Dear Temple Beth El Family,
Rabbi Briskin informed us on Sunday, November 26 that he has accepted the senior rabbi position at Shir Ami Bucks County Congregation in Newtown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. While it was difficult news to hear, we understand his need to be closer to his family as well as grow professionally with this opportunity to serve a larger congregation. We hope that he will enjoy the vibrant community responsible for bringing the world Oscar Hammerstein, Pearl Buck, and even Pink. Rabbi Briskin will serve Temple Beth El through June 30, 2018.
A major transition of this nature affords us an opportunity to look at the future of our congregation. We have received guidance and will be working closely with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) to help us find our next rabbi. There are considerable resources and support from both of these organizations that we will utilize in this process. Additional information will be shared when the details of the plan have been solidified. Based on the guidance of the URJ and the CCAR, TBE’s Board of Directors has unanimously decided to form a search committee to seek an interim rabbi to help us with this transition and be a clergy partner with Cantor Davidson.
We feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Rabbi Briskin during our time at TBE. He is a deep rabbinic thinker who has been able to impart many Talmudic concepts using easy-to-understand stories and clear thinking. The compassion and love he has shown our community during lifecycle events have been greatly appreciated. Our children have been blessed by his ability to connect with them as a mentor and spiritual leader. Rabbi Briskin has been a conduit for new ideas within the Jewish community and has cultivated new perspectives and diversity of thought within our community. Under Rabbi Briskin’s leadership and with his endeavors, social action has been brought to the forefront of our minds. He has been a leader in expanding adult education programs and bringing renowned speakers to our congregation. He has nurtured us through times both happy and sad and has regularly been the first to call a grieving family or a person who is ill. His smile and the smiles of Karen, Ezra and Avi will be missed at our celebrations.
We will communicate details of the transition plan and ways you can be involved in the near future. This effort will take a village. The Board of Directors and staff are counting on the entire TBE family to be involved in shaping this next chapter in our community’s story. Opportunities will be provided to participate in the planning and implementation of the search committee, in providing feedback during focus groups, and in planning celebrations of Rabbi Briskin’s tenure with us.
Gale Swartz and Eric Imley, Temple Beth El Co-Presidents