Transition Announcements from R. David and the Board; Community gatherings Mar. 12 and Mar. 19

Rabbi David shares his difficult decision to begin service at a new synagogue effective July 1, 2023. TBE Board invites community gatherings on March 12 and March 19 to begin moving forward together.

(Board message follows immediately after)

To my beloved Shul by the Sea:

This message is one of the most difficult I’ve ever written.  I send it from my core to yours with the same personal feeling and care as if I were sitting with you one on one.

With a heavy heart, I gave notice to our TBE Board of Trustees that I will become rabbi of another congregation starting July 1, 2023.

The Board received my news with deep love and care.  We cried together.  We laughed together.   Love and pain mingled as our years together flashed before my eyes – countless celebrations, holidays, learnings, losses, innovations, inner growth, quiet conversations, sacred goofiness, challenges and everything in between.

We’ve achieved so much together since I arrived in 2010.  Together we raised up TBE from once-monthly clergy services to far more – with our Band by the Sea, teams of service leaders, deep and consistent learning, travel opportunities, innovative liturgy, two b-mitzvah cohorts and a minyan of new Torah leyners.  We surfed growth and inevitable growing pains, the covid-19 pandemic, tectonic technological shifts, global economic and political change, and local waves of hate.  I’m also tremendously grateful to TBE Board leadership and volunteers, whose vision and support made it possible for TBE to update our Sanctuary, upgrade technology, modernize administrative systems, expand support for at-risk members, solidify relationships with outside Jewish and civic organizations, and forge alliances with church partners in spirit.

Our “little shul that could” is the community that made me a rabbi.  Much that I learned about authentic spirituality found an anchor and sandbox at TBE.  TBE’s genuine openness of heart, spiritual depth, creativity, joy, fun and embrace of each person are rare.  They power this special community to do and be so very much.

The sacred privilege of serving TBE has been a gift beyond price that I will treasure forever.  

After 13 years – and now reaching my 50th birthday – I’ve discerned a need for transformation that I cannot responsibly ignore or delay.  My next life stage asks for new relationships, opportunities and challenges.  And it’s time for TBE to make space for the new gifts and graces that only new spiritual leadership can bring.

Between now and June 30, I’m all in.  All programs, services, classes, pastoral care and our upcoming Israel trip will continue unchanged.  And, I’m here for all the emotions that this message will elicit: supporting each of you in the months ahead is my top priority.

What’s next is up to our Board of Trustees, with substantial input from the community. (Please read their letter immediately following mine.)  TBE has a proud 90-year history, and I’m tremendously excited to imagine what opportunities can emerge for TBE.  I’m also immensely grateful to president Rachel Stark, vice president Shari Berkowitz and the entire Board – Elaine Belasco, Stu Goldstein, Joel Meltzer, Stu Sorell and Helen Werner – for receiving my difficult decision with as much love and care as I feel for all of them and all of you.  Please join me in thanking our Board for their leadership at this pivotal time, and please join with them to bring forward TBE’s brightest future.

I couldn’t imagine being your rabbi without the partnership of our Band and service leaders – Shari, Stu, Bob Berent, Leslie Lichtman-Berland, Monty Renov and others who have shared their gifts with me and all of you.  For music, creativity, Bimah banter and your own pulpit leadership, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I ache as I write these words.  Even so, Judaism’s ancient tradition offers profound truth for us all: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).  A time of change is upon us.  Please join me in determination and faith that, with your help, TBE will flourish in ways that perhaps we can scarcely imagine now.  After all, in the words of Isaiah 43:19, about the divine power of transformation: 

הִנְנִי עֹשֶׂה חֲדָשָׁה עַתָה תִצְמָח הֲלוֹא תֵדָעוּהָ
אַף אָשִׂים בַּמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ בִּישִׁמוֹן נְהָרוֹת:

Here I am, making something new sprout even now:
Don’t you know?
For I will place a path in the wilderness,
and flowing rivers in dry places. 

May the Holy One of Blessing chart our course and flow through us amidst this season of change.  May the One we call God inspire us all to lean forward with courage, care, and all the heart we can muster for our beloved Shul by the Sea. 

With every blessing of abundance, health, healing, joy, grace and shalom – 

– Rabbi David



Simple words cannot express our gratitude to our rabbi for his 13 years of service to TBE.  Rabbi David’s passion, talent, wisdom and sheer stamina have deeply nourished and transformed this special community – and all of us.  Together we will find ways to honor Rabbi David in the months ahead and bless him on his journey: stay tuned.

For nearly 90 years, TBE has been our miracle – a diamond in the rough, achieving so much more than we could ever imagine.  Our feel is refreshingly different, always has been and, with your help, always will be.  Together we can bring TBE into a next chapter worthy of us and the legacy of Rabbi David and Rabbi Shohama before him.

The Board is planning a series of first steps to help all of us digest this news and begin leaning forward into the future together.  Please participate in two important gatherings:

Sunday March 12, 5:00pm-6:00pm
(zoom only)

An open community conversation via zoom,
to be together and share feelings.

Meeting ID: 317 145 140  •  Code: 971260

Sunday March 19, 4:30pm
live and zoom)

Town Hall meeting, immediately following the 3:00pm Tarot & Kabbalah event
with Mark Horn.  Originally the Town Hall meeting had a different purpose,
but now will focus on TBE’s next steps as a community.
Rabbi David will be present.

Meeting ID: 317 145 140  •  Code: 971260

After feedback from the Town Hall meeting, the Board will design a process to plan for this summer and autumn, including Shabbat by the Sea and the High Holy Days.  We also will have transition meetings with Rabbi David where he can offer advice and suggestions.  We deeply appreciate Rabbi David’s consistent willingness to go above and beyond for us, and everyone’s wisdom and hands-on support so that TBE can flourish going forward.

We know that this news is emotional.  We’re here for you and for all the feelings whose flow will help carry TBE forward into the next chapter.  Contact us anytime, and please join our online community gathering so that we can begin this journey together.

With love and care,

TBE’s Board of Trustees
Rachel Stark
Shari Berkowitz
Elaine Belasco
Stu Goldstein
Joel Meltzer
Stu Sorell
Helen Werner

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