Qabbalat Shabbat – A Farewell to Rabbi Soffer; Samantha Michaela Berk will chant Qiddush
June 7 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Join us on Friday, June 7 at 6:00 p.m. during Qabbalat Shabbat for a special opportunity to celebrate Rabbi Soffer and wish him farewell as he begins this new journey!
Dear Temple Israel Community,
As you know, our cherished Rabbi Matthew Soffer has accepted an offer to serve as Senior Rabbi of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina. It is a wonderful opportunity for him as the next chapter of his distinguished career. Though we are sad that he will be leaving us at the end of June 2019, we are thrilled that Judea Reform Congregation has found the kind of quality, dedication, and intellectual vigor we have experienced here at Temple Israel. A message from Rabbi Soffer follows our letter, below.
Rabbi Soffer brought his full self to our congregation. His passion for Judaism and Jewish living has carried all of us to new heights. He has devoted his rabbinate to be part of our lives. He has rejoiced and mourned with us, taught us, led us and shared his wisdom and humor in our experience of Judaism with him.
His accomplishments are many. Rabbi Soffer took the Riverway Project and grew it exponentially, adding the High Holy Days and other programmatic experiences to strengthen engagement. He has worked closely and in partnership with our volunteer leadership in social justice to build upon the past and take us into the future with vigor. The formation of TIkkun Central as the gathering and organizing hub for justice of our congregation has built leadership and energy as a key facet of the work we do at Temple Israel. He has led the transformation of Families with Young Children into The Village, which helped us welcome and bring many little ones into the life of the congregation. Rabbi Soffer has excelled as a devoted and committed member of our clergy and community. He is a skillful teacher and preacher. He has been our beloved rabbi.
We will miss him and his family and know that Judea Reform is fortunate to be able to call him their rabbi. He will serve them well and with great integrity. We support Rabbi Soffer in every way and look forward to celebrating him this Spring.
We will very soon embark on a search process for a new rabbi and will be forming a rabbinic search advisory committee to assist in this process. We will keep you informed and invite your input as we move forward.
For now, Rabbi Soffer along with the rest of us are focused on the important sacred work we continue to do together here at Temple Israel.
With warmth and appreciation,
Rabbi Elaine Zecher Gary Pforzheimer
Senior Rabbi Board President
To my beloved community of Temple Israel,
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that this will be my final year as a rabbi at Temple Israel of Boston. I have been offered and accepted the position of Senior Rabbi of Judea Reform Congregation, in Durham, N.C., a community that shares so many of our core values. The reality of saying goodbye to you, Temple Israel, the “home” in which my and Nicole’s marriage, family, and careers began and have flourished, brings upon us an undeniable wave of sadness.
As you can imagine, the last few weeks and months have been deeply reflective. I recall many years ago, entering my rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR with the cynical sense that synagogues by and large were “not up to task,” when it came to tackling the greatest challenges facing American Judaism and society at large. I did, however, hear some news about a place up in Boston, a Temple, which had a knack for bucking the trends that were so alarming to major Jewish institutions. I heard about its dynamic clergy and courageous lay leaders who were investing time and resources in these brilliant, “crazy ideas,” in order to make Judaism relevant, dynamic, and absolutely centered on justice. And so I came to this place, Temple Israel, as a summer intern in 2009 – to learn. What I learned above all that first summer was that I couldn’t imagine beginning my rabbinate anywhere else. Now, a decade later, as I reflect on all of the experiences we have shared, I can only say: kosi r’vaya, “my cup runneth over” – with appreciation, gratitude, and love.
Kosi r’vaya, “my cup runneth over,” with appreciation, for the amazing gift of working with Temple Israel’s clergy team (past and present), our staff, and our lay leaders, whose commitment to our community and mission inspires me daily.
Kosi r’vaya, with gratitude, for the opportunities you have granted me to do sacred work, pursuing our mission of “living Judaism together through discovery, dynamic spirituality, and righteous impact.”
Kosi r’vaya, with love for you, the community members of Temple Israel, who have so warmly embraced and nourished my family. Nicole and I treasure that blessing with all our hearts.
In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to spending meaningful time together. We will have time for goodbye. But come June, I will find comfort in knowing that in Hebrew we do not say, “goodbye,” we say, l’hit-raot, “see you again.”
With appreciation, gratitude, and love,
Rabbi Matt Soffer