Dear New Friends,
I am beyond ecstatic to be joining the Beth Tzedec spiritual leadership team as your associate rabbi this summer. The weekend that I spent interviewing was so enjoyable, and I know it was a taste of what the future can be. Thank you to Teddy Zittel, Dena Libman and the entire Associate Rabbi Search Committee for making my family feel comfortable.
In the twelfth chapter of Genesis, God tells Abraham to lech lecha (go for yourself) from his native land and from his father’s house to the land that God would show him. Abraham was instructed to leave everything he knew and to trust God on his journey. Like Abraham, 20 years ago I heard a calling to leave my native Toronto and to figure out who I was and who I could be. My journey took me to Miami, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Chicago and New York. My destiny and my life were intimately tied to the Jewish people this entire time. I spent countless hours learning and advocating and praying and doing my part to make the Jewish world a better place.
But when I became a parent, God started to share a new message with me. God said “lechi habayta.” God told me to go home, that there is important work to be done in the Toronto Jewish community. And so, I took a risk. After nine and half years of leading the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism in Queens, New York, a congregation that I love and in which I feel loved, I told the leaders of that I would not be renewing my contract. When they asked why I told them that it is time to return to my native land and my extended family.
Throughout my career, Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl has been a role model and a friend. It will be an honour to take a lead role in creating the new Centre for Spiritual Well-Being, which is being funded by an endowment is his name. Rabbi Wernick and I have spent hours dreaming about this new Centre, and I am eager to get started.
I look forward to getting to know each of you when I formally join the community in August.
Many blessings,Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin