A Message from our Spiritual Leader 2014/2015


Abby Michaleski
Abby Michaleski

Dear Friends and members of TBE:

This coming fall will be my ninth year as the Spiritual Leader of TBE and it is difficult to wrap my mind around that passing of time.  When I first transitioned from the Cantorial Soloist to Student rabbi, I admit there were moments of terror as I contemplated the responsibility and expectations of this role.  This community however, lovingly created a space and a foundation where I could grow into myself and my rabbinate.  Fear, eventually, was replaced with joy and blessings as we created meaningful and moving experiences together.

While there have been challenges (what family doesn’t have them), I look back over the years and recall so many wonderful moments of our journey together, with Jewish values and practice as our guide.  I felt and continue to feel inspired and proud of this community as it made the difficult choice to stay together after our basement, and nearly our sanctuary was destroyed.  With the help of friends, members and the Hammonton community, we raised almost $80,000 and then rolled up our sleeves and rebuilt!  I have been honored and grateful to lead lifecycle events and holiday gatherings that are not only well attended but feel spiritually meaningful (a student rabbi couldn’t ask for more); culminating this year with my first and as far as I know, TBE’s first ever adult Bat Mitzvah (Mazal tov to you Leenie!)!  And of course, there is the gift of Shabbos.  I am delighted to say that we have made a minyon (10 adults) every month for many years now and that is no small accomplishment for a synagogue our size.  It is such a joy to bring in Shabbos together and I look forward to many more candle lightings in community.

So I write to you today, not only looking back but also forward to a future at TBE; rich with possibilities.  The High Holy Days begin a new Jewish calendar cycle and I invite you to step into the magic and beauty of Jewish time and join us.  As you put the dates of our gatherings onto your refrigerator calendar (or your iPhone), please be sure to put a special star onto January 18, 2015.  This community, which opened its door for me to lead as a first year rabbinic student will be throwing a grand celebration luncheon in honor of my Rabbinic Ordination and I hope you will come and be a part of this huge milestone.  I have been honored to journey with you all these years and I look forward to celebrating together and moving forward as we co-create our Jewish paths ahead.

Many blessings to you and all your loved ones for a sweet and joyous New Year!

Much love,