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Congratulations on Your Retirement, Rabbi Marder!

Watch the video recording from our celebratory concert evening!

The Beth Am community came together (virtually) for a wonderful evening to celebrate the retirement of a wonderful person — our beloved Senior Rabbi Janet Marder. Below, check out some of the highlights!

Transition Guidance: Message from Beth Am President Andy Cheng

Dear Friends,

Thank you for sharing in the wonderful celebration weekend honoring Rabbi Marder on her retirement. As we look ahead to welcoming Rabbi Jeremy Morrison, who will begin his tenure on July 1, we want to share some guidance from the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). After 21 years, many of our members have formed close relationships with Rabbi Marder, and might wish to continue to engage with her through teaching, lifecycle officiation, pastoral care or social gatherings. Please know that the CCAR strongly advises that all retiring rabbis step back from the congregation for a substantial period of time – usually a year or two – for the good of the congregation, so that members might bond with the new Senior Rabbi. Based on years of experience, the CCAR Task Force on Retiree-Successor Relations emphasizes that “establishing the new rabbi as the rabbinic authority of the synagogue is paramount in a successful transition.”
Thus, we encourage you to reach out to Rabbi Morrison and our other clergy for any needs you might have. If you have important messages you wish to forward to Rabbi Marder, you may send them by mail to Beth Am or to her Beth Am email address. Executive Assistant, Bria Silbert, will monitor that address and can pass messages on to Rabbi Marder. At some time in the future, we look forward to seeing her again at Beth Am events.

As we remember this past weekend fondly, I’m reminded of what a special sacred community we are. Because of committed congregants and lay leaders as well as talented clergy and staff, I couldn’t be more optimistic for what the future has in store for Beth Am. May we go from strength to strength!

With gratitude,

Andy Cheng
Beth Am President

Torah Study Tribute

We Toast Rabbi Marder



Gifts for Rabbi Marder

Torah Scroll

We have received a wonderful gift of a Torah scroll sponsored by a Beth Am family, in honor of Rabbi Marder, in recognition of her substantial contributions in guiding our members through the wisdom and inspiration found in the words of the Torah. We did a virtual ceremony in late May to welcome the new Torah to Beth Am, and it will reside in our Beit Kehillah. The scroll came to us through sofer Neil Yerman, who has spent the last several months restoring it for use. It’s a beautiful Torah, written by a master scribe whose name is not known to us. It most likely comes from Germany, and our best estimate is that it is somewhere between 130-150 years old. It is written on parchment made from calfskin. Every one of its 245 columns of writing is 42 lines and all except 5 columns begin with the letter V (vav), which in translation means "and." This is a special arrangement of writing that is meant to reflect the continuity of God's work. The letters can be written in this manner only by someone who is truly devoted and gives his entire heart and soul to the writing.
The beautiful Torah cover was designed and created by Jeanette Kuvin Oren, an American contemporary artist specializing in Judaic art. It uses a “circle” (L'Dor v'Dor) theme, and also picks up the other themes and colors of our stained glass.


This beautiful sculpture, created by Beth Am member Martin Katz and Martin’s nephew and sculptor Charles Citron, was inspired by Rabbi Marder’s love of Torah and appreciation for art.

Martin, whom Rabbi Marder has referred to as Beth Am’s “resident sculptor”, has already created two installations on the Beth Am campus: the Moebius Loop Torah in the Meditation Garden, and the Kaddish sculpture near the memorial wall and outdoor chapel.

This piece, entitled Exodus XXXI:18, reflects a pinnacle moment in our story:

“And he gave unto Moses... the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”

The sculpture is cast in bronze and stands 24 inches high. It shows Moses reaching upward to receive the ten commandments from God, with clouds representing God. Moses, shown bearded and wearing a robe, is shielding his eyes with his left hand so as not to look upon the face of God, while his right arm is outstretched to receive the two tablets. His body is curved and braced against the power of the moment.

Rabbi Marder's inspired leadership for 21 years has delivered the teachings of Torah and the gift of Israel to Beth Am, and this sculpture is a loving tribute.

Thank you to Martin Katz and Charles Citron for this wonderful work of art!

Congregational Tribute Book

On behalf of the congregation, we received hundreds of tributes to Rabbi Marder, thanking her for her leadership, wisdom, care and compassion. Congregants marveled at her ability to remember anniversaries, to find time to visit those who were convalescing, to grieve with those who had lost loved ones. Many were moved by her teachings at Torah Study, the depth of her knowledge, and her ability to inspire optimism. Congregants shared treasured memories of Rabbi Marder officiating their weddings and baby namings, guiding their children through B'nei Mitzvah, or praying with families during their darkest hours. The impact that Rabbi Marder has made on the lives of our congregation is palpable; the depth of her care, compassion and commitment to Beth Am shines through in every word and memory!

Thank you to Marcy Tivol and Christy Goralnik for beautifully putting this book together!

Trip to Spain

For Rabbi Janet and Rabbi Shelly Marder, visiting museums is a favorite thing to do — they have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles just to see a particular museum, and Rabbi Janet has even said she would like to be a museum docent one day!  So — when it’s safe to travel and their schedule allows, Beth Am is sending the Rabbis Marder on a trip to Spain, especially to visit the amazing Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao!

Torah Study Tribute Book

This book includes contributions from over 100 Torah Study students: memories, reflections, and thanks, expressed in notes, poems and pictures. Many describe the way that Torah has grown from a topic of study to a guidebook for life. One student wrote that "each precious hour passed so quickly, but the joyful memories and lessons in how to live a good life remain."  

The book’s cover, by artist Lisa Rauchwerger, is called “Torah is a Tree of Life.” Rabbi Marder will be given a framed version of it as well, to hang in her home. The unrolled, wavy Torah scroll represents its readiness to be studied and the ups and downs of the winding path of Torah study and exploration. The atzei chayim sprout new leaves, and the trunk and roots contain seven elemental themes/values that we learn from Torah study. The word shema fills the middle of the scroll, reminding us of the importance of listening to, learning from and truly hearing one another. The Tree of Life sprouts living branches, and above them shimmers a selection of Rabbi Marder’s favorite Hebrew texts forming a rainbow, a sign of the wisdom Rabbi Janet Marder brings to our study and the diversity of the group. Rabbi Marder's humble carry-on suitcase of incredible sources leans against the trunk of the tree with her Hebrew name Ya’akova on the side. Above and below the Torah scroll is a text from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, from the essay Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, pg. 339, “Faith does not spring out of nothing. It comes with the discovery of the holy dimension of our existence.”

Thank you to the entire committee, under the leadership of Chair Antoinette Rose, and to artist Lisa Rauchwerger.

Make Your Own Gift

See below for details on how to make your own gift to the Marder Endowment for Living Torah that celebrates and honors Rabbi Marder on the occasion of her retirement.

Make Your Own Gift to the Marder Endowment for Living Torah

Rabbi Janet Marder has dedicated 21 years to guiding Beth Am members through a life inspired by Torah. The Marder Endowment for Living Torah celebrates and honors Rabbi Marder on the occasion of her retirement, supporting the worship, educational and other opportunities that she has initiated, nurtured and led. The Marder Endowment is an enduring and meaningful way for our community to thank Rabbi Marder and carry her impact forward.

The Marder Endowment is a component of the From Strength to Strength campaign. Donors may make an undesignated From Strength to Strength campaign gift which will be distributed across the various components of the campaign vision, including The Marder Endowment. Or, donors may make a gift designated entirely to The Marder Endowment. Please complete the form below with your gift amount and preference.

Please make your contribution to From Strength to Strength / Marder Endowment for Living Torah using the form below.
Members: please log in to your Beth Am account by clicking on the login button at the top of the page. This will automatically fill in your contact information below and allow you to bill this donation to your account.
If you complete this form as a guest, you will be required to pay by credit card now, and you will receive a donation receipt. Thank you!
(A notice will be sent to Rabbi Marder.)
Please note that the amount will be added to your ShulCloud account on July 1 of each year of your pledge term.
Click on the submit button to proceed to confirm the amount and see your payment options.
Wed, July 15 2020 23 Tammuz 5780