Opening Remarks for the Emanuel Legacy Shabbat

Brukhim Habaim! And welcome.


Thank you for coming and Shabbat shalom!


We gather tonight in celebration and song.


We gather to honor the legacies of Rabbi Herman and Lotte Schaalman--a dynamic,
groundbreaking couple whose love of the Emanuel family and service to it made such
difference...over a lifetime. Rabbi Schaalman’s warmth and curiosity shaped a lasting
community of learners. His dedication to multi-faith relations built bridges that still
stand all over town. And, of course, Lotte’s commitment to hospitality and inclusion
made everyone feel welcome at all times.


Before we continue, I want to thank our entire professional team for your collaboration
in getting this big experimental moment off the ground. It is important for us to have
such a legacy weekend--not only to honor mentsches like the Schaalmans, but to
celebrate the legacy we as a community built with them and others. Tonight, we affirm
our capacity as a groundbreaking community, as a community that champions lifelong
learning, that strives to be collective force for good, and, as the Reform movement
teaches, audaciously welcoming.


This Shabbat, we welcome with open arms and big hearts, Mah Tovu. Rabbis Yoshi
Zweiback and Ken Chasen are not only classmates and colleagues. They are friends and
brothers, too. If it weren’t for Rabbi Schaalman, who helped inspire my rabbi Alfred
Wolf to found Gindling Hilltop Camp, I probably would not have met Yoshi in such a
special way. And, Ken grew up with our Rabbi Zedek in Kansas City, and of course,
Herman was like a father to Michael. The connections between us are full of blessings.
So Ken and Yoshi, we offer you special welcome you. (And, Yoshi we welcome you
back! You made my investiture beautiful and inspiring). The Schaalman’s would relish
your mentschlikeit, your versatility, and your combination of warmth and intelligence.
And, we are so glad that you are here with the rest of the band, Adam Zweiback
(Yoshi’s brother), Coleen Dieker, and Dennis Gilbert. We are blessed to be in your
soulful and musical presence. Thank you so much for being here.


And some thank-you’s offered Friday night….


I want to thank Rachelle Sheffer and our Women of Reform Judaism for the beautiful
oneg, and as always your tireless efforts in making this community welcoming. [And
now in retrospect, I want to thank our Sisterhood for your loving-kindness and
audacious hospitality throughout the weekend. You were amazing and ever-present.]

 

To our adult choir and Musical Director Ruth Seidner, I am so grateful for your creative
contributions to our special service tonight. The community joins me in letting you know
how proud we are of your efforts.


To Sam Sagi, Greg Friedman, and Luc Dodinval, I am thankful for the good work you do
capturing special moments like this on video, so we can relive the moments and include
others who couldn’t be with us.


To all those who have practiced tzedakah in honor of this moment, I thank you for your
generosity and leadership. We are halfway to our annual goal, and every gift to the
Fund for Good counts. This weekend’s celebration has given us some momentum. We
hope this weekend will inspire you to help out.


To our leaders, especially our president Dan Smolensky, I appreciate the space you give
our professional team to take risks for the sake of breaking new ground and finding
new 21st-century mojo.

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Emanuel Congregation  5959 N. Sheridan Road Chicago, IL 60660

(T) 773.561.5173 (F) 773.561.5420  info@emanuelcong.org

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