Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finally the job I've been waiting for

Adventist Health Care/ Shady Grove called on Friday and barring any surprises I will begin my "Continuing Pastoral Education" first unit(s) there in November. While I have visited hospitals and nursing homes for three decades, I've never had supervision on visits and pastoral reflection on the soul-to-soul experiences of the sacred encounters. I am hoping that it will serve as a stepping stone to a decade long career in different forms of chaplaincy. This will empower my goal of working a 30-40 hour week, a nice half-time position from my old "pulpit rabbinate" work schedule.

So while I will be a little short of incoming income for the next 6-8 months, I'm happy with what's in place. Fortunately I've saved up and hopefully will add a little other part-time work. As of now:
25-30 hours a week at Adventist Health Care visiting patients in different hospitals and learning about chaplaincy.

4 hours of teaching a week at Or Chadash in Damascus. Today was our first day and ambivalently there are a lot of nice families and wonderful kids formerly from Kehilat Shalom learning there. Amazingly there are two seventh graders who I named 11+ years ago in one of my classes.

I am going to be filling in with worship at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, helping out with leading services as one of the many people who serve that role in daily, holiday and Shabbat Services there.

I've helped a little for High Holidays with Rabbi Bob Saks at Am Yisrael in Silver Spring.

I miss the Sanctuary (and many people) at Kehilat Shalom... it's a wondrous worship space and community. But I'm getting used to davening frequently on Friday Nights at Or Chadash to learn their melodies for teaching there and praying most Saturday Morning at Shaare Torah. It's like Kehilat Shalom in the "old days" with zillions of kids running around and keeping everyone young and mishuga.

To all Gmar Hatima Tova... may we be sealed in the Book of Life for a good 5773.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's September and High Holidays are around the corner

It's been a wonderful summer. I've relaxed and recuperated. I've also been stressed and in limbo.
I've been waiting all summer for Adventist Health Care to hire a Continuing Pastoral Education Supervisor to do the training I've never had time to receive to be a certified chaplain. I'm still waiting. That's why I haven't posted in a long while ... I wanted to share good news.
Over the last two weeks, I've finally, after having a six-week "Sabbatical" become bored. I want to work. I want what I do to be meaningful every day.
What has been meaningful in August has been hospice visits. It's been an honor and incredibly beautiful spending time with the process of love, life and death. It's something I could see doing when I've completed my chaplaincy certification. It is often a time when people's thoughts and feelings are so open, so holy .... that every moment is precious.
But in the last 48 hours I've accomplished some partial good news.
I've made arrangements to help during the High Holidays for a couple of services at Am Yisrael in Silver Spring. I wanted to be working during the "Days of Awe." Although I'm not doing a lot, it will be nice to do a little preaching and helping with sacred worship. I'll also be doing a very short Dvar Torah at Shaare Torah where Diane and I have joined as members. I've really enjoyed Shabbat mornings there with the warmth of the community and the myriad kids running around during service and kiddush.
Also, I've agreed to teach Religious School at Or Chadash in Clarksburg/Damascus on Sundays and Tuesday Nights. If Shady Grove comes through for the 25-30 hours a week and I have the four hours of classes at OC, I'll be in the ballpark of the 40 hour week I want to work.
Hopefully  more good news soon... either way, wishing everyone a meaningful period of preparation for the High Holidays and a Shana tova.