Drs. Miriam and Tom Grimaldi were honored at New Rochelle’s Congregation Anshe Shalom’s Annual Testimonial Dinner, held in June. Joanne Weisner-Steiner was presented the Allan Glick Memorial Service Award, and Dr. Ephraim and Miriam Leiderman received the Young Members Appreciation Award.
“Drs. Tom and Miriam Grimaldi have been members since 2001,” explained Rabbi Evan Hoffman. “Tom has served on our board for 10 years and is currently our co-president and gabbai. Miriam is involved with the women’s book club, kiddush committee, boy scouts and girl scouts.”
“Not only are the Grimaldi men mainstays of the daily minyan, but the Grimaldi family is the pillar of our community. Their joyous occasions are moments of joy for the entire shul community,” Hoffman continued. “Tom and Miriam provide emergency medical care whenever someone is ill in shul. When Anshe Sholom was struggling, as the older generation passed away and before the new generation of members arrived, the Grimaldi family kept the shul running. Tom and Miriam are committed to Torah and mitzvot and instilling those values in their children.”
“Our community is our extended family so it is only natural that we make it our priority to be involved with the day to day activities and major shul events,” explained Miriam Grimaldi. “In addition, Anshe Sholom is a small synagogue and every person is important and plays a vital role. We aren’t nearly as small as when we moved in 18 “chai” years ago.”
Miriam described how the shul has added programming to appeal to the younger families. “I, along with two other women in the shul, started a women’s book club. We pick a book to read each month and then meet on Shabbos afternoon to discuss the book.”
Tom Grimaldi is also involved in many aspects of the shul, playing in the shul band and organizing events such as the unity concert. In addition, Tom helps arrange the sound system for guest speakers, events and parties.
Not only are the Grimaldis parents to 10 children, they are both full time physicians. “I think just like everything else, it is all from Hashem. It you want to do something, you need to prioritize and do what is important,” explained Miriam. “We conquer and divide and it helps that our children tend to be self-sufficient in many areas. We both work as physicians in greater than 50 hour per week jobs but somehow it all gets done.”
Miriam continued, “Our children see us volunteer and we hope that inspires them to do the same. Our house is always open to guests and the kids love having guests. I hope this is something that they will continue as they grow and have their own homes and families.”
Outside of her involvement with Anshe Shalom, Miriam Grimaldi is also involved in scouting and it the scout leader for the Girl Scouts of Troop 1870 and the crew advisor for Venturing Crew 613. “My son Akiva joined the Jewish Cub Scouts and around the same time my daughter Hadassah joined a Daisy Scout Troop. That was 13 years ago and they have both gone through the levels. When my daughter’s troop dissolved, I just started a new one. From there, I started troops for my younger daughters, too.” explained Miriam. “At this time we have six children involved with scouting.”
In his speech at the dinner, Tom Grimaldi summed up the couples’ feelings. “We feel it is a great honor and we appreciate it. We feel that we are just doing our part to help the synagogue and the congregants. We came to New Rochelle 18 years ago, in search of a Jewish environment and community in which to raise our family. We found it here.”
Tom continued, “we found a community with breadth of life experience, compassion, tradition, Torah learning and the local availability of Jewish education. We noticed a special loving kindness that existed here and it embraced us and hasn’t let go yet. Anshe Sholom is a second home for us, a place to spend Shabbos and holidays, a place to pray and a place to meet with our beloved Jewish community.”
By Judy Berger