The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
(To Be of Use, by Marge Piercy)
In turn I love this poem. It captures how I see the world and, well, being of use. But the role of rabbi is more than that. Rabbi Professor Larry Hoffman tells the story of a new rabbi trying to block time for thinking and studying and eventually giving up those spots in his diary for the inevitable and essential meetings of synagogue life. Meetings are indeed critical for the growth and well being of communities but so is thinking! I have the opportunity to attend two rabbinic conferences dedicated to study (and thinking) and I intend to dive right in with the same enthusiasm I take to work. I’m off to New York today for two days on Recharging Reform Judaism followed by a Shabbat visiting Manhattan congregations to taste services. And then on to Boston for the Women Rabbis’ Network annual convention. Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris and I will representing us British rabbis. I’ll report back and bring much with me on my return, especially just my thoughts.
Shabbat Shalom and more from me next week.
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