Rabbi Stephen Listfield, spiritual leader of Tree of Life Congregation, has asked for, and received permission to seek a new job.
In a Nov. 20 letter to his members, Tree of Life President Alan B. Gordon, said that Listfield approached him with his request to seek a new position before his current contract is up.
“I promptly notified the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of Rabbi Listfield’s request,” Gordon wrote. “After discussion and careful consideration, both groups … agreed in principle to allow Rabbi Listfield to explore new employment opportunities.”
Meanwhile, Gordon said that an ad hoc panel of the executive committee is working with Listfield “to affect a smooth transition and ensure rabbinical coverage for our Tree of Life
Listfield was out of town last weekend, but he confirmed in a reply to an e-mailed message from The Chronicle that he did request the permission. He also noted that his current contract remains in force and that he has not
Listfield’s request came shortly after Tree of Life and Or L’Simcha announced their facility-sharing agreement whereby the two congregations would share the synagogue on Wilkins Avenue starting in January 2009 and combine their religious schools immediately.
Under the terms of that agreement, Or L’Simcha pays no rent to Tree of Life, but the two congregations share the expenses related to the building’s operation.
Both Listfied and Rabbi Chuck Diamond maintain offices at Tree of Life.
Last weekend, the two congregations also held their first joint Shabbat service. They also held a family oriented “Pajama Havdala” to mark the end of Shabbat; some 100 people attended.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)