May 23, 2010
President Joseph S. Finkelstein’s Remarks (excerpt)
It is my privilege to serve as President of Beth Am Israel, and to extend greetings on behalf of the congregation to all of you assembled here this morning. It is a great pleasure to be together for this Simcha, for this happy and joyous occasion, and to welcome you to the installation program celebrating our relationship with our new Rabbi, David M. Ackerman. We are also delighted to have this opportunity to welcome Rabbi Ackerman and his family into our community. Please welcome our new Rabbi, David M. Ackerman.
In Pirkei Avot, the Teachings of the Fathers, we learn, “Asei Lecha Rav,” make for yourself, or provide for yourself, a Rabbi – a teacher. Today as a community, Beth Am Israel fulfils this for ourselves and for future generations of our synagogue.
Of course, the Talmudic Sages had more in mind than creating a search committee, interviewing candidates, and negotiating contracts. They were not speaking of finding a rabbi to conduct the B’Nei Mitzvot, weddings, or other life cycle rituals, and to deliver sermons. Rabbi David Ackerman certainly presides at life cycles events and delivers fine sermons, but he is much more. He is the perfect match for Beth Am Israel. He is a smart, learned and insightful scholar and interpreter of Torah and Jewish texts, with a broad and deep knowledge; he is an excellent teacher; a spiritual guide, and an inspiring, committed, and genuine human being. He is kind and supportive and possesses a fine sense of humour.
Since Rabbi Ackerman has arrived, our rebuilding phase has begun. We are growing. Our growth is not just in numbers. He has reinvigorated our congregation with his vitality, personal warmth and leadership.
Rabbi David is a perfect match for us because we are a warm, genuine and inviting place, and a community of serious learners and daveners. We have found ourselves a rabbi that is not only a consummate professional, and an effective leader, but who is one of us.
On behalf of congregation Beth Am Israel, I would like to pledge to Rabbi David Ackerman the promise of all of the support of our hands and hearts, and to offer this prayer:
May God bless you with success and achievement and enable you to fulfil your highest hopes.May God favour you, giving you strength, patience and courage, and imbue you with the spirit of humility.
Rabbi David, we welcome you to Beth Am Israel, and into our lives and our hearts.