Dear Fellow Congregants:

This past Shabbat, Beth El hosted Rabbi Bill Gershon. During his time with us, Rabbi Gershon joined us in prayer for Erev Shabbat, ate with us on Friday night, led services on Saturday, addressed the Congregation both in his d’var Torah and Q&A following Kiddush, Saturday evening which included services and a special study session, led minyan on Sunday morning, and concluded with a two-hour session with the Board and Rabbinic Search Committee. We thank those in the Congregation who accepted the offer to meet Rabbi Gershon and to share their views about his potential service as Beth El’s interim Rabbi – a position that Rabbi Gershon stressed would be a temporary position and one from which he would not seek or accept a permanent position, and instead stated that he would direct his efforts to helping Beth El find that candidate.

Following the close of the final meeting, Rabbi Gershon left the building, giving the board the chance for frank and candid dialogue about the needs of the Congregation and whether Rabbi Gershon would be a positive force in the future of the Congregation, albeit for only a brief period. Members spoke at length about what they had each seen and heard, including from their families, members of the Congregation, and from Rabbi Gershon. Based on the recommendation of the Rabbinic Search Committee, the board debated and then voted to extend Rabbi Gershon an offer for an interim position with the Congregation.

The Board acted with full knowledge of the need to secure a rabbi to serve as the Congregation’s spiritual leader, particularly with the holidays approaching. Only with the input it received over the weekend from members of the Congregation, was it possible for the Board to have the confidence to act. Whether Rabbi Gershon will accept remains to be determined. We will keep you informed of our progress. We also need the Congregation to remain actively engaged in our spiritual journey and our search for a permanent Rabbi.

We owe a special thanks to Zachary Hoffman, Alicia Moskowitz and the entire Beth El staff for making it possible for the congregation to celebrate Shabbat and to use this time to meet Rabbi Gershon.

If you have comments or questions, please contact rabbisearch@bethelphoenix.com – or speak to any member of the search committee.

Sincerely,

Ben Cooper & Greg Harris
Rabbinic Search Co-Chairs