Yisroel Lazerson

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On Shabbos, The Priest Went To…Shul?

I have very warm memories of the Young Israel of Woodmere. It has been more than 25 years since I set foot there, but over 25 years ago, there was a two-year period when I was in the area of the Five Towns and would occasionally daven there. I am certain that he does not remember me, as I only introduced myself once, but I remember being impressed with the young rabbi of the shul, Rabbi Heshie Billet. He seemed to be a person who truly cared about his congregants. His speeches were always well prepared and eloquently delivered with a relevant message. I remember being impressed with his mentchlichkeit and that he interacted with people with respect and care. That is why I hesitate to write words critical of Rabbi Billet. I hope that they will therefore be understood in the spirit of one brother having a dialogue with another brother, without rancor, in an attempt to arrive at the truth. Last Shabbos, Father Patrick Debois, a French Roman Catholic priest, delivered a speech to hundreds of congregants sitting in the main sanctuary of the Young Israel of Woodmere after the Shabbos morning davening.

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