Congregant Voices on Pastoral and Lifecycle

 

 

Happy Mikvah Day!  Thank you for bringing me to this point.  I don’t think I could have done it with anyone else.  In fact, I think when you just arrived, I might have “pegged you for the job” then.  So now I am a Jew learning.  I look forward to continuing the process.  Fondly, C ( Jew-by-Choice)

Thank you a hundred times over for all  your attention and encouragement in the last year as I completed my lifelong journey toward Judaism.  You certainly went the extra mile (actually 280 miles round trip) to assure that my experience would be a memorable one!  D and I are so happy about my choice, even more so that I ever expected.  It’s hard to explain, but I feel like I’ve reached a wonderful new stage in my life.  We will always be grateful to you.  V, a Jew-by-Choice upon joining the Jewish people

RDN has a presence, a special kind of presence that people feel heard and focused on when talking to him--it’s a rare commodity.  Most people, including rabbis, do have this kind of focus. Rabbi David listens, thinks, remembers, responds appropriately, and makes me feel truly heard.”  ME

 

Thank you for ushering me through this grieving process with my father and for your kind words and prayers at the shiva.  C

 

The success of J.’s bar mitzvah was in no small part thanks to you.   From the very beginning you believed in J. and his ability to master all of his bar mitzvah training in only a year and a half. When tragedy struck, you made sure that our loss didn’t bring J. or his celebration down.  You handled it with sensitivity, compassion, and simply, beautifully.  Your ease, command and positive energy allowed the weekend to flow seamlessly.  J.’s bar mitzvah became something we didn’t expect:  a spiritual experience filled with beauty and that is how we will always remember this very special day.  B + G A

On behalf of my entire family I want to thank you again for so thoughtfully, warmly and compassionately helping us to bury my father, mourn his death and celebrate his life.  Your words and your presence were a great comfort to everyone.  I appreciate the difficulty of your job, and have been to so many funerals that were primarily about G-d and not about the deceased, but despite not knowing him well, you managed to quickly, and in not ideal circumstances, figure out who he was and what made him so special, and convey that to everyone in an engaging way. Warm Regards, L + S

 

I want to thank you sincerely for guiding us through the funeral services for my father, H., for your thoughtful words and your sensitivity in this most difficult moment.  Dad’s caregiver, B., perhaps put it best when said that H. had been recounting much of his life story to her during his final weeks and that the funeral service it seemed almost like H. himself was speaking during the eulogy.  MK and Family

 

What a lovely bris!  It was so special to have you involved in the celebration of L.  We so appreciate all your efforts and especially your sensitivity--the ritual could not have gone any smoother.  We felt like we were in very caring hands. We loved the Hebrew songs and felt you and S (the mohel) worked together beautifully.   M, T, B, L

 

We want to express our deep appreciation for your help and guidance after the death of my mother, L.  You were the first person my father called after her passing and you led us through the difficult days of mourning with real understanding and wisdom.  The funeral service and burial were a comfort to us all, and the protocols you advised felt right.  Jews and non-Jews expressed this sentiment.  The hesped told L’s life story as those who knew her wanted it to be told, and enlightened those who did not know her full story to so much about her and about the Shoah. Thank you also for your recent calls, and your continued care for my father and for all of our family.  Thank you, Rabbi David, for your warmth, your guidance and your support in helping us remember and say goodbye to our mother, L.  M + K

 

Your warm welcome was comforting and it meant a lot to me to be able to say kaddish for my father.  C

 

Rabbi David did more for S. than I ever could have expected.  We appreciated your giving us so much attention.  Your warmth, compassion and your gentle words gave S. the hope that she will be able to cope with her situation.

 

Your inspiring service for LK was so very comforting; love, joy, humor, the spiritual and the mundane intermingled with her story of unspeakable suffering as well as our current sadness.  ME

 

I want to say with all my heart that I am forever grateful to Rabbi Novak for the beautiful service he conducted for my late husband which deeply moved us.  BB

 

The support and counseling you offered us before the funeral helped so much to prepare us for the days ahead.  We were greatly touched by your willingness to make the trip to NYC in spite of your other commitments.  The service at the cemetery was sensitive, dignified and even the touch of humor was appropriate.  The fact that you took the time to understand our Mom so as to prepare for the service was evident to all who knew her and much more.  We are fortunate to have you as our Rabbi and as our good friend in the hard times and good times and look forward to sharing more of life’s blessings with you.   E + J K

 

In April of this year, I lost my dear ninety-three year old mother.  We needed a rabbi to perform the funeral.  Rabbi Novak was so wonderful to my brother and to me through this difficult time, and he did such a truly remarkable job at mom’s service (all our Jewish as well as non-Jewish friends raved about your Rabbi. . . ) that we decided we should become members of ICM as a tribute to Rabbi Novak.  Consequently friends of our joined you as well.  You are lucky indeed to have attracted such a kind, caring, intelligent and approachable Rabbi.  S + R T

 

There are no words to express what I feel in my heart.  You honored our family in such a giving way, by being there for me at a time of unspeakable shock and grief, and for the beautiful words you spoke in memory of R. and the wonderful life we shared.  As you know by now, your hesped brought enormous comfort to the nearly 200 people who gathered to bid R. farewell.  No matter where your career path takes you, you will always be my rabbi. You were there for me in my darkest hour and you were and are a great comfort to me.   LF

 

Thank you for celebrating with us on our wedding day.  Rabbi, you not only set my parents and their religious friends at ease, but also made Chuck’s family feel extremely welcome--that was an impressive feat!  And the wedding was perfect. SM

 

This note is long overdue.  I want you to know what an impact you made in my life and how much it meant to me to have the privilege of attending your healing service with ST and my dear friend CM.  You were a blessing to me. Thank you so much--kindness always makes the world a better place.  

It has been a sensitive and difficult time.  I must thank you for the warmth and comfort you gave when I was in Manchester sitting shiva with my brother, H. Rabbi, your beautiful service was a gift of love and respect.  You never met our mother, but I know she is proud. I miss her.  My brother H is a blessed man to have so wonderful a group of honest and caring friends surrounding him.  Our distance is only in miles.  In you, rabbi and congregation, I have found a generous heart and soul.  S + Family

 

Thank you for all that you do and all you have done for us as a community, for my family, and especially for R.  Her year has been special and I am particularly grateful to you for helping her.

 

I wanted to thank you for finding such a perfect poem about parents.  I am so happy that you are our rabbi.  Your Saturday services are the best that I have ever attended--warm, moving, educational.   SC

 

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Rabbi David Novak