United Hebrew Congregation celebrated a busy and rewarding weekend with Student Rabbi Aaron Rozovsky’s farewell Shabbat service Friday evening and Sarah Harris’s Bat Mitzvah on Saturday morning.
Rabbi Aaron recounted memorable moments — including holiday celebrations, outreach sessions at Westminster Village, lively Torah studies, hearty onegs — during his tenure at Temple Israel and said, “You have afforded me incredible opportunities to grow as a rabbi. I feel prepared and ready as one can ever be for the rabbinate because of everyone in this room.
Rabbi Aaron: ‘You’ve shown [Jewish life] can grow and thrive anywhere.’
Reflections on a memorable year
Despite the congregation’s small size, Rabbi Aaron said, “You live an incredible Jewish life. You don’t have to be in New York or Los Angeles or Eretz Yisrael. You’ve shown [Jewish life] can grow and thrive anywhere.”
In response, Sisterhood President Patty Lewis told Aaron, “Anybody can read the Torah and get the diploma and be a rabbi. But to be a good rabbi, you have to have a heart and care for your congregation, and I think you do.”
Sisterhood President Patty Lewis: ‘Anybody can read the Torah and get the diploma and be a rabbi. But to be a good rabbi, you have to have a heart and care for your congregation, and I think you do.’
After a brief overnight rest, many congregants returned to celebrate Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah in the sunlit Temple Israel sanctuary. The ceremony was the congregation’s first B’nai Mitzvah since Sarah’s mother Karen joined a group of five women honored on May 7, 2016.
The congregation and Sisterhood presented Rabbi Aaron with a kiddush cup and plate and set of books and Sarah with the traditional inscribed kiddush cup.
Friday night, Rabbi Aaron displays his gifts and conducts the kiddush and hamotzi before the oneg.
On Saturday, Sarah cuts the challah and invites the congregation to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah brunch featuring bagels, kugel, cake and coffee.