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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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