Francie Yarwood – May-June, 2017
Our beloved Rabbi is leaving. Although this is a loss for us, since his guidance and warm acceptance has been of tremendous benefit to us, Rabbi Saul has always wanted to go back to Maryland to the congregation he once attended. In fact, he has on occasion indicated that was the only opportunity that would take him from us. He is leaving because this opportunity has been a goal for him for some time.
Congratulations to Rabbi Saul for getting the position he always wanted! So satisfying to see someone reach their goals! From day one, he has been more than just a rabbi to each one of us in the congregation. He treated us like family and always welcomed every guest. He has been open to change and other points of views without the feeling of judgement. Rabbi Saul found ways to make non-Jewish members feel welcomed and part of the congregation. He has enough faith in our congregation that he is willing to leave it and knows that it will survive on its own.
He is leaving – so what does this mean for us? Some feel the sense of doom and gloom, and others are still in shock. There is disbelief and the feeling of “Not Again.” Some would like us to close our doors and call it a day. Some see it as a perfect time to merge with another temple. Others say find a new rabbi, while others say just use laymen to lead services. These are all understandable responses. When there are feelings, there is no right or wrong answer.
We as a congregation must keep the communication open and let all voices and opinions be heard. We will not all agree with each other; however, there is value in each thought. If we listen with open ears and hearts, we will find our way to the path we are supposed to follow.
Happiness is somewhere in the middle. Rabbi Saul brought us closer as a congregation, which is exactly what we needed. We, as family, will face this together. As Andy Grammer says, “I know it’s hard, know it’s hard to remember sometimes, but you gotta keep your head up.” It is not a good-bye; it is a see you later. He will be back to visit and is only a phone call away.