Rabbi leads Glendale City Council’s inaugural prayer
The Republic | azcentral.com Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:10 AM
Rabbi Sholom Lew led elected officials and the public in prayer before the Glendale City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, becoming the inaugural prayer leader since the council voted to replace its moment of silence with prayers.
Lew, a Glendale resident and director of Chabad of the West Valley, said he felt a particular challenge writing meaningful remarks for a non-denominational setting.
“I want to make sure that I don’t offend any sensibilities, because it is not our intention to proselytize or to try to encourage others to believe what we believe,” he said moments before the meeting started.
“Having said that, there are certain common themes that do unite humanity or mankind. My intent tonight in the couple minutes is to perhaps reflect upon and try to zero in on these common themes,” he said.
During the meeting, Mayor Jerry Weiers led those in attendance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as usual. Then he asked Lew to come to the front of Council Chamber, where he prayed while reading from a prepared script.
Lew asked God to guide city leaders in their pursuit justice and equality.
The crowd remained standing and respectful until he finished the presentation, which clocked in at just over two minutes. Then the government portion of the meeting began.
Weiers, a former state representative, initiated the idea of prayers several months ago to “solemnize” the proceeding, noting that prayers are typically offered before sessions of the state legislature. The council approved a 20-point policy on the prayers or invocations in a 4-3 vote earlier this month
Lew said Weiers contacted him about two weeks ago, asking him to lead the first prayer for the council. Lew acknowledged the pressure he felt in preparing the prayer.
“The responsibility of knowing you’re the first, obviously, makes you realize and appreciate just a little bit more that you have to be even more sensitive, because people are going to be looking and going over it with a fine-tooth comb,” he said.
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