Mock Convention 2016
Megan McLean, Director of Hillel
It was such an honor to be asked to give an Invocation and Benediction at the Third Session of this year’s Mock Convention. Having never done this before and not being an ordained clergy person, I did what any Hillel Director would do for inspiration and affirmation – I crowdsourced. I reached out to my Hillel colleagues and within minutes was inundated with suggestions. I am so fortunate to be part of that incredible group of passionate Jewish professionals! I wanted to share my remarks with you, in case you missed the livestream (which I believe is still available online), and also express my deep gratitude to the organizers of the Mock Convention for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I received so much positive feedback from attendees and so appreciated the chance to share some Jewish wisdom and learning with the W&L community. I felt so much pride wearing my W&L Hillel kippah on the Warner Center stage and sharing the blessings that we all hold so dear.
Director of Hillel Megan McLean giving the Invocation at the third session of the 2016 Mock Convention. Photo credit: Madeleine Boireau '17
The Schecheyanu – a Blessing of Praise – is said the first time we do something each calendar year or to mark joyous or special occasions. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, shehechehyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh.
Thank you, Adonai, for giving us life, sustaining us and enabling us to reach this season. This translation of the Prayer for Our Country – said on Shabbat and holidays – is adapted from Siddur Kol Haneshema. Source of life, mercifully receive our prayer for our land and its government. Let your blessing pour out on this land and on all officials of this country who are occupied, in good faith, with the public needs. Instruct them, enable them to understand principles of justice, so that peace and tranquility, happiness and freedom, might never turn away from our land. Giver of Knowledge, waken your spirit within all inhabitants of our land, and plant among the peoples of different nationalities and faiths who dwell here, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. Uproot from their hearts all hatred and enmity, all jealousy and vying for supremacy. Fulfill the yearning of all the people of our country to speak proudly in its honor. Fulfill their desire to see it become a light to all nations. Therefore, may it be that our land should be a blessing to all inhabitants of the globe. Cause to dwell among all peoples friendship and freedom. And soon fulfill this vision: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Let them learn no longer ways of war.” And let us say: Amen.
Rabbi Hillel said “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”
So today, let us take bold stands against hateful voices and love our neighbors through speaking out and taking action. We know that the world is broken in so many ways and humanity has been tasked with its repair. We have been endowed with the gift of spirit and the gift of the mind; with the gift for learning and accomplishing wondrous things; with the gift of the ability to save our world or destroy it. May we be guided by our spirits to use our knowledge and skills for good and not for evil, to heal and not to harm, to build and not to tear down, to make peace and not to fight, to love and not to hate. Let it be our hope today, that we fulfill our potential by maximizing the potential of our intellect while giving our full measure of compassion to our fellow human beings and the world in which we live. May you all go from strength to strength and achievement to achievement. Shabbat Shalom, y’all.