For the past nine years, Seattle has been home. My eyes gaze toward the majesty of Mt. Rainier, the beauty of the Puget Sound, the graciousness of the people whom I’ve encountered along the way.
I came here alone from New York City, newly ordained as a rabbi from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, bright eyed, full of hope and wonder. I leave with a beloved life partner and growing children in tow, and a network of friendships and relationships that mean the world to me.
This past decade has been an extraordinary moment in history; to have been a rabbi through it all is a gift and privilege I will forever treasure. To stand with our community in moments of great hope and new life; to comfort each other in times of grief and sorrow; to ask probing questions about meaning, ethics, and our future; to work to create a world of tzedek and tikkun — justice and healing — what a gift! “Kosi r’vayah,” my cup overflows.
For the past six years, the risk takers of Kol HaNeshamah have nourished and inspired me; they have shaped my rabbinate and touched my heart. In a few weeks, we celebrate receiving the Torah from Sinai. Torah teaches that a mixed-multitude were there — every Jew, in every generation, was present. That has been Kol HaNeshamah’s mission: To welcome any and all members of our people’s mixed multitude into our midst, that we might build a vibrant and expansive Jewish community.
Expanding the tent of Jewish life. This is the legacy we receive from Abraham and Sarah, the first Jews, whose tent was open on all sides, welcoming in strangers of every hue, every belief, every walk of life. This, too, should be our vision as a Jewish people: to expand the doorways of our Jewish tent, to break down barriers, to welcome all who seek a Jewish spiritual home. We are stronger when we are open, when we embrace the diversity of God’s creation.
It has been an honor and a privilege to have served as a rabbi in this community. As we close one book of Torah and open one anew, “chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek.” May you grow from strength to strength.