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Rabbi Installation - Cantor Sarra Speech

It is wonderful to be here together tonight to celebrate such a momentous time for our community. As the blessing Shehecheyanu – the blessing we say when we experience something for the first time, or for the first time in a long time – goes: “You are Blessed, Adonai, for giving us life, for sustaining and supporting us, and for helping us arrive at this very moment.” As we honor Rabbi Mike tonight, we’re also celebrating the history and foundations of our community - all of the people whose vision, efforts, and dedication have given this community life, nurtured it, and brought us here to this very moment. At the same time, we’re also celebrating our growth and our ability to change and our arrival to this next generation for our community. This moment is an intersection of our combined past, present, and future.

This occasion also brings together so many people from Rabbi Mike’s past, present and future: dear teachers and mentors, colleagues and community leaders, and members of the CBE family who have been touched in some way by Rabbi Mike’s spirit, creativity, and care.

Over the past year, Rabbi Mike and I have had many adventures together, sharing this bima and working together as partners. I want to thank Rabbi Mike and express my true appreciation for his friendship, his ideas, his humor, and his boundless energy, and for all of the ways he has inspired and helped me personally to grow. I have been touched – as have many of you – by his rachamim – his compassion; his love for our tradition; and his n’shomah – his deep spirit.

One of the Jewish teachings that Rabbi Mike brings to life and to our community – through words and actions – comes from the book of Vayikra: “V’havta l’reyacha kamocha”. The beloved Rabbi Akiva, 2000 years ago, said this was the greatest teaching of the Torah: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

This world is built from our love, for ourselves and for one another. The choir will lead us in Olam Chesed Yibane, composed by Rabbi Mike’s good friend and colleague, Rabbi Menachem Creditor. The words are in the insert in your program; I hope you’ll sing along.

Mon, January 21 2019 15 Shevat 5779