The Jewish and cinematic musings of the Rabbi of The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Farwell Rabbi Jake
Instead of blogging today with regards to the month of Elul, I want to take a couple of moments to remember and reflect. This is because today in Dallas, many individuals and luminaries will be gathering to say farewell to one of my heroes. They will be saying farewell to one of the giants in the Reform Movement and one of the gentlest and kindest men to ever serve the URJ. Rabbi Lawrence Jackofsky, known as Rabbi Jake to most of us, was instrumental in the success of the Union’s Southwest region which included Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. But more than that, he was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, TX as well as the continued support of Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Mississippi.
Greene was instrumental in the forming of my own Jewish identity. And in particular I would look forward to Rabbi Jake’s annual summer visits to the camp. He was an energetic, gregarious, compassionate person who cared deeply about the Jewish youth of the Southwest Region. His booming voice could captivate and silence even a raucous dining hall filled with noisy campers. Rabbi Jake also assisted a number of congregations in the region, especially the smaller ones whenever they needed a rabbi to help in just about any capacity.
But on a personal level, to this day, I believe it was Rabbi Jake’s letter of recommendation to HUC that ensured my admission to the Rabbinic School program. So I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to him I will endeavor to pay forward because with Jake, thanks were never necessary.
I did not learn of the rodef pursuing him these last several months until his untimely passing just a couple of days ago. Upon learning the news, I was and am heartbroken. I know there are so many more whose lives he has touched in more profound and personal ways, but Rabbi Jake will always leave a lasting impression upon my heart.
Thank you Rabbi Jake. May you be bound up in the wings of the Shechina. May God grant comfort to your sorrowing family. And may your memory always truly be for a blessing.
Rabbi Sharff is the Senior Rabbi for The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York. He was raised in Houston, Texas where he discovered the acoustic and electric guitar while sitting in his dorm room one day. Rabbi Sharff graduated from the University of Texas and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Sharff is the rhythm guitarist for RTR's in House Band, and he also served as the editor for Howard Salmon's z"l Comic Book Siddur.