July/August 2016 scroll article

“Once or twice in a lifetime,
a man or woman may choose
a radical leaving, having heard
Lech l’cha- Go forth.”

This beautiful reading can be found in the morning prayers of Mishkan T’filah, as part of the blessing for revelation. Traditionally, this blessing acknowledges that G-d revealed G-d’s love for us by giving us Torah. What I love about this reading is that it binds our personal journey with the story of our ancestors, as written in the Torah. Like Abraham, we are sometimes called to leave what we know to answer the call of the still small voice within us, urging us in a new direction.
Coming to Vero Beach in 2010, was a radical leaving for me. I had lost my husband just three years before, I had been surrounded by family and friends since then. I had never lived outside of the Northeast, nor had I ever lived that far from family. Moving to Florida to work at Temple Beth Shalom was the first time I had made a decision solely for myself.
And it was the best decision I could have made. In the years that followed, this amazing community of mommies, daddies, bubbes and zeydes nurtured me, leading me on an incredible path of professional and personal development. I was in a safe place where I could heal from the pain I had experienced. I was in a safe place where I could experiment with music, with performance, with teaching. I had the room to make mistakes, to try again and to succeed- and I was supported every step of the way by colleagues and congregants who were forgiving and kind.
Going to Arizona is another radical leaving. After making TBS my home, and all of you my family, I have to leave the nest again. I cannot ignore that small voice inside me, urging me to take on this new challenge. It will be exciting, it will be scary, and it will be amazing. Or Tzion hired the Cantor that you, Temple Beth Shalom, created. In this sense, you did G-d’s work, enabling me to spread that joy and love of Judaism to another community. And I know that whomever is blessed to be your next Cantor, will enjoy the same growth that you encouraged in me. The above reading concludes, “We don’t like leaving, but G-d loves becoming.” I do not like leaving my beloved Temple Beth Shalom congregation, but I know that what comes next will be the space for G-d’s presence to dwell, to grow, and to fill us with that sense of closeness to the divine.
Thank you for an amazing six years of personal healing and spiritual development; for teaching me what a holy community that serves Judaism can be; and above all, for being the hamish people you are.

May God bless you and protect you.
May the Divine Presence always enlighten you and give you strength.
May the Eternal Source of Blessing help lift you to a place of wholeness, holiness,
fulfillment and peace.

With so much love, 

Cantor Dannah Rubinstein