Posted on August 4, 2016
I want to thank all of you for supporting me and our synagogue during my sabbatical. It was my hope for the synagogue to be okay in my absence. I’ve been happy to hear that all has been well and this is because of so many of you. First all, thank you to our lay leaders. I’ve always marveled at the bright, kind, and hard-working board members who give of their time in building and maintaining our congregational community. I understand that many stepped up to ensure that our programs, services, and events flowed smoothly. Thank you especially to our outgoing president Aaron Kern and new president Eric Schiffer.
Thank you to Cantorial Soloist Nancy Linder. I have heard how she cared for our congregants in times of need and ensured organization to our worship services. I feel blessed to serve our congregation by her side. I began my time away also feeling great confidence in Edie Mino as our office manager, Elizabeth Kleinman as the director of our Religious School, and Vanessa Johnson in charge of our preschool.
Many of our congregants also volunteered to assist to cover services, holidays, and programs in my absence. Friday night service leaders: A big thank you to Robin Harrison. He did a beautiful job leading our monthly family service. Larry Matalon always brings a great knowledge of Judaism and sweetness to leading our services. Also, I am grateful to our other service leaders: Charlie Niederman, Rabbi Robin Hoffman, Anne Katz/ Anne Farber, Arnie Weintraub, Matt Paretsky, Elliot Semmelman, & Cantor. We had great story telling by Florence Sudakow and Michelle Twisselmann. Larry Matalon, Arnie Weintraub, Irma Moskowitz, Rabbi Hoffman, Elliot Semmelman, and Dan Karmon offered wonderful d’vrei torah, i.e., sermons and discussions.
In the arena of learning, a big thank you goes out to Dan Karmon for facilitating our Lunch and Learn and to our Torah study leaders: Mercedes Neves-Hatchwell, Larry Matalon, Joel Berman, & Robin Harrison.
For holidays, Charlie Niederman provided organizational support for our Yom Hashoa, Holocaust remembrance day, Joel Berman organized the pre-Purim l’chayim, and Perry Goldstein led a fun second night Passover seder.
Thank you to Sharon Matalon for leading our Tot Shabbat with our cantor. Thank you to those I forgot to list by name.
Even as I’m grateful, I also know that I must say I’m sorry as well. Because of my time away, I wasn’t there for you in your times of need. There is no right or wrong with these sentiments. I hope you are comfortable approaching me to share your frustration or disappointment. I really want to hear from you.
Overall, I feel that I put my time to good use. I finished the draft of my novel. I am now working on the editing process and hopefully procuring an agent. This, I understand, will take a long time. I also used my time to help my children and in doing so, I have learned of the great resources provided by therapists and guidance counselors. I was also grateful to lessen my work stress for a while so I can come back re-energized and ready to meet the challenges and joys of synagogue life.
I am grateful for my time away and I am happy to return to serve you and our congregation as your rabbi.