Educationally Speaking – June – July 2018


Debi M. Rowe, MAJE, RJE

It has been an honor and privilege to serve our beloved Temple Beth El over the years.

I would never have believed that when I moved to San Pedro decades ago to be closer to the man I hoped to marry (Alan) that this community would remain our home for 30 years.

I am humbled to have been able to help nurture several generations of children, to form close relationships with hundreds of congregants, and, I trust, contribute to the vitality of our community.

I am continually amazed — this year in particular — that there are eight students in our Torah School who are children of former students of mine at TBE. Equally endearing are the numbers of adults who took on the challenge of learning to read Hebrew with me and formally celebrated becoming bar or bat mitzvah. Every teaching opportunity I’ve had at Temple Beth El has been filled with joy, delightful challenges, and excitement.

During our Erev Shabbat service on Friday, May 4 when teachers and madrikhim and I gathered at the Torah, we spoke of the ner tamid—which I translated as the “always light.” It was an honor and joy to be surrounded by such an inspiring team of “always lights” — classroom teachers, madrikhim and youth leaders alike. Our text on that Shabbat commanded us to keep that light burning always — throughout  the  generations.

This is what I have endeavored to do throughout my tenure at Temple Beth El — to keep the light of learning burning so that it can indeed be passed down through the generations. Our madrikhim are among the best exemplars of this. Classroom teachers who return year after year to kindle that eternal flame in new students are also in the forefront of our efforts. Parents who strive to instill their love of Judaism in their children share energy and light with all of us. Thank you so very much to the entire Temple Beth El community for being the “always light” for our children, our students, our parents and for me throughout these many years together.

Though I am excited to begin my new position at Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, I am sad to say good-bye to my Beth El family. I will miss you, but I know that I am leaving you in good hands with the incoming Director of Education, Racheli Morris. I trust that you will welcome her as warmly as you welcomed me, and make her time at Temple Beth El as meaningful and memorable as mine has been.