Rabbi Hershel Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere this week sent the following communication to his shul community.
You recently received a letter from the president and chairman detailing the final phase of my tenure with Young Israel of Woodmere.
I am now in the beginning of my 37th year as Rabbi of our synagogue. I succeeded a wonderful Rabbi, Rabbi Shaya Lebor z”l, who served the community for 20 years and established a great foundation for our community. That foundation meshed with the pioneering work of our first rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Kaminetsky.
Over the years we have shared wonderful times and challenging times together as a community. A rabbi could not ask for a better community or better synagogue leadership than I have experienced for my entire time here in Woodmere.
Over the years as the demographics of our area has evolved and seen a large influx of Jewish families, our synagogue has tried to adjust to the needs and demands of such a large population consisting of members of different ages and at different stages of life. I am blessed to have been able to work with wonderful colleagues. Rabbis Yaakov Lehrfield, Kalman Topp, Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, and Adam Mintz have played significant roles in helping grow our synagogue.
It has been a great pleasure to continue to partner with Rabbi Shalom Axelrod, who has been a wonderful rabbi for everyone in the community. He has fresh ideas, tireless energy, and a much beloved personality. In addition we have Rabbis Shay Schachter, Aaron Glatt, Eliyahu Wolf and David Fohrman, who have added so much to the learning and spirit of our congregation.
I am grateful to the members of the synagogue for the kind way in which they have treated me and my family. I look forward to continue serving our community.
We will be here for the Yamim Noraim, Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. We look forward to spending holidays here as well, albeit, on a more limited basis.
As per the retirement agreement made with YIW almost six years ago, I will have more free time during the year and will be away for some of the Yamim Tovim. As our children have moved out and established families, we rarely see them on Shabbat and have limited times together on Yom Tov.
The reduction in my responsibilities is commensurate with a mutually agreed upon reduction in my compensation. This will allow us some precious time with our children and grandchildren while we are still in good health.
We appreciate your kindness to us immensely and feel very blessed to have such a kind congregation.