Eulogizing Mal Tarkin

Eulogizing Mal Tarkin

Well here we are at the beginning of a new year. On a personal note, in a sense, I am saddened by two things. First that for the first time in my life that I can remember, I will not attend the service in person. I thought that the first time that I took a car to the service, the world would come to an end, but like what is going on around us today, one has to learn to adapt to your surroundings. I hope that watching the service on a computer screen will put me in the same mood I am in when I am attending the service in person. 

My second sad thought comes from the fact that a person that I sat next to for many years would not be there this year because of his passing. Although for the past couple of years he wasn't physically the person that graced the synagogue for more years than even I was there, his spirit and inspiration for not giving up despite his physical shortcomings gave me a sense that he would walk again and that taught me that one should always have hope of better times. We would always end it by saying may we both be inscribed into the book of life for another year and because of his fighting spirit, he almost made it. 

Going on to the upcoming parshahs, Tishrei 1 and 2, at first, it seems to me that in a sense G-d took a break from the teachings in the Torah, and we are being given a "rerun" of what is coming up in Genesis. The first day we have Isaac being born and Sarah telling Abraham that Ishmael has to go. With water for only one day and not much else what did Abraham think was going to happen to his son? For that matter, what are we supposed to think of Sarah what she did? What kind of message is that for the first day of our new year and the hope that we are all to be inscribed into the book of life for another year if we observe what is in the Torah? On the second day we have the story of G-d telling Abraham that he must sacrifice Isaac to prove his loyalty. Again at first blush, what is this teaching us? After all, one of the fundamental principles of our religion is free will with the hope that we will do the right thing.

Well giving it some thought, these seemingly disparate acts do have a connection. It is the thought that G-d will do the right thing. Abraham just listens to G-d and lets Ishmael go with his mother to what seems to be certain death, but G-d assured Abraham that it would all work out for Ishmael and apparently it did. In the second act, there was no overt promise of a pleasant outcome, but I guess Abraham had learned that G-d did look out for Abraham's interests and that somehow it would all work out and again apparently it did. 

We pray at this time of the year for another chance to prove ourselves and hopefully we can communicate our attempt to fulfill his commandments and keep the faith where ever we are. Maybe G-d was showing me that one should not give up through the courage of my friend and I hope you and the entire Jericho Jewish Center family is inscribed in the book of life for another year. To anyone that reads this I wish you a L'Shana Tova. 

- Marty Mehler


  1. Mal Tarkin
    A few more memories of Mal Tarkin.

    Besides being very involved in Homeland Security of the State and our Country, we remember him as a safeguard to our Temple, too. He always worried about our Shul being safe.

    But in his earlier years, he also protected our children as they learned to drive. He made a point to make sure they did not speed through the Brichwoods. He also watched that they made full and complete STOPS at the stop signs. Warnings were issued to the kids and repeaters had their parents' notified (with a kind warning to the kids). They do not forget these things and talk about it to this day (30+ years later).

    We remember the JJC's 40th Anniversary when our Board decided to have the late Elie Wiesel be the guest speaker. This was an event opened to the entire community. There was not an empty seat in the house. Protection for the speaker and the various groups in attendance was left to Mal. Canine Units of the Nassau Police searched the building before anyone was admitted. In addition we sent a beautiful limo to Mr. Wiesel's home for his travel to Jericho. He was astonished of the extra care taken to make him comfortable and safe in his travel. His comment "If you are trying to protect me, why did you send such a fancy car?” It was an evening to be remembered.

    Thank you Mal for all you did for the JJC and our entire Jewish Community. You will be sorely missed.


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