As I retire from Kehilat Shalom tomorrow adapted from my last Shofar bulletin article. Except for my childhood home (1954-1973) in Westbury, Long Island, Kehilat Shalom and Montgomery Village is my second longest “home.” As I move to another stage in my professional career, several thoughts.
First, the future of Kehilat Shalom is dependent upon some solution to our financial challenge. We cannot remain in survival mode, expending incredible energy every year on making ends meet and be a healthy community. I hope with new leadership, professional and lay, new ideas will create solutions to the fundamental challenge of paying for our community. I therefore ask everyone (member and non-member) who reads this to consider how you can help maintain our caring, but stressed community. I ask everyone to give my successor a chance to succeed with his/her new ideas about the directions and activities of our synagogue in the 21st Century.
Second, after months of networking in various careers, I want to teach full-time, preferably in one of the Day Schools. My second choice, which I’ve begun to explore, is to do chaplaincy part-time and teach part-time. Diane and I do plan to stay in the area, but my intention is to stay away from Kehilat Shalom, for a while, to empower the new rabbi to be THE Rabbi. I would be honored though to help out my successor at his or her request.
How am I feeling? There have been so many bittersweet moments even this past month. I’ve started experiencing the last of so many regular and special activities (ex. the of the ECC, the final Bat Mitzvah) that have been part of my life within our community. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I am looking forward to working a little less, being home most nights of the week, not having to prepare a weekly sermon and just davening for myself every Shabbat.
Next to the last: What am I going to miss the most? Obviously it’s the people, even more than the Sanctuary. If there were two things I wish I could change among all the small and big mistakes of 16 years, it would be to have found the time for an additional phone call to someone in need or pain and to have written many more thank you notes to everyone who made a difference for our community and to me personally. After June 30, please don’t use my office email. My semiprofessional email is email@example.com, if you want to email me. My home phone will remain in the Membership Directory. And if you Facebook, please feel free to friend me –I’d be delighted.
Finally, thank you for the honor and joys of serving as the Rabbi of Kehilat Shalom for the past 16 years.