For those of you who haven’t met me yet, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Ben Goldstein and I will be serving as the interim rabbi here at CBI. As I’m writing this, we’ve just finished Yom Kippur. I had the privilege of joining in the services with the amazing team here at CBI, and I feel like I’m getting to know the community a little better. So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about myself and what my job is as the interim rabbi here at CBI.
Although I was raised on the East Coast, I have now spent over fifteen years of my life here in the Los Angeles area. I live in Woodland Hills (yes, I’m commuting) with my fiancée, our six children, and our dog Yaffa. Our kids go to five different schools so being in the car for half the day is not something that’s new to me. I love sports and films, and enjoy spending time outdoors as often as I can.
On Yom Kippur, I had the honor of facilitating a conversation with some of the younger members of our community. There were over 30 of us in the youth lounge, and our conversation was about how we approach Judaism, God, religion, community, and ourselves. I told the kids a little bit about my approach to Judaism. My approach is a combination of a the Mussar practice of self-improvement, psychology, and mindfulness. I’m just as likely to quote Jung, Freud or Brene Brown as I am Maimonides or some of the other great Jewish thinkers.
I see my job here at CBI as a matchmaker. My job is to listen to the members of this community and help you find what it is you’re looking for in a spiritual leader. For many people the most challenging part of succeeding (there is no replacing) Rabbi Spitz is going to be figuring out where you’d like to go as a community. My job is to solicit input from all of you to help pave the way and create a roadmap for the leadership and the next rabbi to follow. In that way, I need your help. I would love to meet with as many of you as possible, so if you have time, let’s arrange to either grab a cup of coffee, have a zoom, or even a phone call. That way, you can have as much buy-in as possible for the future of this community.
I look forward to an amazing year together. I wish for all of us a sweet, happy, and healthy new year filled with many blessings.
With blessings of peace, RBG