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Union recognizes rabbinical training club

By Emily Suda

Section: News

October 21, 2005

The Rabbis in Training club (RabbIT) was recently recognized by the Student Union. Samantha Saltzman 06 began the club in order to unite those interested in rabbinical careers and to serve as a place for those students to learn more about different aspects of being a rabbi and to have discussions.

Saltzman decided to begin RabbIT whilst speaking with Rabbi Lehmann about wanting to be a Rabbi and having a lot of questions [but] not feeling there was anywhere [to] go to other than those who already were rabbis on campus. Saltzman reported that Rabbi Lehmann then mentioned that there are a lot of people on this campus who probably felt the same way and it would be nice to get them together. I think he meant in a social sense and I took the idea and ran with it.

Saltzman added the RabbIT club is non-denominational, which is difficult because someone who wants to be an Orthodox rabbi and someone who wants to be a Reform rabbi need to know very different things about what that entails. However, she also remarked that she also think[s] [whats] really nice [about being] a non-denominational group that it [results in] amazing networking that doesnt really exist right now in the Jewish community.

[I could be] sitting next to someone who wants to be a Reform rabbi, a Conservative rabbi, or a Reconstructionist rabbi and [the fact that] all of us [together] can have names and information and people to talk to in different aspects of Judaism is a very powerful thing in a community that tends to be very splintered.

In regards to events RabbIT will be planning, Saltzman reported that now Im contacting Rabbi Lehmann, Peretz from Chabad as well as others who are influential in rabbinical settings on campus and asked if they could come speak. Saltzman added that there are just amazing resources on this campus, but theres really right now no way to get together as a group.

In addition to speakers, RabbIT is also planning on roundtable discussions regarding what changes from me right now versus me ordained as a rabbi, how do I change as a person among other topics.

I also spoke with the Hiatt Career Center because they have resources available as far as how to apply to rabbinical school, what you need as far as pre-requisites. We are going along the vein of the pre-med, pre-dentistry and pre-law societies as a prevocational group, said Saltzman.

I wanted a way for people on campus to be exposed to those different venues of being a rabbi Being a rabbi is a very broad concept You can apply to rabbinical school and not know if you want to work with kids or the elderly or have a pulpit and a way for people to figure out what [aspect of being a rabbi] they want to go into.

Saltzman stated that shed like [RabbIT] to be a place where people can learn more about the [rabbinical] profession. Right now the definition of being a rabbi is changing. It used to be that if you wanted to be a rabbi you wanted a congregation;

now there are rabbis who run summer camps, there are rabbis who run youth groups, there are rabbis who do theatre programs, who work in hospitals, who are political. Rabbis today work in all different walks of life.

Saltzman said that she hopes RabbIT will be working with other clubs on campus;

for example, Trisk is bringing a rabbi to come speak about same sex marriages and is inviting RabbIT to participate and listen to the discussion. Also, when we bring people to campus, I plan to send it out to the Hillel list-serve and invite all the different groups to come attend.

Although there has only been one meeting so far, due to Jewish Holidays and Halloween the next meeting will be held November 7th at 9 p.m. (location TBA). Saltzman said that there is no time commitment involved. [One can simply attend meetings] when you want, and added, Id like to have a really big membership and right now Im just trying to get it started.

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