Seven Years Like Only Seven Days

The following piece is a goodbye article to my wonderful congregants at the Ames Jewish Congregation.

Torah rarely reflects on the inner thoughts of its characters. People act. Ascribing motivations, intensions, and feelings to these actions is typically left to the interpreter. Yet, Genesis 30.20 tells us that the seven additional years that Jacob served Laban, so that he could marry Rachel seemed to him like just a few days. As the saying goes: Time flies when you’re having fun. Or rendered more seriously perhaps: experiencing a sense of purpose and meaning makes the passage of time feel faster.

The time has come for me to tell you that the time to move on has come. April, May, and June will be my final three visits to AJC as your rabbi. The seven years have seemed like just a few days. You have maintained a far better working environment than Laban!

You tell the truth, even when it’s difficult. You listen to ideas, even when they differ from your own. You have kept on working for the Temple even when you were tired and worn out. You have been encouraging, loving, caring, supportive, and incredibly dedicated. The attributes and values you bring to the relationship of rabbi and congregation are what have made the seven years so meaningful and full of purpose. 

     I’ll miss the way this congregation loves to sing. I’ll miss the cantorial soloist’s Veshamru and the choir’s Shalom Rav. I’ll miss spirited questions and comments at Adult Education and Torah Study. I’ll miss the regulars doing hagbah and reading the Book of Jonah. I’ll miss one member’s siren-like shofar and the father–son duets. I’ll miss being given the service honors seconds before we start the service. I’ll miss our students, big and small, coming in to learn on Sundays. I’ll miss our teachers patiently leading class. I’ll miss High Holy Day meals at the homes of congregation members. I’ll miss the unrelenting debate over the thermostat and my having to be reminded what page Aleinu is on. I’ll miss the congregation’s presidents doing the announcements, while the rest of us chime in to help. I cannot possibly name everyone who has made my time at AJC so meaningful. What I can do is to tell you that all of you, each of you has contributed something special to this place and that I am grateful. AJC is a wonderful congregation because of the work you do to keep it that way.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years. They’ve flown by like just a few days. As I prepare to take leave of this place and begin work at Temple Adath Israel of Lexington. KY, I will be thinking of all of you. I may no longer be working, but I’ll never stop being your rabbi.

Straight from the Heart

Zachariah & Emanuelle at AJC for Zachariah's Iowa Bar Mitzvah, February 2013
Zachariah & Emanuelle at AJC for Zachariah’s Iowa Bar Mitzvah, February 2013


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