TO STAND AND SERVE – לעמוד לשרת

This week was the fifth yahrzeit of Marc (Shimon Elimelech HaKohen) Weinberg z’l. Marc was an extraordinary leader, teacher and community builder whose vision, drive and energy literally transformed Anglo-Jewry. Tragically, Marc passed away at the age of 35 after a long battle with leukemia. However, his vision lives on in the many people he touched and the many institutions he helped establish. While numerous essays and books have been dedicated to Marc’s memory since his untimely death, ‘To Stand and Serve/לעמוד לשרת’, jointly published by Yeshivat Har Etzion & Maggid Books, is a fitting tribute to Marc. This work contains 20 essays (10 in English and 10 in Hebrew) by leading scholars on topics relating to being a Kohen, and more broadly, on being a communal organizer, teacher & leader. Those who knew Marc will certainly be inspired by the touching forward by David Whitefield, as well as by the eulogy that R’ Mosheh Lichtenstein delivered exactly five years ago. Those who did not have the fortune to meet Marc but who are Kohanim will find this book to be a veritable Kehuna-fest with essays addressing a range of topics such as the words of Birkat Kohanim, the honour due to Kohanim and the Halakhic status of a Bat Kohen, while those involved in communal leadership will be stimulated by the many insights contained in this very special book. Marc was proud of being a Kohen, and he was also deeply inspired by his parents who were actively involved in communal Jewish life. Notwithstanding this, Marc would certainly agree with Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, that ‘what we do with our lives determines our worth far more than which family we happen to come from’ (To Stand and Serve p. 62). Marc Weinberg did so much with his life and in his life, and his example continues to teach and inspire so many. ‘To Stand and Serve/לעמוד לשרת’ is not just a book about a leader; it is a guidebook for leaders. May those who read this book reflect on the life led by Marc z’l, and follow his lead to stand and serve Klal Yisrael.

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