Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What do rabbis want?

In response to my Purim post, Fruma asks: What would the ads look like placed BY rabbis seeking congregations?

How about these:

* LOR seeking an L to serve as their OR. Versatile and open-minded and non-judgmental, willing to engage all types of Jews, left and center and right, who obey his every word without question.

* Rabbi with a generous heart and enthusiastic desire to serve looking to give, give, give to a likeminded community which also gives, preferably in US dollars.

* Recovering from a difficult relationship, seeking warm and understanding shul with caring congregants, active committees and sincere students, to counsel, lead and teach. Allergic to lawyers.

But to answer your question more seriously:

Some rabbis want a relatively quiet community where they can teach Torah, build relationships with people and help Jews live good Jewish lives. They are not looking for political intrigue, and they don’t particularly care to comment on the major quarrels of the greater community so long as their congregants are not directly affected or influenced. Perhaps they might publish a sefer, someday, so that all of the work they put into their shiurim and bulletin articles and derashos might have a life beyond the moment.

Others want a platform, a shul in which they can develop Big Picture ideas, the better to shape the future of local and global Jewry. They love their congregants, but they also believe that doing more for the greater world will also aid those who are geographically closest to them. They believe themselves a Moshe, or a Dovid haMelech, an architect of the Jewish world. Further, they believe that their own meta-thinking will influence their congregants to think in such terms, to contemplate the isms of the day: The Role of Government, Feminism, Universalism vs. Parochialism, and so on.

There are rabbis who would like to be halachic authorities and Torah teachers, presenting classes and learning with chavrutot and writing articles. They may seek a more cerebral community, with a commitment to intellectual growth.

There are rabbis who are entertainers by nature, seeking to connect with people on a personal level, forging relationships and, through this channel, helping bring them closer to Judaism. They may seek a class-going, participatory community with which to engage.

There are rabbis who are administrators and builders by nature, seeking to create, manage, and sometimes micro-manage institutions which will serve the individuals of today and tomorrow and the next. They may thrive in a variety of communities, because Jewish communities are forever identifying needs and creating institutions to serve them.

Fruma: This is incomplete and a bit rushed this morning, but does it help?


  1. I have seen several shuls go through searches and transitions. It is my observation that shuls get the rabbi they deserve. I guess it makes sense that the rabbi reflects the values of the congregation; it's just kind of amusing to see what people think is important.

  2. Laya-
    "What they deserve" - Boy, could that mean a lot of different things...

    דור לפי הפרנס, פרנס לפי הדור...