On the lengthy drive from the city line in Lake Success to the Montauk Lighthouse, Plainview...
There was plenty of pomp and circumstance as the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates installed its new mara d’asra, Rabbi Dov Lerner, in a celebration that was festive and thought-provoking, headlined by his mentor, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik. “He is a rabbi who is authentic, honest, and transparent. His primary focus is the well-being of our community,” said Asher Abramovitz, who emceed the ceremony and co-chaired the rabbinic transition committee.
The speakers greeting Rabbi Lerner noted his British accent and the highly choreographed ceremonies of his birthplace. “You definitely speak our language. But most importantly, you understand us,” said Sam Herskowitz, the president of the congregation. “You always wear cufflinks, even on a hot Fourth of July, moving boxes into your new home.”
Every shul has its own way of installing its rabbi. For many, it is a once-in-a-generation event that is worthy of memorable speeches. Like the Queen’s knighthood ceremony, there’s an object for the honoree to wear. “Here are your Young Israel of Jamaica Estates cufflinks, with today’s date, the eighth of Elul.” Herskowitz then clasped Rabbi Lerner’s hand and raised it before the packed shul.
Rabbi Lerner succeeds Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, who has been the rav of this shul for nearly 30 years, inspiring its members during a period of tremendous growth, in terms of membership, programming, and the building’s physical expansion. He and his wife Karen recently moved to Lakewood, chosen for its numerous learning opportunities and its location. “We have a nephew in Lakewood, our son lives in Brooklyn, and our daughter in Baltimore. We are also starting a new chesed project in Lakewood,” said Rabbi Hochberg.