So here we are. My final newsletter article. Number 336. (Yes, “36” seems to be a theme this year…)
A year ago – you remember a year ago, don’t you? When people met in person, families weren’t separated, joys and sorrows were shared communally? Well, a year ago, when I decided it would be time to retire, I started making a list of the things I would miss when I left New Jersey. I thought it would be fun to end on a light-hearted note, but lightness-of-heart is in short supply these days. So I hope my list, frivolous and serious, reminds you of the blessings we share in this wonderful community.
I will save my real goodbye for our celebration in July. Now that it is going to be online, I hope you will honor Shira and me by joining us as we say thank you, because we have so much to be thankful for!
Things I’m Going to Miss in New Jersey
- Jersey corn.
- Jersey tomatoes.
- Jersey Freeze.
- Federici’s pizza.
- Bagel World bagels and challah.
- Wawa (this was nearly a deal-breaker for Massachusetts.)
- Knowing the places in Bruce’s songs.
- Summer weekday evenings on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach.
- Route 18 in the fall.
- The intersection of Route 9 and Gordons Corner Road. If you are going from Route 9 South to Franklin Lane, the road is a series of gentle turns which lift you up and over Route 9, setting you down gently on the opposite side, parallel to your original course. It’s a work of art.
- There’s always at least one airplane in the sky when you look up.
- Old Bridge Airport, and the bizarre, wonderful collection of people who inhabit it.
- How wildlife reasserts its ownership of Western Monmouth after 11 p.m. every night.
- I moved here when every open space was being built on. Now Marlboro is preserving open space. THAT is admirable progress.
- Amboy Cinemas, proving that nature always gets the last word.
- The amazing people who keep our town running and keep our town special, with no desire for applause or parades. I think of the first aiders, the fire people, the police, the road department, the people in town hall and the boards of education. I’ve had a chance to see a small fraction of the abuse they suffer regularly from people who must have been taught that no behavior is off limits, and that what they want is much more important than caring about other people. And yet they do their job, day after day, and make this a very special place to live.
- Watching the faces of drivers with out-of-state plates as they approach their first real four- or five-corner traffic circle.
- Watching the coat and toy boxes at TRT fill up over and over again, every year.
- Going out to the truck after each service on Yom Kippur to see that, oh my God, you did it again.
- Having the best seat in the house for every celebration I’ve been invited to participate in over the years.
- The people who volunteer to lead our congregation, from committee and board members to the temple presidents. I know I’m not easy to work with, but let’s be honest – you can be a challenge at times, too. Maybe that’s why it worked?
- The staff, faculty and custodians of TRT. They are the best.
- Every single member of TRT. You are a blessing, and you have blessed my life.
- Our house – our home. The one on Longfellow Terrace, and the one on Mohawk Drive.
Yes, I’m going to miss all of this. And most of all, I am going to miss you.
Shalom, and with love,
Rabbi Don Weber
A parting thought: Following this article is the first article I ever wrote for TRT. In it I say,“We could try to make it work.” I cannot speak for you, but I can tell you with a heart overflowing with gratitude that I am so happy it worked.
I love you.