Rabbi Bruce Raff, Temple Judea’s longtime director of education, is leaving the Valley Reform congregation at the end of the 2011-2012 school year for a rabbi educator position with Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s religious school, according to a Feb. 28 e-mail to Temple Judea congregants.
Raff’s departure comes amid a time of transition for Temple Judea, which is conducting a search for a senior rabbi to replace Rabbi Don Goor, who announced on Jan. 11 that he would make aliyah in June 2013.
“I have been truly blessed to work in a congregation that has allowed me to dream what our schools could be, and then has given me a chance to bring my vision to reality,” Raff wrote in a letter to the congregation.
During his 26 years with Temple Judea, Raff developed innovative education programs, including Nisayon, a parent-child learning experience; an Israeli partnership program; and the synagogue’s retreat program.
Executive Director Ellen Franklin described Raff’s departure from the Tarzana synagogue as bittersweet.
“His mark on this community is felt by the commitment that teachers have to the program, affection the kids have for the program, and the excellence he has brought to educating Temple Judea,” she said.
Raff will play an integral part in oversight for Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s education programs and camps and will work with Rabbi Steven Z. Leder to staff a new task force seeking to improve the synagogue’s education practices. Leder said
Raff has the “experience of a seasoned professional, with the mind of a young man.”
Temple Judea has no immediate plans to replace Raff. According to Goor and Judea President Michael Robbins, the synagogue will rely on Early Childhood Center Director Margie Ipp and principals Kathryn Bambam-Vischjager and Beth Eisenberg to lead its religious schools on an interim basis.