It is with abounding pride and gratitude that I have agreed to become the next Senior Rabbi of Keneseth Israel In Elkins Park, PA. Founded In 1847, KI is a place of significant renown, a leader in and beyond the Reform movement for generations. The Jewish community of Philadelphia has long been shaped by the institution that is KI and the voices from within it. To stand – as I will – on the shoulders of such luminaries as Rabbi David Einhorn, Rabbi Samuel Hirsch, Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, Rabbi Bertram Korn, Rabbi Simeon Maslin, and Rabbi Lance Sussman, is both an extraordinary honor and a source of endless motivation for me. KI has been at the forefront of the causes of social justice, progressive Zionism, relatable Torah, tikkun olam, and interfaith community building for ages. Visitors to KI have included such notable figures as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. Indeed it is a glorious past that serves as prelude to an exciting future.
Beginning July 1, I will continue the work of the many who came before me and seek to inspire a new generation toward advocacy, good deeds, and a lifelong love of Judaism.
What makes the news so bittersweet is that it means my time at Adath Emanu-El will soon come to an end. Over these past ten years, we have learned together, laughed together, grieved together, and grown together. I have stood with you in times of great joy and amid moments of dire sadness. Your family has become mine and vice versa. I thank God for the chance I had to be here, with you, as the world changed rapidly around us. We’ve spent so many of these years thinking deeply about terms like ‘community,’ ‘fortitude,’ and ‘resilience.’ We’ve navigated the turmoil of countless news cycles with intention and care. I know that the friendships made and the memories shared will remain, forever.
As Abraham crossed the Jordan, and Moses crossed the Red Sea, Lisa Bieber David and I are poised to cross the mighty Delaware and take the next step in the reel that is our life.
May we all go from strength to strength.
Rabbi Benjamin David
(reposted from Facebook)