Standing at the edge of the spring

I was just reminded that in Hebrew, a spring - a source of water, is called ayin hamayim, literally: eye of the water. In this week's reading from the Torah we hear about Eleazer standing at the edge of the spring waiting to find a bride for Abraham's son Isaac. The moment is full of expectation and of hope. He is about to meet Rebekah and bring her back to Isaac. She will bear Jacob and Esau, and much water will flow about them, between them, through them and down the generations to us.

Tonight, Dorit and I had the privilege to attend the installation as Dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School of our friend Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. It is a remarkable moment and it drew us all in, through its joy and its moment, to the fact that we are standing at the edge of the spring, and something important is about to happen to the Jewish People.

The Hebrew College Rabbinical School is less than five years old. It is formed from the vision of Dr David Gordis, the College's President, and Professor Art Green, who was the founding Dean of the Rabbinical School and is now its Rector. It is a trans-denominational school. Students come to study the depth and breadth of Jewish text in an intense and traditional way. They come from all walks of life, from all denominations and none, and they have a vision for leadership of pluralism and inclusivity that drove them to choose this school rather than the established denominational schools (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist). These students will become Rabbis who will have a major and positive impact on our community.

As Sharon assumes leadership of this Rabbinical School we could all glimse the generations of students she will teach and lead. Sharon's students, and her students' students are still a twinkling in her eye, in the eye of the community, in the eye of the water. Water is soft, and gentle, and yet can carve through rock. Expect great things.

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