A few years ago, a congregant friend of mine looked at me and asked me with true sincerity, “What do you do all day?” I was a bit flustered. I mean, what kind of question was that? I would have thought a better question to ask me would have been, “What don’t you do?” But I realized that, outside of preparing for services, Torah readings, sermons, and life-cycle events, many do not really know what a rabbi does all day.
I thought writing this bulletin article would be a good opportunity to recap some of my experiences as your Associate Rabbi. When my family and I came here 6 ½ years ago, Jacob was 15 months old. Since my arrival, I have gotten to enjoy my passion to teach. I have created a myriad of classes, including an evening series on “Judaism’s View of the Afterlife,” “A Journey to Israel” with the seniors and two “Synagogue Customs Classes.” I have taught more than five Intro to Judaism classes, two Taste of Judaism classes, and had the honor of assisting over 60 individuals in their journey to convert to Judaism. I have taught 7th grade students on Sunday mornings and created the idea for “Prayer Experience” to teach our 3rd through 7th graders about prayer in a more relaxed and fun way. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with our congregation’s incredibly talented musicians by working with the choir (on the 50th anniversary celebration) and with the Shabbat band, the Life Tree Ramblers. I helped our educator Anne Stein create the Saturday morning alternative service “Tot Shabbat PLUS” which gives families another worship option for kids aged 0 through 7 years.
Besides the work I do for the synagogue, I also do a little for the larger community. I am one of the advisors for the Jewish Recovery Network as well as for the Center for Jewish Genetics in Chicago. I am the Midwest regional coordinator for the Women’s Rabbinic Network, a national organization that gives women rabbis an opportunity to meet and network together. Finally, I have had the honor to write articles for Chicago Jewish News over the past few years.
I recalled this conversation because I am at the end of my second contract here at this congregation, which means that, come June, I will have been with you a total of 7 years. This past week, I had the privilege of signing another 3-year contract with the congregation. This is very exciting because it means I have the privilege of serving the congregation for another three years. Just wait to see what I’ll be busy doing next!