September 27, 2020

More than a Rabbi


No one has impacted my life more than Rabbi Wayne Franklin of Temple Emanu-El. He has not only been my rabbi but also a teacher, a counselor, a mentor, the father I never had, and, most importantly, a friend I can count on whenever I need one.

I met Rabbi Franklin two years before my formal conversion to Judaism, which took place on September 1st, 2016 (accompanied by another good friend, Rabbi Ethan Adler). From the moment that Rabbi Franklin first spoke with me, I knew that this would be the man who would transform and impact my life--the man I needed to follow.

Rabbi Franklin always pays attention to my needs and wants. He has helped me in every possible way so that I could feel at home at Temple Emanu-El, where he retired as Senior Rabbi after 38 years of serving the community.

After I completed my training to convert to Judaism, I needed to be circumcised. During the procedure, Rabbi Franklin was at my side at Miriam Hospital.

Rabbi Franklin has even helped me out financially. When I received my Community Interpreter certificate (for Portuguese) and was ready to start a job interpreting in Rhode Island courts and hospitals, I did not have money to buy a cellphone to receive work assignments, nor cash to pay for transportation to the translation sites, since I had previously been unemployed. I told Rabbi Franklin about my situation. He generously signed a personal check of $300, so I could start working by buying all the materials I needed. He told me, “You don’t need to pay me back.”

Likewise, not having money to pay for classes at Temple Emanu-El wasn’t a problem because Rabbi Franklin always covered my expenses. He told me, “Just show up for the classes, don’t worry about the payments, I will take care of them.” Moreover, Rabbi Franklin graciously agreed to be a co-signer on a loan so that I could buy my first car, allowing me to travel more easily to my new job.

But Rabbi Franklin’s support has taken many other forms beyond financial. I will never forgot how, when I came back from Puerto Rico, where I was volunteering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Rabbi Franklin called me to the bima to praise me and gave a special blessing.

On another occasion, speaking on behalf of a Boston-based group of which I am a member, the Jewish-Cabo Verdean Seder, I asked Rabbi Franklin if he could be a keynote speaker for an upcoming Seder that would gather some 200 Jews and Cabo Verdeans. Despite his busy schedule, he accepted the invitation without hesitation.

Rabbi Franklin has always promptly responded to my e-mails, he always picks up the phone when I call, and, most importantly, if I do not show up for Shabbat service any week, he calls me to see if everything is okay.

In a word, Rabbi Wayne Franklin CARES.

In short, I am so very deeply indebted to Rabbi Franklin. How can I ever repay him for the many gifts he has given me, from financial to emotional to spiritual?

I thank you, G-D, for having put Rabbi Wayne Franklin in my life.

At this important moment of his transition, I wish him a long life. May he enjoy his years of retirement!

Thank you, Rabbi. Muito obrigado!

Carlos Spinola
Member, Temple Emanu-El


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