Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Susan Afriat Story

My Experience as President of Or Hadash: 2002 - 2004

Susan Afriat


After serving as Administrative Vice President for two years, I became President of the Board of Or Hadash. I was quite nervous about taking over this position . . . especially because my predecessor (Richard Malkin) had been such an energetic and strong President!  But I did look forward to making a real contribution to the congregation and community that had been our family’s home for so many years. 


And then, just before the High Holidays, my beloved Rabbi Vivian announced she was retiring! My first reaction . . . OY!  And, then, “Why me?”


In my Rosh Hashanah speech (another thing that made me so nervous!), I likened our situation to Moses wandering in the desert for 40 years. We would be in a period of transition and uncertainty until we found our next Rabbi, and we would experience a roller-coaster of emotions, including sadness, confusion, and discomfort, as well as excitement about new possibilities going forward. And that is exactly what happened.


Those days have remained clear in my memory. Even now, as I look back on those emotional days, I see how we could have done things differently, and I am very grateful for support of the other Board members and the entire Or Hadash community as we muddled through not one, but TWO rabbinic searches! 


And, even though Steve and I have re-located to sunny southern California, Or Hadash will always be our Jewish home, and we look forward to spending High Holidays with you all.