Sunday, December 16, 2007

What is this blog?

Why a blog?

A few reasons:

Reason 1. Part of being a rabbi is being an educator. In that role, I want to teach, to inform, to challenge, to inspire, to lead, to convey a new point of view, to wrestle with ideas and perhaps - but not necessarily - reach a new conclusion. I want to offer depth and nuance, and participate in dynamic interaction.
The standard methods - speeches/classes/articles - just don't provide that venue.

Speeches - There is little room for serious challenge in a forum that must entertain as well as inspire. The davening and kiddush that follow guarantee that the inspiration, for most listeners, will quickly fade. There is little room for nuance in a presentation that does not allow for note-taking and requires that the rabbi address too broad a semi-listening audience.

Classes - Classes allow for nuance, but because of the large groups involved, timid (and even not-so-timid) voices are drowned out, and ideas that should be explored to a greater extent are instead reduced to a few moments and a "let's move on."

Articles - Articles in shul bulletins as well as newspapers are a stronger candidate, but those lack the capacity for dynamic interaction, for feedback and discussion and debate.

Reason 2. Oh, and I want to be able to be funny, too, or at least spontaneous, and in speeches you have to worry about breaking the flow of the speech, in classes there's never enough time, and in articles there's never enough space. So, perhaps the blog will provide a venue for that.

Reason 3. And, while I'm at it, another reason - I don't see why an idea, once expressed in a derashah, should vanish into thin air.

Reason 4. And, all right, another reason - to avoid the temptation of recycling my own material.

So here I am, proud owner of a new blog, which I have named Rechovot: A Place to Expand. My goal is to post some of my derashot, class-themes or general musings here, to continue the conversation.

And with that... here goes.

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