Scott Allen, the executive director of Congregation Beth Shalom, will be leaving his post on Oct. 22 to become the executive director of a Reform congregation in Rye, N.Y.
Allen’s new job at Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester County is only 18 miles from his home in Norwalk, Conn.
Because his wife, Rae-ann, still lives in Norwalk, Allen has been commuting there two weekends a month for the past 15 months that he has worked at Beth Shalom.
As the long-distance arrangement was becoming increasingly difficult for the couple to maintain, Allen decided to accept the job offer at the congregation in Rye.
The commute had been “taking its toll,” Allen said, adding that prior to his coming to Pittsburgh, he worked at a congregation in Boston for three years, commuting three hours on weekends to be with his wife, who is the head of the lower school in the Wooster School in Danbury, Conn.
Allen and Rae-ann were married in 2009, and have lived apart for most of their years together. So, when he was approached this past August with the possibility of a position in Rye, he pursued it.
“It’s 18 miles from my house,” he said. “There’s a lot to be said for 18 miles.”
Still, leaving Beth Shalom will be “bittersweet,” Allen said.
“This is a wonderful community,” he said. “There’s lot of warm, caring, intelligent people here. That’s the most fun, interesting thing about the job: the relationships.”
The congregation will be hosting a light continental breakfast in Allen’s honor on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Beth Shalom is in the process of determining how to move forward following Allen’s departure.
“The executive committee and I are hard at work looking at various alternatives for the day to day management of the office,” Beth Shalom President Howard Valinsky wrote in a letter to the congregation. “We are confident in our staff’s ability to keep things running smoothly during this transitional period.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.)