A Farewell From Avshalom Katz

The Beth Jacob cantor emails the shul’s members:

My Dear Friends:

With tear-filled eyes, I write to you not a goodbye – but a l’hitraot for now.

Twelve years ago, I came anxiously and excitedly for my proba to be chazzan of Beth Jacob. I remember well exactly where I was when I got the call. I was in Tel Aviv, singing at a sheva brachot, when dear Oscar Schoenfeld, of blessed memory, called to tell me I was voted in as the next chazzan of Beth Jacob. It was a very bittersweet moment for me. On one hand, I dreamed of becoming your chazzan, and on the other hand, it meant my leaving Eretz Yisroel. I always have the belief that Hashem is with me and guides me and was telling me that quite possibly, my work in kiruv and spreading ahavat Eretz Yisroel was not finished, and it was my destiny to return to Los Angeles.

I served almost 12 years with pride and a sense of humility, given the opportunity to daven before HaKadosh Baruch Hu and serve as your Shaliach Tzibbur. I always had in mind, at every tefillah, that I was davening with and for my kehilla, with fullest kavanah in my asking Hashem to let me be a Meilitz Yosher to ask for your good health, your happiness, your parnasa tova and for Shalom al Yisroel.

I cannot believe twelve years have passed. Sharon and I came to Los Angeles with four young children. I leave you with our b’chor Shlomo being a respected Rav and Teacher and still spreading his beautiful music. Eitan is married to the lovely Malki and we are blessed with our nine month old grandson, Yosef, as Eitan learns in Kolel and spreads his beautiful music, Tali is a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse at Shaare Zedek and does her job with such passion, and Michali has her education degree and taught in Yerushalayim and also was one of the directors of the Bnei Akiva programs, TVI and Machach.

You – my precious kehillah have become my beloved friends and my family. We’ve shared so many s’machot and sadly many a difficult occasion, but we stood together and you’ve never let me down, and I hope I didn’t let you down. The shul is a vibrant and special congregation and I understand that a full time chazzan is necessary. I thank you for the z’chut of being your full time chazzan for ten years and thank you for the two years you gave me the opportunity of being your part time chazzan. I would be remiss if I didn’t do hakarat hatov to Rabbi Weil for being a wonderful Morah D’atrah, passionate supporter of Israel, and an honest friend. Dr. Steve Tabak, your president is a prince of a man, whom I’m forever in debted to. At this time, I would like to wish Netanel Baram, your incoming Chazan, hatzlacha rabah.

To you, every single person that sat in the front, in the balcony, on the right and on the left, I thank you for the privilege of serving you. I thank the Beth Jacob Choir for enhancing our davening, and for you, my friends, for singing along with me, and lifting me to higher heights in my davening. Sharon joins me in wishing you a Shana Tova U’Metuka, a year of sweetness, a year of shalom, good health and may Hashem shower each and every one of you with His blessings. Here in Eretz Yisroel, my home will always be open to you – my dear friends.

At the risk of sounding a little corny, I include here the parts of a song you all know well, sung by Frank Sinatra.

Goodbye for now and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Avshalom Katz
Rechov Motzkin 2 alef/5
Raanana, Israel 43144
054 7741755

My Way
(P. Anka, J. Revaux, G. Thibault, C. Frankois)

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com), he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Alexander90210.com. Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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