My Final Bulletin Article: Shalom Ul’hitraot
From The Heart
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor
Somewhere filed away is my first bulletin message. I remember that it was accompanied by a picture of a very young Ruby and me. It seems like only yesterday. Yet the miles and the years have been filled with the relationships and love of many people. Especially before the computer age and the inundation of a new congregation, usually larger, it was hard to stay in touch. As we are staying here in Richmond, this moment is different from all the others.
We have never lived in any other place as long as we have lived here with you. In these twenty-one years I have been so deeply involved with multiple generations of families that I can sometimes do the family tree as well as others. I look at a bar/bat mitzvah having officiated for their parent’s wedding and know their grandparents as well. This has been a unique journey for me as well as for families whom I have known and loved.
With the end of this month I will transition from Rabbi to Rabbi Emeritus and during July Rabbi Knopf will become the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El. We have already spent wonderful hours in conversation together and I look forward to his arrival.
Long ago a colleague wrote in his bulletin at the same juncture in time something to the effect that for all the years he was their Rabbi and friend, now he is just their friend. I quote those words and adopt them as my own as I share them with you. For all these years I have felt that I was more than just your Rabbi. I have felt true friendships, camaraderie and love. Standing on the bemah before you created a distance, but when I descended and we shook hands, hugged and kissed we bridged that space. It has been the content and context of my life.
For these years I have been your Rabbi and friend. From here forward I am just your friend. Rabbi Knopf will be our Rabbi. As the Rabbis teach us to learn from everyone, I am looking forward to learning from him as he will preach and teach us. My beloved pulpit will be his.
As you did towards me, for sorrow and joys, you will now turn toward Rabbi Knopf as your Rabbi for all officiations. May God bless him with Divine wisdom, strength and love. Should you wish my involvement, it is necessary to discuss that with Rabbi Knopf and he will be the one to be in communication with me. This transition must be done with respect and with love for both of us. This is what is right and proper. It will bring us joy.
I hope to see you in shul and sit among you as I sit next my beloved wife. Ruby and I have seldom had the pleasure of sitting together. We look forward to that blessing.
From our hearts and home to you and yours, Ruby and I send you our love.