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Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

A Sacred Mission Now

I remember sometime in the mid- 1970s sitting at the kitchen table with my mother when she quoted the famous aphorism to me, “Life is not for sissies.” Instinctively, I responded, “That’s great. So what are we sissies supposed to do?”

The truth is that it can be frightening to step up, to bring our offerings to respond to the call of “lech lecha” [go forth] in our own lives. That is precisely why it is so important for each of us to do our best, to truly see and summon each other, to call each other forth, to remind each other that it’s possible to be scared and courageous and resilient all at the same time. Together we need to elicit new offerings to listen in a way that calls forth new voices, including those that were previously excluded or ignored, to expand our image of what leadership looks like, what leadership sounds like, in the Jewish community and beyond.

We are living in a time when so much conspires to make us feel alone and untethered in a world that is fractured and frayed. We are—we must be—witnesses to a deeper truth, one of connection and compassion, one of humility and hope. This is our sacred mission…[ at Hebrew College] and never has it been more vitally important.

RABBI SHARON COHEN ANISFELD, speaking at her installation as President of Hebrew College in Boston, October 15, 2018.