It has been a privilege to be your rabbi for the past twelve and a half years. When the Briskin family came to Temple Beth El in 2005, you welcomed us with open arms. From the moment when Rabbi Lieb z’l placed the Torah in my arms and transferred rabbinic leadership to me, to my celebratory installation weekend, to the years of achievement and success we have shared together, it has been an incredibly rich and fulfilling tenure.
When I began many had doubts if I, or anyone for that matter, could be successful after the long and storied tenure of Rabbi Lieb. I am proud to say that, with a dedicated team of lay leaders and professionals, we were able to succeed and grow together as a congregation. We have enjoyed more than a decade of achievements and I feel so grateful to have been a part of our success.
During these past twelve years we have laughed and cried together. I have been there to marry your children, name your grandchildren, and bury your spouse. We’ve shared coffee and conversation, learning and laughter, wine and wonder. You have been an integral part of our family’s life as our children have been embraced and nurtured by this loving and caring community.
That said it is very rare in today’s rabbinate for rabbis to spend most of their careers at one synagogue. A twelve year tenure, especially at a congregation of our size, is the exception rather than the norm.
With a mix of excitement and sadness I share that I will be leaving Temple Beth El at the end of June, 2018 in order to become the Senior Rabbi of Shir Ami Bucks County Congregation in Newtown, PA. This move will put us within an easy drive of my parents, a group of close childhood friends, and a town where the pace of life appears to be much slower and the cost of living much more sustainable. We are very excited about what the future holds for our family and are eager to embark on this next stage of our family’s journey.
Needless to say, it will be hard to leave this community and the dear friends with whom we have built and nourished strong relationships over the years. We don’t take these friendships for granted and we know that we will miss seeing your familiar faces week after week.
I will continue to be your rabbi through the end of June. I will be here to celebrate your simchas and comfort you in your sadness. I will continue to teach adults and teens while also furthering the justice work that is such an integral part of our mission. I feel confident that I am leaving Temple Beth El while it is on an upward trajectory and that your new rabbi will be able to continue to be successful working in partnership with the strong team of professionals and lay leaders.
Co-Presidents Eric Imley and Gale Swartz will provide more details about what will unfold in the months and year ahead and I will provide any assistance I can to ensure a smooth transition.
Karen, Ezra, Avi and I thank you for the extraordinary love and support you have given us over these past twelve years and for your wishes for success in the future.
With love and Shalom,
Rabbi Charles K. Briskin