Illinois House of Representatives Invocation

On Wednesday, May 2, Rabbi Jodi Kornfeld delivered the invocation before the Illinois House of Representatives, at the invitation of Representative Karen May. Her remarks are as follows:

Distinguished members of this Chamber, I begin with gratitude.

Thank you to Representative Karen May for the invitation to address you. It is an honor and a privilege; I will share this moving experience with those who give my life meaning: my family, my friends and my community, Beth Chaverim Humanistic Jewish Community.

Each day, the people of our State face tremendous challenges. As their representatives, you have the responsibility of responding to these challenges with fairness and empathy against the very real backdrop of limited resources and economic constraints. The task is not easy. As you begin this session, and every session, may your judgments be guided by integrity of conscience and of process.

It has been said in the book of Proverbs that the beginning of wisdom is in fact the acquisition of wisdom. As we acquire wisdom, we gain understanding. Fortunately, this is not a finite resource but rather it grows and deepens further as long as we choose to access it fully. Utilizing every tool of human reason, knowledge and experience, we can deliberate with the moral discernment necessary to inform our judgments. So, with an open mind to wisdom from many sources, drawing on inspiration that is personally meaningful to each of us, let us sharpen our insight and not our rhetoric. Let us respect our differences and not exploit them. Let us recognize the strength that comes from diversity and not fear it. Let us strive to engage those with whom we disagree at the highest level of our humanity, ever mindful not to denigrate either such persons or the very issues at stake. Developing our wisdom, we will be able to enrich the lives of those we serve; we will gain the courage to admit our mistakes; and we will preserve the highest ideals of what government can achieve. As it is said, so may it be. And let us say, amen.