We (Sam, Olya and I) are getting ready to move back to the Bay Area. We are returning because Tahoe has not been kind to Olya’s health or Sam’s peace of mind. So we are returning. Not to our old home, which we sold a few months ago, but a little further north, in Petaluma, in Sonoma County. I have had to face the reality that my family needs this change, despite the joys I have experienced as the North Tahoe Rabbi.
Leaving has been challenging—I am quite attached to many people, young, old and in-between, and leaving them is heart-wrenching. I am thankful for Facebook for the opportunity I will have to watch some of the children grow up, and to keep me informed about their lives, at least peripherally.
I find I don’t know how to stop being someone’s rabbi, and have been told, well, you don’t. People who connected with me will stay connected. I pray that this is so.
And so I am reminded yet again of one of my favorite literary characters from my childhood—Anne of Green Gables. She defined the concept of kindred spirits—those people we know in our souls, the people whose bond transcends time and space. I discovered that Tahoe is home to many of my kindred spirits, Jewish and not, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. One thing they all share is a commitment to kindness.
As we read parashat Toledot (Generations) this week, I am reminded of a teaching from Reb Mel Gottlieb about Isaac, whose wells were blocked numerous times by the Philistines and the Gerarim. Each time, Isaac just moved on, moved over and decided that wells were not worth fighting over. Meanwhile, Isaac was blessed with prosperity. His willingness to move on rather than fight doesn’t always sit well with me, but in this moment, this season, this year—I hear his decision to move on as my call to move on for the sake of my family, taking care of them, and pray that the rest will fall into place.
I know that adjustments are ahead for the community and the congregation, as well as for my family. I pray that North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation will prosper under its new rabbinic leadership. I look forward to finding ways to serve in the North Bay, through teaching, life cycles, spiritual guidance and love. Because in the end, it is love that I carry from Tahoe to Sonoma.