Creating the Rabbinic Family Network is my way of addressing these questions. It is a contribution I can make to a Jewish community fortunate enough to have my wife as their rabbi. And in turn, it will help so many spouses, partners, and children of clergy, too. As I have said all along, “happy rabbinic family equals happy temple community.” I am a partner in my wife’s success. And as a team, our goal is to help shape and nurture one another so that we – but mostly she – can shape and nurture a Jewish community.
As our relationship has deepened, I’ve begun to understand the Torah in a deeper way, too. Throughout the book of Genesis we see example after example of fragmented family melodramas. We see miscommunications and manipulations. We read about the stealing of birthrights, the selling off of siblings, and the near-sacrifices of sons. We read about love and death and marriage and children. The bond of family runs through it all.
Family means everything, as challenging as it can sometimes be. It is what roots and sustains us. It is what we fall back on and go home to at the end of the day. And our Torah spends a great deal of time teaching us just how complex and influential family life can be.
The mission of this venture speaks to the soul of a community – those who shape our Jewish community, but especially their families who love and care for them. The Rabbinic Family Network’s aim is to strengthen the bonds of family life, increase communication and acceptance, and educate the family unit so that they can be their happiest and most fulfilled. What’s more Jewish than that?
I am personally so excited to begin putting what I’ve learned and created in this Fellowship into practice when my wife begins her rabbinic career at Temple de Hirsch Sinai in Seattle this July. I’m looking forward to navigating the many highs and lows and learning curves of being her “rebbetzman.” I already have a plan to make challah for her coworkers on our first Shabbos.
I look forward to sharing this venture with you on May 21 at the PTLA Launch Night. By that time, I will have been a “rebbetzman” for three whole days with a whole lot left to learn!