Greene was first

Greene was first

Rabbi Steven Sirbu recently wrote, “The program that inspired the format for Rabbi Wallace Greene’s evening of learning was in fact Sweet Tastes of Torah…” (Letters, January 30.)

Actually, the opposite is true. For many years, there was a communal day of learning run out of the YJCC of Washington Township. Each year, a well-known scholar would come in to lecture on a theme chosen by the NJBR (Rabbis Neal Borovitz and Jonathan Woll were prime movers in that effort), followed by break-out sessions taught by local rabbis. In the weeks that followed, participating synagogues would run their own programs, based on that year’s theme. Unfortunately, the program was being discontinued.

Rabbi Greene worked for federation then, directing all things educational. I met with him to get his thoughts on how we could establish an adult Jewish education center of some kind in the federation catchment area. He smiled, and said he was already working on something – a Saturday night of Jewish learning, to be held at the old Frisch school building, which was located right off Route 4 West at Forest Avenue in Paramus. it was an immensely successful evening. Unfortunately, despite Rabbi Greene’s best efforts and the evening’s extraordinary success, the program was not continued the following year.

I proposed the program that became Sweet Tastes of Torah in my last year as president of the NJBR, based on the format Rabbi Greene used for the federation’s night of Jewish learning. My successor, Rabbi Randall Mark, brought it into being, and put Rabbi David Bockman in charge – an excellent choice, because he has done an amazing job over the last seven years.

The NJBR should be commended for its dedication to Sweet Tastes of Torah. Rabbi Greene deserves to be lauded for starting the ball rolling.