hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 22, 2012

Giving thanks for life's many privileges

On this Thanksgiving Day, Allan Press is a man steeped in gratitude.

For openers, he’s blessed with a wonderful and caring family. Next July will mark his 50th year with wife Julia. Together, they’ve had three beautiful children and four loving grandchildren, ages 8 months to 13 years.

The subject of children often ushers in a discussion filled with boundless joy and pride.

It’s a family that has sometimes looked adversity in the face and closed its eyes. Regardless of where they have lived, Thanksgiving has been a day that has shown no disruption or distance.

By the same token, it’s a day when he can look upon his 50 years as a rabbi and say, “Allan, job well done.”

It’s a mission that has taken him to six congregations, including Temple Emanu-El here in Haverhill, where he served five years before leaving in 1981 for a new role.

Over the next 28 years, his call was geared toward interfaith marriages — some 50 encounters a year — supporting people of different denominations.

As he puts it so aptly, “I was the one representing the Jewish faith at their wedding ceremonies. There’s more to life that unites us than divides us. We need to accept one another as God’s chosen people.”

His presence at these ceremonies manifested such values as care, compassion and love. In all those years, Allan Press never encountered a moment of ill repute.

For a spry 73-year-old, Allan Press enjoys his morning walks throughout the quiet neighborhood which has been his home in Danville, N.H. A conversation with Julia is one thing.

His bond with nature and the environment is another. If there’s a rose bush along his path, he’ll stop to admire its beauty.

His age carries no handicap into the racquetball court, where he continues to play a competitive game against players far younger than himself. Allan has been a YMCA member for the past 36 years and, no doubt, it’s been a panacea of sorts.

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