Never before in my life have I faced such a preaching occasion. Not ever. This is my last major address to you on these Holy Days and for all the Holy Days to come. I am very aware that after this Yom Kippur, I will not see you all together again, at least not in my capacity as senior rabbi of Temple Shalom.

In smaller gatherings, I will of course be privileged to spend a lot of time with you through the year, as we have done for more than twenty years. We will celebrate a great many and variety of simchas together. I will also try to help you through the pain that is to come when grief, illness and other terrible trials afflict you. We will learn together and worship together and pursue tikkun olam together. Side by side we will laugh. Face to face we will cry. As the whole panoply of life’s sacred and mundane moments unfold, we will be together, but in fewer numbers than is the case here and now. We shall not pass this way ever again, not as we are on this Holy Day. Therefore, it has been quite challenging to decide just what to say to you. In this final address, just what shall I put in the record?

When, as senior rabbi, I officiate at my very last Friday night service in this sanctuary, on June 29, 2001, I will preach words of thanksgiving. I will speak of my enormous debts to my family, especially to Toby, debts to the members of the staff and my debts to lay leadership and most of all to you.

But tonight, I feel compelled to address how far we have come together in the last twenty years and what I believe to be the most necessary steps this congregational family should take in the decades ahead.

Changes in 20 Years