CCAR - October 2010 Newsletter - (Page 1)

CENTRAL Founded In October 2010 1889 FROM THE PRESIDENT Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus NEWS CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis ‫תשרי–חשון תש״עא‬ ‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬ Volume 58 – Number 2 FROM CCAR CHIEF ExECUTIVE Steven A. Fox y mother died on the 19th of Elul. She was an extraordinary woman, intelligent, accomplished, vibrant, expansive in her love and hospitality. She had Alzheimer’s disease, so we had been losing her, mourning her for years, but there were still occasional glimmers of who she used to be. Now she is gone, and her husband and four children and ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren are left to tell the stories and share the memories. My brother (Rabbi Michael Weinberg) and I regularly tell our congregants that they are entitled to be mourners, and should not feel pressured to speak at their loved ones’ funerals. So what were we to do for our mother’s? Our parents’ rabbi was new to the congregation, and never really knew her. Fortunately, the next generation of rabbis has representation in our family. Michael’s son Josh and my sister Judy’s daughter Jessica Shimberg are both rabbinic students, and they graciously agreed to deliver the eulogy. What a gift to us all! As you know, many from first-hand experience, shivah is exhausting and therapeutic and difficult and helpful. Our multiple communities were loving and generous with their care of us as the shivah migrated to four locations over the week. Having never been a mourner before, I experienced many familiar activities in a new way. Michael and I both noted that, as rabbis, we have said the Mourner’s Kaddish thousands of times, but never before as mourners. It is different. Since we wanted to be with our father at his synagogue on Shabbat, our congregants stepped in to conduct services for Shabbat and for S’lichot. They told us, “Don’t worry about it. We can do this without you, because you taught us what to do.” It is hard to imagine a more gratifying measure of success as a rabbi. (Continued on page 5) M The Complexities of Rabbinic Life n occasion, I am requested by rabbis and lay leaders to describe the work of rabbis and, at times, to supplement the way in which you describe your service in both congregational and community settings. With much gratitude for the many blessings you, our colleagues, bring to your communities and to the Jewish world, I share this with you. The rabbi of a community is the religious, spiritual, educational, pastoral, and organizational leader in every facet of the Jewish community’s life—responsible both for the health of the synagogue/organization itself and for the well-being of the individual members. It would be impossible in the span of a few pages, or perhaps even in a monograph, to capture all that a rabbi’s “job” entails—it is far more than a profession which can be simply quantified. The rabbi’s capacity is at all times many things including without limitation: • The professional with ultimate responsibility for the overall health and operations of the synagogue/organization, working with elected leadership in need of cultivation and training, collaborating with committees in search of guidance and wisdom, facilitating financial development which can often be done only by the rabbi as she/he is the one with the most impactful personal relationships, and supervising other staff members serving the community; • A teacher of adults and children in every possible venue from adult education to religious school, to informal learning opportunities to community education, and the person responsible for the creation of many of these learning opportunities and the supervisor of others who teach; • The one who creates, plans, leads, teaches and preaches at every type of religious service be it weekly Sabbath services, all Jewish holidays and every lifecycle moment for community members ranging from birth to death and everything in-between; • The pastor, counselor, and spiritual guide who stands by her/his people at key moments in their lives be they moments of sickness or health, joy or sorrow, birth or death; • The person who applies Jewish tradition to the challenges of daily life and the contemporary world in which we live including topical issues such as coping with the current economic crisis to the Gulf oil spill; • The “chief engagement officer” who takes the lead in reaching out to community members— leaders and others—to cultivate involvement in the community, to listen to a multitude of voices, to convene participants from all walks of life in conversation, and ultimately to teach others to undertake this sacred work for the community; • The educator and facilitator of relationships to Jewish communities throughout North America and other parts of the world, and with some unique emphasis on building strong ties with the land of Israel including leading people to visit the Land; • An advocate for the Jewish community in building bridges between the Jewish community and other religious communities and non-profits in the community; (Continued on page 8) 1 O

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR - October 2010 Newsletter

CCAR - October 2010 Newsletter