Good afternoon. I am Wendy Manko. I am the proud parent of Karli, a 9th grader and a Chabad of Mid-Suffolk graduate and current volunteer at Hebrew School this year, Daniel, a 6th grader who will become a Bar Mitzvah in, I cant believe it! 10 months! And Justin, a kindergartener who just completed his first year of Hebrew School in Morah Chanie’s k-2 class. They had their graduation on Monday.


David (my husband) and I decided to join Chabad 5 years ago. Although at the time there were a variety of issues that we were considering when leaving the “other” shul we were affiliated with before becoming members, looking back it was an easy and obvious path for us to choose for our family. How fortunate we feel today that we had Chabad as a choice. Ultimately, we made the decision to join Chabad because we were lucky enough to have had the foresight to recognize the opportunity that our affiliation with the Chabad community would offer us. Chabad then gave us and continues to provide for us now the support and education we need to build and enhance out family’s connection to our Jewish identity. Chabad has become a part of the fabric of our family – so much so that my parents have recently become members too and they don’t even live in Commack.


As parents of school age children in the Commack community, I am sure that we come to Chabad for different reasons with different hopes and expectations of what our individual families might gain from membership. We come with a variety of Judaic backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences. Maybe your family joined because you wanted to be a part of a community of shared values and traditions. Maybe you were looking for a Hebrew School with a great curriculum. Maybe Hebrew School classes fit into your after school schedule. Maybe you had friends or family who belonged here.


Maybe you joined Chabad for financial reasons because it was less expensive not that other synagogue options in the area, or perhaps you made your decision by default because you weren’t comfortable with the other options in the community. Maybe you joined because you met the Teldons and recognized that community leaders like Rabbi Mendy and Brocha would so obviously be a part of something special. Finally, maybe you joined because you heard Rabbi Mendy gives an interesting and relevant sermon and that Brocha makes a mean sushi salad. But, whatever the reason, or combinations of reasons that brought you here, we all find ourselves in the dame place… in a connected community where there’s no small Jew – where each family can choose how to interpret, practice, and incorporate the Jewish ideals that we share and value however it feels comfortable and fits best into out own families. Our Chabad community is so connected that we continue to grow in spite of our lack of physical space. Our community clearly transcends the value that the walls of any building could possibly offer. Look at our Chabad – our Jewish home without walls that thrives whether we are attending services, events, or Shabbat dinners at 318 Veterans Highway, or attending religious school at the Commack Jewish Center, whether we are having a meal in the Teldon’s Sukkah, participating in adult education at the Hamlet, or spending the High Holidays at the Sheraton. I learned growing up that your “home” is where your family is, not always where your house is; this clearly rings true for Chabad of Mid-Suffolk.


Our children have learned so much this year thanks to our wonderful curriculum that has been successfully executed and implemented by our Director Mrs. Gillie Shanowitz and her fantastic staff of Morahs and Rabbi (and of course her fabulous volunteers!) Thank you so much. As compared to September, our children are better Hebrew readers, improved daveners, have a clearer understanding of our traditions, and have more knowledge of Jewish heroes and heroines. It goes without saying that Rabbi Mendy and Brocha, our own Modern day Jewish heroes, are clearly the foundation of our “home without walls”.


Mazel Tov to all of the children and their families on their many and varied accomplishments this year. I know that I can speak on behalf of all the parents and grandparents, teachers, Rabbis, here to tell you how proud we all are of you!


Have a safe and enjoyable summer.


From a speech at a recent Hebrew School End of Year exercises.