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From the desk of ... Rabbi Cohen!


Several years prior to my retirement from Beth Shalom in Kansas City, I enrolled in a two-day seminar sponsored by the Rabbinical Assembly on how to function as an interim. I had occasion to use what I learned for a year in KC when I returned as the interim to my own former congregation. Four summers ago, I again functioned in a quasi-interim fashion when I filled in for Rabbi Rosenbaum. And, now, here I am again albeit in an even more reduced fashion for five weeks.

What all of these experiences have in common and what I learned in that seminar was that the interim does not come with her/his agenda but rather to “be a place holder” and facilitator as a congregation transitions. My summers at Emanu-El are and were not for the purposes of transition but I do not come with my own agenda. I come with the purpose of continuing Rabbi Rosenbaum’s and the congregation’s path. I look forward to the “Danish & D’rash” each Shabbat morning before tefillot and the educational and spiritual opportunities both in shule and away during these coming weeks. Learning together is an integral part of growing together and cementing community spirit.

In each of my previous interim positions, I have been fortunate to work with a congregation that is not filled with strangers but rather many familiar faces. That makes this coming summer all the more pleasant.

Now, I know that there have been many changes since we lived here full-time from 1976 to 1986. There are now many new faces. An entire generation has grown up and many have left Charleston only to be replaced by newcomers some of whom are raising their families. I am eager to continue Emanu-El’s great programs for both the newcomers and the veteran members of the community. I am eager to renew past relationships, strengthen ongoing ones and make new ones.

Charleston is a special community and has a special place in our hearts. Reena and Rafi were in their formative growth stages. Good Southern qualities were instilled. They have their own children now but Charleston is still a part of all of our lives.

I will look forward to sharing these coming weeks with you. I look forward to seeing you around the synagogue whether for Shabbat services or just casual encounters.

We are glad to be back.

Rabbi Alan and Linda Cohen

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780