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Taking My Torah Off-Road

Off-road_tireI’m taking my Torah off-road and parking it in the wet Georgia clay for a few weeks.

My season of intense travel has ended.

Six weeks ago, when I posted about how fun it was to travel to New Jersey, I was in a state of ignorant bliss. Now I am in a state of grateful exhaustion. I am also in the state of Georgia, where I will continue to teach Torah through an Artist-Rabbi’s Lens for the next four weeks.

Scrolling through the calendar in my bossy phone, I realize that my teaching schedule in Metro Atlanta will be as intense as my travel schedule has been since we began reading the Book of Genesis in the weekly Torah-reading cycle.

My career as an itinerant teacher of Torah did not begin six weeks ago. It had as many beginnings as the Book of Genesis has origin stories. You could say that it began more than 25 years ago, when, as a student in the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary, I left NYC to lead Seminary Shabbat programs in communities as far flung as Stony Brook, NY and Youngstown, OH.  Or you could say that it began more than five years ago, when I left my full-time job as a classroom teacher in a Jewish day school to finish a manuscript that I had begun writing, while also teaching adult learners part-time and reaching my goal of creating 100 pieces of pottery in one year.

“When did this begin?” is not the correct question. The questions of “how” and “why” yield more interesting answers and lead to a richer narrative; one that contains multiple truths, like the Torah that I’ve been teaching on the road for as long as I can remember. More recently, I have learned to embrace this Torah as my own.

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As I put the finishing touches on a text-sheet for tonight’s class and hit the print button, I am grateful for my colleagues in Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders, who have encouraged me to be an Artist-Rabbi and who have hosted me in their communities. With their support, I remain grounded—in my Torah and in my home state of Georgia—at least until our RWB Alumni Retreat in February.

 

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