Posted on May 24, 2021 by Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck
When Leigh Miller became our temple president two years ago, he was looking forward to helping us continue to grow as a temple family in important and meaningful ways, building on the strength of the leadership that preceded him. In his first holy day address, Leigh urged us to embrace one another and TBE more fully. At the time, no one could have imagined that his tenure would be defined more by the need to keep our distance from one another, and from the temple, to remain safe. And yet, despite all the challenges we have faced as individuals and as a community, I think we have clearly fulfilled Leigh’s vision in many ways.
Thanks to Leigh’s incredible leadership, we have weathered the storm of the pandemic and still succeeded in growing as a community in significant ways. Leigh led us through the transition to virtual worship, school, study, meetings, and more, personally logging untold hours on Zoom without ever seeming to lose patience or confidence in our path forward.
Leigh never saw himself as a fundraiser. Asking people for money was not in his comfort zone. But faced with the great needs caused by the pandemic, Leigh rose to the challenge and did brilliantly, enabling us to meet our immediate needs and more.
Leigh has been a calm and caring presence in these uncertain times, encouraging, reassuring, exuding faith and confidence in our congregation, our lay leadership, and our staff. The significance of this is not to be underestimated. It is a quintessential mark of great leadership. When there were difficult decisions to be made — and there were more than a few in the last 14 months — Leigh led our team of lay and professional leaders in a focused and values-based manner that led to strong consensus and clarity of vision.
Fortunately, Leigh will be following in the path of his predecessors by continuing to serve our community in significant ways in the coming years, as Gary Cohen becomes our next temple president. Gary, like those before him, comes to his new role well prepared for the challenges he will face. He has been an outstanding temple leader for years, successfully leading many important initiatives including our recent cantorial search committee, and most recently, our Reopening Task Force.
Gary has assembled a great group of women and men to join the leadership team of Trustees and Oversight Committee members, who will be installed during our Shabbat service on Friday, June 18. More than just a transition from one president and administration to another, this event will be a celebration of the strength of our congregation and an opportunity to give thanks for the blessing of having such talented and committed leaders and volunteers.
We are excited about the process underway to return to gathering in-person at the temple, beginning with Shabbat services, to be followed by coming together for religious school and all our other regular activities in the fall. Our thanks are due to Gary Cohen and the entire team of lay and professional leaders on the Reopening Task Force for their tireless efforts to bring us back together safely and in a way that will guarantee that all will be included, near and far.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to all of our members for your strength and resilience during these difficult months, and for your ongoing love and support for our TBE family.
Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck
Originally published in the May-June 2021 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.