Surprised to learn that I do not have a congregation, people often ask me if I’m a “practicing rabbi.” Recently, the question was formulated more broadly: “What do you do?”
I paused for a moment, mostly to ensure that I didn’t answer flippantly: “I drink too much coffee and eat a lot of Nutella.”
Sometimes it’s a challenge to define my “Independent Rabbinate” in just a few sentences. I probably ought to prepare an elevator speech.
What do I do?
I write. I’m working on the manuscript of my second book. I teach Torah and facilitate art workshops. I work primarily with adults, but sometimes with elementary and middle school students. I teach in community centers, synagogues, churches, coffee shops and office buildings. Sometimes I travel great distances to teach; sometimes I do so without ever leaving Metro Atlanta.
As I thought about how to answer this question, I envisioned the central place where I teach, the one place other than my home where I spend the most time working. That’s when I realized that campers arrive in six weeks.
In six weeks, I’ll celebrate my tenth summer at Ramah Darom. In the fall, I’ll direct the Jewish Women’s Getaway for a second time.
What do I do? Many things.
What do I love? Being at camp.
Perhaps my favorite thing about working at Ramah Darom during the summer is my commute. I walk across the camp—from my room in the Marcus Retreat Center to the ceramics studio in the Art Building—several times a day. No remembering where I parked the car; no forgetting where I left my car keys. At the end of a busy and, usually, messy day, my friend Deana and I put a few extra miles on our sneakers after dinner.
I’d better start a shopping list. I’m going to need coffee and Nutella, and more socks.