To Another Decade Together…

As a young child, I had my life planned out.  Having conquered the wilds of kindergarten, my future seemed so clear.  My plan: first, complete elementary, middle and high school. Next, a college education at one of the finer universities in Boston and then a top-notch medical school. Once a licensed physician, I would set up an office at home, with my mother serving as my receptionist.  Unable to drive (remember I was 6 at the time), I would build a small stable in the backyard for a horse I could ride wherever I needed to go.   It was a wonderful dream at the time.  However, it took only one semester in Organic Chemistry to render that dream unattainable.

Once in college, I no longer imagined my mother as my receptionist (she had a wonderful career in the public library), nor did I think of how to construct medical office space in my parents’ home.  And I had long since realized that keeping a horse in the backyard would not happen.  Still, as my career path became uncertain, I started to reflect on the career choice I had clung to for all those years.  In redefining my future, I had to ask myself what it was about being a physician that I found so meaningful.   And that was when the new path of life became so crystal clear.

Serving people and community – that was what I had been drawn to all those years.  As much as I was fascinated by anatomy and the workings of the human body, it was, much more, the idea that I be present when someone needed help. Bringing wisdom, knowledge, and compassion together for others: that was the flame that drew me in like a moth.

I realized there was another means to that end of serving others.  I had been involved with Hillel in college, immersed in Jewish music as a song-leader who traveled all over the country,  and had worked as an advisor for high school youth groups affiliated with NFTY (the Jewish youth organization of the Reform movement). Also, as many know, I had spent year after year at Jewish camps.  Becoming a rabbi made sense THAT was what I wanted to do.  So I began my journey to rabbinical school, then to my first full-time congregation in Houston and ultimately here at Temple Beth El.

For the past 21 years, I have been so proud to be the rabbi of this congregation.  The accomplishments and the many lives we have touched are exactly what I was hoping for when I made that career switch long ago.  I can think back on so many moments, some sweet and some heart-breaking.  Through painful challenges and joyful triumphs, I have always felt this amazing community’s backing.

It is hard to express adequately my thanks to every person who has been, who is currently, or who will be a partner in this congregation.  I feel so fortunate to have another 10 years to continue the work that has been so fulfilling to me. And to do it with YOU, the people at Temple Beth El who have become my synagogue family.

I thank you all for the love and support over these past 2+ decades and look forward to what we will accomplish in the years ahead.  Thank you for trusting in me, for the chance to share a love of Judaism, and hopefully for the opportunity to help make the world a better, softer, and kinder place.