How does one express her love for Jewish life? Fortunately, there are many ways to do so. She can attend Shabbat services on a regular basis, study our sacred texts, and attend the daily minyan. She can participate in congregational and community life. She can volunteer in any number of capacities. She can give tsedakah to her synagogue, federation, and other worthy causes. She can also make the synagogue her life’s work as did our own Debra Mogul.
Debra Mogul is an institution at Oheb Shalom. Her tenure with us spans four decades. To put her time with us in context, she began her storied career when Ronald Reagan was President! As Rabbi Berlin so eloquently said, we will talk about Debra for decades to come as she is part of the very fabric of Oheb Shalom. I think, though, that Debra is even more than that. She is one of the pillars that holds up this sacred congregation. No one has been more devoted to Oheb Shalom than Debra. No one has been more motivated to serve our congregants. No one could have been a more loyal assistant to Jesse and Ken. A fount of institution knowledge, it will truly be impossible to replace her. We will eventually have someone to fill her position, but no one will supplant her. There will never be another Debra.
I cannot tell you how many times I have received compliments about Debra from congregants, renters, and vendors. Debra has always been polite, efficient, and accurate. She represents us so well to the Baltimore community. Debra takes night and weekend calls from Levinsons and works with families when they are most vulnerable. Her soothing words and comforting manner seem to make the saddest of circumstances more endurable. There will never be another Debra.
Always beautiful dressed and well appointed, Debra has a most youthful appearance and demeanor. She sets the office standard for dress. She is always mindful of a new outfit or recent haircut. She pays attention to the smallest detail and is free with her compliments. We always part from an interaction with Debra feeling better about ourselves. Perhaps that is because we know that Debra truly cares about us. She is dedicated to our well-being and always makes us look our best to others. There will never be another Debra.
While Debra is not leaving our community, her role will certainly change. We welcome her back on her terms, in whatever capacity she would like to be part of Oheb Shalom. She has at least another third of her life to live. We hope that she will always include us within it.
Debra, would you now please come up so that Cantor Braun and I may offer you a blessing?