So I'm going to get sappy here; doesn't happen often (or does it?), so bear with me.
I've known Jonathan Blake since 2000, when Marisa and I first arrived in Cincinnati to start my 2nd year of rabbinical school, and Jonathan was completing his 5th year. We met Kelly around the same time; she was beginning her serious exploration of Judaism after singing in Bonia Shur's choir for some time. The two of them became our greatest mentors, wonderful friends, and deep inspirations. Over the years we've gotten to know them and their families, keeping in touch and visiting when Jonathan was the associate rabbi in Providence, and grabbing drinks or meals together at conference. Jonathan is one of the smartest, most capable and thoughtful rabbis I know; other than my dad, he was the only rabbi in the field I spoke to seriously about my placement prospects my ordination year. And Kelly is simultaneously the nicest and most talented and most honest and authentic person (rare capabilities!). So it was no surprise to me that he went to Westchester Reform (one of the most dynamic and engaging congregations in the US) in 2003 to be their associate rabbi, and even less of a surprise when they named him senior-elect this week. Surely, he will not be Rick Jacobs (who could be?), but he will be Jonathan--someone who knows the tradition intimately, who engages in worship and music with great joy, who has a wicked sense of humor (as we say in New England), who takes people and their neshamot seriously, and knows how to listen as well as inspire. So Kol Hakavod Jonathan and Kelly! May this year bring you meaningful challenges and successes that lead toward growth, renewal and joy.