Friday, June 21, 2024

Final Shabbat Email


I'm delighted to share with you an advance copy of the program for my final Shabbat, which will be distributed in hard copy on Friday night.

You can access it by clicking here.

I thank the many people who have written thus far. If you haven't yet and would like to share reflections, we will be updating this collection in real time over the coming weeks, so it's not too late. You can send it to me directly at my TBE email address (which I'll be keeping) -

I will be on vacation after the conclusion of Shabbat (Shabbat morning will be my last service) until the end of June, after which I'll magically become rabbi emeritus. It's all rather jarring, and it's all happening at breakneck speed, which is why this Friday night is so important. It's a moment in history, and the speakers (who will all speak relatively briefly) will reflect different generations and experiences within the congregation over the past 37 years. There will also be people here from my prior pulpit, as this will be the culmination of over 40 years in the congregational rabbinate. I hopefully have many miles to go, and many challenges to pursue as a rabbi, but this is a time to take stock of a career as well as an era.

It is heartwarming not only to have seen the notes, but to know that several hundred have indicated that they will be present for this final service, which will also feature wonderful musicians along with stirring speakers. This is exactly the kind of send-off Mara and I wanted: Heimish, heartfelt and accessible to all. As you will sense from the booklet, the response has made us feel very good about all that we've experienced together. I am especially appreciative of the committee that has coordinated this special evening, led by co-chairs Elissa Garber-Hyman and Peter Kempner.

It would be a good idea to plan to get here early and maybe carpool, as parking will be at a premium. Also, it will be a hot day, so dress comfortably.

Finally, many have shared with me a sense of sadness, along with some disorientation, which is quite natural. Mara and I both feel it as well. Leaving so many people we've loved for so long will not be easy. You'll see in the program booklet many examples of how the history of our relationships is both broad and very deep. If you are feeling sad or just want a little closure or reassurance, please feel free to be in touch with Mara and me directly. We've had some incredible conversations with people over the past few weeks and would love to hear from you. You are not alone. Contact me at any time, using my temple email address.

So there may a few tears on Friday night. But I guarantee that you will laugh and smile too. It will be our chance to put the sweet into bittersweet. It's what we've done together for so many years.

I mentioned that my work at TBE effectively ends after Shabbat. ...And on Sunday, I'm doing a wedding of one of my old TBE students. That's why we won't say goodbye this Shabbat. Just Shalom!

Hello-Goodbye-Peace - all in a single word.


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman.


Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, Connecticut 06902
203-322-6901 |
A Conservative, Inclusive, Spiritual Community

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