From the pen of a celebrated rabbi, lecturer, and renowned historian flows a refreshingly honest look at the person, challenges, and rewards a congregational rabbi. This behind-the-scenes look into the rabbinate is an enlightening read for everyone – and a “must-have” resource for any interested in synagogue or communal leadership.
A descendant of a prestigious rabbinic line, Rabbi Berel Wein is the consummate orator, extrapolating broad life lessons from everyday events. A masterful storyteller, he vividly depicts the overlapping worlds today’s rabbi must inhabit – as a scholar, a teacher, a diplomat, a role model, a fundraiser, a peacemaker, a pastoral counselor, and as head of his own family.
Drawing from his over fifty years of leadership experience, Rabbi Wein escorts the reader through a twenty-four chapter tour of rabbinic realities, including: the rabbi’s personal life; the role of the rebbetzin; becoming a persuasive teacher; how to protect privacy and confidentiality; the balancing act of contracts, money, and altruism; managing confrontation and mediation; juggling relationships with strangers, members, and friends; decorum in visiting the sick; mentoring the congregation; cooperative efforts with other rabbis; community leadership and outreach; the rigors of fundraising, and much more.
In the final section of the volume, Rabbi Wein treats the reader to a sampling of some of his weekly musings, which reflect the personality and perspective of a seasoned Torah statesman.
As Rabbi Wein aptly summarizes, “The main role of being a rabbi is a never changing one. It involves scholarship, empathy with and compassion for others, a sense of vision and purpose, and ability to instill self-esteem and holiness in others, and a joy in serving in a profession that affords one the opportunity to be able to serve man and G-d in a most important and sensitive position.”