Rabbi Avi Olitzky, who started at Beth El Synagogue fresh out of rabbinic school, announced Wednesday morning that he has given notice that he’ll be leaving the synagogue. The resignation is effective Feb. 8, 2022 in accordance with the Rabbinical Assembly.
“It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at Beth El since I was 26 years old. Granted, the world has changed immensely and immeasurably in the past year, but when I started at Beth El the iPhone had not been developed yet,” he said. “I’m so grateful for all I and we have accomplished over the past 13 years, and am truly excited to see what comes of Beth El in the future.”
In the notice, which went out in the Kesher — the synagogue’s daily newsletter — Olitzky didn’t specify what was next for him.
“I am open to a number of different opportunities,” he said. “I became a rabbi not because it was one career–but a gateway to many different pathways and portals. And I truly am excited about the next trajectory.”
Synagogue president Alan Yousha wrote that Rabbi Alexander Davis, the board, and staff leadership has already started working on a transition plan.
“We anticipate the plan will take place over the next several months and we look forward to sharing more with the congregation as we work through next steps,” Yousha’s message said. “We have an actively engaged Board, competent and dedicated staff, strong leadership, and the wonderful and supportive Beth El community to carry us forward as we remain committed to serving our young and our old.
“We appreciate [Rabbi Olitzky’s] years of dedicated service to our community and wish him all the best on his next journey.”
In Olitzky’s message to the congregation, he pointed out some of the accomplishments of Beth El during his tenure.
“We have accomplished a lot together these many years — recognition as the USY international chapter of the year, a booming Aleph Preschool, robust young families engagement, new programming that evolved Beth El as the epicenter for social dialogue, civic engagement, intentional eating, and so much more,” he said. “But above all, most important are the relationships forged. I am proud of the foundation I helped to build and look forward to my successor being able to climb on my shoulders in order to reach higher so that s/he might help secure a bright and successful future for the synagogue.
“I may be a Jersey boy, but I have adopted Minnesota as my home. This is my home through and through — and my kids’ home, too. I am so grateful to have laid down roots here.”
Olitzky’s announcement is the second high-profile rabbinic departure in the Twin Cities recently; Rabbi Jeremy Fine announced he was leaving Temple of Aaron in St. Paul this summer for a congregation in the Chicago suburbs.