Rabbi Solomon Installation Speech

We are all dreamers. Aside from the occasional nightmare, we dream of happiness and of success. We dream of money and food and running through green meadows and scoring the winning touchdown and finding our soul mates. We strategize and plan, and we daydream and we muse.

I believe that whatever it is we dream about, whatever it is we focus on, we bring about in some way. The trick is to hold an intent close to your heart: to dream it and vision it so clearly that you are at one with your dream. And then, when you have your goal firmly placed within your being, to somehow let go of needing to plan the details. Instead, focus on love for yourself, and love for God. And focus on the certainty that God loves you.

When your faith in this process is well underway, it is then time to notice what happens. Opportunities start to show up in your life. You end up finding yourself closer to your dreams than you could have ever imagined, and you discover despite your best planning, the path to your dream was beyond your imagining.

One example from my life is here today. I knew that I wanted to find love. I visioned and I dreamt. I planned online profiles and meetings over coffee. And the meandering path to finding love lasted four years. But I held the goal in my heart, added some love of self and love of God, and then faith that the Universe would provide, and I let go. In fact, I was just giving up and ready to take a break from internet dating when I sent an online “wink” to the woman who turned out to be the love of my life. But I had let go of the details. I couldn’t have planned it. I was not looking for a Chinese wife, with such a different upbringing, different tastes in food and music. No, I was looking for love and kindness in whatever form it came to me. And noticing what I noticed, seeing what showed up in my life as the result of my dreaming, I acted. And I couldn’t be happier.

This is what our founders did more than 80 years ago. They held a dream in their hearts of a vibrant Jewish community that could pray together and share traditions together. What was in their consciousness to plan was little more than hoping to have a place to gather weekly and for special events, and to maybe have a visiting Rabbi from LA to help them. But they held their vision of a Jewish community in their souls, and opportunities arose. First a building. Then another building. Then a rabbi, and another. Then a chance to buy some property here on San Antonio Creek Road. And all along, these visions only half imagined what we would be. We soon found that it would be nice to have a cantor. And our music program grew and attracted the best Cantor in the country. And our congregation grew in size far beyond the imaginings of those who built this building for a 400 family congregation. And after searching for over a year, we noticed what we noticed, and let God arrange the details, and we attracted Rabbi Cohen to our congregation. By the way, the best Rabbi in the country.

And now, beyond the imaginings of our founders, but consistent with their vision of a vibrant Jewish temple for Santa Barbara, we are installing tonight Rabbi Solomon. We somehow found ourselves to be a two rabbi congregation. Were we planning to find a woman rabbi? Not necessarily. Did we set out insisting that our previous Rabbinic Intern would be our newest Clergy? Not precisely. But we held the vision, as a congregation. We dreamed the dream. We loved ourselves and we loved god. We had faith that God loved us, and we did the work while letting God fill in the details. We let go and we allowed a miracle to happen.

Whenever I look upon our CBB community, whenever I share a moment with one of my temple family, whenever I interact with our Rabbi, our Cantor and now our new Rabbi, I know that I have been blessed with the miracle of dream fulfillment. By sharing community with everyone here, we can feel the love that God has for us. And by being here for the official installation of Rabbi Solomon, by welcoming her into our family, we can feel recharged and renewed in our commitment to love each other here and in our greater community. And for these opportunities, I believe we are all truly blessed.