Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum delivered the invocation Monday at Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s State of the City address, which focused on making Baltimore a safer place for residents following 2014’s violent start.
“Almighty G-d, grant these public servants wisdom and understanding in their noble pursuit of justice and equality,” said Tenenbaum, as he led city and state officials gathered at City Hall in prayer. “Give them guidance so that they will always be conscious of Your presence and will strive to enact laws with honesty and integrity — in accordance with Your will.”
Tenenbaum, who serves as chaplain for the Maryland Defense Force, received the invitation to open the mayor’s speech from Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, whom Tenenbaum met in November when the two traveled 35 feet into the air on a lift to light the city’s Inner Harbor menorah.
Before the address, Tenenbaum attended the council’s luncheon, during which he spoke with council members about Jewish laws and customs for a sensitivity training session for those who may not be familiar with Jewish culture.
In addition to discussing Shabbat laws and kosher foods — he explained to council members who thought that kosher food was simply blessed by a rabbi that dietary law is more elaborate — he spoke about the Seven Noahide Laws.
“One of the Seven Noahide Laws is to create a peaceful and moral society governed by law,” he said. “And these public servants are messengers of that.”
It is important for elected officials to take the time to learn about the different subsets of their community, said Tenenbaum, adding that “it brings them closer to the community.”