Because I was recently a candidate for public office, I could not submit the following, originally written in August, when it was more current. I hope that it will still resonate.
While Kay and I were away on vacation recently, I did check The Salem News each day for headlines and obituaries; headlines to make sure no disasters had befallen us and obituaries because in the culture of my youth, I heard them referred to as the “Irish Sports Page.” You had to be part of the culture to get the humor!
One day’s News front page included a story that qualified as both a tragedy and an obituary. I read of the imminent closing of Temple Shalom.
How to describe my reaction? It was if an uncle had died. Not an uncle whom you saw every day or week. Maybe an uncle you saw at funerals, weddings and the occasional graduation, but an uncle whom you liked and for whom you had great respect. Temple Shalom and its community of people I knew or knew of was an integral part of my younger days and has remained a part of the “furniture” of my world. News of this community’s dissolution brought sadness to my heart even in an alpine Nirvana.
What do I remember? I remember my dad going off on a Saturday morning to provide Izzie Cohen with a 10th man for the Shabbas Minyan. Charlie Walsh was as Catholic as Catholic could be, but that didn’t prevent his participation in a rite of what he considered our Mother Faith. I also remember Izzie and him sitting on rocking chairs across from my childhood home at 22 Eden St., discussing comparative religious beliefs.
I remember George Cohen and little brother Robert being part of the mixture of kids playing in the neighborhood (primarily French Canadian, but with healthy doses of Irish and Greek, Jewish and the occasional Yankee).