Rabbi Samuel Porrath

The following remarks were made by Hedria Lunken Saltzman, daughter of Rabbi Samuel and Tibey Porrath, at the final Confirmation service at Temple Beth El of Greater Buffalo on Shavuot, June 9, 2008.
Thank you – it is my joy to be here tonight to speak on behalf of my dad, Rabbi Sam Porrath, and I can’t do it without including his partner, your rebbitzen Tibey.
 
I am here to tell you a story – a love story that ended with a beautiful shidach.... I married Paul Lunken, who was in the clothing business and friendly with Art Sitcov, and we became close friends. Two decades later, Temple Beth El needed a rabbi for the holidays. Art knew dad was retired and suggested they call Rabbi Porrath for 3 days – the 3 days that lasted for 15 years.
 
Match maker, match maker, make me a match – find me a find, catch me a catch. Look through your book and make me a perfect match: 
 
The Temple job description might have read:
Wanted: a Rabbi who will bring us together, teach us and lead us forward. Who is empathetic, goal oriented, a good team builder and delegator, family oriented.
And the Rabbi's and Rebbitzen's wish list for "retirement" might have read:
Going into retirement – would be nice to become part of a new community, Maybe a place that could use Sam’s talents as a congregational leader, a community that is interested in learning and advancement and provide a challenge...one that would appreciate our many gifts, one that would welcome us.
Sam’s resume/ Background : 
  • Smicha in Israel
  • Married to Tibey from Niagara Falls – fell in love when he came to audition
  • retailing, public relations, writer, community work
  • One of the founders of Niagara County Community College
  • Founded a discipline at Niagara University:  TTT - The school of Travel, Transportation, and Tourism [today called the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management]
                                                                         
Match maker, match maker, make me a match – find me a find, catch me a catch.  Oy:   What a beautiful match – it was shidach made in heaven!
 
Temple Beth El of Greater Buffalo honored my father and got his best years
AND My father and mother spend the best 15 years of their lives here in "retirement" as Rabbi and Rebbitzen of Temple Beth El.
Oy:   What a beautiful match – it was shidach made in heaven!
 the congregation fell in love – the Rabbi and Tibey fell in love …
A wonderful relationship for 15 years …
 
If you ask in management “What makes a wonderful relationship?"
  • Trust
  • Setting and sharing goals
  • Mutual Admiration
  • Understanding
  • Growth
 
When Dad came to Temple Beth El they got a professional with many attributes and Tibey as a rebbitzen …. A fantastic bonus. They became part of beautiful Temple community.
The last time I left services with her – at Yom Kippur…people stood in the aisles to kiss her goodby.
 
Rabbi Sam was an excellent speaker and Biblical scholar. He was able to take the portion of the week and make it come alive with examples from modern Judaism and what was happening presently in our communities.  Many a Friday night at our dinner table, we would have a current events discussion, and later hear fragments of our conversation in temple  – our discussions  became your sermons.
 
Rabbi Porrath was a futurist. He was in his 70’s and saying: “ In the next few years we can build a sanctuary, we can develop a program we can do this and that in the future….”
 
He was always looking ahead.
 
A new shidach is starting soon between 2 wonderful Conservative temples –
May it be a new beginning with trust, goals, and mutual understanding.
 
If  Rabbi Samuel Porrath  were here,  he and Tibey would wish you well in your new ventures – it is my pleasure to do it for them.
 
Thank you, Ellen, for honoring me and asking me to share with you tonight.