When Rabbi Sidney Shoham retired in 2006 from Beth Zion Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc, after more than 50 years at the pulpit, the very difficult search began for his successor. A year later Rabbi Ira Ebbin was hired. Young, charismatic and full of energy, he made a very favourable impression.
I am saddened to learn that less than three years after his arrival, Rabbi Ebbin (seen below with me soon after his arrival) is about to leave his post for what must have been an offer he just could not refuse in Long Island, New York (Ohav Shalom in Merrick, NY). Beth Zion, under the stewardship of executive director Sheldon Weinstein, was just getting back its footing. Despite a large drop in membership, the combination of Rabbi Ebbin and Weinstein was paying off. New members were coming aboard. The facility itself underwent somewhat of a facelift, with the main auditorium and the entranceway spruced up very nicely. Blossom By The Plaza became the official in-house caterer.
Prior to arriving here, Rabbi Ebbin served as the spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Stamford, in Connecticut. Previously, he had served as the Assistant Rabbi of Congregation Anshe Sholom in New Rochelle, NY. He was the Immediate Past President of the Board of Rabbis for the UJF of Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien. He and his wife Chevi (Shurin) grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and they are blessed with three daughters, Shlomit, Shira Nacha, and Anat Shoshana. It is understandable that this new offers allows them to return home.
So Beth Zion once again begins the difficult search for a rabbi. Will Rabbi Shoham, still the rabbi emeritus, return on an interim basis? Stay tuned.