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skyeryder



Posts : 8
Join date : 2013-06-12

PostSubject: Choosing a rabbi   Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:57 pm

Hello all...
I apologize if I am rehashing this topic, I didn't see it elsewhere.

I have yet to start my conversion process (for quite a few number of reasons including my family situation). However, I'm quite sure that I want to convert. Anyway, after reading Anita Diamant's Choosing a Jewish Life and having conversations on the topic, I've realized how important choosing the right rabbi for my conversion process will be.

At the temple that I attend, we have 3 rabbis, two male and one female. I favor all of them and for different reasons. I'm not really not sure which I want to approach for my conversion. (I'm aware that schedules will have quite a lot to do with who is available.)

I've been attending services for a while (and recently started attending torah study), so I think I've gotten a decent feel of the rabbis' personalities.

My first choice would be the head rabbi and he will probably be way too busy. (We have a very large congregation). He is well educated, warm, and we both have the same social justice/action approach to our lives and to faith. An issue on top of possible scheduling difficulties is that he's a bit intimidating and I'm freaked out that I'd be an awfully uneducated student, feel like an idiot, and waste his time.

The other rabbi came up to me and introduced himself. He's really friendly, listens well, and seems to work and relate well the younger audience (35 and up)....I'm 21, but sometimes, his thought process seems a bit random...and sometimes his attention span seems somewhat short.

The last rabbi was the rabbi I met at my first temple service. She is friendly and competent in Torah and explaining ideas simply, but she isn't very warm. I think she may warm up to me if I met with her personally and I feel that when I get into the process I may be more comfortable with a woman.

I have no clue...and though I think have a bit of time to figure this out, I would like some suggestions to help with this choice....I tried to keep this short..but yeah that didn't work lol.
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Sarit

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Posts : 128
Join date : 2012-03-14
Age : 34
Location : Belgrade, Serbia

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:12 am

Dear skyeryder, you've come to a big step, kol hakavod! Choosing a rabbi seems like something to think about - I wouldn't know it from my own experience, since we have only one rabbi here.

I think you already gave the answer in your questioning and analyzing the situation: if you like the head rabbi, go to him and see if he has time, what is his schedule, see if you like how the conversation proceeds.

I understand the dilemma between the rabbi-who-lacks-enough-attention and the rabbi-who's-colder-than-comfortable. I admit I don't know what I would do. On the one side, I like someone who seems warm and accepting. On the other side, I think I'd rather have a rabbi who is willing to show some seriousness and consistency in work. I don't know - the choice depends on your expectations, personality and needs.

Maybe you can observe a little bit more, to see if the rabbi-who-lacks-enough-attention really lacks attention and if the rabbi-who's-colder-than-comfortable is really that cold. All that could be their strategies to "turn you down" gently and to see if you are really interested.

Are they of different denominations? Maybe listening to your own need inside the world of denominations could help you? I mean, trying to choose a specific path of Judaism, and not starting from choosing the rabbi himself/herself? Think about that option too.

Let us know what you decided! Good luck!
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skyeryder



Posts : 8
Join date : 2013-06-12

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:45 pm

Hey Sarit!

Thanks! I appreciate your reply. I really do feel like the head rabbi is the one, but as you suggested, I'm going to spend a little more time observing...and maybe even start up a few conversation to gauge them.

The rabbis are actually all at the same reform temple. I've never visited the other congregations in the city, because I've been told they are not very welcoming to new comers. Luckily, reform fits very well with me, so I have no complaints.

I'll let you know how it turns out Very Happy
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Dena

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Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:03 pm

If I were you I would not just assume you will not like any of the other congregations. Go ahead and visit the others. It may very well be that they aren't very friendly but you know what you need more than anyone else does so I wouldn't base your decisions on what they have told you.
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Sarit

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Posts : 128
Join date : 2012-03-14
Age : 34
Location : Belgrade, Serbia

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:42 am

I'm with Dena! Explore all your options and then, when you finally make a decision, you will know more clearly just why you've made it. And you'll know that the decision is wisely and responsibly made, and that it is made on the basis of your own experience. Wink and Smile 
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Salvia



Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 30
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:56 am

Wow, lucky you, skyeryder, to have different congegrations around Very Happy

And the possibiity to actually choose a rabbi, wow!

I'm with Dena and Sarit. You have this chance and this luck to be able to choose, so choose wisely. Be sure to know all your options before dedicating yourself to one path. You like reform, that's great, but you don't know yet what other denominations or even just other shuls have to offer. Every community is different! I don't day this to talk you away from the congegration you like (why would I? nah) but...an informed choice is always the best choice :)
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mikedoyleblogger

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Posts : 104
Join date : 2011-09-08
Age : 47
Location : Chicago, IL

PostSubject: Re: Choosing a rabbi   Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:22 pm

What the PPs have said--you have a right to visit any congregation you want. You have a right to choose the rabbi with whom you want to study. And you also have a right to change that rabbi or even that congregation as it suits *you* and no one else. It's your own responsibility to find your comfort zone (and thus denomination), but it's also a gift, as well, as you get to steer your own spiritual rudder, so to speak. Part of being a rabbi is to help make new Jews via the conversion process. Don't feel like a particular rabbi is doing you a favor for agreeing to study with you. He or she is just doing their job, and the honor is on their part for you to bless them with the opportunity to help enlarge and enrich the Jewish people.
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