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Ta Shema: June 30, 2022

Installation Speech Friday, June 10, 2022

It's good to be home. 

Emily and I are so blessed to have found a spiritual and physical home in Bnai Israel and Wilmington.

There aren’t enough pens or ink cartridges to express the love and gratitude I have for Emily for being the best friend, partner, writer, and Imah in the world as we journey through life together.

We can honestly say that we have never felt so woven into the fabric of community than we have here. We are blessed to be able to raise our daughter, Shlomi, within these halls. She already has so many bonus aunts/uncles/grandparents from this congregation and we have loved celebrating all of her simchas so far with everyone.

It's good to have a family in Bnai Israel, in all that the word family means and all of its complexities.

Sometimes I walk into my BIC home on a Sunday morning and after setting up a Hebrew School event for the morning, a tots event for the afternoon, as well as an adult luncheon, I feel a sense of pride for the vibrancy of this amazing congregation.

And sometimes I walk into my BIC home on a Saturday morning to find that Duke energy gifted us with a no power/no internet shabbat service and we have to shvitz it out while using my cell phone as a personal hotspot to keep zoom running.

Family is real. Family is messy. 

Family is exactly what you expect while also completely surprising. 

Family has the right heart but sometimes has limitations and boundaries.

Families laugh together, cry together, are silly, are serious, get on each other's nerves–and other colorful things that one can’t say on the Bimah, but healthy families always support each other. 

And families grow.

They grow larger and grow together.

The past two years I have both grown and strived to grow this family to be one that is healthy, fulfilled, and dynamic. 

The great part is, the process of growth is never-ending. I look forward, God-willing, to many years of growth, of blessing and being blessed. 

Of watching the Hebrew School kids graduate High School. Of watching Parents become Grandparents, and Grandparents become Great Grandparents. Of coming together to celebrate life’s joys. Even seeing us come together to go through the timeless, healing steps of mourning.

I look forward to building–not just this sanctuary which is beautiful, but a spiritual home for all. A place where all feel welcomed, embraced, appreciated, and wanted just the way they are. To strive for everyone feeling connected to this congregation as well as their own spirituality and inner drive. I look forward to deepening our bond with Greater Jewish Wilmington and Greater Wilmington. 

When needed, I also look forward to making repairs. I invite all difficult conversations for the betterment of this congregation and our personal relationship.

So thank you. Thank you for the incredible privilege of serving you. I love this family and it is the honor of my lifetime to have been welcomed, along with Emily and Shlomtzion into this family.

I invite all of my Rabbi friends to come up and raise their hands to bless us all with ancient words that come from this week’s Torah portion and that Rav Waxman just blessed me with a few minutes ago. I also invite all current and past presidents to stand if you are comfortable, and raise your hands like the ancient priests as I bless this congregation with the priestly blessing.

יְבָרֶכְךָ ה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ

יָאֵר ה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ

יִשָּׂא ה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

God will bless you and protect you.

God will deal kindly and graciously with you.

God will bestow favor on you and grant you peace.

 

Amen v'amen

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783