Rabbi Maderer’s Benediction at Mayoral Inauguration

January 4, 2016

mayor blessing looking downDelivered by Rabbi Jill Maderer, Inauguration of Mayor and City Council, The Academy of Music, 1/4/16.  

Today, we who call God many different names, and we who choose not to call to God at all, we Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, Philadelphians of diverse neighborhoods, races, sexual orientations and languages – today, we do not take for granted this peaceful transfer of power we call democracy.  Grateful for the past leaders who have renewed our city, and for the incoming leaders who are dedicated to the promise of our city’s future, we rejoice in a Philadelphia whose murals open our hearts, whose culture stimulates our minds, whose food delights our palate, whose diversity inspires our souls and whose history deepens our roots.

This week, the Jewish community read in our sacred text the story of Moses’ call to leadership. Tending the flock in the wilderness, Moses notices the bush that burns, but is not consumed.  When Moses sees that he is standing on holy ground, God charges him to lead the Israelites, saying: “Now go, I am sending you.”  Humble yet courageous, strong yet compassionate, sensitive yet visionary, Moses heeds the call.  He cares for and empowers the poor, uplifts the degraded, and sees dignity in the eyes of every human being.

Holy One of Blessing, as we go forth from this investiture, we ask your blessing on Mayor Kenny, Council President Clarke, our Councilpersons, city commissioners, sheriff, register of wills and members of the judiciary.  As they dedicate themselves to lead our city, to solve our common problems and to lift up all Philadelphians, God we ask you to:

Fortify and inspire our leaders with humility and courage, strength and compassion, sensitivity and vision, that they may care for and empower the poor, uplift the degraded, and see dignity in the eyes of every human being.

Ignite within our leaders fires – fires for justice and for mercy – ignite within them fires that burn, but are not consumed, that their actions may bear witness to the holy ground on which we all stand.

Amen.


Can a Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Light the Menorah Together? Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square

December 4, 2015

Join us for the Center City Kehillah Hanukkah Candlelighting in Rittenhouse Square, Tues., Dec 8, 5:15pm!      

“Since when is Hanukkah so important?” I once heard someone ask a rabbi. “Sukkot is important, Pesach is important, Shabbat is important, but Hanukkah is such a minor holiday!  Why do we give in to the Christmas culture that identifies December as the time for an important holiday?!”

“Well,” the rabbi responded, “it’s true that Hanukkah is not particularly important compared to other Jewish festivals.  It’s a minor holiday that gets a whole lot of attention.  But, if Jews are creating happy Jewish memories and experiences around a Jewish holiday, who are we to take that away?”  Read the rest of this entry »


An Inscription for the Building Expansion

November 20, 2013
  • In addition to the name Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the front of the building expansion will include a purpose-driven quotation from Jewish tradition.  We value your ideas and hope you will participate!  Please submit your suggestion to the clergy and leadership through Charlene McDonald at cmcdonald@rodephshalom.org.

Building for Profound Connections

November 12, 2013
An architectural rendering of a planned expansion of Congregation Rodeph Shalom. Here, the expansion as viewed from Broad Street. (handout photo)
Legacy renovation and expansion begins next month! Visionary design ensures this is not just beautiful square footage; it is values-driven space that will enable us to further our vision: to create profound connections.
(architectural rendering by KieranTimberlake, as viewed from Broad Street)
Read more in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

 


Profound Moments: Dena Herrin

November 18, 2011

By Dena Herrin, RS President

Before I tell you about a profound moment that I had, let me give you some context.  As some of you know, my connections to Judaism for most of my life were weak at best.  I left Hebrew school, which I hated, at 10 years old and barely stepped in a synagogue for the next 25 years.  I occasionally went with my parents for the High Holy Days, but really didn’t understand or engage in the service.  The word and concept of God made me very uncomfortable, still does.  Our Rosh Hashanah dinners, Yom Kippur breakfasts and Passover Seders were occasions I enjoyed as family gatherings, and to a much lesser extent, cultural events.  For me, there really was no spirituality or deep religious context to these holidays.  I joined Rodeph Shalom in an effort to find some Jewish connection for my children.  We are an interfaith family and my Jewish foundations were simply too shallow to provide relevant content and meaning for my family.  I share this background because the moment that I want to tell you about occurred in the sanctuary here, at Rodeph Shalom, at a time when my connections to Judaism and to the synagogue were very superficial.

Read the rest of this entry »


Calling Docents for the National Museum of American Jewish History

July 27, 2011

The National Museum of American Jewish History, located right on Independence Mall, offers a select group of individuals a wonderful opportunity to become a docent.  A rigorous and outstanding training program is a highlight of the experience.  For more info:  http://nmajh.org/docents/


Early Learning Center at RS

October 29, 2009

by Rabbi Jill Maderer

An Early Learning Center at RS:  “From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength” (Psalms 8:3).  Next fall, our “youngest generation” will strengthen our community with its daily presence at a Congregation Rodeph Shalom of Center City Philadelphia Jewish preschool.   The Congregation’s new property across Mt. Vernon Street will open as the starter location for the Rodeph Shalom Buerger Early Learning Center in September 2010.

The Vision: Totally integrated into the life of RS, the ELC will promote the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of each child while celebrating the rich traditions of Jewish life.  Rodeph Shalom’s rabbis will establish the Jewish content with the goal of preparing students and families for a lifetime of Jewish practice.   Not simply a day-care center, the ELC will offer Philadelphia families a full early learning curriculum while providing child care hours.  Once open, the ELC will be able to work towards current standards of naeyc accreditation and Keystone Stars. Read the rest of this entry »