September 28, 2019
Dear Fellow Beth Shir Shalom Members,
As you know, we have been actively involved in talks to merge our congregation with Santa Monica Synagogue (SMS) for the last three years. For the past several months, our board and merger committee have been negotiating the finer points of the potential unificiation. A good deal of time was spent focusing on the post-merger status of our respective rabbis and the mechanisms to ensure the financial health of a merged congregation. Unfortunately, in the final stretch we reached an impasse on these issues and, despite our best efforts, were unable to find common ground with SMS.
We are grateful for having had the opportunity to develop a relationship with SMS these past few years and have met some wonderful people. In the final analysis, in our role representing the best interests of Beth Shir Shalom, we could not agree to move forward without a common understanding of the above-mentioned fundamental principles. Notwithstanding our disappointment that we were unable to forge a new congregation with SMS, we handled the discussions with grace and are confident that our community will move forward with strength and resolve.
We are excited to plan our future now that we have clarity that there will be no merger. Rabbi Neil will transition from our Senior Rabbi and will become Rabbi Emeritus in July 2020. He will always be our valued spiritual mentor and will be working on many projects close to his heart. Our search for his successor is underway, and we have already been in contact with the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Beth Shir Shalom’s future is bright, our resolve is strong, and the future of Reform Judaism in Santa Monica will continue to blossom for generations to come.
We look forward to seeing you at High Holy Days services. Shana Tovah!
The Board of Trustees