A Final Goodbye from Dorice Horenstein

It’s time to say goodbye.


It’s time to say goodbye.

It’s time to move on.

It’s time to do something new, create something different.

It’s time to let go of what is and make space of what’s to come.


This is what has been going through my mind recently. After 16 years of occupying a space that became an extension to my house, my second home, I am faced with the reality that it’s no more.

It will be cliche to say I have raised my kids here, but it will be the truth. Half truth.

I have raised many many kids here. Mine as well as yours. From teaching Hebrew, to holidays to fostering the love of Israel and so much more– all this will be imprinted on my heart.

From creating a winter camp at full capacity, bringing counselors from all over the United state, to holidays celebrations that filled the sanctuary to speakers that drew support as well as people from the entire community, to taking 3 family trips to Israel and transferring the love that is so apparent within me to many of you- that is something that will be forever imprinted on my heart.

The friendships that I have had a privilege to create with different people in the education committees, boards and just because , throughout the years, what a treasure this has been. You know how much I love you!! I did not keep it a secret!

To walk by your side through raising your children, having their bnai mitzvah, becoming Jewish, marrying your children, burying your parents, the teaching and the learning that went into these experiences–I was and am honored to be given the gift of stability at Shaarie Torah just so I serve this purpose. This too will be imprinted in my heart.

The love that I have for so many of you will not be diminished by me not being here. Those who love me, those who were nourished by having a relationship with me know where to find me. I am an email away, a few miles from here.

I have worked with so many people in the last 16 years. Some more talented than others. To be honest ( most of you should be used by now to honesty from me, so it will not shock -)- While many I love and cherish and will never forget, some I don’t remember and others I wish to forget. 5 rabbis, 7 receptionists, 6 office managers, 1 ground keeper, 1 preschool director, 4 cooks, and many more who used the Shaarie Torah revolving door- this too will be imprinted on my heart.

From the hundreds of people I had the privilege to serve, I want to mention only one. And that’s Barry Benson. Barry Benson is the reason I came to Shaarie Torah. With his wife Karla , and together with David Rosenberg of blessed memory and Mark Rutzick who now lives in Washington DC . They were the team. Barry, you were the one who brought me here 16 years ago and you had been my advocate and supporter here  for my 16 years here. You are such a loyal member of this synagogue, volunteering hours upon hours behind the scenes just because you care! I am grateful to you beyond words.

It is now time for me livnot V’lehibanot

לבנות ולהיבנות

Build and rebuild, myself, my purposes, my calling. I will rely on my foundation to do that.

To my husband of 30 years who had been my super star confidant,  and cheer man of the century. Thank you for your help in so many ways behind the scenes. From helping and volunteering to teach about Israel to both teens and adults, and transferring the love that is so apparent within us both, to flipping burgers (for hours) for the end of the year celebration for our Wednesday night school and to our annual Chanukah parties!  Our home was the SW extension to Shaarie Torah for the last 16 years, and I could not have done it without you! For those who do not know, my husband works for the Jewish Federation of Portland. And we are the only  non clergy couple in Portland who work for Jewish organizations. The only couple in Portland. Oh, the number of hours he had to listen to me!! I am quite relived that Federation does not provide half of the excitement that Shaarie Torah provided– that would be indeed over the top and too much!

To my children who have been more than just children … they have been counselors, teachers, technical support crew, cleaning crew,  dance motivators, Torah chanters, child care providers, prayer leaders– as I said– not “just children.” No education director or rabbi in this town, let alone this community have such treasure- and only those who have understand the magnitude of this gift. May god bestow on you, my children, my flesh and blood, the blessing of having children like you have been to me!

While there is the fear of the unknown, there is definitely the tingles of excitement of what’s to come. That has to do with my upbringing. Born without the spoon of privileged in my mouth, my dad was not so and so and neither was my mom. And even if they were, you would not know them as they live in Israel. My dad was a construction worker and my mom worked with elderly and mentally disabled people. My dad was the chazan, gabbai and everything that was needed in his synagogue which he built with his own bare hands in his own neighborhood. I learned and polished my skills to be who I am around the family meals at the kitchen table. The challenges of growing in a Sephardic household in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s taught me about discrimination,  working hard, living honestly. My army officer training taught me people will not support you just because, because of your work title, family name, money, but rather what you stand for, and how you treat others. From that perspective I now recognize that I indeed have had not only healthy but a privileged upbringing ! I am privileged beyond words!

I have complete and unwavering faith and belief that God works in mysterious ways. As Gabrielle Bernstein says in her book- let go of fear- the universe has your back.


I know it has mine! My time is here! My time is now.

Dorice Horenstein