During the Bat Mitzvah of Clare Vogel this past Shabbat and earlier that morning in Talmud study, we referenced a text that permits women to wear tzitzit--the fringes that remind us of the mitzvot. Despite the Talmudic injunction, the Jewish community is not unified on this and other matters of ritual inclusion. That said, we're clear on our stance.
While it may often go without saying in our Reform community at Emanuel, we believe in equal access to ritual. Clare has grown up able to take this for granted. So has Rani Gordon and Isaac Manesis, whom we confirmed Friday night; and so has Ruby Manesis, who received her Hebrew name this weekend at an age she could really understand and mindfully practice the accompanying rituals with her parents, the same as if it were her brother.
This upcoming Friday night at 8pm, during our Friday night service, we will hold our board installation and honor LGBTQ Pride Week. Then Saturday morning, we celebrate with Bat Mitzvah Amelia Forton-Marwil and her family as she is called to the Torah. Each moment will feature ritual, and all will be welcome to practice--equally.
Before I close, I also want to say that I'm delighted by the progress of our Inclusion Team. Inclusion means welcome. And we welcome all because we are all created betzelem Elohim--in the image of God--therefore, we all possess the same intrinsic value before God and each other. In this spirit of equality, we are working hard to make sure everyone feels welcome at Emanuel: by ensuring our worship and learning experiences are more easily heard and more accessible on-line; by increasing our capacity to meet the varied needs of our differently-abled congregants; and by intentionally embracing the ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, interfaith, and identity diversity that uniquely marks our 21st-century communal life. If you're interested in serving in this important effort, please let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a safe and beautiful summer!
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!