Recollections of Shlomoh Sherman

When I first encountered Lincoln Square Synagogue, it was located in an apartment at 150 Amsterdam Avenue. That was in the spring of 1969.

My memory of the place is not really clear on the details but I do remember that it exuded an air of friendliness that I had not seen previously in any other Jewish place of worship. Of course, at the time I knew very little about Jewish religion or liturgical practice.

But I was made to feel at home by both the rabbi and the congregation.

I remember that at the end of that particular Shabbat morning service I was approached by a young man named Glenn Richter who asked me my name. When I told him my name he smiled and said, "I know you. Not personally of course but I know that you have sent contributions in to the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry." Glenn was one of the heads of that organization and it was one of many Jewish causes that I supported although my day to day connection to the organized Jewish community was not strong.

My wife and I returned to LSS from time to time during 1969 and in 1970 we became members of the shul. The shul and its rabbi, Shlomo Riskin, taught me what I had to know to fully practice the Jewish religion. We made terrific friends at LSS, some of whom remain friends to this day although I have moved out of state, far from LSS.

During my time at LSS, my wife and I hosted many people for Shabbat and holiday meals, and I found the exchange of stories among many of the ba'aleh teshuva fascinating and inspiring. We even wound up hosting many visiting "Willies". This is a term coined by the late Rabbi Herschel Cohen, co-rabbi at LSS with whom, in his last days, I formed a close and loving relationship. LSS lost a true saint with his passing.

 With the end of the 1970s, the demographics of the shul changed. LSS left its childhood and became just another Orthodox synagogue among the many on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The ba'aleh teshuva, germim and Willies had also grown Jewishly and moved out to where the cost of living was more reasonable for them to continue with their Jewish lives.

 I have very fond memories of LSS where I learned what Torah Yiddishkayt is all about and the kindness of Jewish comraderie.

Wed, January 17 2018 1 Shevat 5778