Embracing Gratitude in Challenging Times

Well, a lot has happened in the past 45 days.

I remain grateful to be able to serve my community at Temple Kol Emeth (TKE) in Marietta, GA, together with the strong and supportive professional team, caring and committed lay leadership, and two of the best rabbis I know: Rabbi-Educator Daniel Alter and Rabbi Emeritus Steven Lebow.

Here are some highlights from the months of October and November:

  • Most recently, we hosted an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration, which we all know needs to be rebranded as the Multifaith Thanksgiving Celebration. It was a privilege to be in community with friends from more than 20 local congregations of diverse faith traditions. You can read more about it here: Courageous Connections: Local Religious Leaders Call for Unity Amid Israel-Hamas War by Annie Mayne, Marietta Daily Journal (November 22, 2023)


  • On Friday, October 13th, I addressed my community at our Kabbalat Shabbat service and encouraged folks to march with me at the Atlanta Pride Parade: “Last year, our first year back in person for Atlanta PRIDE after the pandemic, I wrote about the unmitigated joy of being together and marching on the eve of Sukkot, the season of our joy. This year, Atlanta PRIDE falls on the weekend after National Coming Out Day, just one week after our celebration of Simchat Torah was irrevocably changed to day of mourning as we learned of the brutal terrorist attacks in Israel. And so our joy at being together is mitigated by our sorrow at all we’ve lost. Still, we gather and march together as a community, holding each other, protecting each other from hatred that is sometimes revealed as we round the corner. It is by showing up that we share our love and strengthen each other.”

  • Earlier that week, I shared this reflection about Parashat Bereshit and Pride: “Each year, when I read Parashat Bereshit and contemplate the creation of humanity in the image of the Divine, I’m reminded that we humans possess an amazing capacity to learn and grow, and to strive to become better people.”    Reflections from Rabbi Gottfried on Atlanta Pride 2023


  • On Monday morning that same week, still reeling from the news of Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel, I spoke with a reporter, Jake Busch, who delivered on his promise to quote me accurately and to paraphrase my remarks if his notes reflected my lack of composure when answering his questions. I’m grateful to Jake for his professionalism and compassion. Cobb’s Jewish Community Reacts to Outbreak of War in Israel by Jake Busch, Marietta Daily Journal (October 9, 2023)