For Rosh Hashanah morning services I was at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. You can image how my heart swelled with joy when Rabbi Perlman called her non-Jewish members to the Torah and offered this blessing:
Today we want to recognize and publicly acknowledge for blessing those among our community who do not identify as Jews themselves but who are connected to and are a beloved part of our Temple Isaiah family. Though you may have another faith tradition or have no particular faith tradition, you have partnered with someone who is Jewish and perhaps are raising a Jewish family here. We want to tell you how much you matter to our congregation. We are blessed with your commitment and presence. If you are able, we invite you to make your way to the bima now or if you are outdoors to rise in place as you are able so that we can bestow blessing upon you.
You are an integral part of our congregational family. You count yourself and are counted for blessing among Temple Isaiah. You are parents who drive your children to JQuest and who help explain to them why it’s important to get up on Sunday morning and to learn to be a Jew.
You take classes and read Jewish books to deepen your own understanding so you can help to make a Jewish home. You come to services, and some of you learn Hebrew. You build precious connections in our community. You take on the work of tikkun olam, repairing our world.
You stand on the bima with your children on the day of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and tell them how proud you are and how much you love them, and how glad you are to see them grow into young Jewish adults. We thank for the support you give your Jewish partners and for raising your children as Jews.
We hope your children and your spouse tell you often how wonderful you are, and that their love and gratitude, and our love and gratitude will bring you shalom – wholeness and peace. And we thank you for just being you and for the gifts you uniquely bring.
Let us ask the congregation to rise in your honor now, as we offer you this ancient blessing from the Torah:
May God bless you and keep you.
May the light of God shine on you and may God be gracious towards you.
And may the presence of God be with you and may God grant you peace.
I was further impressed when I asked Rabbi Perlman if I might share it and she asked that I attribute it this way:
Adapted by Rabbi Jill Perlman from Rabbi Judy Shanks’ adaptation of an original blessing by Rabbi Janet Marder
I remember years ago when Rabbi Janet Marder was at Beth Am in Los Altos and rocked the Jewish world by blessing her non-Jewish congregants. I feel further blessed that Rabbi Perlman acknowledges the shoulders upon which she stands.