As you now know from our president Caryn Chaden's recent email message, Tzedek Chicago has unanimously decided to employ me as your full-time rabbi as of January 2020.
It’s difficult to fully express how blessed and humbled I feel to have this opportunity. When I resigned my former congregation in 2014, I honestly didn’t believe I would – or could – continue working as a congregational rabbi. I frankly didn’t think there was a synagogue in the world that would hire a rabbi like me. And I certainly didn’t expect a small, intrepid group of folks to pitch me the idea of founding a justice-focused congregation that espoused the equity of all peoples, solidarity with the oppressed, and was openly, unabashedly non-Zionist. This project felt truly exciting to me – and the prospect of building such a congregation quickly became a labor of love for all of us.
Even so, I don’t think any of us expected to reach this moment in just four short years: to have a thriving family program, a growing staff and an ever-expanding programmatic calendar - including our first Bar Mitzvah next month. While our growth has been hugely gratifying, I’ve reached the point where I can’t realistically continue to serve Tzedek Chicago while working full-time as a regional director for the American Friends Service Committee. If there was ever a time for me to make the transition to serving our congregation full-time, it is clearly right now.
As Caryn mentioned in her email, the expansion of my role marks an exciting milestone for our congregation. As Tzedek Chicago's full-time rabbi, my first priorities will be to grow our membership base, expand our programs and services, including our ever-growing family program. I'm also excited to be able to represent Tzedek - and our core values - more widely in Chicago’s Jewish and social justice communities and beyond.
I realize now that there was only one way I could return to full-time rabbinical work - and that was to do it at a congregation such as this. What else can I say but thank you, thank you to the leaders, staff and members of Tzedek Chicago for this incredible opportunity.
It’s shaping up to be a pretty sweet new year for me. So may it be for us all.
Rabbi Brant Rosen