What is a Rabbi?

by Congregant Liz Gellis

“The traditional rabbinate harks back to ancient practice, but is an evolving institution.”(MyJewishLearning.com) The JCV and Cantor Marci have together begun their own evolution.

By the time you read this entry of The Cantor Chronicles, Cantor Marci will have been a rabbinical student for a month and will have jointly led all High Holy Days Services with Rabbi Jennifer. The cantor will also have performed her clergy duties including pastoral care, the monthly Kol Isha Women’s group, Bar Mitzvah preparation, children’s education programming, and active participation in a multitude of board and committee meetings, just to list some of her responsibilities. JCV members can also look forward to receiving a birthday phone call from the cantor…many have already enjoyed a warmly delivered birthday greeting. Is this what makes a rabbi?

The word rabbi translates from Hebrew to “my teacher”… a teacher of the religious aspects of Judaism, the tenets of the Torah; a rabbi learns to adjudicate Jewish legal disputes via the panel known as the Beit Din, and be present at conversions. However, the role of today’s rabbi has evolved since Moses, our first rabbi known as Moshe Rabbeinu.

Contemporary rabbis are involved in social justice activism, education, Jewish outreach and chaplaincy, the last area becoming increasingly important with an older congregation like the JCV. Accordingly, Cantor Marci has focused on the JCV Caring Committee that will help with not only phone calls, visits, and meals, but also support after the death of a loved one. If you are interested in learning about this vital work, please contact the cantor at cantor@thejcv.org.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to me at cantorchronicles@thejcv.org.

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