In Maryland State, Montgomery County, MD

Dear JUFJ Leaders, 

Today is my last day on staff at JUFJ. I’ve spent the past few weeks preparing for today. I’ve been wrapping up final projects, planning my move to New York, and helping onboard Shira, the next Montgomery County Avodahnik. 

All the while I’ve been thinking about the Talmud’s instructions for building a Sukkah. The Talmud teaches that homes are keva, meaning permanent or fixed, but a Sukkah needs to be arai, meaning temporary or movable. The Talmud always comes back to the keva and arai distinction. A treehouse Sukkah, a Sukkah on a boat, a Sukkah with super high walls — is it keva, or is it arai? 

Before I started at JUFJ, justice work often felt arai. It was the movable part of my life, something I tried to fit into the “fixed” parts of my schedule. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Life is full of different responsibilities, to others and oneself. 

In contrast, working at JUFJ has given me the privilege to be part of a community where working for justice is keva. It is the fixed part of who we are and what we do. 

If JUFJ is a keva home of justice, it’s a home built by all of you, JUFJ’s leaders. Your commitment to our work has always inspired me, and it will continue to do so in the years to come. I feel so lucky to be part of the JUFJ story. Please know that I will be closely following our next chapter from afar. 

This fall I am starting rabbinical school in New York, where I’ll be studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Please feel free to keep in touch

Thank you all for an incredible year. 

With gratitude, 

Emmanuel

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