Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, alumnus of JOIN’s Seminary Leadership Project (where rabbinical and cantorial students learn organizing skills through classes, workshops and internships) and current JOIN for Justice board member, recently left Massachusetts to take up a new role at a new congregation in northern New Jersey. It’s been less than a year but Rabbi Litcofsky is already hard at work building a stronger community at Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, conducting the congregation’s first listening campaign. The New Jersey Jewish News dropped by to see how things were going and recently had this to say.
The new rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of West Essex in Livingston is not in a hurry to put his stamp on the congregation. Rabbi Greg Litcofsky will lead them where they want to go, but he won’t set the vision. Instead, he’d like the congregation to take its cues from, well, the congregation.
That’s why he’s initiating a series of conversations designed to build community and uncover the shared vision and goals of the congregants. The “listening campaign” was launched in January.
“It’s like building a Mishkan,” said Litcofsky, referring to the biblical tabernacle built with offerings from all the Israelite tribes.
“People have to bring gifts of the heart to build it. Here the gifts are the stories — stories of how to build a sacred space, stories of hopes, dreams, visions. What made the Mishkan valuable is that it belonged to the people,” he said in a meeting in his office in January that included several of the congregation’s lay leaders.
For the full story, originally posted March 6th, check out www.njjewishnews.com.