Introducing our 5777 Simhat Torah Honorees
Each year, the blessing of Simhat Torah Hatan (groom) and Kallah (bride) is bestowed upon two members of the BJ community. On Simhat Torah morning, the Hatan Torah has the honor of reading the last chapter of the Torah, whereupon the Kallat Bereshit reads the first chapter of the Torah as we start the cycle once again. Mazal tov to Elenor Radzivilover and Matthew Arons, who will share the 5777 accolades!
Elenor Radzivilover, our Kallat Torah, has been deeply involved at BJ since 1996, when as a self-described “lapsed Jew,” she first attended a Friday night service, wound up entranced by the music, and decided to make the community her faith home. Since then, her Jewish engagement has blossomed like a hearty desert flower. She went back to school to attain, on top of her law degree, a Masters in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Elenor regularly reads Torah at BJ on Shabbat and at children’s services and has sung for many years with the Hebrew Jewish choir Shirah. Since her visit to Israel with BJ in 2000, she has returned many times, both with the shul and on her own. She is proud to be a longtime member of the famed BJ havurah Ma Tovu.
Matthew Arons is our Hatan Bereshit. Matt, 18, has literally been part of the B’nai Jeshurun community his entire life. His parents met at BJ, and even after the family moved to New Jersey when Matt was 4, they maintained a solid presence at the shul, enabling Matt to soak up the liturgical music the shul offered. All throughout his young life, he has been deeply involved in synagogue life, enjoying close relationships with our rabbis, taking part in the Brotherhood group led by David Lieberman, attending community retreats, and becoming bar mitzvah at BJ in 2011. He speaks warmly about the powerful sense of community he absorbed as a very young child: “I always felt like I had a network of 200 or so people who were totally there for me,” he says. An excellent and accomplished musician, Matt traces his love of music and performance directly to B’nai Jeshurun’s worship services and overall music focus, citing in particular the intensity of the atmosphere.