Our Year of Wrestling Together conversation about the Role of the Rabbi and Rabbi-Community Relationship was another rich, thought-provoking discussion. Read the full results of our conversation.
The ideal relationship between Rabbi and Community is a covenant, or Brit, with both sides making a commitment to the other. We opened the discussion by sharing different models of community, dimensions of the role of a rabbi, and Jewish values that inform a healthy rabbi-community relationship. We then set about discussing what we, as members of the DJC, would like our rabbi to be for us – and equally important, what we would like to be for our rabbi. What is our commitment to each other?
What was clear from the conversation was that we, as a community, want our rabbi to be a guide who pushes us. We want our rabbi to challenge us, to stretch our thinking, to open our eyes to larger Jewish perspectives. At the same time, our community must embrace a reciprocal commitment: to engage our Rabbi actively and with curiosity, to not disengage when we’re uncomfortable, and to respectfully bring forth our questions and ambivalences. It’s up to us to use what we learn to inform communal decision-making, as well as to guide and support individual decisions in our own lives as we see fit.
Another critical theme was that of leadership: We want our rabbi to be a leader; at the same time, we need strong leadership in the community. We want her to make us better leaders, cultivating and empowering us with her expertise and perspective; working alongside her, active lay leadership ensures we share our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our community.
It was a powerful conversation that clarified so much about how Rabbi Miriam can and does support us – and how we can better support her and each other. We’re blessed to have such an open-hearted guide.