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Rabbinic Transition at Congregation B’nai Israel

02/24/2023 01:58:10 PM


Dear Friends, We are writing with important community news to share. After 21 years as the Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel, Rabbi Justin David has accepted the position of Dean of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, to begin on July 1, 2023. While we are excited for Rabbi David, we will miss his extraordinary leadership at CBI. The CBI leadership team is here to support our community through this transition. We will be working to make sure all rabbinic duties are covered even as we work toward envisioning the future. You can read Rabbi David’s message to the community at the bottom of this email. As we plan for this transition, Rabbi David will be shortening his sabbatical and returning to CBI to wrap up his tenure with care. We are establishing a transition committee, led by Joel Feldman and Ellen Gertzog, who will work with our leadership to plan for the next steps, both short-term and long-term. The transition committee’s work will include creating ways for community input and keeping the community informed each step of the way.  On behalf of the entire CBI community we extend our deep gratitude to Rabbi David for his 21 years as CBI’s spiritual leader. Please read Rabbi David’s update below and know that we are all available to talk at any time. Emily Kieval, Executive Director Rabbi Jacob Fine, Senior Director of Jewish Life and Abundance Farm Rabbi Ariella Rosen, Director of Youth and Family Engagement and Education Meredith Lewis and Stan Schapiro, Co-Presidents Joel Feldman and Ellen Gertzog, Co-Chairs, Rabbinic Transition Committee Message from Rabbi Justin David: Dear Friends, After 21 years of leading and loving our CBI community, I have accepted an offer to become the Dean of the Rabbinical School of Boston Hebrew College.  This position is a rare opportunity to draw on my deepest yearnings to serve, teach, and work toward sacred healing and justice, and to do so in a visionary learning community.  Most of all, I am feeling overwhelming awe and gratitude toward the CBI community for teaching and sustaining me and my family, and for bringing me to this point in my life. In the coming months, there will be much to say about this new chapter, and there will be numerous opportunities to celebrate the work we have done together. For now, I want you to know that my new position begins on July 1, which means that, after a trip to Israel that was already planned, I will be available to the community beginning March 22 through June.  In addition to working closely with CBI staff and lay leadership to ensure a thoughtful and productive transition, I look forward to connecting personally and sharing laughter, loving wishes and at least from me, some tears. For the future, I am actually planning on remaining a part of the CBI community as a deeply appreciative and enthusiastic member.  Judy and I will continue to live in Northampton, even as we set up a residence close to Hebrew College in Auburndale.  Although I will initially keep some distance so as to allow the community to flourish without me, I look forward to sharing in the beauty of life at CBI: learning from the great depth and wisdom of Rabbis Jacob and Ariella, participating in heartfelt and joyful tefilah, volunteering on Abundance Farm, engaging in acts of hesed, enjoying each other’s friendship, chanting Torah and so much more. Over the coming months, I will reflect on the remarkable leadership we have here - a real dream team.  But for now, I want to express my personal gratitude to Jacob, Ariella and Emily, and to our co-presidents Meredith and Stan, for being so genuinely supportive during this process. I admire you all for your great wisdom and kindness. And finally, I want to say that while I am deeply moved by the prospect of my new role, I know what I am leaving: a uniquely visionary community whose extraordinary leaders show us the way to collective holiness, justice and meaning. B’vracha, with love, Justin

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyyar 5784