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Masorti Minyan at the Knesset: A Personal Reflection

Posted on Jan 26, 2012

By Jennifer Gorman, Executive Director, Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism

Note: Rabbi Gorman led the first Masorti minyan at the Knesset on Tuesday, January 24. It was covered by Ynet (English, Hebrew), JPost, and JTA, among others. Photos of the minyan are available here.

I am not usually tongue-tied, a fact to which my family and friends can attest. But, my last two days on the Masorti Mission have been so filled with emotion, I can barely articulate it. On Tuesday I led Mincha in an egalitarian minyan at the Knesset. It happened quietly, no fanfare at the time, but the joy and pride in the room was palpable.

I’ve been jotting down notes since, trying to get the experience on paper, but, while I have pages of notes for every other day, my notes on this experience seem to consist of fragments and single words. The emotion is like a balloon inside me that seems to keep inflating. I left the Knesset shaking, tears in my eyes, my cheeks hurting from smiling, but even so, it wasn’t until the following day morning, seeing it in the news, that the significance really hit me. It’s like waking over and over on my birthday to the greatest present ever. With all my oral skills, the word that keeps repeating is, “wow.” Even today, two days later, I found myself overwhelmed with emotion at Shacharit, my heart full, tears spilling from my eyes at unexpected moments- Ivdu et Hashem b’simcha. Ozi v’zimrat Yah vaiy’hi lishuah. I have been struck with the intense feeling that this is what it means to love God b’chol levavcha, b’chol nafshecha, u’v’chol m’odecha. With one small act, as natural to us as breathing, our mission made a change in the world.

I am extremely grateful for the experience I have had on this mission, an experience that will never leave me. I look forward to bringing my children, especially my daughter to that beit knesset to say this is where I made a difference.

The next Masorti mission is December 2-7, 2012. Together we really do make a difference.

An aside: On Tuesday there was another incident of a woman being attacked in Beit Shemesh. While we were making positive history at the Knesset, others were driving wedges deeper into our community, and it truly pains me to think of these two together.

Rav Jennifer Gorman

Mazel Tov to Rav Jen and the Knesset for sharing with Israel and the world the values of an inclusive, tolerant and moral approach to Judaism that is respectful of individual rights. Y'shar koach.

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