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Shomrei Torah Update

07/01/2016 02:26:29 PM


Rabbi George Gittleman

“Summer time and the living is easy…” or not!  While the Jewish calendar slows down in the summer, life in our community continues at a fast pace.  In June we celebrated our last Shabbat with Cantor David.  We are sad to see him go but happy he found his first full-time position (he was only quarter-time with us) close to home; Cantor David’s wife, Carla Fenves is an Associate Rabbi at Temple Emanu-el in San Francisco, where they recently purchased a home.

Knowing that David would eventually secure a full-time position closer to home, last year we – R. Stephanie, Cantor David and I – started to work with Cantorial Soloist Erica Wisner, who lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Chris and two children, Noah and Lael.  Erica is a classically-trained, talented musician with a lovely voice.  A few weeks ago, Erica, Cantor David, Rabbi Stephanie, and I went on a two-day retreat to plan for the Holy Days and to help prepare Erica to be our musical leader. It’s a big transition for all of us and we are confident and excited to have Erica in this new role.

July also marks the end of Rachael Cutcher’s service as our congregational president and the beginning of Ira Glasser’s term as our congregation’s lay leader.  Rachael led us through a number of challenging and important transitions.  She was tireless in her support of the congregation and a great support to me and Rabbi Stephanie.  She also brought her deep love of Judaism to her position and made sure we never lost sight of our mission to be a center for progressive Jewish life in the county.  We are where we are today in large part because of her exceptional service these past three years.  Kol Hakavod/all honor to Rachael as she leaves the presidency and finds new ways to be of service to our community.  A big thanks also to Ira for stepping up into his new role.  Ira brings a wealth of experience to his new position and will surely take us from “strength to strength”.

Another exciting development this summer is Rabbi Stephanie’s entry into the Shalom Hartman Institute’s leadership program, which I completed a number of years ago.  She will spend the whole month of July studying at the Institute.  The program was life-changing for me and I am sure it will be the same for Stephanie.  We look forward to the learning and inspiration she brings back from her studies, which will continue for the next three and one-half years.

In July I will begin my 21st year as your spiritual leader.  I love our community, am proud of what we have created, and continue to be profoundly grateful for your support and partnership all these years.  Barukh HaShem/Blessed be the Ground of All Being who animates our lives and our community and blesses us in so many ways!

Hazak, Hazak, V’nithazek! May we go from strength to strength!

Thu, July 16 2020 24 Tammuz 5780