ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Since 1989, Rabbi Arnold Task has served Central Louisiana.
He taught for many years at the Jewish Temple in Alexandria, and continued to be involved in many aspects of our community even after retiring, becoming Rabbi Emeritus.
But now, he's giving a final farewell to the place he's called home for three decades.
"So many things have happened during our time here beyond our wildest imaginations and dreams," expressed Rabbi Task.
We’ve all heard the saying, there's no place like home. For Rabbi Task, and his wife, Judy, that home has been Alexandria for 30 years.
"The people who live in Central Louisiana are absolutely wonderful folks,” said Rabbi Task. “So we've enjoyed that. We've lived here longer than anywhere else, and it's just been absolutely beautiful."
As you can imagine, it's a sad occasion saying goodbye to all their close friends.
"I brought Kleenex," laughed Mrs. Task.
Or perhaps for the Tasks, a better description is bittersweet. You see, they're moving closer to family.
"Tucson, Arizona,” explained Mrs. Task. “We have a daughter, the youngest of three daughters, and a ten-year-old grandchild. It will be the first grandchild we'll be able to watch grow up."
But they're not leaving without having left their mark on Central Louisiana.
Along with serving 22 years as Rabbi of Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim, from 1989 to 2011, he was also a Rotarian, and was awarded the Four Avenues of Service Award in 2007.
He served as President of the Central LA Minister's Association, the Family Counseling Agency, Angel Care, and the Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Museum.
For many of those years in Alexandria, he lectured and taught Judaism and Holocaust studies at the college level. He also co-hosted the annual commemoration of the Holocaust, and played a major role in the planning, funding and realization of a Holocaust Memorial in downtown.
But among all these achievements, the couple also touched many people’s lives along the way.
"I’m losing my best friends," expressed Alvin Mykoff.
Mykoff said he and his late wife, Joan, bonded with the couple the day they met.
"I hate to see them go, but they're going to where they're daughter and granddaughter live and they're excited,” said Mykoff. “So I'd like to be selfish, but you know, it's difficult."
Even the current Rabbi, Raina Siroty said she's losing a mentor.
"Rabbis all over the country know who he is,” said Rabbi Siroty. “He's been an absolute staple and known throughout our movement for 62 years."
It's a part of many people's lives, to pack up and to move away. But the Tasks said if there's one message they'd like to leave for the folks they've met here, it's that they agree with that old saying; There's no place like home.
"We'll never forget Alexandria," expressed Mrs. Task.
"Absolutely,” added Rabbi Task.