My Temple family,
When I prepare for the High Holidays, I’m always reminded what a wonderful time of the year it is. I look forward to celebrating the holiday together my family: to cook together, to eat delicious food, and to catch up with what’s going on with their lives more deeply.
The Hebrew High Holidays always take place during the fall. At times I wonder if this is by design. Watching the leaves change, I see how nature embraces the renewal process – with beauty. When the Hebrew New Year arrives, we are reminded to do some soul searching (Heshbon HaNefesh) and reflect on our achievement, which results in personal renewal. Sometimes, we start a new health initiative. Other times, we focus on career or on our social life. In essence, the Jewish New Year helps us prepare for changes in our life.
Even here at Temple Rodeph Torah we face constant changes and we take the time to reflect. During 2018-2019 we said goodbye to our 11-year cantor, Joanna Alexander. We wish her best of luck in her new role in Omaha. In July we welcomed our new Cantor, Rick Lawrence, who came to us from Cleveland. He already started to work with our choir in preparation for the High Holidays, and without missing a beat, he prepared one of our B’Nai Mitzvah to lead a beautiful service in early September. Join me in wishing him good luck and getting to know him, as he’ll be leading selected services together with Rabbi Weber.
Looking forward into 2020-2021 we expect additional changes in our congregation. Is there ever a dull moment in our Jewish life? And just like in every other area of our life, when we experience significant changes, it could be difficult at first. This year we start the turn to another chapter in our congregation’s life, as Rabbi Weber retires in June 2020. We will take the time to honor his contribution to our temple and to joyfully celebrate these thirty-six years of his leadership. Our congregation has touched so many lives since 1981- it is so noteworthy that we want to continue and touch many more lives in the next chapter of our community.
Now we actively manage this transition in a structured way with the right people in place. For transparency, the Interim Rabbi Search team has posted information for you on our website at https://trt.org/interim/. I also invite all of you to take part at the President’s Circle meetings, a place where you can share concerns, hopes, and dreams. We will meet in small groups for more intimate conversations. Invitations will be mailed out to a group at a time, and I hope that you will make the time to join me.
Lastly, during the late spring we received tremendous support, which helped us gain firmer financial standing. We thank all the families who felt our congregation’s need and acted on it. We have a unique community: educated, personable, and engaged and we want to enhance the positive impact we bring to the world, inwardly and outwardly. Our High Holiday appeal, which provides around 15% of our budget, is taking place during these weeks, giving you a way to connect with our mission. Your contributions are a way to honor your Jewish background and fortify a Jewish future. No contribution is too small. Consider the option of paying in installments, if that works better for you. Your help doesn’t go unnoticed and it is appreciated.
As 5780 is upon us, help us embrace the renewal process of our community – with beauty.
Tmima Grinvald, Temple President