Well, after 42 years, it seems to be time to move into the next chapter.
On June 2nd, I observed the 42d anniversary of my Ordination from the Hebrew Union College.
We were so young and idealistic. A class of rabbinic students — historic in the sense that the first female rabbi was a member of our class — we were shaped by the politics and idealism of the 1960s. We were sure that we would be changing the world within a decade.
Our rabbinate saw the rise of the feminist movement, the GLBT explosion and the change in attitude regarding accepting inter-faith marriages. It has seen the growth of spirituality and the gradual changes in synagogue affiliation and the role of the rabbi.
In about three weeks, it will be time to transition to the next chapter.
No retirement (a horrible word) for me, and so many of my colleagues of our age. Rather, a transition to do a series of things that we wish to do, on our schedule.
Jewish Sacred Aging and the accompanying work, plus a lot of teaching, consulting and speaking, will keep me very busy. Yet, to be very honest, it is very hard to conceive that I have been “doing this” for 42 years. I was speaking with a classmate the other day and we were reflecting on our anniversary and he turned to me and snapped his fingers, as if to say, it went “like that”.
It is quite easy to sit and just remember what was. The challenge in all of this, I am finding, is to keep learning from what was and be challenged by what will be. To contemplate a change in routine and identity is sobering.
I have decided to call this my “three-quarter life” crises. There will be no sports cars, however, rather, I hope there will be a greater appreciation of time and family and the fact that there are wonderful opportunities that will now be available.
Transitions are interesting. All of a sudden “it” is here. Where did the time go? And what new challenges lie ahead?
Rabbi Richard F Address.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.