Derech eretz

Derech eretz

I am disappointed that NJ Jewish News would carry a story based on a rabbi’s dispute with her congregation (“Shul hurries to fill former rabbi’s shoes,” Aug. 29), but since you did, I feel the need to respond.

I was a member of Congregation Beth Hatikvah for many years, until this summer. I wish to correct some information in the article, which quotes a synagogue official who mistakenly states that Rabbi Amy Small left the congregation this summer following her sabbatical after a dispute over salary.

Before Rabbi Small left for her planned sabbatical in January 2013, the leadership of Beth Hatikvah approached Rabbi Small to inform her that they would be terminating her contract a year from January due to the financial circumstances faced by the congregation. At that time, the congregation’s leadership encouraged Rabbi Small to look for a new job, and asked her to provide 60 days’ notice if she was to leave the congregation before January 2014.

In late April, Rabbi Small notified Beth Hatikvah’s leadership that she would not be returning to the congregation for the High Holy Days. In the spirit of menschlichkeit, Rabbi Small gave more than 60 days’ notice in order to offer the congregation sufficient time to plan for the High Holy Days. Thereafter, the congregation began its search for a rabbi for the High Holy Days.

Rabbi Small chose to leave earlier than the January 2014 termination date because she realized  that during the months of her sabbatical, both she and the congregation had progressed toward new paths for themselves. She felt that returning for the High Holy Days and staying through January would not be in the congregation’s best interest, or her own.

I know Rabbi Small was dedicated to Congregation Beth Hatikvah and that she acted with derech  eretz and integrity in giving the leadership more than the required 60 days’ notice of her plans.

May the New Year bring healing and renewal to all.

Rabbi Ellen Greenspan

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