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Friday, June 26, 2009

We Are Their World

I clearly wasn’t worth killing and I hoped that the guy with the gun would remember that. I patiently and pensively attempted to read my attacker’s thoughts as I realized that there was very little I could do to defend myself.

It was late at night and I was in the process of being robbed. I had no money; he had a gun. I stood helplessly and hoped that he had good teachers or good parents. I could only hope that someone, somewhere, at sometime in his life had taught him right from wrong. I prayed that someone had showed him how to manage his anger and make good choices. He still had time to come to his senses. I stood and waited; he stood trembling and considering his options.

The boy who mugged me could have killed me, I have no tears for him. I was reminded, though, of my responsibility to my own children and my own students. One day they too will make life altering decisions. If we procrastinate and wait until they grow up and get into trouble before we begin to guide them, it might just be too late. It is up to us - right now – to make sure that the future decisions of our children are grounded in intelligence, clarity and the words of our Torah.

A teacher’s ultimate goal is not to control talking during class or to make sure that students remember their homework. It is not even to have a student read a pasuk perfectly. A parent’s goal is not to get kids to clean their room or go to sleep on time. We work hard and concentrate on these small lessons because each one will serve as a valuable stepping stone in a larger and much more important world that extends beyond the classroom and the home. Children need the skills to learn and to succeed so that when they go out on their own they can continue to grow as thoughtful and responsible members of society. They need to know that with discipline, knowledge and fear of G-d they can matter and they can make an indelible mark on this world.

Our children won’t be robbing people or playing with guns but they need our love and lessons all the same. When they are down and out and there seems no hope at all they will need to remember our guidance and example. As we go through the every day motions of our lives as parents and teachers, we are giving our children the tools to choose well in the choices they will be making in their own lives.

When Yehudah took responsibility for his brother Binyamin he realized that he needed to succeed in the long run. “How can I face my father”, he said, “if the Child is not with me”. We will all need to face Hashem one day and we want to face Him knowing that we have done the best for our children.

So Let’s Start Giving.

Jblog

Posted on 06/26 at 12:38 AM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at senderhaber@gmail.com