Rabbi Jesse Charyn will be leaving Temple Beth David in Snellville after the High Holy Days for a new opportunity in Miami. He will serve as rabbi and director of spiritual care for Miami Jewish Health, a retirement community.
Charyn has been in the position for two years. That’s less time than the three years the Reform synagogue searched for a rabbi before he came on board.
Synagogue president Judi Kern said Charyn is parting on good terms. “He’s going to leave a big hole. Overall, the members love him and his wife. As a small congregation, it is financially difficult for us to support full-time rabbinic leadership.”
About his departure, Charyn told the AJT earlier this month, “Temple Beth David will always hold a special place in my heart as my first congregation. I have learned and grown so much since my installation. I want to thank each and every one of our Temple Beth David members for being part of my rabbinic journey.”
For the immediate future, after Charyn leaves in late September, synagogue services will be led by lay leaders, Kern said. “We are going to try to find a part-time rabbi to be our spiritual leader.”
She explained further, “It’s always a financial struggle and hard to support a full time spiritual leader. We’ve had part-time rabbinic leaders periodically. That’s the cycle of a small congregation. … We have been around for 40 years. We will come through this again.”
Temple Beth David has about 60 member units, including singles and families. The search for a new rabbi will be more of an informal recruiting effort than the kind that typically involves a formal committee, Kern said.
Charyn brought his diverse rabbinic training to the Gwinnett synagogue. He studied at the Conservative Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, then transferred to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and ultimately was ordained at the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute in 2018.
He left these parting words to the congregation in an email shared with the AJT: “Even though Rebbetzin Shira, Rayna, Navah, Zivah, Mr. Shimmy [the family dog] and me will be leaving TBD and Georgia, know that the connections we have made transcend distance.
“The legacy I have worked to impart is the importance of ongoing Jewish learning. I am so proud of the new members that have joined the TBD Family and the volunteer spirit that is pervasive at TBD,” he continued.
“This year TBD celebrates 40 years as the Jewish spiritual home of Gwinnett County. I have been honored to serve with an amazing President and a dedicated Board of Trustees.”
While expressing gratitude to the synagogue, he concluded, “I look forward to visiting TBD on future trips back to the Atlanta area.”