Monday, August 20, 2007

Post-installation thoughts

Rabbi Jana De Benedetti put together a beautiful service for her installation as rabbi of B'nai Zion. Here's a few details I noticed but couldn't work into the story:

* During the installation prayer, De Benedetti stood under a prayer shawl, which was held up like a chuppah, which is usually used during weddings. The chuppah symbolizes the home that a couple will build together. During the installation, De Benedetti saw a spiritual home being built for the congregation.

* The prayer shawl itself had tree branches on it and the Hebrew inscription "It is a tree of life." The "it" referred to Torah (to Jews, the law; to Christians, the first five books of the Old Testament). Since Torah is actually a feminine noun, De Benedetti said the inscription could also be translated: "She's the tree of life."

* The phrase also reminded her that God gave us choices, but if we keep to God's law, it gives us life.

* As they began the standard Sabbath service piece of the evening, candles were lit and a beautiful prayer was sung welcoming the Sabbath. "We welcome Shabbat as if we were the bride and Shabbat was the groom." Shouldn't we all look forward to worship that way?

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