This coming Shabbat – Shabbat Bo – we will welcome Yardenne Katz into our kehilla officially – it will be her Bat Mitzvah. Bo – come – seems such an appropriate parashah for such a ceremony. Just as God begins the process of leading us to freedom, to redemption, so too will this daughter of covenant find her way, God willing, to come into and build her potential for leadership into our collective body.

We meet God in many ways. In our reading of the Book of Kings on Wednesdays Torah Talk, we read how God appears in fierce winds and through a rush of smoke, through the voices of God’s chosen Prophets, through ravens, through angels, in dreams – and in silence. So many ways ae open to our hearing and seeing the presence of the Divine in our midst.

Moshe will meet God through a guiding voice, first by Name– El Shaddai and HaShem – and then in that mysterious small burning bush – burning without burning up. Every day brings us the potential for new wonders, new moments of recollection, new possibilities for building connections. When we are present for a Bat or Bar Mitzvah we all, I think, find their presence deeply moving – a promise in their very being.

A number of us were present at Government House this past week for a meeting between the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors and the Indigenous son of a residential school survivor. The presentations and panel discussions were deeply moving as each person spoke to the potential for healing through word, through art and through forgiveness. Several people I spoke with during the reception afterwards, including Sarah, a former Bat Mitzvah student, are now bringing their Jewish sensibilities to joint working partnerships in reconciliation work. We have such opportunities ahead of us to work together, to build our nation with all of our strengths and vision. We too can find so many opportunities to exclaim, as did Yaakov, “Truly God was here, and I did not know it.”

Ken yihi ratzon, may it be so.

Rabbi Lynn