Rabbi Rachel Cowan, N ’89;
Executive Director, Institute for Jewish Spirituality,
New York Investiture and Ordination Address, May 8, 2011
To make a difference you must both embrace your power and cultivate humility. Power is not a dirty word. It does not diminish your
capacity to serve as a pastor, a teacher, a
To use it wisely, you need to understand the qualities and sources of your
particular power; connect it with your vision; work on the quality of humility so you do not confuse your ego’s needs with your community’s
needs; and find the ways to link wisdom and courage. This kind of spiritual leadership is built from many small daily decisions, not from
scaling mountain tops. It is collaborative, reflective, compassionate. The more you pay attention to what is true in the moment and see
clearly the choices that are open, the more likely you are to act wisely, and not just react emotionally or habitually. For we cannot heal the
world without healing our soul. We cannot love our neighbor without loving ourself. We cannot transform the world without transforming
ourselves. Ultimately we do this work on ourselves so that we can do what the prophet Micah commands: to love goodness, do justice, and
walk humbly with our God.
New York Graduat ion/Ordinat ion/ Invest i ture
Rabbi Arthur Green, Ph.D.,
Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion and Rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College,
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient;
New York Graduation Address, May 5, 2011
As a religious Jew, I believe that we ever stand beneath that mountain, saying “Yes! We will do and listen!” to the voice that commands us to
be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. That priesthood encompasses all Jews, old and young, married and single, gay and straight, families
blended by re-marriage, and families in mixed marriages but still striving to live as Jews,
and groups of friends, whole congregations
and communities. We are a people shaped by the shared memory of bondage and exodus, but formed under that mountain. This means that
we still believe we have something to offer, ever-renewing teachings that will be important to generations to come, among Jews and reaching
beyond our borders. Priests need seminaries in which to be trained. All of our congregations should be such places, academies where Jews
are lovingly taught our best message and how to spread it. You have been trained here
you have studied in order to be-
come teachers, to widen the circle of learning. Rabbis, cantors, and educators thus stand at the vortex of the Jewish mission.
New York School of Education graduates
Doctor of Hebrew Letters recipient.
Doctor of Ministry recipient.
School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
M.A. in Judaic Studies recipients.
Graduation at Congregation Emanu-El
of the City of New York.
The cantorial class of 2011.
Investiture at Congregation Emanu-El
of the City of New York.
The rabbinical class of 2011.