In two weeks, our congregation will celebrate its first Rabbinic Installation in decades.
A Rabbinic Installation is a sacred event in the life of a Jewish community. The ritual of Installation always occurs in the sanctuary where the Rabbi leads the community on the journey of Jewish life from Baby Namings, to Bnei Mitzvah, to Weddings and (after long life we hope) to Funerals.
Installation is also for you to learn about your Rabbi’s life story and his values.
I have invited some of my dearest Rabbinic colleagues and friends to participate in the installation.
At the ceremony you will meet Rabbi Gerry and Dora Friedman. They led the Hillel at the University of Florida where I was a graduate student more than 30 years ago. Gerry grew up in a Hasidic family in Brooklyn, and Dora was born in a DP Camp in Europe. I was the leader of the Reform Student Gators. For three years we learned together, argued together, sang together and dreamed about the Jewish future we wanted to shape. Rabbi Gerry and Dora had a huge impact on my Jewish leadership path.
Also attending will be Rabbi Josh Weinberg. He is the Vice President of the Union of Reform Judaism and is also the Director of the Association of Reform Zionism. Josh was my roommate in Jerusalem more than 20 years ago and has been a life-long friend, colleague and inspiration.
Natan Ellsberg is flying in from Israel to join us. Natan grew up in the Reform Congregation of New Rochelle. We met about 25 years ago when we worked together as educators for the NFTY-in-Israel Summer Programs. One of my life’s greatest accomplishments is having introduced Natan to his wife Sigal. Natan made Aliyah in the 1990’s and is a founding member of Israel’s largest Reform Congregation in Modi’in.
Rabbi Joel Sisenwine and Cantor Jodi Sufrin served as my colleagues and mentors at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts. We worked together from 1999-2004. I admire them as role models who led one of the most vibrant synagogues in America. 20 years ago, their community was about 500 families. Today there are more than 1,400 families. Rabbi Sisenwine and Cantor Sufrin will serve as the installing clergy for the ritual of installation.
Of course, Temple Shaaray Tefila’s leadership will also take part, including Emeritus Rabbi David Greenberg, our Temple President Sharon Feldman, Musicians Noah Chase, Kenny Green, and Alli West, our new Director of Education, Stephanie Ben Simon, and Amanda Weiss our Rabbinic Student Intern.
After a long, pandemic-enforced wait, I am thrilled to invite you to join me with my family, friends and colleagues for the sacred ritual of Rabbinic Installation on November 19, 2021 at 7:30pm, followed by a festive Oneg. Please save the date and I hope you will be able to join in-person.
Rabbi David Wilfond