15 February 2006

Summer 2006/תשס"ו - What To Do?

So, while summer isn't yet here, planning for it has begun. My initial thought (which has been around since at least this past summer) was that I would go to Boston and spend most of my summer at the Summer Beit Midrash, run by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper. My thinking was that this would help me in my career and knowledge as both a rabbinical student and future rabbi (not to mention my textual skills).
However, my mom has disagreed heavily with me on this. Not on the specific program, but because I have only three summers left before I become a rabbi, and I spend most of my year in a similar environment - that of a beis midrash (study hall, for lack of better translation) - along with similar people (Orthodox Jews). She would like to see me do things that I wouldn't normally do and interact with the general populace. She encouraged me to do similarly last summer when I had been thinking of heading to Israel for the whole summer to both study and travel, and I ended up taking a graduate course at Columbia University (which was good), along with a couple of other activities, but I mainly stayed in NYC.
I must first point out that I'm neither financially dependent on my parents (though they are very welcome to give me money :)), nor am I a momma's boy, but it is good to maintain some sense of relation with my mom and parents, in general. However, it is still important to maintain a sense of independence, as well.
I'm not sure what to do. I only have three summers left before I begin my being a rabbi, and I'm sure that each of these summers, I will be doing things that will be resume builders that will be used to further my experience and knowledge in the field of Judaism and rabbinics.
I do see her point that I can do things that I would like to do, plus I can probably do the Summer Beit Midrash next summer. Additionally, it would be great to get out of the beit midrash and doing different thigns that I wouldn't normally do - I enjoyed the physical labor during our Katrina relief trip as well as during my trip down to El Salvador, through AJWS last year, and I also like travelling and seeing new places. In addition to these things, I would also like some time to research and write, both for just סתם (the heck of it) and to work on the various articles I want to write and publish.
However, I also should try to find some way of procuring money. Although I will be getting a stipend for June, I will be getting none for either July or August - not that the stipend is much anyways. I might be able to take up another researching job, like I did last year, but I don't know how I would come across that, but also, maybe I would like to take up some sort of job doing something totally different, maybe working in construction, or working outside of New York.
So, in sum, I would like to travel, research & write, [blog (but I didn't think I needed to specify that),] and work. Lord help me.
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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should, without a doubt, find a way to spend the summer learning. It would be incumbent upon any Jew in your position of having a free summer to spend as much time as possible learning, but an added reason is that as a future rav you need to know as much torah, especially halakhah, as possible. While it is true that you have more summers ahead of you, it will take more than just three summers to cover shas and poskim, so why not start now?

Drew_Kaplan said...

Anon,
While I appreciate your thoughts, thoughts which I often have (which is why I was considering the SBM program in the first place (and it's not totally out of the picture altogether at this point) - is to learn more), I still have another three years after this one to be engaged in learning as my occupation (תורה אמונתי), so I won't be losing out on that front. Additionally, I will be engaged heavily in learning for a while, so when will I be able to enjoy these other activities which will enrich my life?
The learning will be there after this summer (btw, I'll still be learning, just not full time throughout the summer - I can't get away from learning), so I'll be hitting that up, but I doubt I'll have covered Shas by the time I graduate, let alone the rest of rabbinic literature, rishonim, [aharonim,] and poskim.
So, really, this summer is a great time for me to pursue things that aren't necessarily Jewish, per se, and to do things that I will find enjoyable and generally enriching, as I'm sure the following two summers will be increasingly rabbinic, or at least Jewish or whatever.

amechad said...

Volunteer in Israel! Like, not in the yeshiva mileu but the Israeli society milieu. But, of course, this is just an idea and it's up to you.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Amechad,
I have thought of this, perhaps spending a couple of weeks with Livnot U'Lehibanot. I would have to procure scholarships, though, probably....

Anonymous said...

"I still have another three years after this one to be engaged in learning as my occupation (תורה אמונתי), so I won't be losing out on that front."

Your presumptiousness is stunning. I dare say that if you worked with single minded focus for that entire three years, you might at the end be able to make a reasonable leining on the gemara with error.

Anonymous said...

without error, rather.

anon said...

Anonymous a)people can use chill out time it's healthy and even incumbant. todays "Frum" Jewish community is so obssesed with learning(mostly in a good way) that we tend to neglect ourselves, forgetting we're not super man, and thereby burning out. b)Stop judging other people!

Anonymous said...

The first anon is right, if not a bit blunt. A rabbi needs to be solid in his learning. That won't happen in three years taking vacations in the middle.

anon said...

How do you know? everyone is different. I know some people who where solid in their learning after one year! Again stop spewing yeshiva retoric. Sometimes a 3 year stretch could be to long a stretch and less would actually be more. This is for Drew to decide and it is not BLACK AND WHITE!

Anonymous said...

Drew, there are lots of Jewish summer camps that would love to have you...Ramah, Camp Stone, Young Judaea, etc.

Drew_Kaplan said...

As to the summer camp thing, I already did [a similar thing] to that (staffing BBYO international summer leadership programs for three summers in a row), and have no interest in doing such a thing at least for another 2-3 years, where I may be able to serve as some sort of Judaic staff. And even at that, maybe a few weeks - a month at most. So, I'm not doing the summer camp thing this summer.
As to לימוד תורה (learning Torah), I recognize its importance (duh! I'm in rabbinical school), but there's more to life than just that. Furthermore, doing these other things will further to enrich my life. I learn Torah for most of the year, a break from full-time learning (yes, I will continue to learn, of course) will be beneficial in allowing me to gain more wordly experience, which, in turn, will further enrich me as a person and as a future rabbi.