As the New Year approaches, let it be our job to feed our clergy with love and care. Let it be our sacred calling to lift them up as they lift us.
Our clergy carry our communities on their backs. Funerals and weddings the same week. Torah conversations with b’nai mitzvot, private conversations with the newly-divorced and hospital visits on the same day. It can be an emotional whip-saw and an intellectual drain.
The list goes on. Preparing sermon after sermon. Eulogy after eulogy. Counseling couples. Baby namings. Brit milah. Learning new Torah to teach Torah afresh. Representing the Jewish community in interfaith and civic settings. Writing new music. Caring for our Hebrew schools and adult education classes.
It’s real. It’s personal. It’s as steady as the flow of life and death. It can take a toll spiritually, emotionally, professionally. Sometimes, even the most caring and energetic clergy can run out of gas.
At almost every difficult moment of my life, a rabbi has been at my side. At almost every moment of celebration, a rabbi has been there. These are sacred callings.
As the New Year approaches, let it be our job, as congregants, to feed our clergy with love and care. Let it be our sacred calling to lift them up as they lift us. Let us see with fresh and grateful eyes the hard work and the loving hearts that they commit to us.
God of sacred callings,
Bless the work of our clergy,
Who carry us through our lives,
Our joys and our sorrows,
In holy service,
Our broken hearts,
Our festive moments,
And our deepest yearnings.
May their dedication serve as shining lamp of love.
May the works of their hands bring merit in heaven.
Bless them with health and long life.
Guard them from taking our traumas into themselves.
Protect them from loneliness and isolation,
Shielding them from the spiritual and emotional pain
That can come with a life of service.
May they have find peace and comfort in their own moments of need.
Blessed are You,
God of All,
Who, with love, provides the world
Dedicated leaders of faith.
Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, and teacher. His teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud UK and synagogues throughout the U.S. Before making aliyah to Israel in 2012, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, IL, and a regular participant in worship at B'nai Jeshoshua Beth Elohim, Deerfield, IL. He’s the author of Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. His writing also appears in several CCAR Press books, including the newly published anthology of his work, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.
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