Rabbi Robin Damsky
I am so pleased and honored to be joining your temple as your new rabbi. I have been to Temple Israel twice now: the first time for my interview with the search committee, and the second time last month when I was invited to lead an Erev Shabbat service. Both of my visits were inspiring, and I felt very welcomed by all.
The temple is a wonderful facility inside and out. I hope to see the building alive with activity! You may know that I founded a nonprofit called In the Gardens, through which we donate food, provide organic gardening skills and design to the community, and teach mindfulness practice. You can bet that I was deeply moved and inspired to see the community garden at the temple site.
My rabbinate has taken me to various places, perhaps because my background is quite eclectic. I was raised in a secular home in Brooklyn and then Long Island; what Judaism I gleaned was through my maternal grandparents on their visits. My college studies began in botany and culminated with a degree in dance, while simultaneously studying massage therapy. All of these experiences combined to bring me to the rabbinate with perhaps a less traditional set of eyes.
As a rabbi, my commitment to the heart is paramount — the heart as our place of spirit, and our place of connection not only to God, but to ourselves and to others. From the heart our hesed — loving-kindness -flows forth so that we realize the true message of the Shema — that God is Echad — One, and that we, all of us with God flowing through us, are all Echad. Through song and movement, prayer and action, teaching and learning, time to build relationships that create a sense of safety and community, we gain the compassion that comes out of knowing the truth that we are all one. It is through this path that we can not only erase the suffering in the world we inhabit, but come to a true sense of glory in our humanity.
I look forward to sharing times of joy and laughter with all of you, as well as being with you in times of trial or need, pain or sadness. I look to learn with you — learning from you as well as learning with you in our adult education offerings. It will be my joy to celebrate with you in services for Shabbat and other holy days throughout the calendar year, building connections as we go, continuing to cultivate our temple and the larger community.