Judging by the volume and nature of some of the comments posted to my article on Rick Santorum in last week’s Jewish Week, I seem to have touched a raw nerve in some readers. I assume that to be the case because of the tone of some of the postings, which is, shall we say, dismissive of my point of view.
As just about the entire world knows by now (I was going to say the entire western world, but it’s also the eastern world in this particular case), the New York Knicks basketball franchise went shopping in their closet recently, and found themselves quite a fine point guard in Jeremy Linn. On the wings on an inspiring winning streak due in no small measure to his skills, Mr.
Anyone who has seen the movie “Jaws” will surely remember the opening scene. A woman swims peacefully in the ocean and all appears to be well, until we hear that pulsating, foreboding music. You can’t see the shark yet, but you know it’s out there, and before too long, it will make its appearance…
It will be my privilege, on this coming Saturday night, to formally install my son, Hillel, as the rabbi of the Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation in Florida. Technically, he’s been serving in that capacity since August 2011, but scheduling difficulties (i.e., getting the parents and other assorted family members in the right place at the right time) have delayed the formal ceremony until now.
To be effective in the pulpit rabbinate requires that one possess (or develop) an eclectic and demanding set of skills. You have to be knowledgeable in Torah, a master of synagogue skills, a good teacher, a good speaker, a good counselor, and of course it doesn’t hurt to be young and charismatic…
After months of anticipation laden with some odd admixture of dread, pride, satisfaction, and a few other random emotions, our nest officially empties this Saturday night. Our third child, a junior at Barnard who has already lived at school for almost three years, leaves for a semester abroad in Copenhagen- much farther away than Morningside Heights. With our youngest in Israel for the year, our oldest in Florida, and our older daughter in Japan, we are left without children to pack up and send away.
For a variety of reasons. the pulpit rabbinate is a high-stress job.
First of all, and most obvious, I would think, you have to deal with more illness, cosmic unfairness, death and dying than almost anyone else except physicians. Being on call 24/7, and having to be strong and composed for others who are suffering and/or grieving exacts a tremendous toll in both the short and long run. Taking care of one’s own inner life as a rabbi is an under-appreciated challenge. The accumulated grief wears you down.
There is probably no more cliché way to open a speech or article about Israel than to say something like “These past few weeks and months have been difficult ones for Israel.” It’s cliché because one would be hard-pressed to think of a time when that was not true. Rarely are we afforded a time to focus on the glories of Israel, which are many, and not the problems that seem to plague it from all angles and directions.
Because my wife works in an academic setting, the end of December is usually a good time for us to get away for a week or so. Synagogue activity tends to slow down then as well because so many people are away. It is, as I like to call it, a great opportunity to “air out.”