Sunday, March 22, 2009


[Haveil Havalim is here!]

I’ve been having a hard time writing this post.

I’ve been thinking about how I would write it for a couple of weeks now, and getting nowhere.

The topic is an emotional one for me, and I have a great deal to say; it’s about news that brings me both excitement and joy, and disappointment and misgivings. It’s the sort of news that defines, and yet defies, the term bittersweet.

I can’t even begin to talk about it. I get upset when I talk to people about it locally… and so do they, for the most part.

Part of me always knew this day would come, that it had to happen, that I couldn’t possibly not end up doing this at some point. But part of me always insisted that the day would never come, that all of the pieces would fall into place so that this could be just a nightmare, a monster that never comes out of the closet, never does more than swipe a paw out from beneath the bed.

I suppose almost every rabbi goes through this at some point in his career, unless he dies on the pulpit. Some of them are probably overjoyed to get to this point, but I think many of them have the same feelings that I have.

It feels like the right thing to do. It feels like something I must do. It feels like a decision that will enable me to do a great deal to help people, albeit in a way that is different from the way I’ve been doing that for the past dozen years.

What a thrilling prospect. What a scary prospect.

Okay, here’s the deal: I’mretiringfromtheshulrabbinateandmovingtoTorontotoheadanewBeitMidrashprogramforYeshivaUniversityandTorahmiTzion.

There, I said it. I’m glad that’s out of the way.

Yes, I’m moving to Toronto, Gd-willing, this summer, to become “Senior Scholar” for a Yeshiva University/Torah miTzion Beit Midrash. I will be mentoring the members of the Beit Midrash, giving shiurim in the Beit Midrash and in the community, getting involved in the broader Jewish community and its institutions, and more.

It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be meaningful. It’s going to be a way to strengthen an already-thriving Jewish community. It’s going to be a new way for me to grow and develop whatever talents Gd has given me.

But, boy, is this transition going to be hard.

Do I have to change my blog name to The Ex-Rebbetzin's Husband?


  1. Mazal tov on your new position. So are your congregants going to find out by reading your blog?

  2. No, you don't have to change your name. If you still have smicha, then you're still a rabbi.

    Mazal tov..m'shane makom, m'shane mazal. Toronto is objectively a very nice place (I lived there), but I'll keep my subjective experience to myself.

    'Twill be good...and you can probably come back if your community misses you enough.

  3. Mazal Tov to you! It sounds like an exciting opportunity.
    (What a loss for your congregation, though...)

  4. Hatzlachah Raboh on the upcoming move. I hope it will be everything you want it to be and none of the things you are afraid it might be.

  5. ohhhhh this is very sad. not for you but for me(and for the allentown kehilla) I looked to you as a role model and resource in the rabbinate, and as someone who it seemed loved his job so much as a community rav that all that he was giving up was worth it.But it should be with mazel. Brad

  6. Mazal Tov. Batman is still Batman regardless of city/country or funny looking currency.

  7. Mazal tov on the new position and hazlahah!

  8. What an exciting opportunity! Many good wishes for the new position!

  9. Thank you for all of your mazal tovs!

    mother in israel- No, I had a board meeting last Wednesday and sent a letter to the shul.

    chanie- Yes, but I view "rebbetzin" more as a function of her relationship with the community than her relationship with the rabbi.

    Superraizy- Thanks. No rabbi is irreplaceable, though; HaShem provides for every community.

    Anonybrad- Everything was/is worth it, but my kids need a Jewish high school, so I knew the end was coming; it was only a matter of this year or next.

    Don't remind me about the currency; I have a hard enough time with the flag.

  10. how awesome! welcome to Canada, eh?

  11. "No rabbi is irreplaceable, though; HaShem provides for every community."

    personal experience has shown this not to be true. and as i commented recently, some rabbis are better-suited for the rabbinate than others.

    i wish you much mazel in your new position and i wish your shul much mazel in finding a replacement to follow in your footsteps.

  12. (what do local kids of high school age do? when you first accepted the job did you think there might be high school by this point?)

  13. Shorty-
    If you're ever oot and aboot and want to stop in, please do, eh?

    I think the opportunity is there for every shul, but they can also make a mistake. It's much like the bashert concept, in my mind. The hashgachah from Gd is there, but we need to make the right decision.
    Re: high school - Some board their kids, some move, some split the family, and some send to public school.

  14. Who says the two of you won't turn into just that in Toronto?

  15. Chanie-
    It's not the job description, and I think adding a synagogue component to the project would actually detract from its intended effect.

  16. What is the response of a congregant?

    I am crying inside, and am trying so hard not to express my sadness for not only a great loss to the Allentown Community, not only for losing our spiritual leader, but for losing a good friend, one of the only ones left here in town.

    I keep these emotions inside, because I don't want my Chaver to feel dissapointed or sad that he is leaving us, for after all he is moving on to better things, and a job that he has been looking for for quite a while.

    I try and be strong, and put it aside, pretending that things haven't changed, and that life will still go on - after all who knows, maybe we will find a a more dynamic Rabbi for our community.

    But, with all that we have been through over the years, all the kids birthdays we shared, all the jokes, all the sad moments, and all the conflicts...I'm sure my Chaver is aware, without me expressing my true emotions, that he will be sadly missed, and will be just about irreplacable.

    - your chaver

  17. ...and as far as the blog goes, I hope that you will atleast continue your blogs, whatever the name will be. I know that probably with your new job you won't be able to find as much time to write. But I have enjoyed the insight, the lumdis, the rebuke, and of course the hours of much needed humor it provides (not just in a purim story).

    Just make sure to keep it going!

    - Chaver

  18. whoa... i don't stop by for a little bit and you drop this bomb... mazal tov and behatzlahha!

  19. Anonymous-
    Wait, I have a chaver?!

    You snooze, you lose...

  20. Here in Skokie we had a change in the orgabizatio of yje YU kollelmitzion with the addition of Kollel members and RAbbi Reuven Brand as the Rosh Kollel.

    These wonderful men have made a change in the community at large. AND WE ALL APRECIATE IT.

    May your new endeavor bring you the same success and personal satisfaction

    an admirer from Skokie