(DEDICATED TO RONNIE BUCHBINDER)
Among most buildings built in order to preserve its strength, there was one such building built more than 100 years ago in an area of New York City which added to the bricks and stones the elements of deep faith, love, comfort and tenderness. It was Mr. Buchbinder’s dream to build a Jewish funeral chapel dedicated to the families of deceased loved ones where they could be assured of sensitive and caring final goodbyes to their beloved deceased.
For more than 100 years Buchbinder’s Sinai Chapels offered care and comfort to tens of thousands of Jewish mourners. The staff was chosen of the most sensitive and caring men and women, an absolute necessity to guarantee success.
And success it had for 100 years. Its name was held in highest honor and respect. No one was ever permitted to leave the premises without the same warmth they received when they first entered.
For more than 30 years I was greatly honored to be associated with Mr. Buchbinder’s Sinai chapels as one of the many rabbis who officiated at the funeral services held inside the gracious and comforting chapel.
As I entered the building I was greeted with great warmth and friendship by a staff member seated at the entry desk. For me, I will always remember and treasure the broad smile, sweet voice, and great warmth of one person in particular. It was Ronnie Buchbinder who followed the ideals and traditions of her late founding father. The management was in the kind and concerned hands of Michael Resnick, a member of the Buchbinder family. The care and devotion carried on the dreams and concerns of the original Buchbinder founder. Sinai Chapels was a building built of love!
I was deeply saddened a few weeks ago to learn that the doors of Sinai Chapels were now closed forever. The exact reason is not known but the entire staff has been transferred to two other area chapels where they will carry on in the famous Buchbinder tradition of love, sensitivity and caring.
Burying loved ones is deeply painful to bereaved families, But in the Buchbinder family staff, the warmth and love of the original founder continues.
I shall miss the entry into the original Sinai building where warmth and concern greeted people with genuine sympathy and offering the best possible help to those who are in immediate need of help
I am certain that the genuine smile and gracious care of Ronnie Buchbinder would have made her father very proud of the daughter who maintained the ideals by which he lived and practiced in his monumental building made not just of stones and mortar but made out of genuine love and care for the bereaved.
Sinai Chapels was renowned throughout the Jewish communities in the New York area.
Thousands of New York Jews will sorely miss it but its dedicated staff will continue the virtues of Mr. Buchbinder in the new chapels to which they have found a place. We wish them well. But there was only one Sinai. And it was not the one on which Moses received the Torah and commandments.
The mount Sinai on which Moses stood was purely stone and fire. The Sinai chapels renowned to the many thousands of New York Jewish families was made of genuine love. And while there was no fire, Sinai’s warmth and genuine caring touched the heart of every Jew in need of those vital elements in one’s life.
When we bury a Jew it is customary to recite three Hebrew words: Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet…Blessed be the Judge of Truth, referring to God.
I add three other Hebrew words: Baruch Hem She-Ozrim… Blessed be those who help.