Back in the day, if a person wanted direction in life, he went to the rabbi. Especially in more traditional communities. Some still do. Sometimes a person goes for direction on ritual life. Sometimes for counseling. sometimes for life direction. My rabbinic training was all for that kind of world and that type of relationship: the rabbi was the scholar, decisor, authority. And the person seeking the rabbi’s help was going to look up to him. Indeed, there is a practice among some traditional Jews that ways that once your rabbi has responded to a question you asked, you are not permitted to ask another rabbi the same question.
That is not the world in which we live today. Today’s Jew doesn’t want the rabbi who needs to be the unquestioned authority. And s/he can find counseling or life advice in hundreds of other (better?) places. And the scholarship that the rabbi owned is more accessible than ever thanks to the publishing and dissemination of information in print and digitally.
Today’s rabbi needs to be the “guide on the side”. And there is a perfect contemporary paradigm for it: Coaching.
We turn to coaches, individually and organizationally, for a new set of eyes with which to assess where we are, and set a course for where we want to go. I’ve used one. Changed the way I looked at my professional life. And the way I saw myself.
Now it’s time for a new endeavor, one that I’m jumping into: Jewish Life Coaching. It’s not about how to deal with Jewish organizations or communities; there are great coaches and consultants in those waters. Rather, it’s about how a person can set his/her own course, and a family’s course, towards creating the Jewish life that will be meaningful to him or her personally. For me, it’s a great opportunity to be the “guide on the side” rabbi that speaks to contemporary Jews, encouraging them to make their own Jewish decisions. For clients, it’s having access to thinking about how to craft a Jewish life, but without the entanglement of synagogue dues or organizational walls. Not that one would have to be a rabbi to be a Jewish life coach, but it’s an extra value that I bring to the work.
Yesterday, I posted – in ads around the country and on social media – an offer: One free Jewish Life Coaching session for anyone. Face to face, Skype, or phone. Take me up on it. If you learn something, take it with my blessings. If you enjoy it enough to want more, we set a course and continue.
Want to take me up on the offer? Email me: TheNotoriousRAV@gmail.com. I’ll be looking forward to it.