The passing of Presidents last week saw differing emotions – last Wednesday, as one President left office and the 46th was inaugurated, a wide variety of different emotions were triggered, not all of them pleasant.
The passing of our community’s Life President, Peter Benscher z”l, last Saturday afternoon was met by a unanimous sadness at the death of a good and kind gentleman. Peter and Betty, who died in July 2016, were among the people who preceded the purchase and development of Marlborough Road and who stayed with the community through thick and thin. Their marriage and their relationship with our synagogue were both ’Til death do us part’.
As publicans and as the owners of City Hardware, they were among that rare breed of couples who could successfully live and work together. I only knew them in their last decade and a half and they were still progressive, still loving, still complementary to each other in their approach to life – definitely more Abraham and Sarah or Yin and Yang than Bonnie and Clyde!
Peter’s passing, after that of his Co-President, Joe Swinburne z”l in August 2017, signals to all of us that while life continues, each person’s life must end. When a life has exceeded 90 years, we can be grateful that it was a long and good one, and I know Peter’s family were relieved that he passed away peacefully. It is now up to all of us to pick up the baton from our predecessors and to do as we know they would wish us to. We will keep progressively building our Liberal Jewish community to that it is welcoming of all, and adds to the quality of life of everyone who joins us as a Member, a Friend or a guest / visitor.
We carry the memories of our elders forward with us, and especially at this time of Peter Benscher, whose memory is indeed a blessing to all who knew him. I will ensure the details of his funeral and shiva are circulated once confirmed, so that everyone who wishes can pay their respects.
I know you all join me in wishing Paul, Simon and all the family a long life, filled with happy memories of a loving and good man.
Rabbi Richard Jacobi
PS You can watch once again Peter’s inspirational speech to the community to open our High Holy Day services last Rosh Hashanah by clicking here.