10 October 2005

Career Considerations

Ever since I considered the idea of becoming a rabbi, I thought, "Duh, a pulpit rabbi." However, from the time of my interview with Rabbi Linzer (ראש ישיבה של יח"ת), the head of our school, who suggested me possibly becoming a Hillel rabbi, I have kind of played with that thought, but mainly thought about pulpit.
My experiences over the past year, particularly, but also the previous half year, have been swaying me to a critical and what I call a truth-seeking approach to Judaism (and, for that matter, Jewish texts). Thus, numerous times over the past year at school, my fellow students have suggested academia for me or, at least called me academic, as well as my gemara rebbe. However, what I find funny, is that calling me an academic is errant. I don't personally mind such labelling, actually, though I do prefer the label 'critical', I just find it offensive to real academics. They would take one look at me and laugh, as I have no - and I do mean none whatsoever - academic training in Jewish texts (yeah, I know I have a BA in Jewish Studies, but that's undergrad, and it was different). Case in point, in class, just before the October/holiday break, our class was reading a סוגיא, when I stood for a different parsing of the text, than was popularly held in class. Not that there was any conclusion who "won," though my approach was termed 'academic,' my roommate from last year, who is close to completing his MA in Talmud at Revel and is a classmate of mine, showed me how academics would have read it a little bit differently. Basically, it was about how we read the editorship of the gemarra into it....
Anyways, so that's school. When I was planning on going up to CT and preparing a couple of derashos for RH, I was trying to think up of דברי תורה. The problem was that I wasn't used to preparing cutesy DT, rather, I was used to coming up with more critical reads, etc. It was a little tough. I came out of my RH experience leaning more toward probably becoming a Hillel rabbi rather than a pulpit rabbi, but we'll see....

9 comments:

Jewminican said...

explain hillel rabbi vs. pulpit rabbi for newbie.

Drew_Kaplan said...

K, A Hillel rabbi works as a rabbi and/or administrator at a Hillel house ona college campus, working with the students. A pulpit rabbi works at a shul, working with his congregants, the community, and more.
That's a brief intro answer, though there's sooooo much more.
Some more reasons why Hillel rabbi would be good for me, is I wouldn't have to wake up so early, wouldn't have to wear such fancy stuff all the time, would be able to just answer general Jewish questions, and would be able to work in a pluralistic environment, though that last one can be a toughy as an ortho.

nysarah said...

i vote hillel rabbi (if i can have a vote lol) from the little that i know of you i think you would really be amazing at it.. i think college kids would really be able to talk to you and stuff.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Sarah, Thank you very much (and for checking out my blog).

Jewminican said...

I love working with kids and it is really fun talking to them about anything so I think being a Hillel rabbi sounds cool. Now, stop being lazy, Yom Kippur ended LAST NIGHT, where is the update to your blog?

uncle moishy said...

Strictly from the POV of your own comfort level, I invoke the real estate mantra: Location, Location, Location!

In other words, I think you could enjoy either Hillel or pulpit, but it all depends where.

On the plus side for the Hillel option, regardless of location, is my observation from when I was in college/gradschool (not so long ago), that working on campus makes you feel young, no matter how old you actually are.

DaveInOhio said...

Either way, don't stay in the NY area, or anywhere in the "megalopolis" as my wife and I call the Boston/NY/Washington corridor. We need YCT grads out in places like here (the Midwest) or other small communities around North America. We actually live in your hometown of Columbus - moved here from NY last year. I even started a yahoogroups list (www.movingonout.org) when we were looking for a place to live with a shul that had at least a hint of an "Open Orthodox" feel. There's at least some of that at the Main Street Shul (torat-emet.org) where we daven.

DaveInOhio said...

If you become a Hillel Rabbi and start a HIR style minyan on campus, you may actually get non-students who are attracted to the feel and תפילה in the minyan and it may grow enough to become a permanant minyan. It's a more organic way to become a pulpit rav anyway.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Don't worry, I have NO intentions in staying on the east coast. I hear that about getting out there - I plan on it, whether it's to Florida or back to the midwest or whatever. Thanks for pointing out that link of movingonout - I will look at it. I agree that Main Street Shul definitely is the most YCT-like shul in Columbus (Beth Jacob being more YUish and Ahavas Shalom being more to the right). Welcome to Columbus.
Thanks for the latter suggestion.