DAY 1 — Introduction from Rabbi Saks

July 1, 2012
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1 — Introduction from Rabbi Saks

To the Beth Mordecai community,

Today is my first official day on the job as your new rabbi!  It’s hard to imagine that this day has finally arrived after thinking about it for so long.  Yet, it’s here and I am even more excited and energized to do this job than the day I took it.  With that excitement though comes a certain amount of nervousness because I want to make the community proud.  I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly where this journey is going to take us.  There are many different possible endings.  Yet I believe that if we work hard at listening to each other and out of that listening we do what we can to help each other, then at the end of the day we will be successful.  As the saying goes, “every journey begins with a single step.”

One of those steps in our journey is this email because it is more than simply an introduction.  This email is a commitment to a vision in which each and every member of our community is privy to and part of the process of building our community.  Think about it as a public journal.  As often as possible, I will share with you what I am doing to help make Beth Mordecai thrive.  While not every detail will be shared, I want you to hear/read my thoughts, reflections, fears, stories, inspirations, joys, concerns, teachings, and perhaps some jokes  that I experience on this journey as your Rabbi.  This is part of my distinctive Torah that I want to share with you and I hope that it will inspire you to share yours with me and with the community.

That being said, I want to lay out the framework for these emails.

1) These emails are different than community updates or announcements.  They are the contents of a communal journal of our journey.  Picking up on this theme of journeying, each email will be titled with the current day I am in this position (i.e. today is Day 1, tomorrow is Day 2, etc.).  This title will allow you to differentiate these emails from others you may get from the synagogue without having to click on it.

2) I will address each email as “Dear Hevreh.”  Because of its flexibility of meaning in Hebrew, the term “Hevreh” can indicate a group of friends, a group with a specific purpose, or even member units of a larger group.  All of these categories of relationships have some relevance to how we affiliate with Beth Mordecai.  In addition, Hevreh is an informal term.  It connotes a feeling of closeness and informality which, from my limited experience, is a strong value in our community.  As such, I believe that Hevreh is an appropriate term to refer  to our community in these emails.

3) The emails will be short (excluding this one of course!).  I believe that email fatigue is a cause of many reasons why people struggle checking, comprehending, and appreciating email.  As such, you can expect most of these emails to be between 1-2 paragraphs and I will try to hold myself to a maximum of 10 sentences per email.  If for some reason I feel I must go longer, I will let you know at the beginning of the email.

4) Let me know if you want to opt out of these emails.  The last thing I want to do is overcrowd your inbox so if you feel that these emails are not interesting you or engaging you, please don’t hesitate to write me an email saying you would like to opt-out of receiving these emails.

5) Email me with your thoughts, comments, questions, etc.  The primary purpose of these emails is to spur communal conversation and engagement around building our community.  As such, your comments, feedback, and experiences you’d like to share are critical to making these emails a viable platform for communal discussion.  While contact right now will be through me, the goal is to build a community conversation online where I am just one player.  This means going beyond email, but we’ll get to what that will look like in due time.

One immediate item to share with you is that I will be speaking with New Jersey Jewish News tomorrow.    I’m very excited to share my vision publicly and to put out some positive press for the congregation.  In preparation for that interview, I would love to hear any stories or historical details about the congregation that you think might be interesting to share.  Please feel free to email me ( or call me in the office (732-442-2431) with your thoughts.

Kol Tuv (all the best),

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S.  I apologize if I missed anyone’s email address.  If you know someone who did not receive this but would like to, please forward me their email so I can put it on the list.  Thanks so much.


Category : Beth Mordecai in the News Middlesex Jewish News Rabbi's Journal
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