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Beginning Sabbatical Phase 2

Our congregation announces my upcoming sabbatical:

After serving us faithfully for eleven years, Rabbi Kipnes will begin the second part of his rabbinical sabbatical from May 17 through late August. (The first part took place in January 2008.) The term “sabbatical,” related to the word Shabbat (time of rest), refers to a leave from normal responsibilities. Its roots come from the Torah when God instructs Moses on Mount Sinai that the Israelites are to work the fields for six years and on the seventh year the land will have a Shabbat, a complete rest. Typically taken by rabbis around the world after each seven years of service to the community, a rabbinical sabbatical allows a rabbi to rest, study and experience new facets of Jewish spirituality and learning. It serves to rejuvenate a rabbi’s internal resources for the dual purposes of providing more knowledge for sermons and synagogue activities and creating an invaluable period of spiritual rejuvenation and professional rabbinic renewal.

Rabbi Kipnes is taking his sabbatical in three parts over three years. He will begin the second part (May 17 through August 19) following Shabbat services on May 15 (and the B’nai Mitzvah services on May 16).

How will our rabbi renew himself? Rabbi Kipnes will be studying early Chasidic commentaries on Torah and will also be tutored in conversational Hebrew. He will explore synagogue renewal through an extensive reading list and tours of synagogues of excellence around the country. He will lead a delegation to Camp Newman in Santa Rosa and visit Jewish summer camps in Washington State and Mississippi. He will volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He will expand his personal spiritual practice by rediscovering the beauty of the Holy One in National Parks around America.

Although we will miss our rabbi during his weeks away, we understand that this sabbatical is essential to both his vibrancy and longevity. To ensure that our rabbi has the ability to retreat, reflect and renew, we have developed the following sabbatical coverage plans. Our competent and compassionate Student Rabbi Ari Margolis (contact him through Or Ami at 818-880-4880 or, beginning May 17th at [email protected]) will take a leading role in responding to the pastoral needs of our congregants. Where needed, he will make pastorals calls, arrange for funerals, make hospital visits and take care of the spiritual needs of our congregants. He will be supported by Cantor Cotler and other community Rabbis. Services will be led by Cantor Cotler, Student Rabbi Margolis, Sheryl Braunstein, Darryl Lieberstein, Aaron Meyer, Kim Gubner or some combination thereof. Our talented educators will continue to lead our excellent educational programs. Our fabulous office staff, led by Susie Stark, looks forward to assisting you ([email protected] or 818-880-4880). Of course, our president Susan Gould ([email protected]) is always ready to listen and help.

Since we want our Rabbi to focus on his own renewal and spiritual growth, with his consent, we have instructed Rabbi Kipnes that during his sabbatical, he will not be reading his email, blog, facebook, or twitter, nor will he be accepting congregant phone calls. Although you might see him around town, please respectfully do not engage him in synagogue-related issues. We are proud of how well we take care of our Rabbi and we want him refreshed when he returns!

Rabbi Kipnes will return to our community at Shabbat services on Friday night, August 21. There, interspersed with the beautiful music of our Or Ami Chorale, Rabbi Kipnes will share reflections on the first part of his sabbatical. We wish him well and hope to see you there.

Baruch B’vo’echa * Baruch B’tzay-techa
Blessed may our Rabbi be as he goes off to learn * Blessed may he be as he returns to us renewed.

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