We are affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the association of Conservative congregations in North America.
Thank you for your warm welcome to CJC! I feel blessed to be in this lovely community, and blessed to be able to do the work that you brought me here to do: helping you transition to a healthy future. My wife, Randy, and I look forward to meeting you all in the weeks to come.
I dislike the title “interim” rabbi, and would prefer to be called the “transitional” or “consulting” rabbi, for those titles better describe my role. Or just call me “rabbi”!
My agenda is to have no agenda—that is to say, I’m not here because I want to coerce you into accepting one synagogue model or another, or manipulate you into selecting one kind of rabbi or another to lead you into the future. Rather, my job is to give you some breathing space, so that you don’t have to rush into a new commitment to new programs and a new rabbi. I hope to lead you into a calm and reflective period.
Many of the problems that CJC is experiencing are not about you at all. Rather, they are about the end of an era. There has been a sea change in how American Jews relate to their institutions.
And yet…it is about you. We do not control what life brings to us, but we do have some control over how we respond to what life brings. I hope to teach you to adapt to your strengths, by acknowledging all the good that CJC has accomplished over the years, and focusing on the root causes of what has been successful, rather than the root causes of failure. Once you identify your resources and purposes clearly, you can move forward with confidence.
Speaking of “purposes,” would you be able to tell if you were fulfilling your purposes as a synagogue, or not? I do not think that the purposes of the synagogue are all that mysterious. They can be summarized in such statements as “We exist to change lives” or “We are here to teach Jewish values.” What is mysterious is the way many synagogues tend to forget or misplace their main purposes. Many congregants seem to think that the purpose of the shul is their personal comfort and satisfaction. But this seriously distorts the whole venture. I hope to move the conversation at CJC away from “I want x, y or z” to “We need to stay on purpose.”
We are now starting to plan a year of activities focused on transition. I welcome your questions and suggestions. I promise to provide plenty of opportunities for dialogue. You will be kept in the loop – there should be no surprises!
CJC has smart, talented volunteers and a strong staff. I hope that when I leave, you will say, “When you came we thought the synagogue was what the rabbi did. While you were here, we have discovered that we are the synagogue.”
L’shanah tovah! May this be a good year, a year of health and prosperity, a year of fresh hope and determination!
–Rabbi David Klatzker