On the evening of November 19, Congregation Or Shalom celebrated a double-mitzvah, as they honored Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus for his 40 years of service to the congregation as it’s spiritual leader and celebrated the symbolic burning of Or Shalom's mortgage.
The mortgage burning was made possible by longtime member and past-president, Linda Zwerdling, and her family, who recently paid off the synagogue’s mortgage. The Zwerdlings dedicated their generous gift to the memory of Marty Zwerdling, Linda’s husband.
Rabbi Wainhaus was honored by Orange Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, who read citations and greetings from Orange First Selectman Jim Zeoli, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro. Speakers included the rabbi’s past students, Rabbi Marissa James and Rabbi Jesse Sachs, who focused on the rabbi's life-changing influence on them. Rabbi Richard Eisenberg of Congregation Rodeph Shalom and Father Peter Orfanakos of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church provided moving invocations and blessings.
The evening, which Rabbi Wainhaus referred to as "a night I will never forget,” included much food, dancing and great fun.