Judaism gives us the words to welcome so many firsts. We have a blessing to say when we awaken and begin each day (the Modeh/Modah Ani), a blessing to thank G-d the first time we use something new, do something for the first time or welcome the first night of a holiday (the Shehechyanu) and a blessing to recite upon seeing the blossoms of spring for the first time, among myriad others. I always wished there were words to honor the last time we did something—like the last day of classes, the last day in our home before moving or the last day of a long-term project.
After pondering this each time I ended something, I realized that the Shehechyanu is perfect for this, too. Every time we end anything, we are, at the very same moment, beginning something new. And this is why I am offering the Shehechyanu today, as this message will be my last.
My years as rabbi of the MLJC have been some of my very happiest and most meaningful. You, the membership, have become family and I truly hope our paths continue to cross in so many of the ways they have to date--and in new ones, too.
I wish all of the grandmas and grandpas continued nachas with your grandchildren. I hope all of the parents whose children I had the privilege to name over the years continue to know the pride and joy that comes from doing just what you’ve been doing. I hope the young adults who ascended the bima as you became b’nei mitzvah continue, not only your studies, but your commitment to tikkun olam and that you continue working toward repairing our world. I hope the students within our community - and that means all of us - continue cultivating your love of learning and continue teaching your teachers as you have taught me. I wish the Board of Directors and all future Board members godspeed in the sacred work of leading our community and I thank, again, all those who came before to lead us to this moment and the preservation of a Jewish community right here in the foothills.
It has been an honor to be part of you as you have become an indelible part of me. I truly have no words with which to say good-bye, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say the Shehechyanu, thanking G-d for giving us life, sustaining us and for allowing us to have arrived at this moment. I will never forget you.