Invocation for Bethel Democratic Town Committee Annual Dinner - April 2017
Delivering the invocation
Holy One of Blessing, Creator of all humanity, we come together
tonight to praise a woman of valor, Mary Gert McCollam. You know, friends, Mary
Gert is mentioned in our holy scriptures. We read in the Book of Proverbs:
Mary Gert McCollam
Who can find a woman of valor?
The price of a woman of integrity is far above rubies.
She wears strength and beauty and she laughs at the future. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the learning of kindness is on
her tongue. Give her of the fruit of her hands.
She will rejoice in the time to come,
Let her works be praised on this earth.
May Mary Gert and her lovely family be blessed now and always.
Holy One of Blessing, Creator of all humanity, we ask your
blessing on the Bethel Democratic Town Committee. It is fitting that Mary Gert
is receiving the Shannon Award for Public Service; may we always remember that
our mission – Mary Gert’s and the Shannons’ mission – is to serve Bethel with
compassion, integrity, dignity, uprightness, and honesty.May we always remember to protect and speak
for the weakest among us, those who feel disenfranchised and forgotten. We are
directed to speak up for the widow and the widower, the orphan, the immigrant,
those who look and speak differently from us.
Let our actions be guided by Rabbi Hillel, who taught: If I am not
for myself, who will be for me? Our work starts with making ourselves your true
servants. But if I am only for myself, what am I? We move outwards to our
beloved community, state, and country. And finally, if not now, when? The time
is now, and we look to You for guidance and strength. May our determination
never falter, may our resolve never waiver, even as people of good will face
challenges unknown to many of us.
Holy One of Blessing, Creator of all humanity, especially at this
season we recognize that You are known to each of us by many different names. You
remind us that we Americans have so much more in common than those things that
divide us. May our seasonal festivals of redemption and resurrection bring us
hope, optimism, renewed and continued strength and vigor, as we speak Your
truth to power.
May You bless us now and always, and let us say: Amen.
#metoo Parashat Lech Lecha Friday/Saturday, October 27-28, 2017 Cantor Penny M. Kessler Thank you to Rabbi Tiwy for giving me the
opportunity to offer some words of Torah tonight and tomorrow morning. “Hashtag me, too” is the rallying cry giving
voice to millions of women who have been used and abused sexually, physically,
emotionally, and intellectually for decades. From the lofty heights of show
business to secretaries and janitors, women are finding their voices and
declaring that their stories of abuse need to be told. Some have never told
their stories, while some have come forward in the past, only to be told to
shut up and show up lest their livelihoods – and in some cases lives – be threatened.
I have friends and rabbi and cantor colleagues who
are telling their stories for the first time, some in decades, some who
experienced abuse and harassment during their seminary experiences. And –
personal disclaimer – while I am grateful that I have never been physically
abused, there are m…
My refrigerator needs a solid Pesach cleaning. So does my stove and my pantries. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
Bring on the excuses: it's too much, I'm tired, I want to sit and watch more repeats of Law and Order: SVU.
But I know that I'll feel virtuous and delighted with myself with every completed task.
Fine. Deep breath. Change into comfy clothes and head to the refrigerator.