A Short Brief by Barry

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Temple Menorah President's Weekly Message
I am in AWE of Rabbi Silver for his 30 Years of Service to our Congregation
04/26/17

In the almost 25 yePutting Rabbi Silver on a Pedestalars my family has been a member of Temple Menorah, I never gave much thought before about the tenure, staying power, contract renewals, or length of time a Rabbi stayed in their job until I became President of Temple Menorah.

It’s taken me two years as President of constant interaction with Rabbi Silver, phone conversations every few days, and lunch almost every week, to understand his commitment, deep love, and timeless energy for our Congregation.

It’s taken me two years as President to grasp the emotional effort, sacrifice, and pain that is experienced as a Rabbi. Burying friends, witnessing the untimely death of children who once bounced on his knee in Tuvia, the illnesses that have side-lined those whom he spent every Shabbat with in study and prayer, and the personal family sacrifice it takes to constantly expend that level of emotional energy.

I never imagined the funerals, eulogies, shivas that Rabbi Silver has experienced. I cannot imagine the counseling sessions with congregants over the trouble young adults and teens get into, the occasional bumps that occur in marriage, and the challenges of coping with congregant issues around finances, health, and well-being.

Sometimes, we only consider our Rabbi when we have our own personal immediate need. I am in awe when it comes to the caring, nurturing, hand-holding, comforting, and counseling that goes on behind closed doors that most of us don’t think about as part of the job as our Rabbi.

How many times over 30 years has Rabbi Silver received a call late at night about a congregant suddenly taken to the hospital, one who passed away over the weekend, or an urgent and immediate need for advice? How many times has Rabbi Silver re-arranged his schedule to sit with a family in mourning to write the eulogy, conduct a funeral, or show up at the hospital.

Even though we grant the Rabbi a couple of days off a week on Sunday afternoons and Mondays – there is no such thing as time off for a Rabbi. It’s literally an on-call 24/7 job – A job that is literally an emotional roller coaster. How do you go from the simcha of a marriage celebration, baby naming, or B’nai Mitzvah on Shabbat to a funeral the following morning?

Even though for 10 years I’ve been coaching my high school girls’ basketball team around the concepts of mental toughness, resilience, and overcoming adversity – I would not have the internal strength or fortitude it takes to be a Rabbi, and the caring, emotional support, and love that it takes to do the job.

The most amazing part of the whole story is that Rabbi Silver has been doing it with our Congregation for 30 years. First, I am in awe of the ability to just be a Rabbi – the preparation it takes and ability to sustain it year after year; secondly, the fact that he’s done it for 30 years;  and third, that he’s been willing to do it all in our Congregation here at Temple Menorah.

I put a Rabbi up on a pedestal. I don’t think of a Rabbi as a normal human being, who experiences all the frustration, roadblocks, and challenges that life throws at you. Challenges that require you to reflect, be introspective, change, adapt, and become stronger. We don’t think about the family tension, personal problems, or health issues our Rabbi might experience. We just expect the Rabbi to show up constantly, be the chief care-giver, and provide emotional counseling on-demand and whenever it’s needed. I sometimes wonder if I’ve given the Rabbi the emotional support he has needed from a partner to be successful and engaged in his role as our Rabbi.

I wonder if sometimes we might have held our Rabbi to an unattainable standard of performance. He’s only human. He makes mistakes and errors in his interactions with congregants, just like you and I do with family, work, and volunteer relationships. Have you ever missed an appointment? Have you ever been late for a meeting? Have you ever made a comment that you wished you could take back? Have you ever had to repair a damaged relationship? Have you ever been depressed or distracted by a family problem? Why do we assume our Rabbi is capable of achieving a standard of communication and interaction that we couldn’t come close to achieving ourselves?

I am in awe of observing Rabbi Silver over the last 25 years, and particularly in the last few years, intimately as his partner and President. We’re about to celebrate 30 years of his service to our congregation – a track record of being in one congregation that far exceeds the tenure of most Rabbis. Let’s be in awe at the Gala. Let’s celebrate the joy that comes from having a Rabbi willing to call our Congregation home for 30 years.  Let’s put Rabbi Silver up on a pedestal during this special evening at the Gala. I look forward to joining you in celebration, recognition, and love for Rabbi Silver.

Todah Rabah and Yasher Koach to Rabbi Silver for the 30 years of his life dedicated to our Congregation. We can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for Temple Menorah over 30 years. We can wish continued strength as you transition to our Rabbi Emeritus.

 

Barry Deutsch
President
Temple Menorah

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