Diane Levy Eight years ago I bought a rowhouse in a working-class neighborhood where the majority of residents were African American. At closing, the seller commented that the neighborhood once had been Italian and Jewish. I thought to myself, Well, a Jew is moving back. I bought the home because it was affordable, near public
Many rabbis begin their first years with a sense of calling - the passion that brought them into the rabbinate. But the distractions of petty politics and the narrow concerns of congregational life can unconsciously become the focal point that, over the years, mutes a sense of higher calling. The result is that rabbis become less inspiring because they learn to play it safe rather than to speak from their authentic selves. That’s when rabbis become dull.
As students develop skills in studying and analyzing texts, teaching, preaching, counseling, and leading services, they also need to understand the importance of cultivating their soul. Becoming a spiritual leader for a community is a daunting task and requires tools or practices for reflection, personal prayer, discerning truth, and listening to the inner truth.
The offerings of a continuing education program must be broad enough for the entire rabbinic community. We approach our rabbinate based on our own leadership styles, disposition, and community dynamics. And at different stages of our rabbinic tenure, our needs for support and professional development change.
A Round Table with the heads of several rabbinical schools and other rabbis at work.
David Glanzberg-Krainin & Sam Berrin Shonkoff
An exchange of letters between Rabbi David Glanzberg-Krainin and Sam Berrin Shonkoff, who is contemplating a career in the rabbinate.
The Necessary Revolution: How individuals and organizations are working together to create a sustainable world; Peter Senge, Bryan Smith, Nina Kruschwitz, Joe Laur, Sara Schley (New York: Doubleday, 2008, $29.95, 416 pp)
Reviewed by Joseph Reimer
How can synagogues help their rabbis stay fresh and spiritually fit? Should some form of accredited continuing education be required of rabbis? How might rabbis use artistic expressions as portals for community engagement?