Dinner honorees Haim and Erica Vinik holding a challah cover with committee members Michele Brucker, Rivka Bohan, Ilana Austin, and Dr Tara Spiess.

The Young Israel of Long Beach held its annual dinner on August 25. The evening honored Haim and Erica Vinik, who have played pivotal roles in the two primary institutions that are critical to a community: the shul and the school.

Several years ago, Haim picked up the mantel of the “second minyan gabbai” from his mentor and friend Walter Wolff, z’l. Since that time, he expanded his role to include gabbai sheini on Shabbos and yom tov while becoming the point person for Kiddushim and shalosh seudos. By virtue of his kind, sincere, and sensitive personality, he has attracted a large cadre of friends and acquaintances who gravitate towards him — creating a strong bond and circle of friendship that greatly enhances the spirit and camaraderie at Young Israel.

Similarly, Erica has served as an outstanding well-recognized teacher at the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach in a career that spans several decades. Not only has Erica taught the subject matter to her students, but more importantly she has given her charges the tools of leadership, pursuit of excellence, and motivation to succeed and overcome under all circumstances.

Joseph Langer, dinner chairman, opened up the program for the very well-attended gathering. Rabbi Chaim Wakslak, mara d’asra, was called upon to deliver words of greeting and share words of Torah. Rabbi Wakslak indicated that as Jews we never emphasize the here and now, immediate gratification in the absence of long-term goals or aspirations. However, there comes a time when yesterday’s tomorrow is today and as such much be acknowledged and appreciated. Rabbi Wakslak pointed out that all of the efforts expended by the Viniks over the years need to recognized now that they are leaving the community and fulfilling their lifelong dream of making aliyah.

Dinner committee members included Joseph Langer, Chair Rivka Bohan, Tara Spiess, Ilana Austin, Sami Shindelheim, Ilana Austin, Michele Brucker, and Esther Langer, journal editor.


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