Sisterhood Speaks – April 2018

A Word from Sisterhood

Carole Lebental, Sisterhood President

Each of us experiences numerous transitions on our life journey. Some transitions are obvious and inevitable: going from elementary school to middle school and then to high school, moving from our parents’ home, starting college, starting a new career, marriage (and divorce), becoming a parent, the first child moving away from home, the last child moving out, the death of our parents, siblings and spouse. These are also called “junctions” in our lives. Some are more difficult and hold greater significance than do others. The response to transitions is very individual and not easy to predict.

My move from San Francisco to San Jose at the age of 12, was one of the most difficult transitions for me. Looking from the outside, one would not think that it would be such a momentous event. For me it was devastating. Also, I remember my angst when my eldest child moved away from home after completing high school a semester early. My sense of loss was huge, despite my pride in her independence and accomplishments. How we handle transitions speaks loudly of our resilience.

What is true of individuals is also true for organizations and institutions. Even of nations! Every year new leaders need to be found. There must be a transition and it must be orderly. If there are no transitions for a significant length of time on the national level, one gets dictatorships. (China just voted to eliminate term limits for its president.) Organizations would have a ruling cabal were they not to require leadership transitions. Okay, we realize that transitions are necessary and inevitable. That doesn’t mean that we enjoy them. They can evoke anxiety, sadness, and a sense of loss. Never mind that they can also inspire opportunity and innovation.

Sisterhood must also experience a transition in leadership in order to remain vital and relevant.

The Rabbinic transition committee, in which I’ve participated, has looked at these various reality factors which accompany Temple Beth El’s transitions. Saying farewell to our rabbi and educator evokes all of the emotions mentioned. Transitions are not easy.