Gala fun-filled Torah Celebration of Leadership honoring Hatan Torah Fred Molod and Kallat Bereshit Judy Agata.
Please join us at the Kiddush following the service sponsored by Irene & Fred Molod and Judy & Richard Agata.
HATAN TORAH FRED MOLOD
The rituals of Simchat Torah revolve around the completion and the beginning of the cycle of Torah readings. It is a special honor to receive the last aliyah of the Book of Deuteronmy. This year, Sutton Place Synaogue is proud to announce that Fred Molod has been designated as Hatan Torah (Groof of the Torah).
Fred writes: “Simchat Torah has had a special place in my heart for many years. Perhaps that explains why I am so humbled and appreciative of this singular honor I have been given.
When Irene and I moved to Manhasset with our three young children, who we enrolled in North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, we affiliated with Temple Beth Israel, a conservative temple in Port Washington. I eventually served as President of that Synagogue. As my activities in the Synagogue increased, I made it a practice to do something special on Simchat Torah. When our Synagogue services concluded, I would take carloads of children to Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The community was welcoming, made room for us in a mobbed synagogue, and we joined with them and moved out into the street where a service lane was blocked off for the celebration. This ritual of participating with the Hasidic community was very moving to me, enjoyed by the children, and appreciated by their parents.
My passion for Jewish education and Israel stemmed from my father. When he ran away from the Czar’s army, and on his way to America, he spent some time in Palestine. He always talked about Eretz Yisroel, and when Israel came into existence, and he found that two nephews, out of 7 siblings and their children, did survive, he went quickly, and returned several times. Irene and I have been there many times also.
My Jewish education and study was somewhat interrupted by raising a family and practicing law. I was fortunate to graduate High school at just over 16, attended Long Island University for 2 years, and was then accepted to Brooklyn Law School, where I received my law degree and and Master of Laws at age 22. As the years passed, and finances allowed, I resumed my education on a part time basis, majoring in Jewish studies and graduated with that degree from Hunter College.
During that time I became a member of, and the eventual President of the Jewish Lawyers Guild, where I initiated some education lectures and participated in and created a Holocaust Memorial program dedicated to the Jewish lawyers and Judges summarily dismissed early in the Nazi regime. I also became a member of a group known as the American Assn of Jewish Lawyers and Judges who deal with a variety of legal issues.
Under the inspirational leadership of Rabbi Ain who also has a passion for Jewish education, and with the amazing participation of Sutton Place Synagogue congregants, some of whom eagerly did the work necessary to present programs, we were able to create a significant learning and study experience at our Synagogue. I am beholden to all who participated in the educational programs undertaken by SPS, as well as staff members who helped create the atmosphere. I feel they will all be with me and be participants in the Honor bestowed on me.”
KALLAT BERESHIT JUDY AGATA
After the concluding honor, we immediately begin the new cycle of Torah readings in the Book of Genesis. The individual given the honor of the first aliyah is called Kallat Bereshit (Bride of Genesis). We are pleased to bestow this honor on Judy Agata.
Judy writes: “I am so incredibly honored to be the Kallah Bereshit this year, and am awed by the women who have come before me in the past. Sutton Place Synagogue has meant so much to Rich and me over the past 14 years since I first walked down the center aisle of our sanctuary as a bride.
I grew up in Binghamton, NY where my family was active in the small but thriving Jewish community. My father was President of our Conservative synagogue, and I was President of our USY chapter as well. My love of Judaism expanded when I spent a summer in Israel on USY Pilgrimage where I learned so much more about Jewish history, customs, food and prayer than I was ever exposed to growing up in a small town. I attended Syracuse University, majoring in Advertising Design, and was active in the on-campus Hillel, serving as Programming Chair. Fast forward to 2004, when Richard and I became engaged and walked into Sutton Place Synagogue to meet Harriet for the first time to inquire about having our wedding in the sanctuary. We didn’t know anyone! But since then, we have met some incredible people. We made deep and lasting friendships, and have been inspired by the wisdom of Rabbi Ain, and the spirit of Cantor Dov. I never imagined that I would find such a warm and caring community in the middle of Manhattan to replicate the close-knit Jewish community I knew growing up in Binghamton.
When we first joined SPS, I volunteered to be in the Purim Shpiel and joined the Women’s League in an effort to get involved. Subsequently, I served as President of the Women’s League for four years, and met some amazing women of all ages. Rich and I also participated in two UJA missions to Israel along with some of our members, which created memories to last a lifetime. Currently, as a member of the SPS Executive Board and Vice President of Community, I’ve had the opportunity to give back, to welcome new members, and bring the feeling of community that I’ve experienced first-hand to others. By forming BoCo, (the Boomers Community), I’ve been able to create programs for our new members (and long standing ones) who are empty-nesters, to introduce them to one another and hopefully make them feel as welcome as we felt years ago.
Rich and I are so very happy to celebrate with everyone on Simchat Torah this year, and may it be a joyful new beginning for all!