Delivered by Rabbi Jill Maderer, Inauguration of Mayor and City Council, The Academy of Music, 1/4/16.
Today, we who call God many different names, and we who choose not to call to God at all, we Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, Philadelphians of diverse neighborhoods, races, sexual orientations and languages – today, we do not take for granted this peaceful transfer of power we call democracy. Grateful for the past leaders who have renewed our city, and for the incoming leaders who are dedicated to the promise of our city’s future, we rejoice in a Philadelphia whose murals open our hearts, whose culture stimulates our minds, whose food delights our palate, whose diversity inspires our souls and whose history deepens our roots.
This week, the Jewish community read in our sacred text the story of Moses’ call to leadership. Tending the flock in the wilderness, Moses notices the bush that burns, but is not consumed. When Moses sees that he is standing on holy ground, God charges him to lead the Israelites, saying: “Now go, I am sending you.” Humble yet courageous, strong yet compassionate, sensitive yet visionary, Moses heeds the call. He cares for and empowers the poor, uplifts the degraded, and sees dignity in the eyes of every human being.
Holy One of Blessing, as we go forth from this investiture, we ask your blessing on Mayor Kenny, Council President Clarke, our Councilpersons, city commissioners, sheriff, register of wills and members of the judiciary. As they dedicate themselves to lead our city, to solve our common problems and to lift up all Philadelphians, God we ask you to:
Fortify and inspire our leaders with humility and courage, strength and compassion, sensitivity and vision, that they may care for and empower the poor, uplift the degraded, and see dignity in the eyes of every human being.
Ignite within our leaders fires – fires for justice and for mercy – ignite within them fires that burn, but are not consumed, that their actions may bear witness to the holy ground on which we all stand.