by Rabbi Alvin Kass.
It would be impossible to overstate the important role Jenny Brooks played in the intellectual life of the East Midwood Jewish Center. She had an amazing rapport with teenagers. No matter how many years passed, she never lost the gift of being able to communicate with the young. Most of us who are parents and often found ourselves terribly frustrated when our children went through the teen years, watched in awe at the ease of her interaction with them. No wonder she was so successful attracting post Bar and Bat Mitzvah young men and women to continue with their Judaic studies. Our Talmud Torah high school under her tutelage attracted Jewish young people from all over Brooklyn.
Her adult education classes at East Midwood were also legendary. What an amazing pedagogue! Erudite, articulate, and enthusiastic, her passion for learning was contagious. She had a special gift for demonstrating the relevance of past events to the present. The students were able to express their opinions without restraint.
When East Midwood went through particularly tough times a few years ago, Jenny refused to take salary for her services. For her, money was secondary to the all-important goal of serving God and the Jewish community.
From a personal point of view, Jenny was a dear friend to both Miryom and me. She was on the phone with Miryom many times a week to discuss the high school. We shared an office together in the school building. My children’s picture proudly decorated her desk. After graduating from the high school, my children taught on the faculty of the high school. They learned so much from her and she became a warm personal confidante to them and their families.
She was productive and creative to the very end, making the transition from this world to the next doing God’s work as an educator.
All of us at East Midwood are saddened by her departure and we want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to her family. We want them to know that she was also a part of our family and we pray that her memory will always be a source of blessing to them and that her soul will be bound up in the bond of eternal life.