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The blessing of continuity

06/11/2019 09:56:24 AM


Scott Birnbaum

As my term as Temple Shalom’s president comes to an end, I have been thinking a lot about continuity. This week’s Torah portion, Naso, reinforces those feelings. In the middle of the parsha, we encounter among the most famous verses in Torah, the birchat ha-kohanim, the priestly blessing (“May G-d bless you and keep you…”).
I know of no more tangible example of the continuity of Jewish tradition than these 15 Hebrew words, preserved on fragments of silver on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Archaeologists date the silver amulet to the sixth century BCE — before the destruction of the First Temple. In other words, when our cantor and rabbis bless our children at a baby naming or b’nei mitzvah, they are repeating the very same words with which a kohen/priest blessed Jewish people two-and-a-half millennia ago.
I have been honored to have been but a small link in di goldene keyt / the golden chain of Temple Shalom’s history. The next link in our future is being forged by our new president Fred Kraus, who will continue the holy partnership I have enjoyed with our Rabbis and staff. They will, I am confident, assure the blessing of continuity for us and those who will come later.

Wed, November 13 2019 15 Cheshvan 5780