I wanted to share with friends of Panim Hadashot-New Faces that I have accepted a full time interim rabbinic pulpit position with Congregation B'nai Israel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I will begin my work at the congregation in late August. In consultation with the Panim Hadashot board of directors we have decided to suspend our programming for the time being as I transition to my new position.
I have reached a stage in my rabbinic career where I can bring considerable rabbinic experience and wisdom to congregations going through transition. I feel a return to the pulpit as an interim rabbi is best suited for me as I enter the final stages of a long and fulfilling rabbinic career.
The board and I are searching for new leadership so we can continue to serve the Seattle Jewish community. We will certainly communicate with you before the High Holidays if we find a new leader who is capable and committed to our vision. I hope you will continue to support the work of Panim Hadashot going forward. For now, we will suspend accepting donations and will cancel monthly subscriptions. We will be in direct contact with donors and subscribers about these steps.
Panim Hadashot-New Faces has been a labor of love. The practice of hospitality has been my signature mitzvah throughout my adult life. Panim Hadashot's focus centered on bringing people together through Shabbat hospitality. Our goal was to offer an experience of authentic Jewish spiritual combination of rest, renewal, joy, and fellowship that comes with Shabbat hospitality.
Group singing of Sabbath and Jewish melodies has characterized home Shabbat gatherings in Jewish homes for centuries. Panim Hadashot pioneered the combination of group singing with the beautiful accompaniment of our live musical ensemble, The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble. The experience of singing together in homes has been a distinctive feature of the Shabbat hospitality practice that we fostered.
We have also shared the dynamic musical creativity that is taking place in contemporary Jewish life. We shared this music all over Seattle and at Limmud the past two years. Panim Hadashot enlivened nearly 100 Shabbat gatherings in homes, gathering spaces, and communities over these past three years and inspired others to start singing circles in and beyond synagogues. I want to give credit to the wonderful musicians who I partnered with to create these spiritually powerful experiences. I especially want to thank Ari Joshua, Daniel Salka, and Chava Mirel who served as ensemble leaders for our Heart of Shabbat Ensemble.
We have brought together hundreds of people over the past few years to share in the joy of Shabbat. I am tremendously grateful to the dozens of people who supported Panim Hadashot-New Faces with donations and with monthly subscriptions. You made it possible to bring people together and share the joy of Shabbat in powerful ways. I am especially grateful for the work of the board of directors, Nir, Hilary, Joel, and Sam with their good counsel and integrity.
I felt it was not the right time to plan a goodbye event before I leave town in mid-August. Instead we will plan a community event in Seattle after the holidays in the fall when I return to Seattle for a visit. We will announce the event through email and our website.
Shalom and Rav Todot,
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg
Convener and Director of Panim Hadashot-New Faces