Thoughts from the Rabbi…
Each time my family and I have moved from one congregation to another, my wife, children, and I have had the sad and heart-wrenching task of bidding friends farewell. We’ve done it a few times… it doesn’t get easier. Fortunately, cellphones, unlimited calling plans, Skype, and Facebook have made staying in touch with our closest friends a little easier.
Those of you who have either moved to York from someplace else, or have had a loved one move away, probably know the experience all too well. You know people have to move on… and we celebrate each new stage of life… yet the emotional attachment and the bond that has made life so comfortable just knowing they were there… fills the moment of separation with heartache.
At the end of March, a 25-year era comes to an end here at Temple Beth Israel. Our beloved and stalwart, secretary – Toni Marsden – will enter her retirement.
Day in, and day out, Toni has been the proverbial “glue” that has held the temple together. She’s been the smiling face for those who’ve stopped by the office; the friendly voice on the phone who greeted callers with, “Good morning, Temple Beth Israel…”; the sorter, the organizer, the purchaser, the… the friend.
Over the course of Toni’s tenure with TBI – perhaps even to her own pleasant surprise – she has come to appreciate Judaism and its values, she has come to honor the commitment of our congregation to the greater York community, and she has come to know and love the members of what has become her Temple-family.
Jewish tradition teaches us to say, “Shalom,” when people part ways. This word – often translated to mean, “goodbye,” has such finality to it. There is the presumption in saying, “Shalom,” that the relationship has somehow ended. Which is why tradition gives us a better word to use when we hope that the parting is only momentary – when we truly wish to keep that other person in our heart and in our life; when we deeply pray that the paths of life will continue to intertwine, keeping that person close to us.
On behalf of the entire TBI-family that has become Toni’s family, I offer her our very best wishes as she moves into this next stage of life.
We do not say, “Shalom.” Rather:
Until we see each other again.
May God keep you safe and well, wherever you may turn,
Enjoying all your loved ones, living out the dreams you’ve earned.
In the quiet of your beating heart, may you hear God softly say…
“Continue to be the blessing you are, each and every day!”
Toni, Thank you!
Rabbi Jeffrey R. Astrachan