Congregation Beth Shalom gave Rabbi Ron Hauss and his wife Randie a warm “thank you” as their respective retirements were celebrated with a tribute gala on Sunday.
“Randie and I are the ostensible reason for the gathering tonight, but what we’re really celebrating here is almost 50 years of Jewish life in this community,” Hauss said. “What is created wasn’t created by us. It was created by all of us working together.”
Friends, family members, former and current members of the congregation gathered to see the rabbi and his wife. During the tribute gala, composer and Hart High School graduate Matt Gould gave a performance honoring the couple.
Hauss decided years ago to retire once he reached the age of 70, as he recently did on May 27.
“It’s bittersweet,” Randie said. “Last June I retired from the Newhall School District after 30-plus years of teaching and this was my other job.”
After 50 years serving on and off as a rabbi, Hauss plans to write a book about the history of Santa Clarita’s Jewish community and lead an effort to organize a touring program in Los Angeles that takes people around parts of the city that are significant to the history of Jewish Angelenos.
“It’s good in your life to leave at a point where you feel like you’ve made a difference, you achieve something and then imagine a different kind of life for yourself,” Hauss said. “We’ll be in the community, we’ll continue to be involved in Jewish life here, but there are all kinds of projects and plans that we have for our future. So yes, it is bittersweet, but at the same time it’s exciting to know that we’re about to start a new chapter.”
Jordan Ulch grew up attending Congregation Beth Shalom. His parents were already friends with Hauss by the time he was born. Now the vice president of communications for the synagogue and with a son attending the same preschool he was once in, he said the Hauss’ involvement has been a long thread connecting everyone’s lives.
“He just comes with a wealth of information and knowledge,” Ulch said. “When he discusses something with you, it’s like an outline format so that it’s really easy to understand. So you can get these really complex theories relatively easy and remember them as to how he describes them.”
“We’ve been here in the community for a long time,” Hauss said. “Over the course of the years we’ve watched it grow and we’ve never fallen out of love with it. If you can love a community, we really do. Our children were raised here. All the significant events of our lives took place here.”
“It’s so intertwined,” said Randie. “It’s not just rabbi of the congregation and the rabbi’s wife of the congregation, it is our extended family.”