As young children, the Ershler family, including siblings Sheri, Teri, and Marc, all attended Beth Tfiloh Community School through graduation; however, once Teri settled down and married the love of her live, David Gitlitz, the couple moved to New Rochelle, New York where her husband still currently resides as a vascular surgeon. Though David’s job keeps him in New York full-time, Teri and her children spend their weekdays in Baltimore. The unique atmosphere of Beth Tfiloh, including its superb education and close-knit community was one of the things that brought Teri and her two sons, Caleb (grade 4) and Aidan (grade 2), back “home.”
Before moving to Baltimore and joining the Beth Tfiloh Dahan community, the Gitlitz family attended weekly Shabbat services at Young Israel of New Rochelle Congregation in New York where youth were often asked to participate in various parts of the service. One of Caleb’s favorite things quickly became giving D’var Torahs. In fact, Caleb enjoys giving D’var Torahs so much that he continues to volunteer anytime the family was in New York for Shabbat.
In order to put together a D’var Torah, Caleb does not write anything down; instead, he sits in his “thinking chair” at home, comes up with an idea, and then shares it with his parents.
Last year, right before Purim, Caleb put together a D’var Torah to deliver at Young Israel but before doing so, he asked Mrs. Schorr if he could give the D’var Torah to her first. Of course, Mrs. Schorr agreed, but she also asked Rabbi Wohlberg to listen.
Both Mrs. Schorr and Rabbi Wohlberg were astounded by the D’var Torah which Caleb had put together and Rabbi Wohlberg asked Caleb if he would be willing to deliver his D’var Torah during the High Holidays to members of Beth Tfiloh in the Auditorium, Sanctuary, and the Middle School service.
Needless to say, Caleb was thrilled to be given such a wonderful opportunity and he gave his D’var Torah on Yom Kippur with such passion and enthusiasm. Not only did he speak about Moshe coming down from Har Sinai to find the Jews worshipping the golden calf and deciding they were not ready to accept the 10 Commandments, he also sang a song linking modern day decisions to the Torah. Caleb spoke about the need to realize our mistakes so that we can correct them and about “Aizehu asheer? Hasameach bichelko”- which means “Who is truly rich? He who is happy with his portion.”
When asked about this experience, Caleb said, “Giving my D’var Torah in the main shul was a rare and exciting opportunity to share my knowledge with so many people.”
Parents Teri and David shared their thoughts as well. Teri explained, “We are so grateful to Beth Tfiloh and for their education. It doesn’t compare to what we’ve had in the past. We did not come from a religious background, but learning at BT made our family more religious. We would never be where we are today, Jewishly, if it wasn’t for me going to Beth Tfiloh and now my kids going there. ”
David continued, “We are so thrilled and have such appreciation to Mrs. Schorr for the opportunity of Teri being a student and now our kids being students as well and to Rabbi Wohlberg for allowing Caleb to give his D’var Torah on such a special day.”
As a second generation BT alumni family, having Caleb up on the bimah during the High Holidays was such a joy and true highlight of the service, not only for him and the Ershler/Gitlitz family but for the entire Beth Tfiloh community as well.