2021 Plans: Pulpit or Podium?

This post fills like I'm dropping a truth bomb to those around me... Surprise! I think I might want to be a Rabbi next. 

I have spent the better part of December trying to figure out what 2021 will look like. I know, who spends time trying to figure out next year, when the one that has just passed turned out to be a giant dumpster fire. If we have learned anything from 2020, is that predictability is no longer a factor when trying to set a path.

When 2020 started, one the things that were clear to me was where my professional life was heading. I was growing at work, finding my voice, finally building my dream path. Our trip to Cuba in February opened my eyes to a world where passion and determination open roads that you didn't even know existed. I came back recharged and renewed, ready to build from the momentum into a career that was screaming at me to push myself. I was also half way through my DEI Fellowship, thoroughly enjoying working with a wonderful congregation, and watching them take the steps towards more inclusive spaces. My work in Jewish spaces was flourishing, and my cup was starting to fill up.

Then, a week later, the world crumbled.

At first, it was just a little puncture at the bottom of the cup, causing a slow trickle. I don't mind virtual teaching, and I think of myself as someone who is creative and motivated enough to adapt and thrive (or at least try to) in any environment. Then, April came, and someone to a knife and sliced the bottom of a cup, causing it to empty itself out.

So, here we are. 2021 Ad portās, and I'm trying to figure out where I go next. I am tired of feeling that emptiness that 2020 caused. Here's my thing about Jewish education: it fills me; it fills a space in my life that lights every fiber of my being and makes me want to be the best version of myself. So, with that in mind, the question becomes: Where do I want to take this drive next year?

Pulpit or Podium?

Here's the thing. I am aware of the demands of both Rabbinical School and a Masters in Jewish Education. I know they are both very different, and the type of education and engagement that result from either is completely different. The thing is, if I have learned anything from 2020, is that my soul craves the need to create better, inclusive, and more wholesome Jewish spaces. I want those I share a learning space with to develop that same drive and passion that I feel for Jewish values and meaning; not necessarily the religious, traditional, ritual approach, but the actual meaning of what we pray, what we read from the Torah, and how it shapes our values and who we are as part of a larger society. 

I want to be able to not only fill my cup, but to help fill others. I want to be able to stand in front of a crowd and speak, engage in meaningful, thoughtful conversations about what history teaches us, and how we can apply it to our lives today. I want to inspire like my mentors have inspired me. I want to do more.

And for clarity purposes: this is not me becoming "more religious" (because that seems to be the biggest concern of some people around me). This isn't about rituals or praying for the sake of it. Its about understanding why; questioning our practice to a point where it inspires it because of its meaning, not its traditional practice. I want those I spend time with to ask the questions, think outside the text in the book, and engage because it means something beyond tradition. 

So here I am... trying to decide where I want to go professionally in 2021. The reality is that none of this may happen, and that the year will just bring a slew of new challenges that will yet again force me to put life on hold for survival purposes. But at least one thing is clear, and that is that now I have an idea of where I want to go and what drives me. 

Seems I'm at a professional crossroads... lets just hope 2021 brings some clarity.


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