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Hudson -- After five years at Temple Beth Shalom, Rabbi Sheldon Ezring will conduct his last service there June 27 at 7:45 p.m. before retiring -- for the second time.
"I told the congregation I would give them five years, and I did that," Ezring said. "And they have been five of my most rewarding years."
He cited the joy of working with the staff of the Temple as well as the congregation.
Ezring was selected for Temple Beth Shalom in 2009. He had just retired from Temple Society of Concord in Syracuse, N.Y.,
"I'll have the unique distinction of being Rabbi Emeritus from two congregations," Ezring said.
Ezring, 66, said his retirement plans are "up in the air," but that tentative options include securing a winter residence in a warmer climate.
"Thank God, I'm blessed and I can do that. My children are successful, productive people. It will be wonderful to explore different opportunities," he said.
Ezring said he has a "dream" that he will be able to informally give people an opportunity to talk about their concerns, their goals and problems.
"It's a gift to be able to listen, genuinely and with care," Ezring said.
He said he also will miss the informal mini-ecumenical discussion group he belonged to with Hudson pastors Mike Conklin, Rejoice Lutheran Church, and Brian Suntken, Community of St. John.
"We would get together at Kepner's for a monthly session in a great informal way. It was really something when we added the nuns," he laughed.
Ezring cited the high level of participation from the congregation as one of the reasons for the success of the Temple.
"I am thankful there were so many families that reached out and made me a part of their lives," Ezring said.
He said he hopes the Shofar Chorus will continue with its participants, from age 7 to late 70s, along with the social hours.
"The Onegs, after the services, show how much the people care about each other," Ezring said.
Temple Beth Shalom President Kim Strausser said Ezring has fostered a strong membership for the Temple sisterhood and nurtured a new brotherhood.
"During Rabbi Ezring's tenure, Temple Beth Shalom has seen a growth in our religious school and membership," Strausser said.
A farewell celebration for Ezring was earlier this month at the Temple.
"We will miss him, but he is also excited for us as we enter a new chapter with a new rabbi," Strausser said.
The new Temple leader is Rabbi Jim Egolf. He will assume his duties in July.
Temple Beth Shalom was founded in 1977 by five families determined to have a temple in the Western Reserve area. They formed the Western Reserve Synagogue, aka Temple Beth Shalom and met for nine years in the Twinsburg Library before moving to Hudson and the Temple on the Green in 1986.
In 2005 the congregation moved to its present location at 50 Division St., purchasing the building from the Western Reserve Christian Church.
For more information, visit www.tbshudson.org or call 330-656-1800.