Sign In Forgot Password

February 12

My corner of the world has been energized and brightened by spending time with many of you at our recent "Aloha Har Shalom." A special word of thanks goes out to Leah Lamkin and her many volunteers, the Board, and the Strategic Planning Committee for putting together a successful and fun event.

In addition to input-gathering, socializing, costume contests, drawings for prizes, good food and drinks, and fantastic kids' programs, we had the opportunity to formalize our covenant with Rabbi Sally Finestone. For those of you who were unable to attend, here is my introduction and the ritual we created for the occasion.

"The Torah tells us that in the transition of authority that went from Moses to his successor, Joshua, one of the key requirements was that the transition be done publicly, not privately, and in the presence of the entire community.

It has become a custom in modern affiliated synagogues to publicly, and in the presence of the community, “install” a new Rabbi. Since we are not affiliated with any formal Jewish movement, we have the advantage of being able to formally welcome our Rabbi through rituals of our own creation.

We have decided not to call the events tonight an “installation,” since that sounds more like something you would do with an appliance or light fixture. Rather we take this opportunity for “Covenant Making” between this congregation and our Rabbi. For this reason, we have created “Aloha Har Shalom” as a time for celebration, blessing, input gathering, and best of all partying with our Rabbi and each other."

(Rabbi Finestone was then invited to join me under the chuppah for the welcoming blessing and promise from the congregation.)

May the one who blessed our ancestors Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless and sustain you, Rabbi Sally Finestone. Grant you wisdom and compassion in equal measure to lead, organize, mentor, teach, and comfort those in need. Give you the strength to continue work in difficult times and the generosity to share abundance when life is full. May you help Congregation Har Shalom to continue to be a home for celebration and exploration of Jewish learning, spirituality, and community. May you be blessed with a welcoming and supportive staff, congregation, and community working together with you to implement our vision of a dynamic and inclusive Center for Jewish Living.

May the covenant we make today give you wisdom, comfort, and courage for all the days ahead, for the way is often hard, the path is never clear, and the stakes are very high. But know in your heart that you are not alone. Congregation Har Shalom today demonstrates our faith in your leadership and recognizes your commitment to the mission and vision of Har Shalom. May your work bring you both joy and fulfillment and may our partnership be a long one. And let us say, Amen


We pledge to support Rabbi Sally Finestone with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service. We will work hand-in-hand to lead Congregation Har Shalom by example and by action. We commit to seek what is best and true for everyone in this sacred community. And let us say, Amen.

Rabbi Finestone then led us in saying goodbye to Shabbat and Aloha to the week to come with Havdallah.

My office work this week has been consumed with support to the Executive Director Search Committee, preparation for the Board Meeting, office coverage, and meetings with staff. Stay tuned for more details next week.

Tue, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780