Gilly Weinstein and her husband John Weissberg were honored at IJC’s services January 6. Here are extracts from Gilly’s very moving speech:
“I won’t regale you with all the profound, meaningful and colorful moments we have lived through while at the IJC, but I feel like sharing a few highlights, if you’ll indulge me.
There was the day I learned I could tear a Kleenex into four pieces, to share with others sobbing around me, as we listened to Brian’s beautiful speech following his conversion (I still have a copy of his speech in my computer). There was the day of and the day after the Jewish Museum killings in May 2014 when we spontaneously moved the last Hebrew School session of the year (with its potluck lunch) to Pam (Meisel)’s house and the A Capella concert to our house (a decision made at 11pm, the night before). I will never forget the way the entire community rallied around these rattling circumstances, to make this all possible, and to help the visiting American choir through an incredibly emotional and difficult few days. When our rabbi lit four Yizkor candles and the choir sang Yerushalaim shel Zahav in our garden… we actually ran out of Kleenex.
And then there was the tragic, unexpected death and burial of 2-year old baby Hannah, right between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when Anneke Silverstein and Michael Schwartz, our visiting rabbi, stepped up and modeled, for us all, a whole new level of courage, integrity and dedication.
There was June 2015 when Rabbi Ira blessed our Max and Julia Echikson who, like other IJC teens before them, were about to set out into the world equipped with a solid grounding called a Jewish identity and a sense of belonging to something bigger. Witnessing this powerful coming-of-age moment reminded me, again, of the fact that our story is part of a greater one. And of how much being part of a community can form, grow and define us. Regardless of our age, phase of life, or of whether we have children or not.
IJC has truly been here for me and for my family and volunteering in support of it has been deeply fulfilling. The time, effort and sometimes stress of being on the IJC board was always worthwhile because it allowed me to honor my values and, even though it hasn’t always been easy or fun, it felt meaningful and important. This contribution has grown me as a human being, and as a Jew. One of the reasons I will always be grateful for being part of the IJC.”
Gilly joined the IJC in 2009 and served on the IJC Board 2012-2017