This week we have a transition of leadership within our synagogue. Our synagogue president, Janice Schwartz-Donahue, will be ending her three years as president. And of course, our beloved senior rabbi, Lance J. Sussman will be entering into Emeritus and retirement.
Leading a synagogue for lay leaders is no easy task. The decision to become president or any role within leadership takes a sense of community and desire to serve it. The Hebrew word for service is “avodah” It comes from ancient offerings, but means “work.”
When we think about the last three years, it has meant guiding our community through a pandemic- learning how to spiritually be there without being in person. Janice Schwartz-Donahue, as our president, led our synagogue leadership and community through this time The service of a president through this time has been purely “avodah”- hard work straight from the heart. Janice answered that call. She led through this time with courage and hope; and she constantly upheld the belief that KI is strong and we could be there for each other
This week’s portion starts with the word “vayeekach” which means “take.” Korach, an example of a leader who leads with ego only, could be viewed as a leader who found ways to “take” from the community. And KI has so much to offer, it is easy “to take, to receive, and to enjoy.” But, as far as leadership goes, “giving” must out weigh the “taking.” And Janice, as president, has been an amazing example of someone who is always thinking of ways to enrich our community, to be more open, to be more giving, and to be more compassionate. She has been completely devoted to the well being of our congregation. She has shown up for everything and everyone with her loving heart and understanding soul. Thank you Janice for your three years of an incredible presidency that has helped our community sustain its strength and mission.
And now, with open hearts welcome our new president, Andrew Altman, new congregational leaders, and our new Senior Rabbi, Ben David. They will bring to us continued connection and fortitude within community. Thank you to everyone who serves KI with hands and hearts. May we go from strength to strength with the blessings of our wonderful leadership and light.