Last week was intense. I spent most of the week in New Orleans at the annual Central Conference of American Rabbis 122nd annual convention (#ccar11). The best part of the convention is always seeing old friends. Well they aren’t necessarily old but people I have known a long time. The thing about rabbis is that our friendships are often long distance ones. We serve pulpits and communities that are often far from one another. Even when we work in the same geographical area or same city it is often difficult to see one another because the demands of rabbinic work life are intense. We work when others have down time! Think about it. We are at temple on Shabbat and often on Sundays too. So just as your weekend is beginning we are in Temple mode. When you take some time to chill we are leading the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. When you go out on Saturday night we are leading the Havdalah discussion at a chavurah group. When you go out to Sunday brunch or a hike we are teaching your children in Religious School. When you go to the swap meet or antique-ing Sunday afternoon, we are meeting a wedding couple or officiating at a funeral. When you are at a Sunday evening baseball game or hockey game or late afternoon basketball game we are with the youth group.
So rabbinic life is full and it makes it hard to maintain friendships and relationships. And so conventions are precious moments for spending time with those who really understand the nature of our calling and people who know you for so many years.
That is what I deeply appreciate about the CCAR and my rabbinic classmates, teachers and friends. I appreciate the understanding, shared values, commitment to Jewish life and the Jewish people and dare I say it–to God!
The workshops were great. The speakers thoughtful and challenging. The small group visioning got me thinking. But the time spent with friends was priceless.