January 10, 2024
With this letter, I am announcing my retirement from my position of senior rabbi at Temple Micah eighteen months from now. In June, 2025, I will complete forty-two years as a rabbi at Micah. In that time, my life has been enriched beyond anything I could have possibly imagined, helping to build the community we have, as well as taking advantage of the wondrous opportunities my position has allowed. It has been an incredible experience for my family and me. I feel very lucky.
I do not think that it is an exaggeration to say that together we have created a Temple Micah that is an exemplary 21st century synagogue. We have attracted a remarkably dedicated and talented staff. Our temple culture is fully Jewish and fully American. We engage the human project every single day, are unafraid of tackling the hard conversations, and are in the vanguard of creating a new Jewish narrative. We understand the need for our Jewish passion to reach outside of the walls of our own community, and we address this need in tangible ways. In addition to all this, in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Tisch Fellows Program, through our summer internships, we have become a training ground for new rabbis. We are, in short, a congregation that others seek to emulate. Our Micah cup is very full.
I have informed the Micah Board of my retirement plan for June 2025, and they have graciously accepted my decision. We are blessed with able and dedicated leadership who will guide this transition over the upcoming years. I am very grateful to our president, Rielle Miller Gabriel and our vice president, Brent Goldfarb who have been wise and patient as we together discussed my plans.
This is clearly a huge personal decision for both Louise and me. As a way for us to begin to absorb this decision and announcement, I will be on sabbatical from Micah for the next two months of February and March, returning in April, ready to go for my final fifteen months as senior rabbi of our special community.
Rabbi Daniel G. Zemel
To our Temple Micah Family,
Yesterday evening, Rabbi Danny Zemel informed the Board of his plan to retire on June 30, 2025.
The Temple Micah Board is tremendously grateful to Rabbi Zemel for his visionary leadership. Our congregation has been shaped by his passion, wisdom, and care in the pursuit of the human project.
We are blessed that we will have numerous opportunities to celebrate him during the next 18 months. This is bittersweet. We feel both respect and sadness for Rabbi Zemel’s decision, as well as happiness and anticipation for what he will do after he retires. At the same time, we look forward to co-creating the next chapter of Temple Micah’s story.
The Board had planned for this eventuality and had adopted a succession plan. So, with his announcement last night, we initiated our plan (congregants can read the full plan here) – the first step of which was to approve the creation of a Transition Committee. The Transition Committee will guide the congregation from the present through the installation of new rabbinic leadership. Joshua Berman and Betsy Broder, both former Temple Micah Presidents, have been appointed to co-chair this committee. They will be supported by our executive director, Beth Werlin, and the board president and vice president.
The entire community’s input and participation will be critical for a rabbinic leadership transition following a remarkable 40+-year tenure. Starting today, you will find all current information about the Transition Plan on a dedicated ShulCloud website.
The transition period will have several stages even prior to the formation of a rabbinical search committee.
The initial step is our discovery process, centered around our Listening Plan. Very soon, you will be encouraged to attend a listening session so we can hear from each of you as we consider our next steps. Further, we have established a dedicated email address to ensure that our community has a place to ask questions, provide input and engage with our Transition Committee members: email@example.com.
We have great confidence that our rabbinic, staff and lay leadership will capably guide, support, and nurture our community during our transition period. It is hard to overstate the talent that our rabbis bring to our community: Rabbis Beraha, Crawley, and Slakman collectively embody the culture and values of Temple Micah, inspiring us in worship, challenging us with their teaching, and supporting us in celebration and sorrow. Our extraordinary executive director, Beth Werlin, who led us through a return to a new normal after COVID, will continue to work closely with the board, rabbis and staff to ensure continuity in Temple operations. We are so fortunate to have an entire staff that has shown great passion, compassion, and commitment to Temple Micah and our membership over many years and who know and see our members.
We also will rely on our Roadmap. Just a few years ago, Temple Micah did the hard work of listening and understanding what we collectively value and aspire to be. We are very lucky to have this documentation of that work as our guide.
Rabbi Zemel has inspired us with his teachings for more than 40 years, and we are fortunate that for the next 18 months he will continue to lead and help prepare us for our future. Together, our community will build on his vision and honor his legacy as we continue to write the Temple Micah story. We look forward to traveling on this journey with each of you.
Rielle Miller Gabriel, President
Brent Goldfarb, Vice President
Visit our members-only webpage on ShulCloud to view additional resources, including Frequently Asked Questions, our Transition Timing Plan, and our Listening Plan.