Even though this may be my first job shadow, I am proclaiming this the hardest job out of my 60 professionals. I shadowed both Senior Rabbi Friedman-Kohl and Rabbi Cutler from Beth Tzedec Synagogue in the same day. I do not understand how the Rabbis can do his job day in and day out, even with the occasional day off. On the day I job shadowed Rabbi Friedman-Kohl, he arrived at 7:00 AM and left at 10:30 PM, and this was an easy day for him as he was mostly at the synagogue with no scheduled funerals or hospital visits. Oh and by the way he carries a pager and phone on his belt since he is on call 24/7. Although the hours and accessibility may seem excessive (people think only doctors need pagers) the Rabbi is a vital lifeline to the Jewish community.
After morning services we attended a synagogue staff meeting. Along with the other staff, the Rabbi discussed future events and other logistics. This meeting was very technical and logistical like a business meeting, so a Rabbi has to be organized and business savvy, to my surprise. During the staff meeting Rabbi Friedman-Kohl had to leave a few times to setup funerals and other important events.
I also sat in on a meeting of his with a non-member of the synagogue. I did not know the topic of the meeting prior, but I assumed it would be about Jewish customs, marriage, or divorce. Yet, this woman talked with Rabbi Friedman- Kohl about her career and current location in life. He offered her financial advice and tips, gave career advice, and tried to give her a clearer image of her path in life. What really amazed me was his perceptiveness, sensitivity, and his ability to comfort someone. All this sounds like a job in itself, and it is, the Rabbi is a life/career coach among many many other jobs.
Overall, while being a Rabbi is a tremendous honor and an amazing career with happy events such as weddings, it isn’t for me. It is too intense and imposes on your lifestyle too an extent I did not appreciate. I had a great experience job shadowing the Rabbis and I now have a newly found tremendous respect for them; however, this job is a marathon beyond my capabilities.