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Rabbi's Message
President's Brief
Temple Menorah Rabbi's Weekly Message
Welcome from Rabbi Silver
With Love, Respect and Gratitude [ 06/23/17 ]

Dear Friends,

Before anything else I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the extraordinary leadership of this congregation, past and present, and the wonderful people I have been privileged to work along side. I am a different person because of you. I have learned from you in every encounter. I thank God for this experience.

Ever since I was a bar mitzvah boy fifty years ago I have been fascinated, uplifted and challenged by our tradition and its unique way of questioning, even of God Himself. Growing up at Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim I was inspired by Rabbi Aaron Tofield and Cantor Philip Moddel. In my rabbinate I have striven to emulate their devotion to God and the Jewish people and their personal example of ethical Torah living. I am not sure if I have lived up to their standards, but I have tried. Just as I have tried directly and indirectly to inspire others in their search for a life of meaning. I labor for the Torah just as Rabbi Hiyya said two thousand years ago - 'so that it not be forgotten in Israel.'

Now I am at a personal transition which truthfully scares the heck out of me. I have lived with the certainty of one thing for thirty years- my devotion to Temple Menorah. Amidst all kinds of changes and upheavals in my personal life my rabbinate has been the one steady constant, together with my devoted family and friends. Now all that is about to shift.

I want to thank my dear family and precious friends for the sacrifices they made over the years because their husband and father and friend was always at the synagogue. Some of you remember when our three tiny children; Jesse, Lena and Talya came here as a four year old, a two year old and a one month infant. Our adopted son Luke and his wife Diane are the parents of a five month old and live in France, Michel Albert. To my family I say; I regret to this day all the family dinners, ballet recitals, late pickups at the airport and absences at college family days so I could help others celebrate or mourn. I hope you will forgive me.

I want to thank you who have faithfully supported this congregation and community for seven decades, since its founding in 1946. To all of you I say Todah Rabbah- Thank you and God Bless you. We have celebrated, hugged and consoled and cried together over the decades. I know that we will continue to do so as we are forever in each other's circle of life.

I have been blessed over the decades to work with outstanding people, both lay and professional, who have raised the standards for what a synagogue should be and prompted me to dig deeper to find the extra measure of creativity and grit. Working together as a coordinated team is the only real way to make things happen. Egos, doubts, confusion both obscure and eventually confirm this truth. Together, we have done much to transform this congregation from a sleepy beach side oasis of Reform Judaism into the modern, complex dynamic community that is. We reflect the religious, ethnic and cultural diversity and evolution of Reform Judaism in the 21st century with all of its contradictions and opportunities. We have come from minimalist Jewish expectations and outcomes to fostering lives made richer through the vibrancy of Jewish practice and thought as expressed in our unique community.

Now the generational change comes again as it did for me thirty years ago when Rabbi Leon Kehane retired. I am only the fourth full time rabbi to lead this community in its 70 years. I am extremely grateful that the congregation has asked me be rabbi emeritus. To my knowledge this is the first time this role has been conferred by Temple Menorah.

I don't know if it be God's will or not, but I hope to stand on the Bimah with you and celebrate the centenary of this congregations' founding 30 years from now when I will be about to turn 95 years old. 

Our first full time rabbi was Rabbi Henri Front, who started his rabbinate here in 1957. Henri, together with Isaac and Anna Grancell, was the person most responsible for building this structure. Unexpectedly, Rabbi Front came to see me on my first service in July of 1987. He stood on the Bimah at the end of that service and placed his hands on my head and bestowed upon me the Priestly Blessing. It was a moment of holiness I treasure and from it draw strength continuously. It reminds me every day that I chose a life of devotion to God, Torah and service to you, the Jewish People.

I am honored to pass the mantle of rabbinic leadership to the extremely capable and devoted Rabbi Leah Lewis. I know that you will love and support her and her beautiful family as she leads us into a new era, just you did for me and my family thirty years ago.

My last services as senior rabbi will be on June 23rd and 24th, which is also the Bat Mitzvah of Olivia Jamner, daughter of Andrew Jamner and Elizabeth Jamner. Please plan to come by so we can give each other a hug at the nosh or Kiddush lunch.

Once I begin my new role as rabbi emeritus on July 1st I will make myself scarce for several months so Rabbi Lewis can begin to put her stamp on the way things are done. I will have a new email going forward; rabbisilver@templemenorah.org or contact me through the synagogue office.

With Love, Respect and Gratitude.

May Adonai Bless and Keep you,
May Adonai raise up His Countenance to you,
May Adonai grant you his inmost blessing, SHALOM