With a lot of love, we will say farewell to both Rabbi Lauren Henderson and Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh in mid-June. Rabbi Lauren recently accepted the position of Senior Rabbi at Or Hadash in Atlanta. Rabbi Jeff’s two-year Jewish Emergent Network Fellowship is coming to an end, and he has recently accepted the role of Rabbi/Executive Director at The Well in Detroit, Michigan. We have been immensely blessed with the gift of both of these rabbis at early stages in their careers through the awesome Jewish Emergent Network Fellowship, and wish them the best as they take their next professional steps.

Farewell to Rabbi Lauren

Rabbi Lauren came to us straight out of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary for our first Jewish Emergent Network Fellowship in 2016. We charged her with helping build our justice team, develop smaller nodes of connectivity within our growing community, give sermons and lead services, teach classes and lead lifecycle events. Rabbi Lauren’s plan all along was that one day she would bring her experiences from Mishkan “back home” to the South.

The fact that Rabbi Lauren stayed for two years beyond her fellowship as our first second rabbi, has been a gift and a blessing. She has overseen numerous programs including our Family Programs, BMitzvah Program (both for kids and grown-ups), Sangha (meditation), and Partners in Parenting. Her ability to build relationships both within the community and with our partners across the city has made an indelible impact. R’ Lauren has represented Mishkan at countless city-wide rallies and assemblies and has participated in multi-faith coalitions for social justice work here in Chicago. R’ Lauren approaches her work with thoughtfulness, sensitivity, kindness, humanity and love.

Or Hadash is a dynamic, inclusive, warm synagogue in Atlanta that mirrors Rabbi Lauren’s own approach to her work and is the perfect place for her and Joel to begin the next chapter of their lives. We couldn’t be prouder of her as she takes this next step in her career. If you’d like to say mazel tov and wish Rabbi Lauren well, drop her a note!

We are moving quickly to fill the Associate Rabbi role and will invite candidates over the next month or two to meet our community. While we can’t meet in person due to the coronavirus situation, we will set up virtual opportunities to meet and share your feedback on the candidates.

Farewell to Rabbi Jeff

Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh came to us through the Jewish Emergent Network fellowship straight out of getting ordained at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 2018. It’s a competitive Fellowship, and we were impressed by Rabbi Jeff’s warmth and deep love of people, his wide-ranging interests and desire to jump right in with both feet.

Since landing in Chicago, Jeff has been everywhere, making friends and dazzling people with his big smile, humor, voice, talent, love of a well-prepared meal or hand-crafted cocktail, and creativity. From Mishkan for Mankind to JewCurious to the Conversion Cohort to singing with kids at the Mensch Academy, Rabbi Jeff has brought dedication and commitment to all his work. He has been the face and voice of Mishkan, especially among young adults, across Chicago.  He has become a beloved pastoral presence in our community, officiating at the weddings, funerals and life cycle ceremonies of so many of our people.

He will be missed by so, so many and we wish him and Stephanie so much love and hatzlacha (good luck) in their exciting next adventure in Detroit! If you’d like to join us in sending love and congrats to Rabbi Jeff, drop him a note!

The Jewish Emergent Network goes on, but the Fellowship as we’ve known it these past four years will be ending. We feel so proud of these two extraordinary rabbis who each trusted us to be their first job after rabbinical school, setting the tone of the trajectory everything that comes next in their careers. It’s a privilege to be the launching pad for so much talent, and we look forward to attracting more of it to the Associate Rabbi job we are currently hiring for. On a personal note, I’ll miss these fabulous people who were my first rabbinic colleagues here at Mishkan.

Please join me in wishing both Rabbis Jeff and Lauren well, and stay tuned on future opportunities to send both of them off with love and gratitude.

Rabbi Lizzi