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Rabbi George’s Remarks at Friday Night Services–Chai Weekend

04/11/2014 09:24:40 AM


Rabbi George Gittleman

Just inside the front door of our synagogue, you all passed a plaque, with a verse from Exodus: “V’asu li mikdash v’shchanti b’tocham/Make me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst you.” This was God’s commandment to the Israelites to make the mishkan, the first synagogue.

I’m reminded of this verse now because for most of the past 18 years we’ve been builders together, not just of this building but more importantly, of a community, a k’hilah k’dosha.

Note that the verse doesn’t say, “build me a sanctuary and I will dwell in it” – v’shachanti bo – but rather, “build me a sanctuary and I will dwell amongst you”! (Thank you to Margo Miller for this insight!)

God does not dwell in this building or in any other of the structures we have created to support our community; they are just means to an end.

And, God doesn’t dwell in me any more than God dwells in you. The purpose of the whole enterprise, everything we have worked so hard for, these past 18 years, has been that God would dwell amongst us, that WE would bring God down to earth as it were, and become the hands and The Holy One ourselves.

This is what it means to be a k’hilah k’dosha, a holy community, and this is the force behind the commandment l’taken haolam, to repair the world. To build a k’hilah k’dosha –this was my dream when I set out on the path to become a rabbi 25 years ago, and together we’ve made that dream a reality.

Those that came before me – great lay leaders and exceptional rabbinic leadership, especially in Rabbi Michael – left a very strong foundation, and year-by-year we added to it, nurturing our community, the place where we can make God manifest in myriad ways: in our prayers, study, commitment to social justice, in our celebrations, in our care for each other…

V’asu li mikdash v’shchanti b’tocham/Make me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst you.”

It’s holy work and I am so grateful to have shared it with you these past 18 years. In addition to Laura, Levi and Sophie, you are my beloved and I am the luckiest rabbi in the world. Hazak, hazak v’nithazek/May we go from strength to strength!


Mon, August 10 2020 20 Av 5780