I am writing to tell you how honored and flattered I am by your trust in me.
Thank you for electing me to be your new Rabbi. I will endeavor to work to the best of my ability and with all of my soul for you as individual people, for our community as a whole, and for our future in Dothan and the Jewish world. I cannot begin to convey how excited I am to join you.
Emanu-El in Dothan is a special community, even down to our very name.
Take a moment and think about what the name means, and what it means to be the people who are Temple Emanu-El.
In the book of Isaiah, in a prophecy spoken on the eve of a terrifying war, the prophet gives a metaphor to the people. Isaiah says, “a young woman is with child, and about to give birth to a son; let her name him Emanu-El” (Isaiah 7:14).
The symbolic child in the words of the prophet stands across generations of Jews to remind us that we are always on the eve of sensing Gd’s hope and presence among us, no matter what the present feels like, good or ill. So, too, our own name in Dothan reminds us that we together are the hope of the Jews — in the South, in America, and in the world as the people of Temple Emanu-El.
I am honored and moved by your faith in me as your incoming Rabbi. I am excited to listen, to serve, to lead, and to guide the spiritual life of this good and hopeful place.
From the depths of my heart, thank you for your care in making this decision, for the boundless generosity you have shown me, and for allowing us to take this journey into the future together.
With all my heart (עם כל לבבי),
Rabbi Jonathan, Wendell, and Oscar ***
*** Oscar and Wendell are my beloved Catahoula dogs who, upon learning about the beautiful climate in the Wiregrass during a minor blizzard, exclaimed “נלכה דותינה” (Genesis 37:17), “Let us go to Dothan!!!”