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The Rabbi's message for June


Rabbi's Message

While preparing to retire this month, I have been thinking a lot about Moses—how he must have felt as he handed over his “legacy” to Joshua. What is a legacy, truly? Sometimes it is a financial gift bequeathed after death. Sometimes it is a special status granted to a candidate for entrance into a university, like a “legacy Harvard student”. In our case, at City Shul, legacy will be “the lessons, faith, and vision of a founding leader

When I started City Shul 13 years ago, I still had a legacy of sorts from Kolel, and from Holy Blossom before that. City Shul was quickly accepted into the Reform movement as a result of that legacy. 

And now, as I prepare to become your Rabbi Emerita, I feel blessed and confident that my “lessons, faith, and vision” will live on at City Shul. While things will definitely change, and new ideas and ways of celebrating and worshipping will emerge, it is not in any way “against” my legacy for the shul to shift, recalibrate, and revision. In fact, that will prove the strength of my legacy! Because the greatest testament to my skill as a Rabbi will be that City Shul continues to thrive by evolving and growing. The greatest testament to the strength of my relationships will be that members continue to renew, new members continue to join, high holiday participants continue to buy tickets, and I return as Rabbi Emerita to a vibrant City Shul.  

You should direct all future Rabbinic questions, comments, concerns, and ideas for City Shul to our transition Rabbi, Danny Gottlieb, beginning July 1, at And please know that your Leadership Team is here for you throughout the Rabbinic transition, with a special Transition Task Force headed by Ottie Lockey; you can reach her 

On a personal note, my career has not only been about G-d and Torah, it has been about people. It will mean so much to me if you celebrate with me at my gala on June 17— there are only a few more days to buy tickets HERE. If you are a member, please join us at my last City Shul service on June 15, and bring your best dessert to share HERE. (Non-members, please understand that due to very real space limitations, we cannot open this service to all.)

 You can still honour me and allow me to do mitzvahs in your name and the name of your loved ones by donating to the new Rabbi Emerita Discretionary Fund HERE which will function as long as I remain your Rabbi Emerita— a long time, I hope! You can also celebrate our relationship with a donation to the Rabbi Elyse Goldstein Rabbinic Excellence Fund HERE which will ensure quality leadership for City Shul in the years ahead.

Let’s stay in touch! You can keep in touch with me personally after June 15 at my new email: You can see some of the ways I will be spending my time in retirement at my new website - - which will go live at the beginning of August.

The Latin root of legacy— legare— means “to appoint as an ambassador.” You are the ambassadors for the legacy of City Shul. In this, my last newsletter column before becoming Rabbi Emerita, I say to you as Moses said to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31: Chazak v’ematz: be strong and of good courage! May we be blessed together, as we all go forward.


Rabbi Dr. Elyse Goldstein

Red Shoes on the Bimah

This collection of High Holiday sermons demonstrates Rabbi Elyse Goldstein's enthusiasm for living a rich Jewish life and finding meaning, her commitment to the community, and her passion for social justice.

She spoke passionately on feminism, racism, vegetarianism, and environmental issues. Several common themes emerge: express gratitude, live with equanimity, and be fully present. Her timeless sermons encourage everyone to live more simply and engage more fully, to find strength in, and strengthen Jewish community, to treasure Jewish wisdom, to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish ritual, and to make the world better through the practice of Jewish values.

Click HERE for more details.

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Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784