November 16, 2018

A Moment in Time: Our Place in History

I tried to leave the Hotel room without making any noise at 6:40 Tuesday morning. Nevertheless, my husband called out, “Where are you going so early?”

“To the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Alumni Breakfast” I responded.

“Why so early?” “Do you really need to be there?”

While I had no good answer to the first question, the second was easy.

Yes, I need to be there! Why? I was attending the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Convention in Atlanta. During the Alumni breakfast is the roll call. It always strikes a chord that reverberates in my soul. And so, I went to participate.

Each class year stood, beginning with most recent ordinees. My heart filled with anticipation. 2016. 2015. 2014…. Every class had its own character. When my year (1997) came, we rose and cheered.

Then I sat back and watched. As each class ascended, I thought of the legacies created and the lives moved. I reflected on our shared experiences as well as the unique visions. I was mindful of the journeys we had endured. And I was thankful for the scholars that inspired us.

The roll call ended with Rabbi Walter Jacob, Class of 1955. As he stood (to a rousing ovation), I wondered …. When Rabbi Jacob attended his first CCAR conference, what luminaries stood at roll call whose careers spanned over 60 years? Were there rabbis ordained by the founder of American Reform Judaism, Isaac Mayer Wise?

We are a living bridge to both yesterday and tomorrow. That’s why I got up at 6am to attend this breakfast.

It’s my moment in time to take my place in history as part of this sacred chain.

We all have opportunities to live those moments in history. And sometimes those moments require getting up early to embrace them!

With love and Shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro