You Shall Pursue

September 4, 2012

Thoughts from Orientation

Filed under: Rabbinical School — marleyweiner @ 2:10 am

So orientation happened you guys! And there were so many things, I can’t even tell you. So I’ll try to outline what exactly I’ve been doing for the last week, and then give you some posts with thoughts about what I’ve been discussing, learning, sharing, etc.

  • Friday August 23- Saturday August 24 was our class Shabbaton. We did team building exercises, shared Shabbat as a community, told our personal journeys as a class, and saw a pretty epic interpretive dance version of Where the Wild Things Are (heckyeahalexweissman).
  • Monday and Tuesday- building orientation. I now know how to get into the library, the kashrut policy of the kitchen, and lots of other very useful things. They introduced us to a bunch of the faculty, and explained the ins and outs of the new movement and curriculum restructurings going on. LOTS to take in all at once.
  • Wednesday and Thursday- Reconstructionism mini-course. MASSIVE crash course on the history, theology, and practical decision making within the Reconstructionist movement. Some of this I already knew from studying Kaplan in college, but the more I study the movement, the more I realize that it is a great fit for how I conceptualize Judaism (maybe because Kaplan was also a sociologist?)
  • Friday- Rabbinic code of ethics. I plan to write an entire post on this. SERIOUSLY INTENSE STUFF.

In between all of this, we’ve had barbecues, hangouts, a bunch of Friday night dinners and Saturday morning lunches, and LOTS of baked goods. And here are my overall impressions of how this time is shaping up:

  • I’d like to reiterate that my classmates are really interesting. Their stories are theirs to tell (and if any of y’all are blogging, we should do a link around) but they come from so many diverse backgrounds, life stories, and approaches to Judaism. I am looking forward to them challenging the hell out of me for the next five years. Also, they are really nice, gracious, funny, genuine human beings. I am intensely lucky to be in a school that selects not only for intellect and aptitude, but for mentchkeit. Which my classmates have in abundance.
  • There is SO MUCH TO LEARN. The more I am here, the more I realize how many gaps I have in my knowledge, understanding, etc. It’s honestly kind of overwhelming. That being said, the culture at RRC is one where people are not afraid to admit the gaps in their knowledge, and where people are genuinely invested in helping you succeed. Which is nice, because otherwise I would be panicking (hint: still kinda panicking).
  • This is the big scary one: in certain ways, my life as a private citizen is sort of over. I’m bound by our Code of Ethics same as any rabbi who has been in the field for decades. I’ve known that this was going to happen, but not I’m really confronted by the practical realities of that. It’s both more and less onerous than I thought it would be.

Most of all, I’m really really excited for this. I don’t know that I’m ready, per se, but I have a feeling that I am no more or less ready than anyone else, and that my new community is totally okay with that.

Classes start Wednesday. Yay!

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