A Message from Rabbi Gluck on his Retirement

Posted on June 21, 2024 by Rabbi Arnie Gluck

Dear Friends,

 

At this poignant moment of transition words feel insufficient to express all that is in my heart. My family and I have been so blessed to be embraced by this loving, caring extended Jewish family, and to have the gift of calling this Beit El, this house of God, our Jewish home. You have touched our lives and our hearts in so many ways.

 

So, I thank you with the fullness of my heart. Thank you for sharing the journey of our lives these 33 years, for celebrating the times and seasons, the passages of joy and sorrow, the sacred and holy days. Thank you for the laughter and the tears we have shared. Thank you for the Torah we have learned and taught, and for the growth it has inspired. Thank you for your partnership in living our faith through acts of kindness, compassion, and love. Thank you for the meals we have shared, the songs we have sung, the hopes and prayers we have lifted up b’yachad, together.

 

To serve as your rabbi truly has been one of the greatest honors of my life. To paraphrase Ben Azzai in Pirkei Avot, s’char mitzvah mitzvah, the act of service itself has been the greatest reward — more than I ever could have hoped for.

 

Now, as the time has come for me to pass the mantle of leadership to the next generation, I do so with great emotion. This is as it should be. It has been my privilege to be a link in the chain of tradition that began with Moses and has continued unbroken from generation to generation. The first Mishnah in Pirkei Avot describes this clearly:

 

“Moses received the Torah at Sinai and passed it down to Joshua; Joshua passed it down to the elders, and the elders to the prophets. The prophets passed it down to the men of the Great Assembly.”

 

Thousands of years later, we continue this tradition. I was blessed to receive the Torah from the teachers and leaders who came before me — my parents, the elders of my home synagogue in Chappaqua, New York, and inspiring rabbis and scholars who guided and mentored me. I embraced the Torah they taught me, made it my own, and added my understandings as I taught Torah to several generations of young and old here at TBE. Now the time has come for a new generation to take its place and lead us forward.

 

TBE is blessed to have a history of talented and committed leadership, and the current lay and professional leaders represent an inspiring continuation of that tradition. I am confident in them and in their values and vision. Incoming Interim Rabbi David Katz is a wonderful rabbi who will serve our congregation well as we prepare to welcome a new settled rabbi a year from now. Place your trust in them and allow them to guide the way forward. The future is bright for TBE.

 

As I assume my new role of Rabbi Emeritus, I will do everything I can to ensure the success of Rabbi Katz and the new settled rabbi who will follow him. More than anything else, this means not getting in their way. There will be times when it may be appropriate for Rabbi Katz and the new settled rabbi to invite me to participate in some way, but it will be their prerogative, not mine, to make that determination. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) has clear protocols about these matters, and our lay leaders and I are fully committed to abide by them.

 

Our congregation is strong. Its leadership, as I have noted, is strong. Our faith, values, and customs are clear and will serve us well in guiding us forward on our path. As Moses charged Joshua with the words chazak ve’ematz, “be strong and courageous,” I ask you to express your Jewish commitment by strengthening this congregation with your generosity of spirit and substance.

 

Above all, I ask you to be there for one another in times of joy and sorrow — to show up for one another — and to make Shabbat and the holy days the center of your spiritual lives. S’char mitzvah mitzvah. The mitzvah will be its own reward and will ennoble your lives.

 

TBE is the Gluck family’s spiritual home and always will be. This congregation is our extended family. But especially in the early stages of this transition, though Sarah and I will remain in our current home, we will attend services and celebrate holy days at other synagogues, especially at Temple Sinai in Summit, where our daughter Shira serves as one of the rabbis. After the new rabbis have settled in, we will look forward to opportunities to return to TBE to rejoin you in worship and other activities.

 

Sarah and I are excited about having more time for each other and our family, continued growth and learning, travel, and service to our people and Israel. We are not saying goodbye; we are saying l’hitra’ot, until we see each other again.

 

So, I leave you with the blessing that Moses offered the Children of Israel, according to the midrash: May God continue to bless the work of your hands, and may God bless you with peace.

 

Bivrachah,

Rabbi Arnie Gluck