Temple Kol Emeth will formally embrace Rabbi Erin Boxt as the congregation’s second rabbi during a special installation celebration Friday and Saturday.
Boxt has invited one of his teachers from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Cantor Yvon Shore, to install him.
“I cannot wait to see the congregation. I cannot wait to see the community,” Shore said. “I am so excited to see the clergy, the community, everyone who’s there, to see what it is that he’s part of now.”
Boxt joined longtime Kol Emeth Rabbi Steven Lebow in serving the East Cobb congregation’s spiritual needs in mid-June after his graduation from HUC-JIR. His formal installation will take place Saturday night, Jan. 12, immediately after a Havdalah service that will start at 7:30.
A free dessert reception, sponsored by Temple Kol Emeth’s chapter of the Women of Reform Judaism, will follow the installation.
“We feel like we hit a home run with Rabbi Boxt,” Temple Kol Emeth President Sherri Parman said. “We look to him as someone who is excited about his Judaism and is passionate about passing it on to congregants of all ages — preschoolers, teenagers, college kids, young singles and couples. He can preach from the bima on Friday night, teach Torah on Saturday morning and share pastoral duties with Rabbi Lebow.”
Cantor Shore will join Rabbis Lebow and Boxt and the congregation for a Shabbat dinner Friday night at 6:30, to be followed by Shabbat services. The entire community is invited to join the clergy and congregation at the dinner; you can register for the event at http://rabbiboxtdinner.eventbrite.com. The cost is $22 for adults and $14 for children 5 and older.
Shore, the director of liturgical arts and music at HUC-JIR, taught Boxt for four years at the Union for Reform Judaism’s seminary and worked with him almost daily for two years while he served on the school’s Va’ad Beit HaKnesset, the student-elected group responsible for daily events and religious observances on campus.
She said the rabbi is “incredibly organized” and “really understands the large picture and is able to break it down,” a rare skill.
Citing his service as a Fire Department chaplain while he attended the seminary, Cantor Shore said Rabbi Boxt cares not only about the spiritual life of his congregation and the Jewish community, but also about the spiritual welfare of the greater community.
The rabbi and his wife, Batya, have one daughter, Carlie, who was a baby when he started rabbinical school.
“I faithfully believe that my life journey to first become a rabbinical student and now to start the process of becoming a rabbi is my calling,” Boxt wrote on his blog, rabbierinboxt.blogspot.com, in 2007. Boxt’s blog posts now appear regularly on East Cobb Patch.
While he was at HUC-JIR, Cantor Shore said, Rabbi Boxt came into his own, developing confidence, ease in front of a congregation and an authentic voice from the pulpit.
It’s one thing to write a prayer, Cantor Shore said, but it’s “different to offer a prayer, to open yourself up and connect to the community. You have to be willing to be vulnerable.”
She said Rabbi Boxt developed that ability.
“His energy, his enthusiasm and his knowledge of the Torah and Jewish teachings are infectious,” Parman said. “His work ethic and the ease with which he and his family have connected with the TKE community make us truly grateful we found and hired him.”
“This is someone who is so energetic that within all that energy and the momentum and the ability to do so many things,” Cantor Shore said, the congregation has to let him know it’s OK sometimes to say no. “I don’t believe that’s a word in his vocabulary. Take care of him.”
Temple Kol Emeth is Jewish Atlanta’s home for family, faith and education in a welcoming, Reform setting in East Cobb. Visit us online at www.kolemeth.net and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TempleKolEmethMariettaGa.