Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thoughts on Leaving

I think this is really going to happen.

Three months ago, I thought we would be leaving any day.  Two months ago, I thought we would be leaving any day.  Last month, I thought we would never leave.  And as of yesterday, I know that we will be leaving Sunday.

People have asked me how I am feeling about leaving, and the answer is that I’m thrilled and nervous, excited and antsy.  I’ve had pretty horrible insomnia as a result of the emotional rollercoaster – and so I’m edgy on top of everything else.

While most of my classmates have been working for months at their new positions, I have been sitting around living the good life.  Leora and I checked off a lot of boxes on our NYC bucket-list, and we ate a lot of Kosher meat.  I think those days are coming to a close really soon.

I’m starting my full-time rabbinate for the first time next Monday.  For the first time in my life, I’m going to be ministering, pastoring, rabbi-ing (choose the correct verb) full-time.  No classes.  No internships.  Just me and a bunch of Marines (oo-rah). 

It’s lonely: or at least I anticipate loneliness.  Thank God (and I do every day) that Leora is coming with me.  Without her love and companionship, I could never do this.  But, I still, as a rabbi, I feel alone.

When I started rabbinical school, I came in with 2 of my closest friends.  I knew that whatever school threw at me, it would probably hit Steve first (because his last name begins with A) and if Josh got involved, the person causing the problem would probably be so flustered that by the time he got to me, he would simply give up.  But more than being friends, they were my chavrutot (study buddies).  Josh and I were chavruta for Prof. Herzberg’s Miqraot Gedolot (and we rocked it).  Steve and I were chavruta for Prof. Diamond’s Mekhina Talmud (and it was awesome).  I made great friends, and formed outstanding chavrutot in rabbinical school.  Who’s going to be my chavrutah now?  Sure we can skype, but is that the same?

My mentors – the rabbis who have guided me through life, through rabbinical school, through internships – will be on the other side of the world.   I imagine that if I were in a pickle as a congregational rabbi that I would call Craig Scheff or Arthur Weiner in a second; I’d pump out an e-mail to any of the past and present rabbis of Rodef Sholom (Gilah Dror, David Booth, Neil Scheindlin, Steven Lindemann) and within the hour somebody would give me a response. V’ein tzarich lomar (Talmudic for, “Duh”), Gerry Skolnik.  Now they can respond…FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD!  From a different world: one where camouflage goes in and out of style.

It’s daunting.  It’s scary.  It’s challenging.  I’m excited, but I could also use some sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Yoni, you've answered one of my longstanding questions- how to say "duh" in Talmudic Hebrew! Anytime, Lieutenant, anytime!