On February 28th, Pinecrest’s Bet Shira Congregation overwhelmingly elected Cantor Mark Kula as their new Rabbi. During the evening Kula said, "It is estimated that 20% of all religious institutions in the USA will either merge or disappear in the next 10 years. Bet Shira will NOT be one of them..."
As Cantor for nearly 25 years, Kula was admittedly nervous about the vote. “About five years ago, I decided I wanted to become a Rabbi, but knew I had to increase my Judaic knowledge and study to play a bigger role in the Jewish community,” reflects Kula. Clearly, the congregants felt it was his time.
As of a follow-up Board meeting in late April, his appointment was made official. In the upcoming days, Cantor Mark Kula will officially become Rabbi Kula. Inarguably modern, Kula is noodling what people should call him, as he will initially continue to serve as Cantor as well. “RC Kula seems to stick so far.” The R is for Rabbi, the C for Cantor.
Whatever people call him, Kula recognizes relationships are the core of his success in the community. “I have always fostered and cultivated them and know honest relationships are imperative to being a good Jewish person.”
One of Kula’s goals is to enrich and grow Bet Shira. “I want excitement and positive energy. I have a vision as to what our community can be and it includes our role in the Pinecrest community as well. As Rabbi, I feel I’ll be able to move us in a dynamic direction, help us outreach and integrate with the community at large.”
The new Rabbi’s day is filled with favorite moments, but if pressed Kula will tell you his time with the children is special. “As Rabbi, I don’t see a lot of change, but I know I’ll be able to interact with people even more in this sacred space. That excites me.”
Mark Kula looks forward to more dedicated time to study Jewish knowledge and wisdom, and act as an even stronger voice in his community. “We have the strength to endure, the integrity to flourish and the principled ideology to improve the world.”