By Rabbi Brian Immerman
Congregation Mishkan Israel
When I arrived at Congregation Mishkan Israel for my initial interview in October of 2017, I was given a tour of the building. This tour was different than the other congregations – we started in the back. The tour didn’t start with sanctuary, the chapel, or the library, which are all amazing spaces, instead we walked into the kitchen. “This is where ‘Life is Delicious’ prepares food for a local homeless shelter,” Michael explained to me. How appropriate, I thought, to begin a tour of a synagogue in the kitchen, the place where most people gather when hosting company in their homes. Our tour began in the kitchen because for Michael, as for many members of Mishkan Israel, our synagogue is not just a building but it is a home.
Since arriving in Hamden this summer, my wife Jenny and I been overwhelmed at the warm reception we’ve received from the congregation and the larger Jewish community.
I spent my summer learning why so many people participate in the CMI community. From ”Life is Delicious,” to the “Peah Garden,” to worship, to our nursery school and educational opportunities, there are so many ways that people get involved in the life of the synagogue.
I have also started to learn more about why Jewish New Haven is thriving with a newly renovated JCC, a wonderful sense of k’lal Yisrael, a strong interfaith community and commitment to making our world a b etter place for all people.
As we enter into 5779, we reflect on the past year as we look to the future. I am honored to be the next spiritual leader of a congregation celebrating its 178th year and I am committed to honoring Mishkan Israel’s rich history. May we all find joy, happiness and a place that we can call home this year. Shanah tova u’metukah, wishing you a sweet and happy new year.