Rabbi Burt Jacobson, Kehilla’s founding rabbi, asked that we share an update with you about his health. In the spring R’ Burt was diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer. With great support from his beloved partner R’ Diane Elliot, from Kaiser Oncology and from many good friends and health care providers, R’ Burt is walking this new path,learning how to deal both emotionally and spiritually with the challenges that the diagnosis presents. His spiritual practices continue to support him.
At this point there is no expectation of imminent decline, and Rabbi Burt is continuing to work on completing his books on the Ba’al Shem Tov and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as being with those closest to him.
One thing Rabbi Burt mentioned is that since his diagnosis, he has heard stories from some people about how he has impacted their lives through his presence, life cycle officiation, wisdom and teaching. This information has brought Burt delight and joy. To keep that joy and delight flowing, we’d like to invite you to reflect on the ways that Rabbi Burt might have been part of your life–officiating your wedding or other life cycle ceremony, offering you words of prayer that feel authentic in Kehilla’s prayer books, offering you spiritual direction, teaching you about the Ba’al Shem Tov or his teacher, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, or other Jewish wisdom, inspiring you through his vision for a compassionate and just world and empathic action for Palestinians.
In whatever ways R’ Burt has touched, inspired, and blessed your life, sharing your experience with R’ Burt is a gift to him at this time.
We’ve set up an email address for collecting stories:
You can write an email of any length, and/or attach photos or videos – whatever you’d like to share.
We’ll make sure that Rabbi Burt receives your reflections, appreciations and offerings. Rabbi David will also be sitting down with Rabbi Burt to talk about his life and the story of Kehilla. That conversation will be recorded and parts of it will be shared during High Holy Days.
Our community will continue to walk with Rabbi Burt and Rabbi Diane as they experience what is unfolding for them.
With deep love and gratitude to our Rabbi Burt, the soul of our Kehilla,
Rabbi Dev, Hazzan Shulamit, Michael Saxe-Taller