January 8, 2018
To the Members of Temple Beth Shalom:
The Board has just received a letter of resignation from Rabbi Jim Egolf, to be effective as of June 30, 2018. Rabbi Egolf has, as many of you know, been serving as our rabbi on a part-time basis, while working with the Cleveland Clinic in its chaplaincy service, as his full-time job. To his credit, he has advanced quickly with the Clinic, and was recently extended a significant new role which will require his full time and attention. Realizing that he could no longer dedicate the time and effort required to effectively serve our congregation given his new responsibilities, he wanted to provide Temple Beth Shalom adequate time to begin a search for his replacement. A copy of his letter of resignation is included with this letter.
We want to meet by the end of this month to initiate the process, so I urge you to consider participating and joining with your fellow members in setting a new course for the coming years.
The Board and the Congregation congratulate Rabbi Egolf and his family, and thank him for the time he has served as our rabbi.
President, Temple Beth Shalom
January 2, 2018
Dear TBS Board and Members,
When I started at TBS in 2014 I was also beginning a secondary career focus. As many of you know I have been serving both as your rabbi and as a chaplain. In addition I was also in the process of transitioning from learning to do chaplaincy myself to teaching others how to be spiritual caregivers. I completed the core part of my program in November 2017 and I now am certified in this field.
When I started with TBS I also believed that when my chaplaincy program ended I would need to move away from Cleveland. While certified chaplain educators are needed in hospitals everywhere, only a handful of positions exist in the Cleveland area. After discussions with the leaders of spiritual care at the Cleveland Clinic, a new educator position has been created for me to to be able to stay at the Cleveland Clinic. This is a huge promotion and a major milestone in this area.
This milestone comes with some decisions I need to make. I find that I am no longer able to give TBS the time it deserves and so it is my intention to step down as your rabbi, effective June 30, 2018. I feel it is in the congregation's interest to share my decision with you sooner rather than later. My hope is that in doing so TBS will use the time to reflect on its needs as a congregation. This is a time of discernment for what TBS seeks in a new spiritual leader. I intend to continue serving the congregation until June 30th so that a smooth transition can take place during the summer.
I have found my time with you at TBS to be among years I have treasured in my pulpit career. Your support during our medical struggles and deaths in our families touched us greatly and helped us through those difficult times. We count many of you as close friends and for this you have our continuing gratitude. Joshua's bar mitzvah will still be celebrated at TBS in April and we hope to be able to remain as members of the congregation and youth group going forward.
Transitions and change are not things any of us like, yet when faced with a change we have a choice. As I think of this time I consider God's message to Abraham that in the new land God would show him, he was to be a blessing. As we have gone through changes and will continue to go through this change together, I thank you for times when you have been a precious blessing to my family and to me. At the end of each book of the Torah we say ‘Chazak Chazak, v'nitchazeik, Strength to strength and may we grow stronger,' and so may we be.
L' Shalom and with Gratitude,
Rabbi Jim Egolf
Join us Friday, January 19, for a Pink Shabbat. Help us raise awareness about breast cancer within the Jewish community. Learn about the increased risk among Ashkenazi Jews, how to determine your risk, be proactive about your health, and how we can support community members facing difficult circumstances. We will hear from special guest speakers about their experiences. Please wear pink to honor those in your lives who have been affected by breast cancer.
Did you know?
Other upcoming Sisterhood events:
Please note the new date:
We will meet Sunday, January 21, to discuss Cynthia Ozick's Heir to the Glimmering World. Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes.
About the book:
Heir is a character-driven novel set in 1933, when the Mitwissers, a family of German Jews, arrive in America after a narrow and eccentric escape from Berlin. (Forced to hide for a week before they could flee, they circled the city in a rented limousine, wearing their finest clothes and assuming a regal air at hotels where they slipped in to use the bathroom.) After landing somewhat haphazardly in New York, they place an ad for help in a local paper. The only applicant for the job is an eighteen-year-old orphan, Rose Meadows, who narrates the story, and who observes the Mitwissers with the dry neutrality of an invisible servant. Ozick portrays this ramshackle household to dazzling effect, as it adjusts to its many states of exile—from a sense of security, from cherished ideas, and from the consolations of each other.
After that we'll read Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink (date TBD in February). This is Kadish's third novel, and her stories have also been published and won awards.
About the book:
Set in London of the 1660s and in the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of an American graduate student, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.” Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices women must make in order to reconcile the life of the heart and mind.