Posted on October 1, 2015
Many of you are already aware that I’ll be going on sabbatical February 1, 2016 – July 30, 2016. Rabbis generally are entitled to a sabbatical after 7 years. Sabbaticals are intended for rabbis “to seek spiritual and physical reinvigoration through a program of study and travel.” Many rabbis use their sabbatical to “recharge their batteries” in order to stem burnout. Others have studied in Israel or worked on projects. I have been eligible for a number of years but have waited till this time to take a sabbatical because our congregation has been stable for quite some time with committed lay leaders and staff. I hope during this time to work on a novel on the judge Deborah from the Bible utilizing my knowledge of archeology and history. Truth be told, I don’t know if I have any ability in writing but I’ve always wanted to try.
During my sabbatical, Cantor Nancy Linder will be covering pastoral emergencies and providing organizational leadership of our worship services. We are looking for lay leaders to lead worship with her, deliver a sermon, lead a discussion, or tell a story. Are you interested? I already have some names and will be leading some training workshops to those who will be assisting. I will cover basics such as organizational skills but also messaging and goals of worship. In Judaism, we are taught that we are all a ‘holy people’. The Torah and its teachings are not just meant for Jewish professionals but are truly accessible to all our people. Even though I hope to be missed during my time away, I expect our Temple to be okay and for there to even be some pleasant surprises from those who lead our worship. I hope my sabbatical leads to a greater empowerment of our members and community.
Aside from Cantor Linder, we are of course very lucky to also have the support of Larry and Sharon Matalon during this time. In addition, we have wonderful lay leadership and staff who are responsible and care very deeply about our community. Area rabbis will be teaching the confirmation sessions that I’ll be missing. During my sabbatical, I will still take care of our Bnei Mitzvah services and confirmation ceremony.
I want to thank you for this opportunity to ‘recharge’ my rabbinate because it’s my intention to be a congregational rabbi for decades to come. So, do you want to ‘play’ at being rabbi? Let me know.