January 22, 2019
To Our New Temple Emanu-El Family –
The Talmud (Taanit 21b) teaches us, “The place does not honor the individual; the individual honors the place.” My name is Rabbi Adam Wright. I am truly honored to become Temple Emanu-El’s next Senior Rabbi. I will begin my rabbinic tenure at Temple Emanu-El with my wife, Rachel, and our daughter, Lillian, this summer. We are excited and so look forward to serving such a wonderful community.
In October, Rachel and I visited the congregation. Within a matter of moments, Rachel and I knew we found our new home. Temple Emanu-El is a legacy congregation deeply rooted in both the Reform Movement and the American-Jewish historic life. This community and its commitment to Jewish values, to spirituality, to community engagement, to social action, and to Civil Rights, is a statement about your core and guiding values. Temple Emanu-El is blessed to have multi-generational families and welcomes new families who continue to be a light to Jewish Birmingham and to the local community. For many of you, Temple Emanu-El is your second home to celebrate Jewish lifecycles or the place to be social with your friends. We are honored to be part of your temple family.
I have traveled to Birmingham often. I led trips there and throughout the South, where over seventy high school students learned about the Civil Rights Moment. We prayed with our legs while marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and sang about redemption with Bishop Calvin Woods in Kelly Ingram Park.
We cannot wait to join with each of you. We are eager to learn about your passions, hobbies, and ideas about contemporary Jewish life. Though we remain in San Diego until June, our transition begins now. We will be traveling to Birmingham to learn more about the community and its beautiful neighborhoods this spring. We hope to meet as many members as we can before the official start date. I invite each of you to connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel, Lillian and I want to thank the Search Committee and the Leadership at Temple Emanu-El. The lay leadership must be acknowledged for the sacred work in leading and guiding the congregation during these recent times of transitions.
We are so excited to join a remarkable staff. I look forward to collaborating and sharing the bimah with Cantor Jessica Roskin. I will be reunited with my mentor when I was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, Lynda Gutcheon. She introduced me to Jewish education and to curricula. I look forward to partnering with our Executive Director, Robin Gotlieb, Jann Blitz of the Rabbi Grafman Endowment Fund, Monika Singletary, our Director of Congregational Engagement, and Renea Hutchins at the Discovery School (and, let me add that Lillian can’t wait to be in the school this summer!). I know there are so many others on the staff whom I am just meeting; their daily dedication ensures that the Temple thrives in all areas.
Rachel, Lillian, and I are so excited to join this community. We can’t wait for the summer when we will officially join your temple family.
The Wright Family