President’s Post – September 2018

Agents of Change

Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents

It is no great mystery that Temple Beth El is undergoing a time of change, transition, and growth. As we continue to be successful in this process, we see each and every member as an ‘agent of change’ working together to do what’s best for Temple Beth El. Our temple family has said goodbye to some and hello to others, both professionals and congregants. There have been community conversations that many of you have shared in that will guide our search for a settled Rabbi. Your co-presidents (that would be us) will continue to be open, communicative, and eager to hear from each of you.

This summer, TBE has welcomed Rabbi Kohn and his fiancé, Susan Wertheim, and Racheli Morris into our beloved family. We are awed and inspired by how quickly they have been accepted by all of you. There have been many events of welcome and these will continue. We are happy to report that Racheli has a complete teaching staff for Torah School which begins shortly. She has been working over the summer with the teachers finalizing the curriculum and materials and all are ready for our students. Rabbi Kohn, with Cantor Davidson, has already performed a bar mitzvah and, unfortunately, funerals as well, in the two months Rabbi Kohn has been with us. Regular weekly participation in Shabbat services has seen a continued rise in enthusiasm.

The Rabbinic Transition Committee, led by Andy Kauffman, is just starting its work in the search for our settled Rabbi. We will be providing regular updates on the progress of this work. By the time you read this, the committee will be underway. The Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Congress of American Rabbis transition teams are confident that we will have a excellent applicant pool from which to choose our settled Rabbi.

As two people from the management world, we have had a lot of formal transition management training. We have quickly learned how different it is when change happens in your spiritual home. There are strong ties to the past as well as many emotions that are brought up during this process that are both familiar and surprising. We have found a rejuvenated sense of optimism from all of you.

This is also a normal season of change in the Jewish life. The New Year of 5779 is upon us with Yom Kippur following the usual 10 days later. This is the time for reflection, introspection, resolutions, and looking forward. TBE is strong and resilient, generous with our time and financial resources, eagerly sharing love and support for one another and can shout “we’ve got this!”

We, as your friends, family, and co-presidents, we wish everyone a joyous new year, an easy fast, and hope you find the personal meaning this time of year brings. L’Shanah Tovah!