As I noted several years ago, installation is the act of putting something in place. We think of installing a carpet or installing appliances. Yet installation is also the act of putting a person in an appropriate place, i.e. an appropriate office or position. And, while Toba Schaller was ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion in May of last year, our congregation will shortly gather to mark the installation of Rabbi Toba Schaller as our spiritual leader, as our teacher, and as our guide. Over the weekend of March 3, 4 and 5, we will gather to ritually mark Rabbi Schaller’s becoming our rabbi. Our congregation last had the opportunity to participate in such a joyous occasion when we welcomed Rabbi Jessica Barolsky five years ago. To share with us as Rabbi Toba Schaller becomes our rabbi, we will be joined by one of her teachers at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religious in New York City, Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D. As Dr. Weiss joins us to install Rabbi Schaller, she also becomes our congregation’s Rabbi Dudley Weinberg’s Scholar-in- Residence this year.
Associate Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR, Dr. Weiss was ordained as rabbi by the College-Institute and then received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as associate editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary and she has published yet another book entitled Figurative Language in Biblical Prose Narrative: Metaphor in the Book of Samuel. She is currently serving as the Campaign Coordinator for “American Values Religious Voices,” a national non-partisan campaign bringing together 100 scholars from a diverse range of religious traditions who, over the first 100 days of our new administration, will send one letter a day to President Trump, Vice President Pence, our Cabinet secretaries, and the Members of the House and Senate. These letters come from scholars representing the diversity of religious traditions and faith communities in our country to “articulate core American values that have grounded our nation in the past and should guide us forward at this time of transition.” That campaign also serves as the title of Rabbi Weiss’ weekend with us – “American Values Religious Voices.”
Rabbi Weiss will join us at our Shabbat Eve Service on March 3 to share with us as we install Toba Schaller as our Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning. We will also be joined by the voices of our Adult and Children’s Choirs and you will all be invited to a wonderful Shabbat dinner prior to the service as we honor Rabbi Schaller. Rabbi Weiss’ topic that Friday evening as we install Rabbi Schaller will be “Trending Values and Urgent Voices.” The wonderful weekend continues on Shabbat morning as Rabbi Weiss joins with us at our Shabbat Morning Study Minyan as we finish I Samuel and begin II Samuel. How appropriate that she will be able to share with us her knowledge on the narratives in the book of Samuel and then join together at a wonderful Shabbat lunch coordinated by Nikki Levin through the participants of our Shabbat Morning Study Minyan. At that lunch, Rabbi Weiss will talk about “Biblical Roots of Amerian Values” as she dedicates this teaching to Rabbi Schaller. Then, of course, our celebration continues on Sunday morning as Rabbi Weiss joins us to talk about “Ties that Bind: Shared American Values.” Brunch will be served to all who come.
This weekend would not have been possible without the great work of our Installation Committee co-chaired by Sherry Malmon and Margo Zimmermann. Their work will make our formal installation and our Rabbi Dudley Weinberg Scholar-in- Residence weekend even more wonderful. We hope you will participate in these exciting days in the life of our congregation.