Rabbi Alicia Harris offers the prayer at Gov. Whitmer’s inauguration.
Rabbi Alicia Harris offers the prayer at Gov. Whitmer’s inauguration.

A livestream recording of the inauguration ceremony can be watched on WDIV’s website. Rabbi Harris offers her invocation around the 39-minute mark.

Offering a prayer for the administration, Rabbi Alicia Harris joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on the dais during the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 1, 2023.

Since her arrival at Shir Tikvah, Rabbi Harris has been part of the governor’s Ecumenical Council. This group of faith leaders from around the state performs a variety of services, including prayers for the electors, statements on voting rights and acting as election chaplains. It was in this role that Rabbi Harris was asked to offer a prayer at the inauguration by Dion Williams, director of Faith-Based and Urban Affairs for the State of Michigan.

“I was excited and proud,” Rabbi Harris said when asked about the experience. “This wasn’t a partisan experience; Jews have been praying for the wellbeing of our government since we were instructed to do so by the prophet Jeremiah.”

Rabbi Harris’ prayer asked for the protection and health of our leaders in Michigan, that they and their families have “health, prosperity and joy.”

The rabbi prayed to the “Source of Strength” for the governor and administration to look to the “tough and resilient people of Michigan” and be inspired to follow their example, and that they “strive for the day that all will be at one and at peace.”

Rabbi Harris worked to reach all those listening.  “I try to use a variety of names for God for people to connect to something within themselves and with the Divine.”

She went on to call upon our governor and other elected officials to be able to make just and fair decisions.

Rabbi Harris on the dais during the inauguration ceremony
Rabbi Harris on the dais during the inauguration ceremony

Rabbi Harris ended with an idea that speaks to a basic tenant of Judaism. Justice is a full part of the Jewish view of how life should be; it is part of the Covenant. Quoting the Prophet Amos, “Let justice roll down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. Let it be God’s will.”

A livestream recording of the inauguration ceremony can be watched on WDIV’s website. Rabbi Harris offers her invocation around the 39-minute mark.

Congregation Shir Tikvah is a Reform and Renewal synagogue that welcomes new members. They invite you to join them in worship and community with Rabbi Alicia. www.shirtikvah.org

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