Transitions

My Dear Woodstock Jewish Congregation Community,

After much reflection, I have decided that I will be retiring from my position as your spiritual leader as of June 30, 2022. (That’s next year, not this year.) Being your rabbi continues to be deeply meaningful and satisfying, and you are all very dear to me, yet it has become clear to me that I am ready for the next chapter of my life.

Whatever retirement holds for me, it will be infused with and informed by all that I have gained working for and with you here at the WJC. Thank you for traveling with me on this journey of creating this congregation of a full heart.

I will continue to serve the WJC for the coming year. I decided to inform the Board and all of you of my intentions with this much time so that the process of choosing your next leader could take place in a thorough and unhurried manner. Please offer the Board of Directors your engagement and support, so that the entire WJC community can discern and determine together your next steps.

This past year I am proud of the successful transition we made – under great duress – to functioning as an online congregation. Our ability to turn on a dime like that is a testament to the vitality of our community. During the coming year I am especially excited to lead us into the next paradigm of synagogue life, as we merge in-person and virtual participation into a seamless whole. The WJC has always looked for ways to become a more inclusive community. Ironically, the pandemic shutdown has shown us that current technology can allow us to do just that, now including people for whom driving might be difficult, or who need to stay at home, or even more remarkably, live in other states and even on other continents. Truly, we are in uncharted territory, and I look forward to inventing this new version of Jewish community with you all, near and far, drawing on all of the wisdom and beauty of our ancient yet ever evolving spiritual and cultural heritage, as I travel one more year of Jewish time with you.

When I first arrived in Woodstock in 1988 as your student rabbi, I did not come with a long-term plan. I couldn’t have imagined at that time that I would find my life’s calling with you all. I did have – and I still have – a passion for growing a Jewish community that embraces joy, kindness, intellectual and emotional honesty, and an ever-growing love for our Jewish heritage. What great fortune that I found my kindred spirits on the very first try! I feel both astonished and blessed beyond measure for these past 33 years.

As always, my (currently virtual) office door is open, so don’t hesitate to reach out. I will welcome hearing from you and will be happy to speak on the phone or schedule a meeting on the front porch if you wish.

With love,

Rabbi Jonathan