September/October 2018

Rabbi Gordon with his family at his recent Doctor of Ministry Graduation. Pictured are Rabbi Gordon’s wife, Dr. Lori Lefkovitz, and their daughters, Samara and Ronya.

I am writing this message in mid-August during the first days of my year as your interim rabbi.  I am delighted and honored to join your community during this time of transition as you think about the future of Temple Beth Sholom.   Transitions are exciting and filled with potential, but they are also times of anxiety.  My hope is to help each of you navigate the year ahead secure that there is a listening ear and an open hand to greet you, get to know you, and welcome you to our programs and services.  If I need to be reminded of your name, please be patient with me!

My office hours are Wednesday afternoons from 2-4 p.m. but I am generally available for conversation throughout the week.  Please call me at the synagogue (508-877-2540, ext. 201) or send me an e-mail at: to schedule a time.  I look forward to meeting you.

This fall I will be teaching at Temple Beth Sholom the first semester of the two-year MEAH program that is run by Hebrew College.  The first semester presents an overview of the whole and a deep introduction to the Hebrew Bible.  Please consider joining us on Thursday nights.  More information and registration forms are available in the Temple office.

On Wednesday mornings throughout the year I will be offering a class in some classic Jewish writings and their contemporary meaning.  We will start with the five megillot (Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and the Song of Songs).  These stories offer sometimes surprising takes on welcoming the outsider, how to survive in the Diaspora, the meaning of love and desire, how to respond to catastrophe and loss and the meaning of life.  In the spring we will switch gears to look at Pirkei Avot, Sayings of the Sages, the first and most successful book introducing the basic moral vision of Rabbinic Judaism.  Please join us either regularly or whenever you can.  No background is assumed, and all are welcome.

During the year we will add other study opportunities at the Temple and in people’s homes.  Please let me know what interests you.

Shana Tovah!

The Jewish teacher Joel Rosenberg, wrote:

The Hebrew word for year—shana—means change.  But its sense is two-fold: on the one hand, change of cycle, repetition (Hebrew, l’shanot reiterate, from sh’naim, two), but on the other hand, it means difference (as in the mah nishtana? How is this night different?)  We are the same, we are different.  We repeat, we learn, we recapitulate.  We encounter something new.  Shana Tova! means “Have a good change!”

On behalf of myself, and my family, Lori, Ronya and Samara, we want to wish you all a Shanah Tovah! A good change!  May the year ahead bring us as individuals, in our families and in our synagogue community a time of growth, health, and joy.  And may we see the start of a turning towards peace and safety for Israel and for our world.


Rabbi Leonard Gordon, D. Min.