June 2019


Thank you to the Temple Beth Sholom community for welcoming me and my family with such open arms during this year as your interim rabbi.  This has been a year of making new friends, learning from wonderful students and having the opportunity to experience the blessings (and some of the frustrations) of being an “interim” rabbi.  In many ways, the role of the rabbi makes being interim especially hard.  Rabbis enter people’s lives at moments of loss and celebration; we learn about the intimate details of people’s personal histories and visit people at home, over meals, and at the hospital bed.  Although I did all of this with the understanding that our relationships would come to a formal end this month, I quite naturally came to care deeply about the people in this special community.

Beth Sholom is a congregation of volunteers, from the two Presidents with whom I served, Dave Levinson and Evie Kintzer Shorey to the committee chairs, auxiliary Presidents, members of our boards and the dozens of others who build and run programs, cook and serve meals, greet, write, and make sure things run well.  This year we built on the past and started some new traditions – housing the MEAH program from Hebrew College, the SULAM FOR EMERGING LEADERS program from the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, scholar-in-residence programs with NORTHEASTERN JEWISH STUDIES, Cantors from the HEBREW COLLEGE CANTORIAL SCHOOL, programs for pre-school families with the NEWTON JCC, and we are planning new initiatives for our elementary and middle school students together with other local congregations supported by CJP.    With these and other partnerships, and a dynamic new clergy team of RABBI ALLISON POIRIER and CANTORIAL INTERN JESSICA WOOLF, TBS has a bright and sustainable future.

Hebrew has two wonderful ways to say “good-bye.”  One is Shalom, literally, “peace,” but in effect saying, “may the blessings of peace be with you.”    I say to all of you, Shalom, may the years ahead bring you peace, joy and satisfaction, productive challenges and opportunities for growth.  The other Hebrew term is “Lihitraot,” which means “see you again!”  Lori and I live in Newton and we hope to see many of you again at events, at classes and in the community.  Shalom and Lihitraot.

Peace and see you again.

Rabbi Leonard Gordon