Those of you who follow our electronic, or other, communications will know that I am shortly to embark on a three month sabbatical. I will be away for the months of November, December and January and again for a month next summer.
I've been the Rabbi of New London for almost eight years now. I couldn't leave during my seventh year - we were without a Cantor, and then last year I served as temporary head of our Youth provision. It's time for me to step back a little from the glorious churn of this glorious job and recharge. It is an incredible privilege to serve this community as its Rabbi; to be with members at the most important times in their lives and to have the opportunity and the responsibility to share our awesome, religious tradition from and off the pulpit in so many ways. I am excited to return, excited to share what I hope to learn in the coming months, but I am tired and I suspect both of us - the congregation and myself will benefit by my stepping back for a while.
In my absence I have scheduled a tremendous array of Shabbat morning speakers, including NLS members, guests new to the community and also my immediate predecessors - Rabbis Weiner and Hammer. You will be able to see the list of speakers on the Synagogue web-site. There will be adult education shared by the wonderful Rina Wolfson. And, of course, I have worked hard with Cantor Jason and the professional and lay leadership to ensure the pastoral needs of the community will be properly cared for at this time. While I am away my assistant, Frances, will receive emails sent to my usual address and will be able to ensure they are given the appropriate attention by the appropriate person - and I am grateful to her. In case of pastoral emergency members should contact Cantor Jason via the office, his mobile phone number will be on the Synagogue voicemail during out-of-office hours. Other well qualified members of the broader Masorti community are also going to be available to us in case of need at this time.
I will be popping up, as a Jew in the pew, over the coming months, but travelling also - and largely away. So I take this early opportunity to wish the community a joyous Chanukah (yes Chanukah does seem to come earlier and earlier every year), and look forward to seeing one and all February.