Yom Shabbat, 3 Tishri 5778

President

President's Letter, March 2015

on Friday, 15 August 2014. Posted in President

 

Times of transition touch on many emotions for most of us. There is the sense of closure and letting go of what is known and familiar to us. There is also apprehension about the new and unknown that lies ahead. As we move through transitions, however, we may come to actually embrace the possibility of the new—it may even begin to feel exciting.

 

Temple Israel is entering a time of transition with the news of Rabbi Pollack’s leaving in June. I’m not sure if any of us are in the “excited about the new” stage yet. We will most certainly miss Rabbi Pollack and her family. Many of us may still be getting comfortable with the idea that change is coming to Temple Israel. It is to be expected that there will be many questions about who the next rabbi will be and how they will be both like and different from Rabbi Pollack.  

 

While the work of searching for a new rabbi is led by a search committee, the search process belongs to the whole Temple community and is possibly the most important time in a Temple’s life. With this in mind, be assured that the search committee (Allen Wood, Chair; Stan Alexander, Michael Bauer, Harry Morrison, Lori Stein Sabol, Allyson Steselboim, and Mary Tilden) and I will strive to include the membership in the process as much as possible, while still adhering to the guidelines of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Please contact Allen or me if you have questions or concerns as the process continues. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

 

Searching for a new rabbi can also offer a congregation an open door to talking about the vision and direction of the congregation. In fact, URJ encourages Temple communities to do just that. It is during the focus groups that we will hold over the spring where such conversations can happen for us. I look forward to hearing your hopes, thoughts, and dreams, as together we move through this time of change.

 

B'Shalom,
Beth

 

President's Letter, April 2014

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. Posted in President

Research tells us that Passover is the most beloved and celebrated Jewish holiday of the year. So, I guess it is not surprising that Passover is, without a doubt, my favorite Jewish holiday. What is it about Passover that gives us such joy and calls so many Jews to observe this special time?

For starters, I am sure it’s the food, of course. Even someone like me, who normally prefers to be in and out of the kitchen, loves to spend time preparing for the Seder meal. Is it tradition, fond memories of family Passovers, the joy of gathering with others to participate in the reading of the Haggadah? I would welcome hearing from all of you with your thoughts about what makes Passover so special and so loved.

Passover is another opportunity, as well, to celebrate as a community. I invite you to come to the Temple Israel Community Second Night Seder on Tuesday, April 15th. Our seder organizers Rose Raskin and Jennifer Streisand do a magnificent job of putting together a memorable Seder and an enjoyable evening. If you have not attended a Temple Seder before, or if it’s been a while since you last attended, I encourage you to consider joining the TI community and guests this year to observe the second night. And the best part is no cooking, and no kitchen cleaning. So, come, relax, enjoy, and join in community.

In addition to the food and wine and joyful celebration, there is great meaning in the story of the Exodus that we recall during Passover. Passover requires us to reflect on what it was like to be a “slave in Egypt” and to be in the Mitzraim or narrow place. We are called on to be mindful of those who are still living in a narrow place in our own time due to illness, poverty, addictions, discrimination, as well as to remember those for whom full freedom is not yet a reality. Passover offers another opportunity to think about how we can practice Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) by reaching out to those who can use help in fleeing their narrow places. There are so many ways we can make a difference in the lives of others in our own community by volunteering for one of the many local social-services organizations.

I wish you and all those who will celebrate with you a Passover filled with good food and much joy. And remember, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

B’shalom,

Beth

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