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Rabbi Warshaw leaves Temple Bat Yam after decade

Rabbi Susan Warshaw

By Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor

(June 28, 2018) After a decade of leading the congregation at Temple Bat Yam off Worcester Highway in Berlin, Rabbi Susan Warshaw is ready to try something else, or maybe a few somethings else, as she’s decided to retire effective June 30.

The first and most obvious benefit for Warshaw is to live with her husband again.

“My husband Richard lives in Alexandria, Virginia and I’d go back every weekend or almost every weekend. It’s a lot of driving and sometimes the Bay Bridge can be problematic,” she said.

She said she’s going to set up shop outside of the Washington, D.C. area, but doesn’t really know what will come next.

After moving back over the bridge, Warshaw said she intends to visit Israel to study and learn, because being a rabbi isn’t something you just stop doing, she said.

“I’ll always function as a rabbi, because once you’re a rabbi you’re a rabbi and I’ll work as a rabbi if I’m employed or not,” she said.

Warshaw said there was going to be a lot to miss about Bat Yam and the lower shore, and one thing she won’t.

“Well, I won’t miss all the driving,” she said with a laugh. “But I learned so many things: how to be more compassionate and caring for people with all sorts of problems, I guess to sum it up — I learned to be more accepting.”

She hopes the congregation has learned from her as well.

“I hope they learned a lot about Israel. And one thing I said all the time was the need to be kind,” she said.

A basic tenet of the Jewish faith, she said, is if you see something wrong, you work to fix it.

“You don’t pray for peace, you go out and work at it. You have to do something about it,” she said.

Warshaw thinks she’ll always be learning or teaching.

“There’s always more. Always be learning is a very Jewish value,” she said. “I tried very hard to get to know everyone — you name their babies, you marry them and bury their relatives. I tried to get to know everyone.”

Rabbi Estelle Mills has been chosen to succeed Warshaw.