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May 31, 2024

A Farewell to Rabbi Dan Ross

Ari S. Lorge

A Farewell to Rabbi Dan Ross
Rabbi Ari Lorge


While this is not Rabbi Ross’ final service on our bimah, it is the service we’ve set aside to thank and honor him for his five years of dedicated service to the community and congregation.

Dan, when you first came to Central you were open that you had not always envisioned a life as a congregational rabbi. You pictured yourself serving the Jewish people in other settings and space.

But how lucky we feel that you left those feelings aside, took a chance, and chose to serve Central these past years.

In your installation remarks you spoke of the vital role of chesed in this work – you defined chesed as loving things you do for another because of the covenantal relationship you are in. You spoke of the ways you looked forward to that covenantal relationship with us.

Standing here, in this same space five years later, we can think of all the chesed, loving acts, that filled that time.

We saw it in the ways you supported us in times of grief and mourning, in times of challenge and illness, in times of uncertainty and anxiety.

We saw it in the way you reached out to us during the pandemic, and in the aftermath of 10/7

We saw it in the way you reached out to unaffiliated 20’s and 30’s new Yorkers looking for a Jewish home

We saw it in the way you lifted up bnei mitzvah students, the way you wrapped wedding couples in tallitot, the way you blessed a newborn on this bimah

We saw in the way you taught the youngest students in the nursery school about a sukkah

We saw it in the strength you gave to 11th and 12th graders as they contemplated their next steps and leaving the safety of home

We saw it in the warmth you brought to the classes you taught to adults

We saw it in the way you lifted up colleagues and empowered the people with whom you worked

In early conversations with our team, when asked what you wanted for your rabbinate, you shared that down the road you imagined himself at Hebrew Union College.

We wish “down the road” was still on the horizon rather than before us in this moment. But we are all full hearted.

We are fullhearted to know that your journey will continue along the path you foresaw for yourself. We are fullhearted knowing you will continue to serve to the Jewish people with every gift you carry.

We are fullhearted knowing that HUC is not so very far away from Central, that our acts of hesed will continue.

Know that as you walk into your new position you have a squad of supporters here, wishing you blessing, growth, joy, and fulfillment.

We share two gifts as a small thank you for your dedication, service, and love.

First, a kiddush cup in the hopes that you will remember us around this time of day and the voices of this community singing together. Also a symbol of a cup overflowing hoping that your cup will continue to runneth over with blessing.

And then, this mezuzah for your new office – a mixture of the sacred and the silly. It is made in Israel by wonderful artists – and features one of your favorites.

Watch our sermon above or on Youtube, listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or read the transcript above.