‘Shehechiyanu’ in the Senate Chamber Helps Swear in Goldberg as Treasurer

Deborah B. Goldberg’s Senate swearing-in ceremony
Deborah B. Goldberg’s Senate swearing-in ceremony

By Susie Davidson

Published January 29, 2015, issue of January 29, 2015.

Rabbi William Hamilton of Congregation Kehillath Israel delivered the invocation on January 20th at the State House at the swearing-in of former Brookline Selectwoman Deborah B. Goldberg for State Treasurer.

Hamilton, who also prayed for all victims of violence, “from the streets of Paris to the halls of Brigham & Women’s,” was preceded by Cantor Scott Sokol of Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, who sang “America the Beautiful.” The two then sang the Shehechiyanu prayer in Hebrew and English.

The ceremony, which reflected the life of Goldberg, a Boston University graduate who earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, also included a Posting of Colors by the Brookline Police Honor Guard and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by Lawrence High School senior Bioribel Vargas.

In his invocation, Hamilton asked for blessings for Goldberg and her “dear family.” Goldberg’s family, who founded the Stop & Shop supermarket company on her mother’s side and includes civic leaders and Jewish community activists as well on her father’s, has belonged to the Coolidge Corner synagogue for three generations. “My son and husband carried the Torah during the High Holidays,” she told the Journal following her state primary win in September. “And in all the work I do, I have always promoted Jewish values.”

Avram Goldberg with his Bar Mitzvah Bible
Avram Goldberg with his Bar Mitzvah Bible

“When my grandmother opened a little store in the North End, all were welcome,” she recalled. “And neighborhood women organized a home for seniors that ultimately became Hebrew SeniorLife.”

She recalled her paternal grandfather, Lewis Goldberg, a Superior Court Justice and Harvard Law School alumnus. “He was the first in his family to go to college,” she said. “At the age of 27, with his best friend, he founded the Jewish Big Brother Association of Boston, a precursor to the Big Brother and Big Sister Federation, Inc. [where he served as a director].”

While praising the state for its position in life sciences and clean technology, Goldberg also cautioned about its upcoming budget deficit and promised new revenue planning and an approach that will be both forward looking and extremely efficient.

“That spirit that began in a little grocery store at the corner of Prince and Salem Streets in 1893 is the spirit that puts me before you today to pledge my commitment to everybody, no matter what they look like or how much money they have,” Goldberg concluded. “And I am humbled by your trust in me.”

The one beaming the brightest in the room was Goldberg’s father Avram, who clutched the Bible from his Bar Mitzvah that his daughter used for her swearing in. “I’m so proud of Deb, not just for winning, but for her pride of Judaism, and for her dedication to helping all members of the Commonwealth,” he said.

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