Rabbi Art Donsky suddenly announced last week that he will be retiring as spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom in the North Hills at the end of this month, a year earlier than he previously planned.
“I believe that this is best for me and for the congregation,” he wrote in an email to his congregants, dated Thursday, May 30. “I have already informed the temple leadership of this decision.”
Temple Ohav Shalom President Ken Eisner sent an email the following day to congregants regarding Donsky’s announcement.
“Only yesterday, we learned that Rabbi Art has decided to retire as our spiritual leader effective June 30, 2013 after having served us for over 16 years,” Eisner wrote. “We are grateful for all that he has contributed to our TOS community during his tenure. We have shared many simchas as well as losses with Rabbi Art over these 16 years. We wish him well in his retirement and hope he has continued success in his future endeavors.”
Eisner’s email further stated that the temple board “learned of the [r]abbi’s resignation yesterday via the same congregation-wide email you received.”
“I informed the president via a separate email, and another member of the board, that I was going to send out the email to the congregation,” Donsky told the Chronicle.
While not elaborating on his reasons for his early retirement, Donsky said, “it was just the best thing for me and for the congregation.”
Donsky currently has no plans following his retirement, but said he is “looking forward to finishing the month of June,” and is “focusing on three families celebrating b’not mitzva and helping celebrate these wonderful life cycle events.”
Eisner’s letter to the congregation stated, “[t]he executive committee of the board met immediately and is taking all steps necessary for TOS to continue to provide the high level of services we always provide while maintaining our warm, friendly and inviting atmosphere. We are already taking steps to ensure seamless coverage for all life cycle events, and all religious services, whether it be Shabbat, Tot Shabbat, or festivals (including High Holidays),” he continued. Because the rabbi had previously indicated his desire to leave at the end of his contract in June 2014, we already have in place a Rabbi Transition Committee which has met numerous times and is well along in the process of selecting our next rabbi.”
Eisner’s email further stated that he had scheduled a special meeting of the board for Tuesday, June 4, “to discuss the steps we have already taken and our strategies for moving forward.”
“I think he just decided that [retiring early] was what’s best for himself and his congregation,” Eisner told the Chronicle. “We are grateful for all that Rabbi Art has contibuted to our community over his tenure. We wish him well in his retirement, and wish him success in his future endeavors.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)