Rabbi Andrew Gordon
L’hitraot – See You Soon!
One of my favorite Jewish cultural moments is the goodbye. We Jews love a goodbye! Just picture it: the gathering has concluded and it’s time to go home. We don’t simply say goodbye and walk out the door. Never! We give hugs and kisses, we make sure everyone is properly wished well, and only afterwards, do we make sure to do it a second time! That’s why I love the Hebrew phrase l’hitraot. When two Israelis leave each other after spending time together, they don’t respond with “goodbye,” they say l’hitraot “see you soon!”
As my time concludes here at Temple Sinai, I’m happy to respond over and over again with l’hitraot – see you soon! For I know that we will see each other soon!
Five years ago, I entered the doors of this community, to serve as one of your rabbis. Over the course of these many months, I’ve been privileged to be by your side for simchas and during moments of challenge. I’ve been incredibly grateful to study alongside you, lead you in worship, and hear your stories, your jokes and your hopes. It has been a truly wonderful honor to be your rabbi. I came here five years ago, not knowing what to expect, but I have grown exponentially because of all of you. You have helped me become the rabbi that I am today, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
As I reflect upon my time here at Temple Sinai, there are so many people to thank! First, to Rabbi Michael White for your guidance and support and for being a true rabbi of rabbis. To Cantor Elena and Sergei Schwartz, it’s been an honor to be on the bimah by your side and watch you create beautiful music. To all of the professional staff, office staff, custodians, our Nursery and Religious School teachers, thank you for dedication to our congregation and for helping build a Jewish Spiritual Home that is welcoming, vibrant and moving to so many. To David Schwartz, Howard Berrent, and Jonathan Cheris, for your leadership as Temple Presidents and for your knowledge and true dedication to our Temple. To all of the executive committee members, board members, and committee members, for the long hours, the late night meetings, for your thoughtful comments and hard work. To all in our congregation, from the twoddlers to the teens, from the b’nei mitzvah students to our adult learners, it has been a true blessing to be with you all. I hope that you have gleaned a small gem of Torah from our conversations because I know I’ve learned so much from all of you.
On July 1, I’ll begin my new role as rabbi at Bolton Street Synagogue in Baltimore, MD. As Brian, Caleb and I head off to Baltimore at the end of June to begin the next step in our journey as a family, we say l’hitraot. See you soon! May our paths continue to cross, may our lives continue to interact and may we continue to learn and grow from these experiences. L’hitraot – see you soon!
Rabbi Andrew Gordon