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Parshat Bo

01/09/2019 05:22:19 PM



This week’s parsha begins with God speaking to Moses, saying “Go again to Pharaoh….”  The word “Bo”, meaning “Go”, is in the command verb form.  This moment echoes the moment in the book of B’reishit when God says to Abraham “Lech Lecha”, meaning “Go Forward! You!”.  Lech comes from the verb “to walk” and Bo means “go” or “come”.  The verbs are different but the command is the same.  There are moments in every life when it is time for commitment to a path.  Time to stop thinking, and start doing.  

I want to share an exciting moment of personal commitment.  In a few weeks I will begin my rabbinical studies at the Academy of Jewish Religion seminary in Los Angeles.  I will be attending part-time this semester, and full time after that.  Recently AJR created a long-distance program for the rabbinical school, enabling students to attend classes through an online video platform.  This technology enables AJR to provide academic advancement opportunities to working Jewish professionals who may not be able to relocate to Los Angeles.  This program enables me to study for the rabbinate while continuing to serve Ner Tamid as your Interim Spiritual Leader without any change in my hours or availability.

Ner Tamid plays an active role in my final decision to “Go! Forward!”. Although I have had many opportunities to learn and demonstrate rabbinical skills, including serving another congregation as their Interim, serving Ner Tamid is by far the most positive and inspiring of all those experiences.  Your welcome and warmth, your openness to creativity and innovation in Judaism and your support for my professional growth have shown me how fulfilling it can be to serve a community as its Rabbi.

This has been a dream of mine for some time and I am thrilled to begin.  It is true that cantors may perform most of the functions of a rabbi.  However, rabbinical training and ordination deepens one’s expertise in Jewish law and text, attests to leadership skills and endows additional authority.

Another exciting development accompanies my status as a rabbinical student.  I can now be referred to as Student Rabbi in addition to Cantor.  Although I am not legally entitled to the title “Rabbi” outside the congregation until I am ordained, congregants have the choice of whether to call me “Cantor” or “Rabbi” within our congregational setting.  

I look forward to sharing aspects of my rabbinical journey with you as it unfolds.  For now, it is time to “Go!”.

Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779