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June 14, 2012 - Image 80

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-06-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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82

June 14 r 2012

v,

Making It
Official

M

ore than 600 people celebrat-
ed the ordination of Rabbi
Keren Packman Alpert on
May 24 at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield
Township.
Ordinations traditionally take place
in a seminary setting with only family
attending. On this occasion, Alpert was
ordained in the presence not only of her
family, but also her congregants and so
many others she has worked with or
taught. The ceremony was the culmina-
tion of several years of study completed
while Alpert worked full time as Temple
Beth El's rabbinic associate, delivering
sermons, meeting the needs of congre-
gants, teaching in the religious school
and high school, and serving the com-
munity as an instructor in the Melton
adult education program.
The ordination was enriched by words
from Beth El Rabbi Daniel Syme, Rabbi
A. David Packman of Oklahoma City,
Alpert's father, and her husband, Ted
Alpert. Margot, oldest of the Alperts'
three daughters, sang Hashkiveinu
with Cantorial Soloist Rachel Gottlieb
Kalmowitz. Younger daughters Ali and
Lucy opened and closed the Ark.
The ceremony concluded with
the congregation joining in the
Shehecheyanu and Kalmowitz blowing
the shofar.
Alpert then addressed the congrega-
tion.
"I cannot summarize everything the
last few years have taught me, so in the
next few moments, let me instead tell
you just a fraction of what I've learned,"
she said.
"I learned that Judaism is not a reli-
gion about answers. When one asks,
`What does Judaism say' about anything
— abortion rights, euthanasia, whether
tilapia is kosher — there are a multi-
tude of answers. Answers can be found
in the Torah, the Mishnah, the Talmud,
the medieval commentators like Rashi

Rabbi A ert with

her father, Rabbi A.

avid Packman

and modern rabbinic authorities. No,
Judaism isn't about answers. It's about
questions. It's about the struggle to
find meaning and to search for correct
behavior. It's about having the freedom
to wrestle with the issues of our time
and issues that crop up in our own lives.
"I learned that the most important
reason to learn and study Judaism is
because the study of Judaism continues
to be relevant," she said. "We still turn
to the 'the Jewish way' when we want to
know how to remember a loved one who
has died, when we ask ourselves during
an election cycle, 'What's good for the
Jews?' and when we weigh the ethical
dilemmas we face as an individual or as
a society.
"I've also learned whom we need
to value. We are told in the Talmud, in
the words of Rabbi Chaninah, `I have
learned much from my teachers, more
from my colleagues, and the most from
my students' (Ta'anit 7a). I would like to
recognize those precious to me, my many
students, who are also my teachers.
"My kids kept calling tonight's cer-
emony my coronation, and I feel like a bit
of a princess; yes, a middle-aged princess
who has to get her hair colored, but a
princess nonetheless. In Judaism, there
are three crowns: the crown of the priest-
hood, which I cannot attain, as I am not
descended from the Kohannn, the priest-
ly family; the crown of Torah, which is
the collection of special marks on the
letters on the scroll. And the final Jewish
crown is the crown of a good name. With
God's help, I hope to become a person
who is the owner of a good name.
"I hope to be a rabbi who is a source
of comfort, spiritual leadership and
increased learning for this community.
I hope I will have more opportunities
to know more people more deeply, and
that together, we will travel on this
sacred journey for many, many years to
come.

Margot, Ted,
Ali, Rabbi

Keren and

Lucy Alpert

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,t.tr

5

Rabbi Keren Alpert
is ordained at
Temple Beth El.

Most Experienced * Most Qualified
Community Leader

20 years

s iritualit

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