synagogue. It easily sticks in my mind because I was home on maternity leave with you, Alex, when she was considering this opportunity. It had been a somewhat difficult decision for Aunt Pam to make since it was professionally intimidating and also involved commitment to Friday services, Saturday bar/bat mitzvahs and additional services with practice time (and she was already committed to Sunday morning services, choir practices etc. at Central United Methodist Church). It also includes a gauntlet of services at the Jewish high holy days starting with Rosh Hashana eve and morning, followed not long after by Yom Kippur evening and the entire following day. These are somber, devout and emotional services. I remember that Rabbi Joseph helped to convince her to take the position and worked with her closely over the first year or so regarding specific service music, holiday music, Hebrew pronunciations etc. I was in Aunt Pam's 4-person choir at Temple for a year or two, which I enjoyed.
Today was quite interesting. We learned how successful Temple B'nai Brith, led by Rabbi Mollow, has been at transitioning and in fact growing since COVID shut-downs began over a year ago. It has posed significant challenges for congregations of many faiths, and required flexibility and willingness to re-think how to worship and engage meaningfully on-line. The highlight for us was a tribute by Elly Miller and the lovely video below, produced by Becky Stitzer (aka Becky Kramer, one of Aunt Pam's first piano students). Alex, you are one of the stars ! I quickly recognized the view behind you, as you were filmed on Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre with St. Stephen's Church and its former rectory (where your GrandNana and Great Grandad Phyllis and Rev. Burke Rivers lived when I was a very young child). The location is immediately in front of WBRE-TV, where Becky works. You were very articulate and thoughtful. Thank you for your willingness to be part of this special tribute to Aunt Pam, such an important person in your young lives.
Not related to today's recognition, Alex you were also wonderful in helping Aunt Pam through gall bladder surgery about a month ago. We got her to the hospital, kept her company before & after the procedure and brought her home. Luckily, she has recuperated quickly, feels much better and in fact was able to handle Sabatini's pizza less that a week after the procedure 😄.