When I decided to travel to Long Beach, California for the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) conference, I was full of a lot of emotion. I was excited, nervous, inspired, intimidated and a little frightened. This was going to be the first time in my life in which I was going to be in a room full of 500 rabbis...500 colleagues...500 new friends. Looking over the conference program schedule, I began to become even more excited as I was preparing myself for what would be an amazing learning experience.
Here we are, almost finished with Day 2 of the conference...and I find myself inspired, energized and ready to apply what I have learned in my daily life. And, yet, we have 2 more full days left...so much more to soak in, so much more to reflect upon. I do realize that one of the most important aspects of my job/life as a rabbi is the powerful responsibility I have with regards to applying my experiences and knowledge with my congregants. After all, my experiences will be worth so much more to me if I am able to pass on these experiences and life changing events to those I serve.
And, yet, there is a little bit of this grand conference experience that I claim for my own. I need to be able to reflect upon this convention...reflect upon the many conversations and ideas that have been presented to me. I need to be able to think about and decide for myself what I want to teach and share with my community. The theme of our convention is "Rabbis Leading the Shift: Jewish Possibility in a Rapidly Changing World." Therefore, it is incredibly important that I AM able and WILLING to share these ideas, thoughts, etc. with my community. I need to make these decisions, and I know my community trusts me and will allow me to do so.
So, what have I learned or thought about so far? We have spent a lot of time today speaking about the Jewish responsibility to those in our world - and more specifically to those in our beloved United States who are living in situations less equal to others. And, yet, I find myself torn between my desire to work with those in our Atlanta community and those in the larger US community and even further to the Global community. And, thus, these questions make up the bulk of what I am required and what I need to consider and reflect upon.
Where does that leave me (us)? Well, the conversation, the shift has begun. It is up to us as a community to come together and work together. The first step, however, is my reflecting upon and sharing with my community these thoughts and experiences. However, I cannot do these reflections alone. I need members of my community to come together with me to discuss and decipher these thoughts and experiences.
That is where we are - let's continue the shift that has begun!
Kein Yehi Ratzon....may this be God's Will.
Rabbi Erin Boxt