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Installation of Cantor Flynn

01/14/2019 10:52:47 AM

Jan14

Rabbi Michael Howald

Installation of Cantor Flynn by Rabbi Michael Howald, Temple Israel Congregation

One of my favorite readings from Mishkan T’filah begins:

“This is an hour of change, within it we stand uncertain on the border of light.

Shall we draw back or cross over?” This reading describes the daily transition from day to night and from night to day as a metaphor for all those occasions When our world begins to shift from one status to another.

This evening, we collectively mark another kind of transition in the life of this Jewish community.

As Congregation Beth Emeth installs Elizabeth Flynn as its cantor. I come to this moment of ceremony and celebration with a great deal of pride in and admiration for all that Cantor Flynn has accomplished since she first came to my congregation in Staten Island as a third-year cantorial student in the summer of 2015.

We worked together for three eventful years, leading services, teaching students, comforting those who struggled with illness and the death of loved ones, celebrating with new parents and joining lovers in marriage.

With each passing year, her abilities, her knowledge and her capacity grew until the time came for her to claim her rightful place at a pulpit in a congregation to call her own.

That moment, long anticipated and richly deserved, has now come.

For three years, Cantor Flynn and I stood together at the threshold of many transitions in the life of our Staten Island community and tonight we stand once more on the border between day and night, and between Shabbat and the rest of the work week.

This evening we also mark by words and ceremony the ritual crossing between the recently arrived and the duly installed cantor of Congregation Beth Emeth.

This transition, this liminal moment between the new and the established, contains the seeds of the great possibilities that lay ahead for this congregation and Cantor Flynn.

This is the hour of change, and tonight, as we stand quietly on the border of light, we embrace the full potential of this moment, celebrating all that Cantor Flynn has already brought to this congregation and all the gifts she has yet to bestow as a trusted counselor, a steadfast friend a scholar of music and a talented and diligent service leader.

This hour of change unites the call of clergy and the response of the congregation into an affirmation that carries Beth Emeth across this important threshold in the life of this holy community into a world formally fixed with the music and light, joy and laughter, strength and splendor that Cantor Flynn has already helped bring to this sanctuary.

It is my honor to participate in this sacred moment with you and to offer words of gratitude and blessing in this ritual of installation. Blessed is Adonai our God, who has given us the privilege to stand with this congregation and its cantor at this hour of change.

Sun, November 17 2019 19 Cheshvan 5780