by Rabbi Evan Schultz, August 2019/Tamuz-Av 5779
L’dor vador nagid godlecha
L’dor vador… we protect this chain
These words from Josh Nelson’s moving melody echo through my very being as I sit down for the first time at the desk in front of me. The desk where Rabbi Sher would compose his masterful sermons on the call to justice from our prophets. The desk where Rabbi Prosnit would craft his moving messages about the sacred intricacies of life.
L’dor vador, from generation to generation, we protect this chain.
It is a humbling experience to have been entrusted with this next link in the chain, indeed standing on the shoulders of B’nai Israel giants – Martin. Sher. Prosnit. How can I fully put into words the immense honor I feel to be writing to each of you as your new senior rabbi, so blessed to lead a community that illuminates and lives out the values that we read in the pages of our sacred texts. When we gather here it is with intention, when we create together, it is with sacred purpose.
I have spent the past seven years building relationships with so many of you, listening to your stories, learning what makes B’nai Israel unique and the tone we wish to set when we gather together as community. I wish to continue to listen. There will be opportunities in the coming months to gather together with me in open spaces, so that I can continue to hear your stories, learn what matters to you most.
This year the B’nai Israel chain continues to grow and evolve. I am so thrilled to have Rabbi Sarah Marion join our community. Sarah carries so much wisdom and such a desire to immerse herself in our B’nai Israel community. She is talented, smart, and passionate about this work. I encourage you to attend one of her meet and greets in August or September, to introduce yourselves and have an opportunity to meet her in person.
We know this year will bring additional change, as Cantor Blum prepares to retire in June of 2020. I am working closely with her to ensure that the transition is a smooth one, as there is so much that Cantor Blum does to elevate our community, from B’nai Mitzvah training to leading our choirs to singing on Shabbat and festivals. We hope that B’nai Israel will be the landing spot for a wonderful new cantor who can build on Cantor Blum’s many years of fostering and building music at B’nai Israel.
So as I sit down at my desk to craft this letter to you, know how excited and joyous I am to have been entrusted with this next link of the chain, alongside and in partnership with all of you. My hope is that we together create a sacred space that deeply moves us, energizes us, and impacts us and the world all around us.
We have the ability and potential to think about synagogue life in dynamic and creative ways that speaks to each of us in profound ways. I can’t wait to be part of the next leg of the B’nai Israel journey with each of you. L’dor vador, we move from generation to generation, hands side by side, upon this sacred link of the chain.