Message from Rabbi Barbara on the occasion of Rena’s retirement

Shalom Congregation Ner Tamid Members and Friends,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to share my congratulations and thanks to Rena Morano. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Rena for 20 years – beginning at Temple Beth El and continuing with the formation of Chavurah Ner Tamid which, under Rena’s leadership grew to become a Federation recognized congregation.

Way back in the 1500’s it was an Italian rabbi and poet, Rabbi De’ Rossi who wrote a book called “Words of Understanding.” In this book Rabbi De’ Rossi explained how Hebrew poetry often features alphabet acrostics as a way to emphasize an important point and help the reader remember it.

So giving a nod to Rabbi De’ Rossi and to Rena’s Italian Jewish traditions as well, I am honored to share a very special acrostic dedicated especially to you:

RENA… Let’s start with R – and of course the letter R stands for Rabbinic Associate – the position you held with Congregation Ner Tamid for 16 years.

During that time you created beautiful Jewish rituals (another R!) and shared them lovingly with the congregation. You brought Shabbat to a congregational Family table.

You offered beautifully designed participatory rituals for holidays and life cycle events, especially for Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. Rena, as Rabbinic Associate you exemplify the very best of what many of us rabbis strive to be.

RENA – E – for, what else but Education. Twenty years ago we created the Hebrew Language lab experience for Temple Beth El’s children. You were instrumental in the development of flexible calendar – almost unheard of at the time – that allowed students to combine a Hebrew school schedule with a sports and activities schedule.

You put belief into action and created an environment where, amazingly, our students loved coming to Hebrew school!

As a contributor to the local Jewish News you have taken the time to explain difficult concepts to Jewish parents and teachers and through your writing you’ve encouraged readers to make Jewish education a priority for our Jewish children.

RENA – N – for “Nefesh,” one of the Hebrew words for soul. The soul animates the body and Rena, over the years you have put your heart and soul, not to mention blood, sweat and tears, into growing and sustaining Congregation Ner Tamid.

Preparing for services, organizing, leading, explaining, teaching, comforting…all of these are activities of the soul…the beautiful soul you’ve brought to us over the years.

Finally RENA – A – for Authentic – Thanks to your belief that every Jew counts, and thanks to your acceptance and appreciation of Jewish diversity, you have led our congregation by example – showing all of us that being Jewish is so much more than “names and noses!” Being Jewish is a condition of the heart.

On behalf of our Ner Tamid Board and all of our members near and far, I wish you blessings beyond measure. Thank you for serving as “R” – our Rabbinic Associate. Thank you for “E” educating all of us, most of all our children. Thank you for “N” your beautiful soul and for “A”… your Jewish authenticity that inspires us all.