Today I had an interview. It was my first (maybe only…) interview for what I will be doing next.
I am very conflicted about what I want the outcome to be.
The interview was for CPE residency in a hospital. It is a really good hospital and a really great job. I would be doing things similar to what I did over the summer, just full time and with overnights, and for an entire year. It will be a hard year, but a year of support. A year where people will push me, but also will be there for me. A year that I will really be out of the Orthodox bubble and out of everything that I know from rabbinical school.
But then there is the voice in my head telling me that I am giving up. I am taking the easy route. I went into this field to be a rabbi – a rabbi of a shul nonetheless, and I’m not even going to try. I am giving up on my 7 years of learning halacha to sit with people, and not even Jewish people. I am taking yet another year in my life before doing a real job – as this is only one year.
Or maybe this is what I am meant to do. I have always had a part of me that loved working with people and being with them. But then again, I love working in the Jewish community…even though at times I want to leave.
I know that I have a lot to give. That I am good at the teaching and community building. I am good at doing the stuff that happens in a shul, as I learned in Australia. I also know, that I know a lot of Halacha and should do something with it. That I have the real power to be a voice in Jewish history. That I am part of that change – and if I don’t go that way, then am I giving up?
I really loved my work in Australia. I really felt like I was doing what I was meant to do. I was treated as an equal; I was treated as a rabbi; I was part of the community. I want that again. I want to really be part of something; something that the shul really wants and that the rabbi really wants. I want a real job, not one that was created for me. I want to be my own person and not tied to some benefactor – no matter how kind they might be. I don’t want to be chained to schools. When one leaves a program they should not still be attached…how am I ever going to be my own person that way?
I’ve been meaning to call a woman who is a navy chaplain to explore that idea, mostly because other people have told me to look into it. But I have yet to make that call…
Part of me feels like I am reaching for anything because really all I want is to feel settled and to feel some form of stability. I am reaching outside of the pulpit rabbi world because I have not heard anything from school until a meeting today, where I was told that I was in the wrong not to tell the woman who is barely in school that I feel like they have nothing they are looking into. Apparently the way that it works for shul work is they find a shul and push – but she wasn’t sure that was what I wanted – even though that is what I said. I’m damned if I have a plan B, and I know I would be damned if I don’t have a plan B.
I really do think that doing CPE residency would be really great. I think that I would learn a lot both about the job, but also about myself – which is something I haven’t really taken the time to do. I think that not having to move to another city or country in 6 months is quite relieving, although I guess the truth is that I would have to move again in a year- so why put off the inevitable. I think that being again in a job that I don’t need to fight just to prove that I have the right to exist is really appealing.
Because really, all I want is to just exist and not to fight…
PS. If anyone has suggestions, ideas, thoughts, etc. please feel free to share