We are measured in life not by what we have accumulated, but what we have left for others. Rabbi Albert Plotkin left a mountain, far too high for most of us to be able to accomplish in one lifetime.
Little was said at the Congregation Beth Israel memorial service about his love and dedication to our small community in Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Rabbi Plotkin came to us after retiring and fulfilling a lifetime of service in the Valley and nationally. How lucky we were to have a giant come to us with new vibrance and with love and a desire to build a Jewish community in our small faraway location among the red rocks of Sedona. He was the catalyst that moved us from being a Jewish club that only came together to celebrate some Jewish holidays to become a synagogue that recognizes all that Judaism has to offer.
Rabbi Plotkin was an inspiration to me and motivated and led us as an unaffiliated Jewish community to overlook our differences and recognize every Jew equally worthy.
He brought with him the first "Gates of Prayer" siddurim and a historic small Torah with an ark for us to use. We shlepped them from church to church for our services and holiday celebrations. We still use that small Torah at services today.
I remember him saying to me in our new synagogue: "A synagogue belongs to every Jew in the world. Turn no one away, welcome all equally and make them happy to be a part of our Judaism and of our congregation." That became our synagogue's mantra.
He reveled in the fact that we were an unaffiliated synagogue with diversity to explore all that Judaism has to offer.
Those of us who were lucky to know Rabbi Plotkin from his earliest days here in Sedona until his retirement in 2005 can understand why we were so fortunate.
- Excerpt from a eulogy by Joe Knauer, former president of Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, at Rabbi Plotkin's Feb. 9 memorial service at the Sedona synagogue.