Though it is now almost thirty years ago, I still remember the first time I heard my esteemed predecessor in the Forest Hills Jewish Center, the late Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, deliver a eulogy. In his closing comments, he said to the grieving family members that grief is the mirror image of love. That is to say, people tend to grieve according to how they have loved. The greater the love they had for the person who died, the greater the pain they feel.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But the truth is that it’s anything but…
Valerie Leibler was a new member of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in the early 1970s, and she heard occasional remarks about the women's role in the Conservative synagogue. The congregation allowed women to open the ark and read some English prayers from the bima, innovations at the time.
"There was a very, very quiet push for women to do more ritually in the shul," she says. Not an organized campaign: "it was pre-feminism."