I recognize the irony of my last post. The good news is, I’ve jotted down notes every day for BlogElul…they just haven’t made their way into blog posts…yet. Still adjusting to and figuring out a new schedule. The unpacking of boxes is going really well, though!
It was a beautiful early spring day in Greensboro, NC. The weather was just starting to get warm, the sun was shined brightly. It was just one of those days where it was easy to feel good. As I ran around the campus of the American Hebrew Academy that afternoon, getting everything in place for Shabbat (as Dean of Jewish Life, this was part of my Friday routine), I made a mental note that it would be a great day to have services outside. But, as the sun began to set, it got just cool enough that it wouldn’t have been comfortable.
So, as the Reform minyan met in its usual spot, the lounge of the dorm where I was a houseparent, I told the group about my thought process. And I used it as a teachable moment, as I explained that one of the few requirements for a sanctuary, according to tradition, is that it have windows, so that we can always see the world that is outside, appreciating nature even when we are apart from it.
As I said this, one student looked up at me with wide eyes and said in her most earnest voice, “Rabbi Koppel, you
just inspired me!” She continued, “I’ve always wanted to be an architect. But I’ve also wanted a Jewish career. I can
build synagogues. That’s what I want to do with my life. You inspired me.”
Moments like that are the essence of why I love working with kids. They tend to say more things that adults tend to filter. But those moments exist with adults, too. That’s my favorite part about being a rabbi, in fact–enabling someone else to have a wow moment, or an aha moment.
Giving those moments to others…that’s where I find my inspiration.