Senior Rabbi Robert N. Levine announces his retirement effective June 30, 2021.
Message from CRS President Peter Ehrenberg
Rabbi Levine has decided that after three decades of dedicated service to the synagogue he loves, he will step down as Senior Rabbi, effective June 30, 2021. At that point, he will become Rabbi Emeritus. The Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to designate Rabbi Benjamin Spratt to become our next Senior Rabbi at that time.
I know that I speak for countless members of our Congregation in offering heartfelt thanks for Rabbi Levine’s remarkable contributions to CRS, RSS and the many communities that he has impacted with his distinct covenantal theology. Under his leadership, we have accomplished so much – from our meaningful and innovative worship programs to the successes of our school to our Jewish education and social action programs, and so much more.
We are very fortunate to have Rabbi Spratt already part of our community for 16 years, and in so many roles at both the synagogue and school. Through his brilliant voice and engaging manner, he has struck chords of intense connection with our congregation and – with his vision, passion and commitment – made clear that he is the right person to lead us.
Further details will be available in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Rabbi Levine for his innumerable contributions to CRS and congratulating Rabbi Spratt on his new role.
Peter H. Ehrenberg
President, Congregation Rodeph Sholom
Message from Rabbi Robert N. Levine
Dear Rodeph Sholom family,
Just over thirty years ago a hardworking search committee elected me Senior Rabbi of our extraordinary congregation. Temple historians may record that I was the last and youngest of all the applicants. You put your trust in me and I have felt profoundly honored to be your rabbi throughout this generation when we achieved strong growth and the development of a true caring community.
Together, we have continued to build a large, vibrant spiritual congregation which still feels like a small shule. Together, we have established amazing educational programs and have been in the vanguard of crucial social justice concerns. Truthfully, I could not be prouder of who we are as a congregation, our determination to live the values we preach, to seek lives of meaning and to develop lifelong interpersonal relationships.
This horrible pandemic has induced much introspection in all of us. After long discussions with my wife Gina, I feel this is the right time to announce my retirement as Senior Rabbi effective the end of June 2021.
Being your rabbi and sharing in your joys and sorrows has been one of the great privileges of my life. As you well know, this profession takes the full devotion of mind, heart and body. Little personal time remains and, understandably, the rabbi never has weekends. As none of us can know how long we will be graced with life and health, I believe I owe it to my incredible bride and our beautiful family to give them more of me.
Clearly, our remarkable congregation will face challenges going forward. Some of our approaches will have to be reimagined so future generations will realize how important synagogue life can be to achieve meaning and connection.
We have on our superb clergy team a brilliant rabbi who is the exact right leader to provide answers to the probing questions that surely will emerge. I am so pleased that our Board of Trustees has selected Rabbi Benjamin Spratt to succeed me beginning July 1, 2021.
As rabbi of our congregation for the past twelve years, Rabbi Spratt has been a cherished colleague and friend. Not only does he have all the skills necessary for this challenging role, he is also beloved by the entire CRS and RSS community. Moreover, he is an exceptional strategic thinker who will help position our congregation to best bring people to our community and the community out to the people.
Let me assure you that as Rabbi Emeritus, I’ll be available to you, Rabbi Spratt and lay leadership. Gina and I love our synagogue home and the extended family whom we care deeply about. Those relationships will continue, God willing, for many years.
In my view Rodeph Sholom has always chosen the right senior rabbis for the challenges of that particular generation. This is one of the most important reasons why Rodeph Sholom is so respected throughout the world. In Rabbi Spratt our Board of Trustees is showing exquisite judgement. This congregation could not be in better hands. Gina, I, and our entire family will be thrilled to share in our collective glorious future.
May God continue to bless our magnificent synagogue community and all those who will lead us in the years ahead.
Rabbi Robert N. Levine, D. D.
Message from Rabbi Benjamin Spratt
I join our entire congregation in the many emotions that arise in this moment. I am grateful to this Rodeph Sholom family, to the people who knit together in commitment and connection, for teaching me every day the power of belonging. As Rabbi Levine and Gina devoted their lives to this community, we in turn draw on their strength as we look to the next chapter of our congregation.
I am humbled and excited to join with our clergy, staff, leadership, and entire congregation in taking these next steps together. I look forward to speaking with you about the great legacy and future of our shul and schools. For now, I offer my gratitude to Rabbi Levine and our Board of Trustees and each and every member of the Rodeph Sholom community.