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Dear Rabbi Katie

On May 14, we gathered to celebrate Or Shalom and honor our beloved Rabbi Katie as she prepares to leave Or Shalom for the next chapter in her rabbinical life. In typical Or Shalom fashion, many in our community stepped up to help make the event a rich and joyful celebration of our fifteen years with Rabbi Katie, years of spiritual leadership and guidance that have given Or Shalom a deep foundation on which to build. 

Thank you to all who attended and all who volunteered. You all made the evening special!

  • Judy Olasov & Chana Jacobs chaired the event
  • Emily Rosenberg & Lillian Markind provided support, links & information
  • Betty Zonderman created the invitations
  • Rachelle Resnick donated champagne and baked treats for dessert
  • Noah Butter baked delicious eclairs
  • Mary Ann Goldstein baked the macaroons
  • Bryna Rifkind, Peter Smith, and Beth & George Mills decorated delightfully
  • Jurate Raulinaitis provided the beautiful orchids
  • Our special guest from Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Ben Agvaniah (Charlie Varon) spoke eloquently
  • Diane Epstein-Porter, Ken Porter, Isaac Porter, Eleanor Porter, Noah Butter, and Melissa Rosenberg were our friendly greeters
  • Zehava Dahan created the Or Shalom video
  • Debbie Benrubi created the sensual havdalah spice bags
  • Rabbi Me’irah Iliinksy, April Lapidus and Amy Mallor helped with setup 
  • Howard Fallon & Suzanne Lifson Salazar helped with cleanup
  • Corey Weinstein gave a wonderful toast
  • Stephen Gerard recited his fabulous poem
  • Pat Skala wrote the lyrics to the Rabbi Song
  • Pat Skala and Debbie Benrubi donated paper goods. Our refreshment crew also included Rachelle Resnick, Linda Chafetz, and Mary Ann Goldstein 
  • Our generous underwriters included Eric & Melinda Ruchames, Jody LeWitter & Marc van der Hout, Bryna Rifkind, Stephen Gerard, Steven Harris, Shelley Levine, and Judy Olasov
  • Alison Levy led us in song and the blessing of Rabbi Katie and her family
  • Margo Freistadt and Robyn Talman made an exquisite tallit for Rabbi Katie
  • Many, many thanks to our fabulous Music Ensemble and Choir, those who played and sang at the event: Douglas Mandell, Corey Weinstein, Jeff Balch, Nathan Ladyzhensky, Stephen Gerard, Jurate Raulinaitis, Bryna Rifkind, Robyn Talman, Miriam Lewis, with special thanks to Douglas for his expertise and assistance
  • Debra Murov is producing the memory book, which we will give to Rabbi Katie in June, before she leaves

We are collecting pictures and notes of appreciation for our beloved Rabbi Katie. Some of them are below.

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One of my favorite memories with Rabbi Katie is sounding the shofar together during the High Holiday Season, whether on the bimah at the Unitarian Church or on the beach at Tashlich. This tradition of having congregants join in the mitzvah of sounding the shofar has been a joy to me. This inclusiveness has strongly resonated with us all. Thank you and may you and your family go from strength to strength.
Mary Ann Goldstein (shofar crew member)
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Dear Rabbi Katie, our very best wishes go with you and your loved ones to Colorado and wherever you go, always! 

I will always treasure the memories of many sweet times, when we marched in the city streets and celebrated with picnics and jams and parties and never-to-be-forgotten retreats under the trees in beautiful West Marin and Sonoma, when we transcended the everyday, when we laughed! And the hard times -- when you were there for me and my mom and our family. Thank you!  

Much love from Debbie and Lena 


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In the years that we’ve been part of the Or Shalom Community, Rabbi Katie’s wisdom, passion and good humor have been a ray of sunshine. We feel deeply fortunate to have had such an empathetic and energetic spiritual leader, one who has always been there for us and the community, and we wish her nothing but the best as she embarks on this new chapter in her life!

The Babcocks

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You taught us kindness, acceptance, grace, and some lovely melodies. And we picked up a few great cooking tips from Raj! Thanks for everything. 

Barbara & John

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Wishing you well, Rabbi Katie. More than once, I’ve heard it  said “Rabbi Katie always says the right thing,” and I thought yes, because she is coming from the right place.  The right place in the heart and soul.  I loved it that you said at an Embodied Spirituality service that you pray best when moving.  I feel the same way, and that Or Shalom has room for the whole self - body, mind and spirit.  You brought your whole self and have added so much.


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Schneider – Raulinaitis family

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Leah Steinberg, Lisa Steinberg, Debby Schlanger, Miranda Steinberg on the Or Shalom trip to Israel, June 2019.

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Dear Rabbi Katie,

Thank you for your spiritual inspiration, and for supporting and being with our family during times of joy, loss, and transition. The connection between you and our family will always be there!

With love and gratitude,

Laela, Elana, Kathy, and Chad Balch

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Dear Katie,

When I learned that you were leaving Or Shalom, the first word that came to my mind was “shmita,” release.  I had recently learned about shmita, the year of cancelling debt, freeing slaves and letting fields go fallow. I knew the only way I could feel okay about your leaving is to think: “We release you.”  

We release you without obligation.  It’s clear to me and many others that Or Shalom cannot provide you with the support you need to reach your full potential as a spiritual leader and activist.  We got you started, but now you need to be in a place where you can nurture your gifts by taking time for study, contemplation and writing.

I have many memories of your time at Or Shalom. You married me and Corey under the Or Shalom huppah. You were with me when we buried my Mom in a Catholic cemetery.  You read Psalm 23. I was so grateful for your presence.  When I hear you speak at rallies, I think , “That’s my Rabbi up there!”

Under your guidance, Or Shalom has become my spiritual home.  Last year I reached out to you in a moment of confusion.  Someone I respect had casually mentioned that saying Kaddish can “elevate the soul” of the deceased. I gave up on Purgatory and Hell decades ago and now the idea that a soul might be hanging out somewhere waiting to be elevated put me in panic mode. The purpose of Kaddish, you said, is to remind ourselves of the good things that the deceased did in this world and to be inspired to carry on that work.  You also said you don’t think too much about what happens after death and that was a comfort to me. Thank you.

I love the symbolism of you going from sea level to the mountains.  All the better to have your voice ring out.  We release you to be your best self in all the ways open to you.



Thanks for all your help in our good times and the not so good times.

--Rachelle, Sam, Nadya, Akiva and Zohar


Rabbi Katie, we are so grateful for your work with Or Shalom and with our family in particular. From good times to bad, you were always there for us with your kindness and support. 
We wish you all the very, very best in your next chapter in the Denver area! When you do interfaith events, please be on the lookout for my good friend, Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, at the Boulder Valley UU Fellowship.
Here is a photo from Ethan’s bar mitzvah:
And here is a link to the J Weekly opinion piece you co-authored with Ella.
All the very, very best to you and your family!
Laura, Ofer, Ella & Ethan


Dear Rabbi Katie,

You were a rock and solace for Barry and me from our first meeting, soon after you arrived in San Francisco.  Throughout his illness and death and beyond, your presence and wise counsel were so appreciated and helpful.
With much love and gratitude,



Mon, October 3 2022 8 Tishrei 5783