From Rabbi Michael Sommer
Many people have asked why having an interim rabbi is important. This is a great question. An interim rabbi is the transition specialist. My expertise is helping congregations when they come to important transition points whether expected or in this case very unexpected. Rabbi Mann (z'l) was an incredible leader at Temple B'nai Israel for over a decade. He touched so many lives in such a positive manner that it is understood why he is so loved and so dearly missed.
I'm here to grieve with you and to get to know all of you. I'm here to facilitate the community healing that must occur in order to be open minded and to keep an open heart as your Search Committee works diligently to find the next great fit in your history of great rabbis. I'm here so that your Search Committee doesn't have to rush the search process and so you can all rest easier knowing you have someone you can come to, talk with, pray with, celebrate holidays with and grow with during this interim period.
I loved celebrating Purim with you. I loved experiencing my first Family Shabbat Dinner and services, my first Shabbat Chaverim, and my first two Shabbat services with the Traditional minyan. I so look forward to celebrating Thomas' upcoming Bar Mitzvah with his family and the whole community and celebrating Passover with everyone.
As Passover nears we should think of these next few months as our brief moment back in the wilderness. As a community we are moving towards our next unknown. We are growing together as we travel towards the newest part of our history. What I've seen so far in our community has made me coin the phrase "One community, many choices" when talking about Temple B'nai Israel. I also think there is one community and many voices, but when we pray we pray as one. When we celebrate we celebrate as one community. We revel in our communal joy just as we've come together in mourning over the last several months. We are hurt by such a loss we've suffered, but we are strongest when we support one another and work together to build the future we all wish to see created.
May we all have a good month of April celebrating and continuing to get to know one another. May the first taste of matzah remind all of us how fortunate we are to have the freedom to celebrate together as one.
Cayn yehi ration—May this be God's will,
Rabbi Michael Sommer