Career Story: Rabbi For A Suburban Congregation

Rabbi For A Suburban Congregation

Job Title: Rabbi

Type of Company: I am the rabbi of a temple in a suburb of Boston.

Education: BA, Liberal Arts, Wesleyan University •• MSW, University of Southern California •• MAJS (Master of Arts in Jewish Studies), Hebrew Union College •• Rabbinic ordination, Hebrew Union College

Previous Experience: I taught Hebrew and worked as a Jewish summer camp counselor and assistant director.

Job Tasks: I do a number of things as a rabbi, far too many to count. Let me give you what I consider some of the highlights, the things that take up a good deal of my time. Of course this varies from day to day. However, I think what follows is a good overview.

1.) I am a preacher. I give a sermon every Friday night, Saturday morning and often Saturday afternoon. Every sermon is unique, though thematically they are often based on the Torah portion of the week.

2.) I am a teacher. I teach a wide range of students, from pre-K to adults. I teach about ritual, history, practice, current events, Torah, Talmud, philosophy. I tell stories and create myth.

3.) I am a pastor. I help assuage pain and grief. I help structure a means to celebrate the best and the worst parts of life.

4.) I am a "m'sader", or in English, an enabler (in the good sense): a shepherd. I enable people to express their dreams and their nightmares through counseling and through ritual. I often encounter them in situations where they feel lost or unable to find the words or the means to get from the dark place they are in to a place of light.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is to make people feel better about themselves, to give them a sense of joy and completeness about being Jewish and being alive. When I leave a family at the end of a life cycle event, I trust that they feel like they've moved to a better place, even if it's a sad time for them.

The worst? To be under-appreciated or treated like another one of the servants in their lives.

Job Tips:
1.) To be a rabbi you must love being a part of the Jewish people.

2.) Love and appreciate all human beings.

3.) Have a great sense of humor, including being able to laugh at yourself.

4.) Have a clear sense of God's presence and love.

5.) Be able to forgive and be forgiven.

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