FC: Farewell Tribute Book | Memories & Messages
1: Dearest Abba & Ema, As you take leave from the city you spiritually built, look back and marvel at the fruits of your hard labor. Not only have you established a vibrant Jewish community in St. Louis, but you've also raised a beautiful and leibedik’e family following in Hashem's path. All the Torah values you instilled in us, we will always remember and cherish. Abba, thanks for always pushing us to achieve what we thought was impossible, and being there to guide us in the right direction. You taught us to strive for greatness and helped us to become better ovdei Hashem. All the trips to Eretz Yisrael and visits to gedolim deeply impacted our lives. You are such a dedicated and loving father. Ema, your optimistic attitude, encouragement and loving care helped us get through all our struggles, and helped us become who we are today. You taught us what it means to be a true eishes chayil by always standing by abba's side with unwavering support of his kiruv work. You are the best mother (and shvigger!) anyone can ever ask for. Thanks for all your devotion! There couldn't have been a better community to raise us in, and schools to send us to. We are forever grateful. Your efforts in kiruv rechokim and all that you have done for the St. Louis jewish community should be a zechus for you and our whole family. Your return to Eretz Yisrael should be in peace, and may Hashem shower upon you hatzlacha and bracha in all that you endeavor and much yiddishe nachas from all of us. We love you, Sora Liba & Binyomin, Yossel, Goldie, Blumie, Yaeli, & Leah Moishe & Brachie, Tzivi & Shaya Leah & Reuvein, Chayala, Dovid & Yehoshua Shmulie, Frayda & Yehuda Tehilla, Aviva, Batsheva, Elisha, Chaim & Dovid
2: Elazar and Bracha, It started with my (Sylvia’s) going to Israel, where I stayed in Bracha’s apartment. I couldn’t sleep in that bed more than one night without turning into an icicle, but I did make it to your wedding – 30 years ago! My next memory of being in your company was at our parents’ house when you, Elazar, could tell my life wasn’t moving in the right direction. Being the rebel I had been for so many years, though, I wasn’t ready to hear your message. (However, I think your delivery may have been a little strong in those days, too!) So the clock ticked ahead about 15 years and SO SO much has changed... Through your efforts, Bill and I “discovered” each other and true Yiddishkeit. One of the first things Bill told me was how important family is and how much he wanted me to become reconnected with my family. His wishes have come true and our lives and our families’ lives have changed forever! You inspired us to move from West County to University City so we could become part of the Jewish community. With that move came so much more – Shabbos, Torah, true friends, a truly caring community, kiruv, and learning to appreciate every day. We want to thank you both for all that you have done not only for our families, but especially for us personally. It was through the amazing example the two of you set that we have tried to emulate that has so enriched our lives – your yiddishkeit; the interactions with your children; the strength, courage, and determination you have shown in times of incredible challenge; and your interactions with the entire St. Louis Jewish community.
3: Your home is one of kindness, openness, caring, generosity, and Torah -- something we will always strive to emulate. We’ve watched as you’ve raised and nurtured your children to not only follow in your footsteps but to become their own unique beings. As each of them matures, we see these qualities magnify. It’s a beautiful brocha that you’ve worked very hard to achieve. Although it is VERY hard to see you leave St. Louis, we wish you only success, happiness, and good health in Eretz Yisroel – and may we join you there for many simchas! We love you! Bill and Sylvia P.S. I couldn’t send this without a personal note to my sister, Ellen. Thank you for always being there for me. When life got tough – and it has – I always knew you would be there for me. You have been - and will always be - a role model of kindness, humility, warmth and love – the embodiment of Torah. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. With love, Sylvia
4: What is a memory, but a passing glance, A momentary chance, To meet again, That soon will fleet away As we scurry on to greet anew another day? There is no doubt, however, in the matters of the heart When those rare friends like you have played a special part And I have grown to know you as my sister and my brother And we have shared a piece of life that’s not like any other --- There is no doubt, that you will rest secure forever more And walk with me along my way and live within my core. Oh, yes! at times, I’ll rant and rave that you two left the States And feel a foggy dreariness that hangs like heavy weights. But then I’ll pause to recollect our cherished times, with gratitude And smile as I return again to a more happy attitude. Drift now like the fluffy clouds, floating in a gentle breeze Find the jewels that sparkle in the granite cliffs and underneath the canopies of trees Make your way in lightness like river water tumbling in the dazzling sun Let your future overflow with happiness, new friends, and thankfulness for all our memories. Here are a few Memories that come to mind with a smile and sometimes a sweet salty tear... * Most recently sitting with you in your basement during tornado warnings and calling Sylvia for reports. * Parachuting in on someone unexpectedly.* Planning every detail of the Firehouse. * Talking with Rubin and Gloria Feldman about the importance of saving Jews physically and spiritually and dedicating the Firehouse to become the Gloria and Rubin Feldman Center for Jewish Studies.
5: * Sitting with Leah at Elazar’s father’s funeral in Cleveland. * Standing outside in Jerusalem for Moshe and Brachie’s wedding. * Bracha's gentle laugh and smile as more unexpected guests arrive for Shabbos. * Sherman meeting Elazar in the hospital the spring day when Aviva was born and coming to the hospital room at the moment my mother had just died within the same hour. * Funerals, weddings, and brit made meaningful because you were there to ensure a spiritual meaningful context. * That fateful meeting in my house with Harvey Hecker, Marshall Friedman, Dick Horowitz, and Lou Rudolph when THEY all decided I should work with you and reenergize the Aish board. * Our first meting on Delmar to review a list of names of people whom I’d never met and never heard of in order to select who we would ask to become the new board members. * So many decisions we made together. * So many individuals I watched you care for, in detail, with compassion, with thoughtfulness, extending yourselves beyond the norm, beyond all expectations, in moments of personal crisis for others and for yourselves, in moments of celebration, with every passing shabbos and every yom tov, offering a true home with an open door for all to come and dwell, true to Sarah and Abraham, a tent with open flaps, greeting all strangers with dignity and graciousness. * Giving me encouragement as my son David traveled his journey to become a Talmud scholar in Jerusalem. * Elazar’s meticulous proofreading of Aish materials. * Bracha’s steadiness and strength and endurance. * The gentle joy of Bracha’s father sitting in your living room. * Seeing your daughters perform in Bais Yaacov productions. * Going on personal fund raising calls with Elazar, and experiencing time and time again how you were always and consistently more concerned about the spiritual well being and growth of the person’s neshama than any financial outcome. Seeing firsthand how the call was just the game that you made joyful to do the true job of raising yiddishkeit that you took seriously. We will meet soon in Jerusalem. very soon. Love ~~~~ from Joan and Sherman Silber and family
6: Dear Rabbi and Rebbetzin Grunberger, Who could possibly have the greatest impact on the lives of others; their parents, their wise doctor, perhaps even their resourceful business partner? We all begin our path in life with pure innocence and good intentions, as we seek fulfillment through meaningful pursuits. To often, however, we define our own end game, and know too well that this doesn't always result in true satisfaction. Before meeting you at separate times of our lives, and encountering your glowing unity, neither of us was really pursuing a well planned path towards achieving virtuous goals. We were each optimistic, and searching, but felt constrained and frustrated by the inherent limitations of the collective imagination of our contemporary culture. Most of the time, we never contemplated whether or not G-d runs the world, because to begin with, most of the time we and our contemporaries weren't even thinking about G-d. Now, however, we can look back and see that it was only through Hashem's providence that each of us finally met you. The result: you gave us a real life plan, and it's called the Torah! It's not bounded by any human limitations, yet any human can accomplish within it, because living according to the Torah is only what G-d desires of us. You were brilliant in how you led us on this G-dly path, and continue to do so today. You did it little by little, bit by bit, so as not to overwhelm our unbridled egos. You led us with love, patience, and through astute example. You modeled how to fulfill the will of our creator, as we saw: how you raised your children, how you continuously put the needs of others before your own, how to always be truthful, how to avoid gossip, how to provide benefit to others as you jointly met your needs, and finally, the ultimate way to achieve closeness with Hashem; by mutually honoring, considering, and respecting each other at all times.
7: Towards the completion of your journey in St. Louis, we have been privileged to experience the ultimate gift of Hashem's kedusha, which you so lovingly have brought us; the gift of each other. Yes, on March 14th 2010, one late Sunday afternoon in Malibu California, you accompanied us to the chuppa, and officiated under it's ethereal cover, as we solemnly and joyfully shared our vows of matrimony against a stunning backdrop of the sun setting amidst the Pacific ocean. As you continue your path to Yerushalaim, our hearts are filled with gratification and appreciation for you. We look forward with boundless joy, as you move to Eretz Yisroel, to share Hashem's goodness with even greater numbers of our people. You are about to give Klal Yisroel a gift so great, that we can hardly contain our excitement and happiness. G-d will surly bless you with no less magnificent blessings than he has blessed others with so profusely through you. With Love, Charlie and Naomi Ruth
8: We have a book of memories on our own! For the Grunberger family: you are an amazing role model and joy for all of us. We have seen the children born and their children born to them. We have fond memories of Elazar, Bracha, Sara Liba, Moshe, Shmulie, Leah, Tehilla, Aviva, Batsheva, Chaim, and Dovid. We saw you all as babies. We have gotten to know your spouses and see your children. You were wonderful then and you are even greater now. We knew Bracha's parents, may they rest in peace, Zeydi David Grunberger, may his soul rest in peace, and we continue to know, love, and enjoy Grandmother and Great Grandmother Sondra. We laughed and cried with all of you and look forward to only tears of happiness in the future. You are a source of inspiration under all conditions. You are a true Kiddush Hashem. Thank you for the comfort, the Shabbos meals, the Pesach Seders, and the teaching in your home. We look forward to being with you in Eretz Yisroel. With our heartfelt love, Batya and David Rich, Loren, Natalie, Lisa, Lev, Naomi, and Matan
9: Dear Rabbi and Rebbetzin, It’s hard to remember when we first met. Actually, it’s hard to remember most things. And though we’ve grown older, the fact is, we’ve grown. And so have our kids. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel when I look at my children and know that they are on the right path. What’s more, I wake up every day knowing that I am doing the most important job I can do: raising children who will serve Hashem and live Torah-centered lives. Under your leadership, Aish HaTorah has touched so many Jews and would-be Jews in our community. I can’t even imagine what kind of life we’d be leading had my husband never walked through those doors on Delmar Blvd. Rabbi, though I can’t say I waited by the phone for your urgent calls, I’ve come to miss them. It has been an honor to work with you in your mission and share your angst in the face of one nearly impossible task after another. Yet time and again, you’ve managed to get the job done. I wish you nothing but simcha and success in your new journey, and hope that good health and joy follow your entire family. May we meet again soon in Eretz Israel. Lisa Fishman
10: To our Rabbi and Rebbetzin, our mentors, and our dear friends, We want to express our endless hakaras hatov to you and your entire family. For the last 26 years you have given your lives to the St. Louis community. Yiddishkeit would not be what it is in St. Louis without you and your dedication to Reb Noach Ztzl. and to Aish HaTorah. Your vision has never wavered in doing what is right for Klal Yisroel. Your selflessness, generosity and perseverance are reflected in what you have humbly accomplished. We wish you all much mazel, bracha, and hatzlacha in your move back to Eretz Yisroel. We look forward to being together in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh! All our love, Rob and Cindy Sheinbein | Rabbi Grunberger has been a wonderful friend of our family, through good times and through difficult times, always concerned with our spiritual and physical well-being. His daughter Tehilla was an outstanding and beloved tutor for our youngest son. The entire Grunberger family will be sorely missed here in St. Louis, but we wish them the very best as they return home to Eretz Yisroel. Wendy and Steve Goldberg and family
11: Dear Rabbi & Brocha, It is with such mixed emotions to know that you will no longer be living in St. Louis. I am so thrilled for you to be fulfilling your desire to make aliyah! You will be missed! Thank you for all your support, encouragement, the endless Shabbat & other holiday times spent with you & your family. I can't even begin to thank you for all that you have done for me....the list is endless! I will really miss you both! With gratitude, Nancy Stein | Dear Rabbi, You are by far the coolest Rabbi I've ever had the chance to get to know. I will never forget the summers at the Lake with you & your family. Thank you so much for being there for my family over the years. You mean so much to all of us and we will truly miss you and your family. Michael Stein
12: Dear Grunberger family, We will never forget the kindness and love which we experienced in your home. For two years you all were like family to us. Your children were like siblings. Each and every member of the Grunberger family made and impact on our lives and helped us achieve the spiritual goals that we pursued. We owe all of you such a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our current life would not have been possible without you and your chessed. We will always remember the Shabbos lunches at you home, where we learned what cholent was and feasted on it heartily. Where we learned the tune to Yom Zeh M'Chubad and how Shmulie could belt it out with such passion. Where everyone laughed with joy as words of Torah were shared and lives were touched. We will miss you all so much but we are so happy for you that you will be going home where you deserve to be. As I have said before, it is hard to imagine the St. Louis community without the Grunberger family in it. You all have left an indelible mark which will never be forgotten. We look forward to visiting you in Israel soon and are thrilled that we will have friends like you to join when we all make our way there someday. Forever grateful, The Klines Aryeh, Lizzy, Sarah, Layla, Joseph and Bobby
13: We are so grateful for our friendship with the Grunberger family. We have so many memories that it is hard to pick just a few. What we remember mostly is how the Grunbergers were always there for us, at a moment's notice. Whether it was a needed meal or a question that needed answering, the Grunbergers were quick to help. Two events in particular stand out. One late night we received a terrifying phone call alerting us that Debbie's step-father had suffered a serious brain aneurysm. He was air-lifted to Barnes Hospital, and we went there to meet him. That night around 11:00pm, after a fast day, Rabbi Grunberger, and Rabbi Yudin came to visit and offer support. Although it was late at night after a very long day, they put their own needs aside to be with us. It meant so much to have them there by our side. A few months later in January 2007, we welcomed the birth of our first son. He was born just a few hours before Shabbos. Despite all that was going on in their own lives at that time, and with Shabbos quickly approaching, Rabbi and Mrs. Grunberger put their own preparations aside, and without being asked, quickly came to the hospital to join in our simcha. Again, their support and friendship meant so much. In the good times, and the bad, the Grunbergers were always there for us. They have taught us the true meaning of chesed and selflessness. We will miss them greatly. May they be blessed with abundant hatzlacha and bracha on this next journey. With much Hakaras Hatov, Marc, Debbie, Asher & Noah Jacob.
14: There is no way to pick just one memory of the Grunbergers. They opened their home (literally) and were a family to me. They have given me so much help and support! Here are just a few of my memories with them that make me smile: *Long (often tearful) talks with Mrs. Grunberger. *Loud Shabbos meals with all of the girls. *Trying to finish a sentence before R. Grunberger answers his blue tooth. *Answering R. Grunberger thinking he was talking to me when he was talking on his blue tooth. (almost entire conversations happened this way sometimes.) *Batsheva Flying down the hall afraid of the dark. *Flatmates and with Leah. *Elesha's baseball stats and insider stock tips. *Chiam's backseat driving. *Friday night heated debates with Veevs, BT and Tehilla over washing the dishes. *Washing dishes with Veevs, BT and Tehilla until 1am. *Shabbos afternoon heated debates with Veevs, BT and Tehilla over who washed the the most dishes the night before. ;) *Veevs' and R Grunberger's seating arrangement competitions. *BT's midnight piano practices above my room. *Mornings working at Epstein with Tehilla. *BT giving me Shwekey dance lessons when she was 12. *Makeup at Leah's wedding. *Mrs G doing dishes at 5:30 every morning No Matter What. *Passover at Sora Liba's. *Bumping around in the dark because Leah, Tehila and I would blow fuses in the downstairs bathroom with our blow driers over and over and over...and over. *Doing R. G impersonations for the Elisha and the girls. *Moishe singing. *Shmulie singing. *Mrs G teaching Dovid Al Hamichyo while he's yelling "Eeeeeee-Mahhh!" *Chaim's hospitality when I stopped over to shop in your fridge because I was too lazy to go to Schnucks. (He even bagged it for me!) *Playing Card War with Dovid. *Baseball computer game "We want a pitcher! Not a belly itcher!" *R Greenwald randomly walking through the kitchen at all hours. *Putting away the perishables. I am going to miss you all so much. Until we see you in Israel! Thank you for everything. Love, Autumn/Avital
15: Warm wishes for the entire extended Grunberger mishpacha. May your yishuv in Eretz Yisrael bring you health, wisdom, and wealth. May you always have incredible yiddishe nachas from all your children and grandchildren, and may you add your stone to the third Beis Hamikdash when we all usher in the coming of Moshiach tzidkeynu together with our brethren. Much love, The Weimans | MAZEL TOV! I'm not sure if this memory is appropriate to share, but we enjoy remembering: Rabbi and Rebbetzin were kind enough to have us over for dinner on several occasions - we always enjoyed sharing in the spiritual experience, lovely company, and Bracha's delicious food. On one occasion, everyone was sitting after dinner and Rabbi told everyone to close their eyes, but motioned to me to not to; then in his compelling voice he told everyone to imagine a duck and pointed at me! I just looked back at him baffled and he raised his hands like "what?" I realized that knowing that I did voices and personas and dialects, he thought I could do Daffy Duck, which is one character I can't do. Rabbi apologized to the group and me but I thought it was funny. Seriously, though we applaud all the good Rabbi and his Rebbitzen have done for the St. Louis Jewish community. Rabbi is a wonderful speaker and teacher with a remarkable memory for names and people. Bracha has always been gracious and kind and sweet. I remember one time after dinner her sharing memories lovingly of her father z'l, and his pride in his children. The Grunberger children have demonstrated integrity, love of Yiddishkeit and the good works of Aish Hatorah. It has been a blessing and a delight to know the Grunbergers spiritually and socially. We wish them only GOOD HEALTH, simchas, peace and fulfillment. Nancy and Gary Benson
16: Hi Rabbi Grunberger, We are Bill and Randy Weiss and did an occasional visit to your Schell, and lectures you had going around town. I would get several calls regarding a lecture, or event and didn't come often, just when something interested us. I rarely returned calls to you. I just want to say you were always so kind and welcoming to whatever we would see you. I would be feeling bad I didn't RSVP or communicate my intentions, but it didn't matter, you were always so kind and asking us how we have been. I want you to know how much I appreciate your allowing us to come to events at our own time and without guilt put on us, or even saying, "Where have you been?" It was always, "So nice to see you" is what I would hear. You sincerely seemed interested in how we were doing. I remember when you had the accident in your van and were at an event to hear about it. The community was praying so much for you and your family, to include our family. We had lost a child and were really understanding just what you were going through with your children and family. Life gives us many challenges and we have to learn how to face them and it isn't always easy. I just want to wish you and your family a beautiful and meaningful time in the holy land and wish that your path is fulfilled. May health and happiness be with the Grunberger family always. | With Our Infinite Sincerity and Love, Bill, Randy, Kathryn Weiss and Angel Emily
17: I’ll never forget the time, over 25 years ago, when I found myself together with my parents on erev Shabbos stuck in a small town in Illinois due to a blizzard. There was no way we could return to St. Louis on time and I only had a weekday siddur with me. I called Reb Elazar to see if he would fax the pages of the siddur for Shabbos. Faxes were a relatively new invention at that time. The pages came in rolls and the only place that had a fax machine in town was the office equipment store. Everyone at the Aish office was busy getting ready for Shabbos. Back them it took a long time for the fax machine to read the page, so they taped the pages together so they could get other things done while the pages were being faxed. Unfortunately, half way through the process, Aish’s fax machine started smoking. Fortunately, R. Elazar had come back to his office to check on the progress. Since his fax machine was no longer working he took the rest of the pages to Kenny Spetner’s office, and they finished faxing the pages of the siddur to me. As Shabbos was coming in I was cutting the last of the pages when I noticed that the last page was mostly black with the large words Shabbos Kodesh in the middle. At first I was a little upset because I was paying by the page and was running out of time. And then I realized – as Shabbos was approaching, Reb Elazar had gone home and come back to his office with his challah cover. He had made a copy of it and had delivered it to Kenny Spetner’s office. It was then faxed to us so we could have a challah cover to place over our Lender’s bagels as we made Shabbos in the middle of a blizzard in a small town in southeastern Ilinois. Y’yasher kochacha R. Elazar. A million thank yous for all you have done for us and for the community. May Hashem bless you, your wonderful Rebbetzen and family with much hatzlacha, brocha and shalom as you begin your new adventure in Eretz Yisroel. With love, Your friends, Dov and Orli Axelbaum and family
18: I have only been fortunate enough to really know the Grunbergers for approximately five years. However, during that time, I have discovered them to be one of the most incredible families I have ever known. I have never met a family so loving, caring, and 100% devoted not only to each of their children, but truly to everyone around them. Of the many days I spent in the Grunberger home, not one passed that I was not showered with love, compliments, advice, encouragement, and a genuine sense of wonder and care about every aspect of my life. I always marvel at the unwavering strength and courage that the Grunbergers possess, and their amazing ability to be truly bi’simcha no matter what the situation. I am amazed by their tremendous ability to view and assess every situation through the lens of Torah and Avodas HaShem, and their unbelievable level of Emunah and Bitachon in HaShem. I was also inspired by the way the Grunbergers are able to make each and every person feel special and important, and are able to recognize and appreciate people’s individual unique strengths. I’ll never forget my favorite Grunberger (specifically Dovid, my special buddy) moment, which occurred each and every time I came back into town after being away at school. Whether I run into the Grunbergers in the grocery, on the street, or in their home, I always receive the same warm, excited greeting, and the famous Dovid exclamation: “Tamar! Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in so long!” Every single day with the Grunbergers, and especially with Dovid, has been meaningful and special for me, and it has been such a bracha to become so close with such an unbelievable family. To the entire Grunberger family: the St. Louis community, and I personally, will truly miss you every day, and will continue to be inspired by your actions, the values you represent, and the people that you are. Thank you for everything you are and everything you do! With lots of love from Dovid’s #1 fan, Tamar Garbow
19: The members of Congregation B'nai Torah in St. Peters, Missouri always found Rabbi Grunberger to be a Real Mench, and we wish him and his family well in Israel. Sincerely, Jack Cohen President, B'nai Torah | The Stuart Raskas family goes back so long ago with the Grunberger family; it's hard to believe that they'll be leaving St. Louis for Israel! We share so many good times with all of you. We wish you the very best in your new life that you'll be creating in Israel. Mazel Tov! Love, JoAnn Raskas | Hi Rabbi, It was great the two trips to Israel. Wishing you all the best in Eretz Israel. Hope to see you there. Yours, Bill Lipsitz | To our wonderful Mechutanim, Thanks for making a difference in people's lives, all over the world. We wish you much hatzlacha as you return home to Eretz Yisrael. With much love always, The Storches from Baltimore
20: I remember studying Torah with Rabbi G every week for a full year. He opened up my eyes and served as a terrific inspiration. I also remember the love in household when Dovid came home from the hospital. I remember Elazer banging his head against the wall trying to make it all work for Aish, the community and his family. I remember Elazer telling me:" call me anything except late to dinner or a loser. " (anything but) I remember Elazer telling us the objective on Purim was to drink enough alcohol so that you couldn't remember if Hamen was a good man or a bad man and then doing a face plant. I remember some beautiful weddings. I remember how smart and knowledgeable the kids are. I remember the smile of Elazer's face when he said he was going to be a grandfather. I remember how the St. Louis Community pulled together at the hospital the night of the tragedy. I remember Elazer trying to teach me Hebrew. I remember a lot of good memories and I wish them all the very best. I remember meeting a lot of wonderful and sincere people through the entire Grunberg family I remember Elazer, the swimming instructor, throwing his kids in my pool as a way to teach them how to swim and then saying "ok swim." I remember Elazer always putting his best foot forward no matter what he was facing. Alvin A. Wolff Jr.
21: Rabbi Grunberger enabled me to go to a Jewish singles Shabbaton in Chicago in about 2000. I am still grateful for his generous contribution and thank him. Brocha is a wonderful person, as well. I enjoy our phone conversations and seeing her in person. Dovid should have a refuah shelaima, as well as Tehilla. I pray for them both on a regular basis. I always also enjoyed seeing Batsheva, Elisha and Chaim over at the Greenwalds. All the Grunberger family are great! The Grunberger home is always a welcome place to be. The Grunbergers make me feel very comfortable in their home. I wish all the Grunbergers hatzlochah and much success in their new home in Israel. May Moshiach come soon so we all can join them there! All the best, Alice J. Brown (Rivkah Sarah bas Batya) | Although we know that many shared moments will continue with the Grunberger family, we will miss the never ending action of yesteryear. One story we recall is Elazar driving up in a station wagon full of kids as we had invited him to bring the family to swim. One by one he tossed them into the pool, letting us know that they would all learn to swim because they would have to! Needless to say there were no casualties, and it was fun for all. I have also appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed being the family dentist. It has been a joy to get to know all the kids more intimately and I will really miss the sabbath hijinx and stimulation. Best of life to you in Jerusalem! June Wolff
22: Dear Elazar and Bracha, We cannot tell you how much you both have meant to us. Elazar, I learned so much from you and your organization in the 80’s and your organization is the reason I am involved to day with many aspects of orthodox Judaism. Everything from your lunch and learns to your lectures helped me so much. Bracha always had a smile and nice words to say which just made my and my wife’s day better. Both of you will be greatly missed. We wish you only the best in Israel. Much thanks and love, Victor, Ellen, Devora, Shira, and Ari Siegel | I first met Rabbi Grunberger at our good bye party in Bnei Brak. He had learned with the same Rebbeim as my husband. Consequently, when we moved to St. Louis, the Grunberger home was one of our first Shabbos invitations. The Grunbergers became our instant firends; not only because we knew the same people but because of their warm and vibrant personalities. We will miss you here in St. Louis. Hatzlocha in your move to Eretz Yisroel. Hope that we all join you soon! With much love, Menachem and Debbie Graff and family
23: Dear Rabbi and Rebbetzin Grunberger and Family: You have done so much for us and for so many Jewish people in St. Louis! We will miss you greatly. What will be comforting is to know that you are moving not only to a better place, but to the best place there is to live. Thanks for all of the goodness you have given to us and done for us. May Hashem bless you and your family with endless brachos and cause your move to the Holy Land to be super easy and incredibly elevating. Love, Scott and Simi Friedman and family | He is a wonderful example of what an Aish Hatorah rabbi should be. Kind, considerate, intelligent, he touched everyone who came in contact with him. My late father enjoyed lessons with Rabbi Grunberger at Aish. His lecture on Pirkei Avot in my dad's memory is an experience that my family and I will never forget. I will look forward to seeing the rabbi again in Jerusalem. Best wishes, Laura Hulbert Goldmeier
24: To the Grunberger Family, My best wishes to you as you move to your new home in Israel. Your family has been a staple of Jewish life in St. Louis. Rabbi Grunberger has been a beacon of education for those of us wanting to learn more Jewishly. I value your generosity and friendship over the years and wish you health and happiness in Eretz Yisrael. Helen Friedman | We wish the Rabbi and Rebbetzin much hatzlacha and simcha in the move to Israel. We appreciate you always keeping your home open for us to share Shabbat and Holidays together with your family. Thank you for your unwavering hard work to enhance yiddishkite within the community. Eldad and Danielle Bialecki | Although I didn’t see as much of you all over the years as I should have, I wanted Bracha to know how much I’ve appreciated our random opportunities to schmooze, share and sometimes laugh or cry a bit. I will miss that – and wish all of you well in your move to Ir HaKodesh. Love, Pat Harris
25: Thank you for your hard work & Mesiras Nefesh strengthening Yiddishkeit in St. Louis. Your selflessness and devotion to the Klal have impacted so many and significantly enabled the community to grow. Hatzlacha in your move to Eretz Yisroel! Rabbi Dovid Fromowitz & Rabbi Shmuel Wasser Mesivta D’Missouri/ Missouri Torah Institute Roshei Yeshiva | Dear Rabbi and Brocha, We will certainly miss you & thank you for all your many acts of kindness towards our family. Bob & Janice Lipsitz | Dear Elazar and Bracha, I would prefer that you not leave us here in St. Louis, but all the best to you and your family in the place where you so richly deserve to be going now. Hatzlachah Rabbah and Torah Blessings and Kol Tuv and all of that Hebrew stuff! Sincerely, Paulette Rubin AKA Paula Sparks Thanks for performing our wedding! -From Peter!
26: Hashem makes the cure before the illness. After growing up in Kansas City, we realized that we needed to move to a stronger Jewish community. St. Louis was ready and waiting for us, because for twenty-six years Rabbi Elazar and Brocha Grunberger gave of themselves to build this community. From our first visit to St. Louis three years before we moved here, the Grunbergers have welcomed us and inspired us. There was the time at the Discovery Seminar that our child needed medical attention late on Shabbos night, and before we could even say what was wrong, Rabbi Grunberger jumped right in to find the right people to assist us. The week that we moved in to our house in St. Louis, the Grunbergers' was where we ate our first shabbos meal. Being overwhelmed with a newborn and four other young children, Brocha assured us that things would get easier as they grew (and they did!) and gave us much-appreciated advice about keeping a Jewish home. We are sorry to see the Grunbergers leave, but wish them a peaceful journey back home. May we all be reunited in Yerushalayim in the near future. Rivka and Yosef Howley Sara Miriam, Dovid Simcha, Aharon, Bracha, Esther Nechama and Nesanel
27: When I first came to St. Louis in 1983, I attended a workshop at the JCCA called Echad. There were a lot of lectures. I don't remember any of them except Rabbi Grunberger's. He astonished me by inviting the entire group to come to his house anytime for Shabbos. He told a cute story about how once when he was younger, he accidentally turned on a light on Shabbos and his grandmother gasped. So, thinking he had to fix it, he turned it off, and she gasped again! This made a big impression on me. A few years later, I actually had the opportunity to go to his house for Shabbos. In the meantime I had married my husband and we moved into the neighborhood, and one day we were walking around to get to know the neighborhood, and Rabbi Grunberger, who must have seen us through the window, came running out of his house to invite us over for Shabbos! At that time, the only children were Moshe, Sora Liba, Leah, and Shmulie. Whenever I hear the line from the Shabbos song, 'Habain Im Habas', I picture those children at that time. May the entire family be blessed with a wonderful future in Eretz Yisroel. Barbara Olevitch
28: Rabbi Grunberger, it has been memorable working with you over the years on the Chesed Notes! I have become a master of working with tight deadlines...... Batsheva, I treasure the time we spent together at Bais Yaakov, and so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know what a lovely woman you are! Wishing all of you the very best life in Eretz! You will be missed here in St. Louis. We will meet again B”H in the Jewish homeland. Most sincerely, Roberta Gornish | Dear Bracha and Elazar, May God bless you and your family in all your endeavors and may your stay in Israel be most productive and healthy! You have led me to TORAH which has enriched my life with wonderful principles and lessons for life. Thank you for all your Pesach and Shabbos meals and hospitality and, of course, your warmth and friendship. You may live far away, but we're together in spirit. Warmly, Eileen Lieberman
29: I knew him before he came to St. Louis. He had a reputation as the firebrand from B’nei B’rak. Reb. Noach asked me if I thought he would make it in St. Louis. I looked him over. His outer veneer didn’t quite fit. But it was clear that he had the determination to do what was necessary to get things moving in this Midwestern city. He has used his G-d given gifts of energy, idealism, optimism, perseverance and overall MOXIE to build a movement that continues to yield beautiful fruits. We love him and we will miss him. His wife, Bracha, is just that. Self effacing, alwaysan optimist, always seeing the good, always behind him in his tireless efforts. She will be sorely missed as well. All the best to the two of them and their wonderful children. Sender and Shifra Axelbaum | I just wanted to convey kind words to the Grunberger clan. Rabbi and Brocha have done a lot over the years in the Jewish Community to get unaffiliated, secular, and even active Jewish members of our community even more involved in all aspects of Judaism. Without the Grunbergers, many in our midst would not be as vibrant as they are now in Jewish life. Thanks again to the Grunbergers. Jim Pollock
30: When I think of the greatness of the Grunberger family, I think about how they reached out to the Friedman's many years ago. From those times to the present, there have been many friendships between members of the extended families. They always get so much credit in our family for introducing the family to the warmth of traditional Judaism. Also, the indelible imprint that the Grunberger's made through incredible hard work and self-sacrifice on Klal Yisrael and St. Louis will always be known among us. In Portland, Oregon on New Year's Day 2006, Rabbi Grunberger performed our wedding in his enthusiastic style. We will look forward to hearing about the impact they make on the Holy Land and please G-d, visiting them there! To the Grunberger's: May the next step of your journey in life be full of many great things! We will miss you! Kate Friedman | So many of my very favorite, most dear and most heartwarming memories of a traditional Shabbos experience is at the Grunberger home on the countless occasions that they opened their home, shared their table and family with my family while growing up. These memories truly represent the very fabric of my Jewish observance and identity today. This chessed will never be forgotten. When I was a very young child, before my family became more fully observant, Rabbi Grunberger would come to my home with Rabbi Josh Boretsky (and a guitar) and spend an hour a week entertaining my 4 siblings and me with Jewish stories, songs, and warmth. While as young children we giggled quite a bit, these fond memories will remain with me for always, and remain a key building block in my Torah observance today. Robert Friedman
31: Rabbi, My memories are too numerous but the good news is we will continue to see each other in Israel, Cleveland, partner's conference or St Louis. I am so happy for you (now you can study in Israel) and your family who will be more united. Thank you for our years of friendship. Thank you for your persistence towards practicing kiruv. Thank you especially for the great Torah learning over the years and all your encouragement of what it means to be a Jew. I love you, Dan Whyman | Thank you for giving me the opportunity to become a baal tefillah for the Yamim Noraim. My wife and I have many fond memories of the wonderful years we spent together on Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur at Sha'arei Chesed. The moving drashas and companionship is something that we'll always remember and treasure. Thank you. Rabbi Daniel Morris
32: Dear Elazar and Bracha, Wow! Can this be a conclusion of an era? Let’s go back about 25 years. Stan and I were married in 1986 and were zocheh to be exposed to so many strong, positive Jewish influences as we started our lives together in St. Louis. We have a tremendous amount of Hakoras Hatov to both of you for spending time with us and helping us grow in our Yiddishkite. Your abundant energy and zeal for Judaism overflowed and affected us in many ways. You are truly Ovday Hashem, doing G-d’s work. We started learning from Aish HaTorah Rabbi’s at TICK and went to our first Discovery weekend in February of 1989. We distinctly remember thinking, “Why didn’t ‘they’ teach us this in Sunday School or Hebrew School when we were growing up?” We attended many classes and went to hear as many guest speakers as possible. Remember the Home Study classes at our house in Chesterfield? Also, we were so grateful to have had several opportunities to host Aish HaTorah speakers in our home. Over the years you brought in wonderful associates to teach and help with different aspects of the St. Louis Aish branch. Amongst them were Rabbi Ze’ev Smason, Rabbi Josh Boretsky, Rabbi Micha Turtletaub, Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald, Rabbi Menachem Weiman, and Rabbi Yosef David. “Lunch and Learn’s” became a popular concept and the Aish Gala became a tradition to which people looked forward each year. Under your leadership, the Firehouse became a reality. The Firehouse was an exciting venture and provided a beautiful new venue in which to teach and have functions.
33: Elazar and Bracha, your strong drive and love for every Jew, your dedication to bringing Jews to their Judaism is and was inspiring. Most synagogues in this city have gained members and shul goers due to your efforts on Hashem’s behalf. We will miss your family very much. You continue to inspire us. We wish you much Hatzlacha and Bracha in your move, in your new endeavor, wherever the Ribono Shel Olam takes you. We hope to see you when we visit Eretz Yisroel in the future. So, although this is the conclusion of an era for you in St. Louis, certainly bittersweet for us, it is also the commencement of a bright NEW era for you. May Hashem bless you in your new adventure. With best wishes and Hakoras Hatov, Leila Redlich and Stan Biel and family
34: Sarah and I remember the Grunbergers providing our first experience of the hospitality that characterizes the St Louis Jewish community. We were recently married, both working long hours at the hospital in our internship year, and coming home on late Friday afternoons to take in Shabbos and get a day of respite. One such week in the summer, we discovered that due to a miscommunication— probably induced by fatigue-- we were not going to be guests at someone’s house that evening for the Shabbos meal as we had planned. We discovered this too late to do much about it. We both arrived home only minutes before candlelighting. By the time I changed out of my scrubs and got to shul, I had missed davening. Disheartened, exhausted, and without any food prepared, we stumbled over to the Grunberger’s house. We knocked and were shown in by one of their kids. In a flash of wordless recognition, the entire family seemed to read the situation on our faces, and they scrambled to get us chairs, plates, etc, and R’ Grunberger repeated Kiddush on our behalf. We then sat down to a typically lovely evening meal, as if nothing unusual had occurred, feeling so grateful to have chosen St Louis as the first stop in our family’s journey. Now, living in Eretz Yisrael, we have merited to pass that kind of ahavas yisrael to our neighbors and students of yeshivos and seminaries throughout Israel. We are grateful for everything the Grunberger family has done for us, we marvel at what they have accomplished in St Louis, and we wish them success and happiness as they finally come back home. Warm regards, Yosef and Sarah Aschkenasi Yad Binyamin, Israel
35: To Rabbi and Brocha Grunberger, How can we ever properly thank you? When we think of the blessings that have rained down on us from heaven, we know that that door would not have been opened without you. A whole world has opened up for us that we had not previously known... - Learning Torah and having children and now a grandchild in Yerushalayim (no less) learning Torah, is so beautiful and more than we ever hoped for - Striving to improve ourselves with the tools that only the Torah can provide - Being secure in the knowledge that, by following what the Torah says, we are doing the will of our Creator - Living in a community and having a connection to the Jewish people: a deep connection to the beautiful, Jewish people who strive to grow in their eternal relationship with the Almighty - Having a job working with and for the Jewish people, I am so thankful. We will always think of you when we remember: * Getting married for the second time to the same person * The Siyum Hashaas in NY * Helping you to decide when to replace the carpeting in your living room * Going to Israel with the Rabbi, Elisha, and Chaim * Spending many Shabbos and Yom Tov meals with you and family * Your always available help constantly extended in spiritual and regular matters You have been an example to us with your devotion to our community, chesed, hachnasos orchim and your emunah. It is hard to imagine St. Louis without you. But we are happy for you that you will be living at the center of the universe. We wish you continued hatzlacha and look forward to seeing you in Eretz Israel. With love and gratitude, Carl and Claire Wolff
36: Dear Rabbi and Rebbitzen Grunberger: Elazar and Bracha, I wish to express my hakaras hatov, my gratitude and appreciation, for your impact on me and my family and the Jewish Community in St. Louis, for all of the lives you have touched. We have shared many experiences over the past years; from the saddest to happiest moments, from the lowest to the highest spiritually, from the Aish 25th to my sons weddings, to the many Shabbosim we have shared together. I wish you only happiness and will see you in Israel! Love and respect, Caren Zinn | Shalom, Rabbi, thank you for teaching me so many things and I love your enthusiasm!!! You make the classes come alive! I appreciate you letting an "outsider" become involved in classes. Rebbetzin Grunberger, thank you for being so kind to me. You always had a smile and kind words. You all have a special place in my heart. May Hashem make your stay here in the States fruitful and multiply it many times over to gather in Bnai Yisroel to the homeland!!! May Hashem continue to further your lives and efforts in the Holy Land and may all your children be great in Torah!!! I hope we meet again in Jerusalem!!! Shalom, Debi Parrish
37: Mazel Tov to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Grunberger! A couple of thoughts come to mind. Real Chesed I remember that you were always willing to go beyond the call of duty to help people. I mean real chesed. I remember the time I got the flu while I was at Wash U, and it was right before Shabbos. Before I knew it, Rabbi Greenwald arrived and delivered a full Grunberger/Greenwald family Shabbos Seudas, so I would have Shabbos food to eat. Hashem should continue to watch over you the way you have so kindly watched over other people, Tennis I remember playing tennis with Rabbi Grunberger sometimes during the week. I used to call him “Thunder Serve” because his first serve was so powerful that he could put anyone to shame. Rabbi Bloch and I were very afraid of his first serve. Anyway, I remember playing with Rabbi Grunberger one time at midnight and we finished at about 1:30am. Immediately afterward, I was extremely tired, but, I looked over and he had like two phones going. One would have thought that it was 1:00 in the afternoon, based on the fact that he was wide awake and showed no signs of fatigue. Hashem should continue to give you super “Kohes”, so that you can continue to help Klal Yisroel Can’t wait to see you here in Eretz Yisroel! Love, Dovid Kotlyar and Family
38: Where would I be today without the Grunbergers? Probably still living in my apartment in St. Charles, looking forward to “the weekends” so I could party; with no idea what I was living for. And where am I today because of the Grunbergers? Married to a wonderful, Jewish man for 13 years! Living in Eretz Yisrael! Feeling Hashem’s presence all around me, every single second! Expressing gratitude on a continuous basis for all the many blessings in my life! Feeling fiercely proud of our People and our Land! Working so hard to improve myself and my relationships with my husband, my family, my friends and with Hakodesh Boruch Hu! Trying to be accepting of every Jew, especially the people who are more observant than I am as well as the people who are less!
39: * If Rabbi Grunberger had invited me to classes but not a Discovery Seminar, it would have been enough.* If he had invited me to a Discovery Seminar but not to his house for Shabbos every single weekend (with my two sons and my dog), it would have been enough.* If he had invited me to his house for Shabbos (where I felt part of a very special family) but not introduced me to other people in the community, it would have been enough. * If he had introduced me to other people in the community but not taken my sons and I to shul, it would have been enough. * If he had taken us to shul but not given me a job, it would have been enough. *If he had given me a job (that lasted 9 years) but not been a role model for me, it would have been enough. * If he had been a role model for me but not officiated at my wedding, it would have been enough. * If he had officiated at my wedding but not supported our decision to make aliyah, it would have been enough. * If he had supported our decision to make aliyah and not decided to do the same thing 5 years later, it would have been enough. But he did! And we are so grateful. Next year in Jerusalem! From Vickie and David Lecy with our gratitude - and happiness for you on making your own dreams a reality. Mazel Tov!
40: A few remembrances that warm the heart and jog the memory: * Bubby Ida living with you – not many of us would welcome into our homes our husband’s grandmother who was no longer in full faculty. There’s a special place for people like this. * Ersine (memories of the Grunbergers cannot be complete without mention of Ersine) washing out the U.City trash bins. I don’t know of anyone else whose trash bins are as clean as Ersine kept them. * In the midst of a snowstorm, when vehicle transportation was all but impossible, Rabbi G drove out to pick up Ersine; otherwise she couldn’t make it to the house that day. * Shmulie racing down Duke on his two wheeler before he was even three years old, with this long pony tail billowing in the wind, and his diaper barely visible above his pants. And just a few years later racing down the block in that black Jaguar convertible. [Shmulie- I never got a ride! And when I saw Elisha driving it, my mouth dropped open so I didn’t ask him!] * When you were bringing one of your babies home from the hospital, it was Charlie’s Gatesworth limousine that was waiting for you. Not your preferred mode of transportation, but you went along with it. * I remember that Bracha & Shelley once spent the day at the Botannical Gardens, appreciating the beauty of the flora & fauna.* Bracha, you always made a point to come to our house to bring us shaloch monos, even though Purim is such a busy day. And I tried to get to your house first the next year. * With sincerity and warmth, whenever Bracha receives a request for car pool help, or a phone number, or virtually anything else, we could count on your responding “With pleasure.” We’ll miss it. Our love and continued wishes for nachas and hatzlocha, The Musers
41: Dear Rabbi Elazar, Warmest congratulations and Mazal Tov on your new position with the Aish HaTorah World Center in Jerusalem. Not only do I share the joy that you and Brocha feel on this important decision, but I also have the mixed feelings that you described in your letter. On the one hand, I am pleased that you have this opportunity to return to Jerusalem at the invitation of Rabbi Hillel Weinberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah Jerusalem, who carries on the work of his father, Rabbi Noach Weinberg, z'l. On the other hand, you have done so much in the Jewish community of St. Louis for Aish St. Louis as well as for the U. City Shul that it is hard to say goodbye to you in those roles. Through the years, I have also enjoyed our warm personal friendship, which will of course continue. When I visit Israel in the future, of course I will visit you at Aish/Jerusalem, and on your return visits to St. Louis I hope we can get together. Again, Yasher Koach on the jobs well done, and best wishes for continued success in Jerusalem! Sincerely, Robert A. Cohn Editor-in-Chief Emeritus
42: "The Fruits Of Your Labors." A special note of gratitude and appreciation to the Grunbergers (ALL the Grunbergers!) for the love and inspiration which you have extended to our family over the past 26(!) years. We have been through so many important milestones together, some wondrously joyous, sothers more deeply challenging. The underlying thread through all of it is your love and concern, your passion for giving of yourself to others and your abiding emunah which spills over to every area of your life and fills everyone around you. We will miss you so very much, but take much consolation in the fact that we will be (G-d willing) reunited together in Eretz Israel very soon. In the meantime, we are including photos of our family as a reminder of your contribution to the rich tapestry of the Jewish people. I know that seeing Dori always brings a smile to each of your faces. Certainly, we would not be where we are today and have the merit of building a Jewish home if it were not for you. Therefore, all of our mitzvahs and the mitzvahs of generations of Markowitz’s to come will be to your merit. ("Do the math!")You have taught us so much through your knowledge and by example, we could never begin to thank you enough. We send our love and best wishes to you across the miles with heartfelt tefillahs for continued health and success in all future endeavors, and may Hashem bless you and your family with an abundance of blessings spiritually and materially.
43: All our Love, David, Linda, Dori (and Auggie) Markowitz P.S. (We no longer ALL live in a yellow submarine!) :) | Dear Bracha & Elazar, Our lives & our city have been forever enriched because of you. You are wonderful people, great friends, incredible teachers & an inspiration to all. May Hashem continue to bless you with good health, nachas from all of your children & grandchildren & success in all of your endeavors. May you continue to be Mekadesh Shem Shomayim. Love, Mayer & Esther Klein
44: From rock n' roll to Torah scroll, I have been blessed many times over for living a younger life of rock music and an older life of learning about our heritage. Being raised on rock was great fun, as I have had a lot of good times meeting nationally renowned musicians. From playing pinball with Pete Townsend of The Who in his dressing room to getting kissed by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, it's been an experience. Then, in 1989, my "second life" began when I met Rabbi Elazar Grunberger at Aish HaTorah. That's when I started to see the "big picture." My life changed for the better thanks to the rabbi and his wife, Bracha Grunberger, who together gave me - and so many other St. Louis Jews - their friendship and a tremendous education about our faith. From them I learned a love of Torah as well as a love of our Jewish heritage. The past 20 years have been so rewarding in my experiences as a Jew -- reading and studying Torah, observing holy days and the overall feeling of being an observant Jew. I could thank many people but first and foremost, the Grunbergers come to my mind because they showed me what it meant to learn and love about being Jewish. They taught me that on Shabbos, the most holy day of the week and the most important holiday, I should stop what I was doing and celebrate with family and friends. They awakened my soul to pray for basic things that I took for granted - food, getting up in the morning, almost everything in our lives happens for a purpose, and that there is a blessing for everything in life.
45: They were instrumental in my seeing the beauty of Judaism and helping me develop a love of Torah. Whether it was taking me to New York for the Siyum Hashas in 1997, or to the first Aish HaTorah Parters' Conference in Hudson Valley N.Y. in 1999, or to planning Aish's Speed Dating event where I met my wife, Ariella, to marrying us (with Rabbi Greenwald) at the Aish Firehouse, Rabbi Grunberger has been the most influential person in my life. How will I ever thank him? The Grunbergers are two of the most influential people in the St. Louis Jewish community. After 26 years here, their presence will not be easily replaced. And though I am thrilled for them in going back to our holy land, I can't help but also feel very sad. I will miss them dearly, but I will do my best to honor their influence and continue to be the best Jew I can be, and to share the love of Torah. Michael Grafman
46: The Good Old Days at Aish!