These Ordination Ceremonies of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin are important to me. So important, in fact, that I have never missed one.
We celebrated together in Munich with Charlotte Knobloch in 2009.
In Leipzig with Küf Kaufmann in 2010.
In Cologne with Ebi Lehrer and Michael Rado in 2012.
And now we are here today, with Dr. Josef Schuster in Würzburg. It is of course wonderful to return to Würzburg and visit with Dr. Schuster. I have not been here since we first agreed to work together to help your vision of this beautiful building become a reality. So I am always happy to be here.
But why today? Why is this ceremony so important?
After all, we are only ordaining two students today. And in fact, my foundation reaches thousands of children every year. Our schools and Kindergartens educate hundreds and hundreds of children every day.
So why have we all travelled all this way to Würzburg to celebrate the ordination? Of two, only two Rabbis?
The answer is simple and powerful: because thousands of children every year are not enough. And hundreds of children every day are not enough. As long as there are young Jews who grow up in places where Jewish education is not easily available… We can never say: enough.
But what can we do? What can one foundation or all the foundations, one Zentralrat or all the Zentralrats do? What we can do is inspire young people. To take responsibility for inspiring others. That is what today is about.
We might celebrate the Jewish education of Yakov Pertsovsky and Shlomo Aminov.
After all, I assume by now they have learned a lot, far more than most of us in this room know. But I am not here to celebrate their education, I am here to tell them that their Jewish education is not enough.
Dear Yakov and Shlomo, we helped you get your Jewish education so that you could dedicate your lives to helping others. That is no easy or simple task. And it is why the education offered at the Rabbinerseminar is about far more than answering legal questions or leading prayer services. Rabbis today need to know:
How to build communities
How to open Kindergartens and schools
How to help people in need
How to speak with the press
How to defend Israel in the public eye
How to inspire young people
The program of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, with its degree in Jewish social work and focus on professional qualifications, prepares young Rabbis well for this complex set of challenges, this is proven by the success of our ordainees.
Today, with our two new Rabbis, our ordainees are serving as the community Rabbis in Leipzig, Osnabrück, Duisburg, Potsdam, Bonn and Chemnitz. As well as leading outreach programs for teens across Germany, organizing student groups in Berlin, and even training to serve as a Rabbinical Judge, the first in the country to speak German and Russian!
The Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin has a glorious past, and a promising future. I am proud to be associated with it, and congratulate all our partners and friends on our ongoing success.
Dear Yakov, dear Shlomo, we expect great things from you, make us proud.
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