Recently, a friend passed along a free-verse poem from an old friend of mine entitled “What Rabbis Do (in 9 hours).” Rabbi Creditor’s poem was a glimpse into his daily life as a congregational rabbi without just being a run-through of the events scheduled in his calendar. In his terse phrasing, the intensity of his day came through as well as his passion for his work as a congregational rabbi in California.
One of the techniques that we use in both teaching art and writing is to ask students to try expressing themselves in the style of a particular artist or writer or to try a specific technique that has been shared with them. This approach broadens the tools that the student has for self-expression and brings them closer to developing their own personal style for writing or for art.
With that in mind, I wrote my own version of Rabbi Creditor’s poem that highlighted a day earlier this year:
Explore recruitment strategies with parent ambassadors. Learn about an opportunity to improve a relationship. Consult with staff, draft letter to parent, review my goals, and plan for the future. Discuss admissions with a consultant. Wave to the 2’s class as they leave the school. Lunch with Conservative rabbis and tour the kitchen in support of kashrut. Answer a reporter and a few e-mails. Wander through classrooms and converse in Hebrew. Discuss collaboration and what we should do. Chat with an alumni parent. Share with the staff our updated crisis plans (don’t panic!). Encourage the alumni dialathon. Approve the Tuesday Update and run out the door. Home for a few and then back out again. Schmooze with JFSA board members and promote our school. Breathe, cuddle with the baby, and then e-mail again.
I am reasonably sure that I do not have a future career in poetry awaiting me, but the act of self-expression and, perhaps more importantly, the opportunity to be reflective was incredibly powerful.
Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School