Update on Rabbi Sussman

Rabbi Sussman’s family reports that his surgery on Tuesday was successful and he has started the steps towards recovery. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and concern that was expressed during this past week.

In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham, like our beloved rabbi, is recovering from surgery. Abraham is newly circumcised and at an old age, most likely in excruciating pain. In this moment of pain, we see Abraham perform an extraordinary act of kindness. In the heat of the day, while communing with the Divine, Abraham pauses for “hachnasat orchim,” the welcoming of strangers into his tent. Even in his pain, he does not shut down to the need of others, and he greets them and offers them hospitality.

Abraham reminds us that when we feel like we are not at our physical or emotional best, we allow ourselves to be in pain but to also remember those in need. When we are feeling helpless, we help someone.

In moments when we want to contract, we need to expand. Our tradition offers this prayer when we are suffering: and an opportunity for blessing when we say thank you for giving me the strength, here is an opportunity to perform a mitzvah, “modim anachnu lach-“ we are thankful. Helping others in need does not have to be about politics or beliefs. Abraham affirms that social responsibility must supersede religious belief and practice, articulated in the Talmud: hachnasat orchim — “Welcoming guests is greater than welcoming the Divine Presence” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 127a). Our tradition asks us, can we go beyond our own personal story to go to something bigger, something more whole?

“Hachnasat Orchim” looks different in a pandemic. While we all want to help through “bikur cholim” “visiting of the sick” by going to Abington Hospital to visit Rabbi Sussman; or to be next to those we love when they are suffering with Covid-19, or visit a friend in need. Instead, kindness can be found in a phone call, text message, sending a meal through our Caring Community, bringing food to the synagoguegroup card, and in prayer.

Prayer and love are healing. Helping those in need brings a sense of holiness and wholeness to our hearts, our community and our world.

Shabbat Shalom,

Cantor Amy E. Levy


  1. Reply
    Rhoda Hershman says:

    It is obvious that nothing can keep a very good man down.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery with love and best wishes,

    • Reply
      Doris & Paul Schor says:

      We wish you the very best of health and a speedy complete recovery. You are so very special to everyone that knows you.

  2. Reply
    Rhoda Hershman says:

    It is obvious that nothing keeps a very good man down

    Wishing you a speedy recovery with love and best wishes,
    Rhoda Hershman

  3. Reply
    Harriet B Schiffer says:

    We need you! Wishing you a speedy recovery with love and best wishes. The Kente Lady (Harriet)

  4. Reply
    Barbara Bronstein says:

    So glad the surgery is behind you. Now forward to a speedy and complete recovery.

  5. Reply
    Laurie Myers says:

    We are glad that your surgery was successful and wish you well and on your road to a healthy recovery.
    Laurie and Jack

  6. Reply
    Linda Nesvisky says:

    Dear Rav Shelanu, Refuah Shlemah. Now for the hard part: Your slowing down to give your body full recovery time. Please do it! Then, I shall look forward to zooming with you on our Shabbat study sessions.

  7. Reply
    Gail Schwartz says:

    So happy to know that your surgery was a success. Wishing you a refu’ah shlemah!

  8. Reply

    May your recovery be smooth and swift!
    Love, Em and Howard💕

  9. Reply
    Irv Matusow/Barbara Rudnick says:

    Best wishes for a continued recovery. Refuah schlema Rav.

  10. Reply
    Charlene & Nathaniel Mayer says:

    Dearest Rabbi, Heal, live long & teach!

    • Reply
      Flossy and Bill Clyman says:

      Bill and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery, and look forward to zooming with you soon again.

  11. Reply
    william schur says:

    Dear Lance,

    Lesley and I are delighted to know that your recovery is going well! We send our best wishes, and hope to see you soon, if only via ZOOM!

  12. Reply
    CCarol and Art Silverman says:

    Best wishes for a complete and quick recovery. Then, try to take things a little easier from now on. We need you.

  13. Reply
    Marlene and Marc Adler says:

    Sending love and wishes to heal quickly. May you be up and about soon! 🕊🍃

  14. Reply
    Nancy & Bernie Shapiro says:

    Wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery followed by good health.

  15. Reply
    Karen Schloss says:

    You are in our thoughts and prayers. Be a good patient and have patience. Healing is slow but inevitable;
    Let it happen. 💜

  16. Reply
    Renate Elgart says:

    I know that you will do well. It is 2020 after all and they have all of this down pat. Thinking of you, Liz and the rest of the Sussman family, know that I pray for your well-being and complete recovery. Love & Kisses, Renate Elgart

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