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My Rabbi Disappointed Me

Some of us view our rabbis as spiritual leaders and mentors, even friends; but we also know that rabbis are human beings and, as such, they may sometimes disappoint and frustrate us. These difficult feelings can result from a miscommunication, a difference of opinion, or something far thornier. When it’s the latter (e.g., your rabbi is having an affair with a congregant or has been accused of domestic violence),  you could feel devastated. Enough Jewish women have talked to us about this sort of disappointment that we wanted to explore it. We hope by reading these essays, you feel less alone and better equipped to handle a situation of conflict with your rabbi. We also hope you’ll find Rabbi Elyse Winick’s response essay as insightful as we did. The name “614” comes from the idea that, even though there are 613 commandments (or good deeds) for leading a Jewish life, there is always room for more. Our suggestion for No. 614 this month: Talk honestly with your rabbi when things go awry, even if you’re feeling shy or intimidated.  

Michelle Cove, Editor
mcove@brandeis.edu