As I transition into my new role as Rabbi Emeritus, I am filled with many memories, much gratitude and an abundance of anticipation.
Josette and I are grateful to synagogue leaders, good friends, those who have offered support and guidance, and to all the members of our community with whom we have prayed, studied and walked with on personal journeys over the past quarter-century. Your friendships are dear to us and we hope that those relationships will continue, even as my responsibilities change.
I appreciate the trust of the Tanenbaum family whose endowment of the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Senior Rabbinic Chair has provided significant support to the long-term well-being of Beth Tzedec, rabbinical training at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Schechter Beit Midrash in Jerusalem, as well as to Camp Ramah Canada.
As I indicated to Rabbi Wernick when we first discussed the transition, I shall not be at Beth Tzedec during the High Holy Days. I want the new rabbinic team to have an “open playing field” for their first set of Yamim Nora’im in our community.
However, in my new role, which is part of our Centre for Spiritual Well-Being, we have planned for me to teach two seminars in January and May/June, offer occasional derashot, and be available, as requested or needed, to assist Rabbis Wernick and Fryer Bodzin to provide spiritual support for significant moments in your lives.
If you will be in Israel for Tisha b’Av (August 10/11), you are invited to join me and other Masorti/Conservative Jews of the reading of Eikhah/Lamentations in the egalitarian section of the Western Wall (under Robinson’s Arch) that Saturday night at 9.15pm.
From February 21-30, I’ll again be co-leading a Path of Abraham/ Sharing Perspectives interfaith study mission to explore the challenges of three faiths and two peoples in one land. Information is available on the website of St George’s College and I hope you’ll consider participating.
The source of extended “Jewish good-byes” may be the Talmudic teaching that we walk with guests and teachers as they depart. In Toronto, Josette and I have relocated to an apartment along Bathurst, so we shall walk with you in the ‘hood. We are also renovating an apartment in Jerusalem and hope you will look us up and walk with us when you visit Israel.
Thank you again for the bountiful blessings that we have shared over these 26 years. Let me leave you with a berakhah from the Talmud:
May you live to see your world fulfilled,
May your destiny be for worlds still to come,
And may you trust in generations past and yet to be.
May your heart be filled with intuition
and your words be filled with insight.
May songs of praise ever be upon your tongue
and your vision be on a straight path before you.
May your eyes shine with the light of holy words
and your face reflect the brightness of the heavens.
May your lips speak wisdom
and your fulfilment be in righteousness
even as you ever yearn to hear the words
of the Holy Ancient One of Old.
(Berakhot 17a, translated by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner)
May all our steps bring us closer to shalom,
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl