Harrisburg rabbi retiring and moving to Jerusalem after 17 years in the community

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A congregation is saying goodbye to a rabbi who has been part of the community for nearly two decades.

For 17 years now Rabbi Eric Cytryn has been leading the congregation at Beth El Temple in Harrisburg.

“It’s been a very exciting 17 years,” he said.

His overarching message has been one found in every faith.

“Love your neighbor as yourself is the fundamental principle of everyone who is enlightened to realize. That the other might not look like you, but inside their soul is a part of God just like your soul is a part of God,” Cytryn said.

It’s a mission the rabbi wanted to put into motion while leading social justice discussions over the years.

“Last year, we had 200 people here sharing their thoughts about freedom. What does that mean, the blessing of living in the United States?” Cytryn pondered. “We’d have years when we’ve focused on refugees. People fleeing persecution in other countries.”

Now, Rabbi Cytryn is retiring and moving to Jerusalem. The move is about spending more time with his family, in addition to visiting his son in Chicago.

Cytryn also noted his excitement in meeting his new community in Israel. “Working with Israeli Arabs, Israeli Muslims, and Christians is something I’ll look forward to doing and I think it’s very important work.”

Despite his exciting journey ahead, the rabbi says he won’t forget the neighbors he’s leaving behind.

“It’s about knowing a group of people that are just exceptional people. So that’s what we’ll miss the most I believe,” Cytryn said.

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