Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

My Rabbi: For Peter and Elaine Knobel

Throughout the years, Rabbi Peter Knobel has encouraged my writing. For that, I am blessed. It was an honor to be asked by the leadership of Beth Emet: The Free Synagogue to write a prayer for his retirement, which I read as the invocation at his gala.

Please listen along as you read. (Click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.)

My Rabbi
A Prayer Dedicated to Peter and Elaine Knobel

When my rabbi stood at Mt. Sinai,
When the heavens thundered and the earth roared,
When G-d appeared on the mountain to give us the Law,
My rabbi stood there for me.
My rabbi knew that I might not listen,
That I might not hear,
That I would need a teacher and a friend.
When my rabbi stood on Mt. Sinai,
He prayed to remember.
He remembered for me.

When my rabbi stood on the shore of the Red Sea,
After we trudged through the mucky bottom,
Chased by the hunger of our past,
Marching into the unknown future,
When my rabbi breathed his sigh of relief
And saw Miriam lead the women in song and dance,
He smiled from the deep well of his heart.
My rabbi knew that women would take their places as leaders among the people
And he pledged to be a mentor, a witness and a guide.
When my rabbi stood at the shore of the sea,
He smiled with hope and love.

When my rabbi stood in the valley of the dry bones,
When the heat baked the earth and air,
When G-d said, ‘Son of Man, can these bones live?,’
My rabbi knew the answer.
‘Yes,’ my rabbi said, ‘these dry bones hold the breath of our people,
The heartbeat of generations,
Our love of G-d and our joy in G-d’s holy word.’
‘Yes,’ my rabbi said, ‘these dry bones are our past and they are our future.’
‘Yes,’ my rabbi said, ‘we will stand again,
A people emerging, once more, from the fire.
A nation emerging, once more, from the love and devotion that fire cannot destroy.’
When my rabbi stood in the valley of the dry bones,
He wept with grief and joy.

When my rabbi stands on the bimah,
When my rabbi stands with the Torah ready to pass it, once more,
Across the generations,
Across the millennia to our next Bat Mitzvah,
To our next Bar Mitzvah,
My rabbi remembers his moment on Sinai.
He brings it to his heart.
He carries it to his people.
When my rabbi stands on the bimah
He remembers.
He remembers for me.

Blessed are you, Adonai our G-d,
G-d of the past and Maker of the yet-to-be,
You provide men and women of vision and wisdom in every generation,
Scholars of your word,
Rabbis, leaders and teachers,
Pillars of devotion and dedication,
Who pledge their lives in righteous service to Your people and Your Word.
Blessed are You, G-d of generations, who blessed our lives with Peter and Elaine Knobel,
Our guides, our teachers, our friends.

© 2010 Beth Emet: The Free Synagogue, Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

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