We have served as community leaders for 20 years (14 years at the Coastside Jewish Community and the last 6 years at Chochmat HaLev), and we are ready to open up space for personal and communal projects, including Jhos’s book and Julie’s teaching. We love you and will miss so many aspects of our congregational life together; yet we also recognize a need to create a better balance between our work, other aspirations, and family life.
It has been our honor and privilege to lead Chochmat HaLev over these years — we feel inspired and respected by this beloved community. Together with all of you, we have weathered organizational shifts and changes; tumultuous American and world politics; and we have adapted our offerings to ensure we stay healthy and in community during the ongoing COVID pandemic. Together we have held steady, creatively persevered, and even grown both within the Bay Area and throughout the country. Our physical home is stronger — better maintained, more beautiful and safer. Our programs are deepened — with invigorating classes, spiritual and intellectual offerings, community led learning, congregational support networks, and inspiring holy day observances. We have steadily embodied our vision of a joyful, heart-centered, welcoming, inter-generational place to explore and engage with Judaic wisdom and spiritual practices…and the future is bright!
It has been our honor and privilege to lead Chochmat HaLev over these years – we feel inspired and respected by this beloved community.
We are so grateful to our many colleagues and teammates in this work: we honor Lior, Dorrit, R. Lynn, Jeffrey, and the Chochmat HaLev Board past and present for their partnership, love, good will, hard work, and support. And, most of all, we are grateful for every one of you! You have shown up with courage, curiosity, and commitment to deepen your Jewish journey under our spiritual leadership. There is no greater trust or honor for us than being able to accompany you on your path.
Though it is bittersweet, we look forward to this next year’s journey together! We trust the Chochmat HaLev leadership team to facilitate a smooth and healthy transition that reflects our community’s highest values. And we are excited about the upcoming year of Shabbat services, learning, holy day celebrations, supporting each other through both joyous and difficult times, facilitating rituals to mark our milestones, and—hopefully!— being able to even gather for some of these events in person, once again.
With confidence that we will go mei’chayil el chayil — from strength to strength — along with blessings of love and gratitude,
Julie & Jhos, Spiritual Leaders
On behalf of the Board and the entire Chochmat HaLev community, I want to express deep appreciation and gratitude for the many years of inspiring services, deep teachings, pastoral care and community building that Jhos and Julie have provided for the past 6 years. The coming year (2021) will be their last as our congregational leaders. This is an occasion for sadness at the loss of our beloved leaders, but also of excitement at the new opportunities that will be opening up both for Jhos and Julie and for Chochmat HaLev. I am confident that our Board and Executive Director will undertake the search for new leadership with discernment and creativity. Likewise, I trust that Jhos and Julie will be opening new and fulfilling chapters in their journeying.
Jeffrey Kessler, Board President
Julie and Jhos’ spiritual leadership has always wowed me, and this announcement is another example of their skillful guidance. They made time during this pandemic, during this dramatic change in how the world operates, to examine their lives and arrive at a decision to make their own transformation. There is so much wisdom, beauty, and inspiration in that.
I am also amazed at their care for the community – giving us notice a full year ahead, wanting to lead us through one more cycle of High Holy Days, as well as the transition back to in-person offerings. And while it will be challenging to find someone to replace them, this transition gives our community an opportunity to do our own reflection: Where is Chochmat heading? What do we want to provide for our community? In what way can we continue to be a home for our Jewish hearts? This organizational soul searching is important for the continued health and vibrance of Chochmat, and I know the collective wisdom of our Board of Directors and our members will shine through as we engage this process.
I’m sure many of you will have your own thoughts and reactions to this news. Please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you are thinking.
Dorrit Geshuri, Executive Director
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