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Letters regarding Rabbi Elliott's Sabbatical

01/29/2016 12:03:25 PM




Dear Friends
Exodus tells us “[Y]ou may plant your land for six years and gather your crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it.”  This concept is called the shmita, or sabbatical. To this end, Rabbi Elliott will be going on sabbatical from February 1 until July 15, 2016.
The synagogue is in good hands. For many months, we have been planning to ensure that Bnai Keshet’s spiritual life and programming will continue in an uninterrupted fashion.
Rabbi Ariann will be assuming the role of spiritual leader of Bnai Keshet for these five and half months. Having been with us for four plus years, she is ready and able to provide leadership to the BK community. In addition, we have established a planning committee to coordinate activities and to assist Rabbi Ariann as needed.
Shabbat services will continue normally, with a regular Friday night and Shabbat morning schedule. Because of Rabbi Ariann’s invaluable role with our Bet Midrash, our services will usually be lay-led when school is in session, with the exception of b’nai mitzvot. If you would like to be a service leader, signups are available on the BK website.
We hope that you will join us as we wish Rabbi Elliott a healthy and meaningful sabbatical. We look forward to his return in July.
Liz and Marty

Dear Bnai Keshet,
As I prepare for my sabbatical it is with mixed emotions. I am still fueled by the joy of celebrating Akiva’s Bar Mitzvah with the synagogue. Like any parent, I feel such pride and delight to see the way my son stepped into this transformational moment. Slightly different than many, I had the opportunity to be embraced by the community as rabbi and as parent. My gratitude for this embrace is inexpressible.
Likewise having been at Bnai Keshet for more than 13 years, I am keenly aware of how lucky I am. It is an extraordinary Jewish community that I have the privilege to serve as Senior Rabbi. I love being your creative partner in building vibrant rooted Jewish life. Bnai Keshet has become not only the community I serve, but also the community to which I belong.
Sabbatical is meant to be a kind of quiet interruption. For me this will be a chance to study and explore ideas that need more time to sink into than my typical schedule allows. It will also be an opportunity to notice the rhythms of my own Jewish life and areas of interest when I temporarily take off my rabbi hat. I have faith that just as Shabbat’s interruption brings depth to the week, this sabbatical will bring increased meaning to my ongoing rabbinate.  It is nonetheless hard to leave.
My hesitancy about stepping back is eased, by my knowledge that Bnai Keshet is such a strong community. Further, I know that with Rabbi Ariann the congregation will have ongoing strong rabbinic leadership. The synagogue has a powerful cadre of leaders and is in great hands. I am confident that Bnai Keshet will continue to grow in my absence. .
Finally, it is much easier to temporarily step away because I know that I get to come home again. While I am not yet certain what fruits my sabbatical will bring I feel grateful knowing that we will share them together.
Rabbi Elliott
Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784