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Congregants say goodbye to retiring rabbis in Rockville Centre


On Saturday, a drive-by farewell took place at Central Synagogue-Beth Emeth in Rockville Centre so congregants could send their wishes in person –though at a distance—to Rabbi Marc Gruber and Rabbi Elliot Skiddell, both of whom are retiring this month. More than 60 families drove past the synagogue, holding signs, waving and honking as the rabbis sat in the shade, spaced apart.

The rabbis have a long history with the temple and were instrumental in the consolidation of the two congregations. Gruber was hired in 2002 and is the second-longest serving rabbi of Central Synagogue. Skiddell joined Beth Emeth in 2006. For the past four years, the two men have worked together to serve the united temple.

The rabbis’ contracts are expiring on June 30. At that time, Gruber and Skiddell will assume emeritus status, which means they will still be considered valued members of the community. Gruber plans to move to Washington DC, while Skiddell will remain in the area. On July 1, Rabbi Michael C. Cohen, a chaplain in the U.S. Army, will join the congregation.

Gelman and co-president Elinor Appel said in a statement that they want to thank the rabbis for their outstanding service and commitment to the CSBE congregants and the community at large.

“The Rabbis have taught us the importance Tikkun Olam, helping repair the world, through their actions and involvement in social causes,” the statement said. “We wish each of them much success in their future endeavors. They will be missed by the CSBE and RVC communities.”