On Sunday, June 25, the congregation of Beth Israel honored Rabbi Eric Slaton, who retired from his position after 24 years of service. Rabbi Haviva Horvits offered the opening and closing blessings. His last Shabbat service was the evening of Friday, June 30, with an oneg send-off.
Speakers at the event included Dr. Michael Cohen, who served as master of ceremonies, along with Mr. Jon Rosensweig, President of Beth Israel Synagogue, who spoke on behalf of the board of directors. In his address, Rosensweig expressed his admiration for Rabbi Slaton. “Through simchas and times of sorrow, you have brought happiness to the celebrants and consulted the bereaved. Our congregants enjoyed your tenure, and you are leaving with many friends here. You have developed support for our friends in the larger community as well.”
Director of Education Dr. Justin Binik-Thomas, who spoke on behalf of the school, added, “You have worked with three generations now. They are, by and large, the present and future leaders of our society. Grandmothers rejoice with the doctors and lawyers in our presence. And parents are thankful for the teachers and professors in our midst. We likely have world changers — some by leadership, some by followership, and all by influence — all valuable and all needed.”
Dr. Al Miller, a local Holocaust survivor, represented the congregation as he read a poem and shared touching memories with his dear friend. Rev. Robert Johnessee spoke on behalf of the community, and Rabbi Irv Wise, Rabbi Emeritus of Adath Israel Synagogue, remarked, “Rabbi Slaton will always be a rabbi, an example of what it is to be a traditional jew, a modern jew, a comforter, a respectful challenger, an inspiring teacher, and a lover of Zion and the Jewish people. And a faithful and loving friend and colleague. This is who he is in his essence.”