What does your Rabbi do? Part 2

Rabbi Joe Blair

December 24, 2007

 Ongoing Activities & Tasks

In functioning as your rabbi, I perform many duties, and fill many roles in the course of a week, ranging from the more rabbinic types of leading services and providing pastoral counseling, to the more prosaic actions of picking up the mail, answering the phone, giving tours to visitors, scheduling Torah readers, and locking up after most services. I try to do what is needed to keep the congregation running smoothly and well, and seek to serve the needs of all our congregants, the Jewish community, and the larger community in which we live. Some of what I do each week can be classified variously as pastoral, rabbinic, executive, administrative, clerical, janitorial, and spiritual functions. Some small part cannot really be categorized and seems hard to define or describe, and another small part is confidential and cannot be discussed widely. 

Here is a list of a few of my regular, ongoing tasks: 

General:

Oral and written reports: 

I have generated bulletin articles each month, submitted a monthly report for inclusion in the minutes of each of the board meetings, and sporadically added items to the THOI Blog (www.thoi.org/blog/). Obviously, I also produce an annual report to the congregation. 

J

Meetings:

I attend Board meetings and participate as a non-voting member.

I meet with Board members, as requested, on a fairly regular basis. 

I meet with and serve on several committees as a non-voting member. 

I have served to advise the Board according to my understanding, and to generate some documents at their request when needed. 

I meet with congregants, generally as requested. 

I meet with others, Jewish and non-Jewish, as my schedule permits. 

Serving as the Public Face for Judaism and the Congregation:

I serve as the point of contact for the congregation, taking phone calls, receiving emails, greeting visitors, making presentations, and responding to questions from the general community. 

I have also been the public face of the congregation, dealing with journalists, other clergy, schools, churches, college students, and many others wishing to have someone in the Jewish community with whom to speak. The number of requests for this has risen each year I have been here. I anticipate that the trend will continue. There seems to be an insatiable curiosity about Jews and Judaism in our region. 

I suspect that I also embody Judaism for many of the non-Jewish community members: by wearing a kippah, I am a visible reminder that there are Jews here in our area. I think that is a reminder to many, without a word being spoken. 

Cont'd.