Aleph, becoming a rabbi, Ithaca College, Jewish Renewal, Pollyanna, Rabbinic school, rabbinical school, USF
I began this blog 364 days ago. Here’s what I wrote on June 27, 2010:
Where to begin? I think the trip to the library is perhaps best.
Here’s what happened. My daughter Ellie and I went to the library to find some summer reading, but the self-checkout machine wouldn’t let us take our books. An error message popped up on the screen: “There are unresolved issues with your card. Please see the librarian at the help desk.”
Unresolved issues?!? Turns out our cards had expired and we had to renew them before we could abscond with our books.
It’s haunted and amused me all day. Unresolved issues? Damn right I have unresolved issues. Not least of which is deciding what I want to do when I grow up. I’d better hurry and make a decision, because I turn 53 this week and time’s awasting.
Do I maintain status quo and fundraise during the day and moonlight on the weekends as a quasi-rabbi? (sounds a little like Superman — mild-mannered Clark Kent during the day, caped crusader at night.) Or do I take the plunge and go to rabbinical school?
A year later, I’ve answered the question. I leave tonight to begin studying in the Jewish Renewal movement’s Aleph rabbinic training program. (If you want to know more about Jewish renewal, visit their website: www.aleph.org).
It’s the beginning of a years-long process towards becoming a rabbi. As you saw above, I’m not exactly young… but a few years ago when I protested to a friend that I’d be nearly 60 when I graduated, she pointed out that I’d be 60 anyway, so why not be 60 and a rabbi too? Point taken.
Much of the work will be on-line, but I’ve already proved that I can handle that — I earned an MA from the Jewish Theological Seminary on-line, and let me tell you, it was no easy task.
I’m still straddling the line and working full-time as a fundraiser, as well part-time as a spiritual leader at Congregation Kol HaNeshama (no more referring to myself as a “quasi-rabbi”!). This will be on top of all that. But hey, what’s another major time commitment among friends?
I’m banking on having more time now that I’ll be an empty-nester (Ellie begins her freshman year at USF on Aug 17th and Sarah Jane leaves soon after to be a junior at Ithaca College).
It’s a little daunting, a lot exciting, and hugely satisfying. I’ll keep blogging. I hope you’ll keep reading.
P.S. Not unexpectedly, the Pollyanna thing lasted less than 24 hours. I’m simply not cut out for being sweet all the time — just too snarky sometimes.
Jennifer, you were born to be a rabbi. It is clear that it is your passion.
You will be able to be even better qualified to do what you already to and to spread your special kind of spirituality and wisdom.
Geo Carl Kaplan said:
I wish all sucess and good fortune in your endeavor!
Jennifer, no matter what you do I have no doubt that you will succeed and come out on top. You have made the right decision and I know that you will make a wonderful Rabbi. MAZEL TOV!
Nancy D said:
Way to go. Your friend is SO right; time won’t stand still whether you do anything, nothing, or what you really want to do. So go for it!!!
Marden Paru said:
Ambition will take you anywhere. Mazal tov on your first birthday. It continues to get better as you grow.
kol hakavod, jennifer. and loads of best wishes.
and when you find the time, stop in to the chug ivri for some hebrew practise. you’ll always be welcome.
Rachel D. said:
Good for you, Jennifer! It is all for the best. All power to you, ma’am.
SRQ Jew said: