A building is brick and mortar, glass and steel, wood and plaster, and, as it turns out, lots of mechanical equipment prone to failure. While a significant portion of my six-year tenure as Executive Director of the Downtown Synagogue was defined by the necessity of tending to our building, the building is not the synagogue.

In the end, 1457 Griswold is just the skeletal structure, the bones, if you will, of the Downtown Synagogue. The true synagogue, and more important and meaningful to me, are the people. Tending to the heart and soul of the synagogue, establishing meaningful connections with the members, supporters, lay leaders, and staff of our distinctive community was what defined my impetus and informed my motivation and energy.

It has been my honor, privilege, and pleasure to serve the synagogue and the people who define the synagogue — shepherding enlightening programming, professionalizing administrative processes, bringing High Holidays worship services back into the city, engaging and supporting members, leading change, navigating the multitude of challenges through two years of COVID, and, yes, of necessity, tending to the bones of the physical facility of the building.

As I leave the Executive Director position of the Downtown Synagogue, I am heartened and excited that the passionate and engaged lay leaders, in concert with the talented and dedicated staff, are sustaining and reimagining the shul that was founded in Detroit and has intentionally remained here for its 100-year existence. They are carrying on the legacy and promise of the Downtown Synagogue, embarking on a journey that will revitalize and energize the Detroit Jewish community, through heart and soul, and, yes, through some long-needed work on our bones that will bring forth a beautifully renovated building and expand our Jewish hub of Detroit.

The journey I have taken with the Downtown Synagogue has been remarkable for me and I invite congregation and community members to strengthen your connection and find your remarkable journey with the Downtown Synagogue into the next 100 years.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say...

Blaybt gezunt un shtark!

Stay healthy and strong,