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Any Plans for the Summer?

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:00am -- Rabbi Jennifer Jaech

This is the time of the year when we might ask each other:  do you have any plans for the summer?  For many, the summer provides a welcome break from the routine of school and work.  For me, summer provides an opportunity to go back to school, and that’s exactly what I’m doing this year.

I consider myself fortunate to work for a congregation that recognizes how important it is for its clergy to engage in professional development.   It is impossible to stay fresh and effective as a teacher and a spiritual leader without regular opportunities to learn and reflect.   Summer is an ideal season for such opportunities because there are no b’nai mitzvah ceremonies, the Center for Jewish Learning is on break, and fewer people seek pastoral support.

This summer I will spend some time at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.   Kenyon is a liberal arts institution reputed to have a strong writing program.   Earlier this year, a rabbinical colleague who teaches in Kenyon’s summer institutes publicized the opportunity to attend a spiritual writing workshop designed to benefit clergy.  One aim of this program is to teach participants how to reach people outside of the walls of religious institutions:  spiritual seekers who are not affiliated with a church, synagogue or mosque.

I am excited to learn from a faculty well-known for effective spiritual writing and from my colleagues who will learn with me.  As a bonus, I will be able to re-live some of the joys of college life, including dorm living and cafeteria dining.  (Given the crowd, I don’t expect too many beer keg parties.)  I look forward to seeing many of you at the end of summer, and I hope you will agree that my professional development time was well-spent.


Submitted by Ann Palm Reibel (not verified) on
Dearest Rabbi Jaech, I am so pleased to learn that You will be attending a Spiritual Workshop for Writers at Kenyon College this summer. I have been on my own search for connectedness and wholeness via Laura Wexler's Journal Writing Group which You sponsored with her at TINW and more recently I also attend 2 ecumenical groups exploring Spirituality with Fr. Nelson Couto on Wednesday evenings and the last Saturday of every month, both held at 7:00pm at HNM Church School premises in Croton. We are to love and forgive ourselves and all others "ruthlessly" and to understand that God is "an inside job" as this force we call God is in us and of us and that we are of God and that the God we are of is "love". When someone seems to be acting mean towards us it is not about us at all, but these actions are about the other person who is having interpersonal difficulties. It is all about being a part of a great "Oneness". In the beginning of our class he had us listen to the "Our Father" prayer being recited in Arramaic (sp?) and I thought of your husband, David Sperling, the Biblical scholar who knows how to speak that ancient language. He would have been able to tell us if how they were chanting it was the real way Jesus would have been saying it or not. I guess I don't need to be so literal about it. People have been searching ever since they had the luxury to stop and ponder such things and not simply just survive, to wish to live their lives more mindfully. For example, I would like to become more viscerally attune to my life's precious moments and blessings while experiencing them in relation to myself and others, instead of sometimes being half asleep or not fully present in the present. With love, Ann PS Thank you so much for making time within your busy schedule to call my Bobby up and wish him well. and to call him again to see how he is progressing!!! You connected so powerfully well with him yesterday that I am able to say that he is healing even better since Your Healing Call to him!! Thank You for Ministering to Bob, dearest Rabbi Jaech! You are truly in the Right Profession for Your Gifts! You have a been given the Gift to Empower and Help People who have been drawn to You and vice versa. With Love and Admiration and Thanksgiving for YOU, Ann and Bob Reibel xoxo


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