This Sunday morning at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, Stacy Petersohn will be ordained a rabbi. For all of us who have known Stacy through the years, we are tremendously excited for her as she reaches this culmination of six years of intense study coupled with practical experience in a rich variety of Jewish settings.
Her parents, Ronnie and Jim, have every reason to kvell on Sunday as they watch their daughter fulfill a dream of hers since she was very young. Undoubtedly family and friends who will be at ordination will be moved by the depth of emotions and reflections expressed during the service.
I am thrilled that I will be participating in Sunday’s service. I am deeply honored that Stacy asked me to be her sponsor for ordination. I will have the privilege of publicly addressing Stacy moments before the President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion ordains her.
As part of being ordained a rabbi, Stacy will receive her s’micha, a handwritten document written on parchment. It attests that she has fulfilled the requirements for graduation to be ordained as Rabbi and is authorized and licensed to perform all rabbinical functions in the name of God and Israel.
Beyond being a legal document, a s’micha is a testament of faith by the faculty in a student’s readiness to be a rabbi. For me personally, there are times when I look upon my s’micha and draw strength from the confidence my teachers placed in me. I am reminded that I stand in a chain of tradition that stretches back thousands of years.
It is a glorious moment to see the chain of Jewish tradition renewed. May Stacy go M’chayil L’chayil, from strength to strength.