Kvell and Tell – March 31 2023 – Rabbi Paul Kipnes Begins his Long-Delayed Sabbatical

Paul Square

On April 1st, Rabbi Paul will begin his long-delayed rabbinical sabbatical. He will return on July 19th. The term “sabbatical,” related to the word Shabbat (time of rest), refers to a leave from normal responsibilities. Its roots are in the Torah when God instructs Moses on Mount Sinai that the Israelites are to work the fields for six years and on the seventh year the land will have a Shabbat, a complete rest. Typically taken by rabbis around the world after each seven years of service to the community, a rabbinical sabbatical allows a rabbi to rest, study and experience new facets of Jewish spirituality and learning. It serves to rejuvenate a rabbi’s internal resources for the dual purposes of providing more knowledge for sermons and synagogue activities and creating an invaluable period of spiritual and professional renewal.

How will our rabbi renew himself? Rabbi Paul will study: Men in Search of God (the theology of how men might experience God today), Tikkun Middot (cultivating character through mindfulness and Jewish virtures, with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality), and Shekels Seminar (next level fundraising for rabbis). He will write and edit, preparing a collection of his poetry to submit for publication. He will expand his personal spiritual practice by rediscovering the beauty of the Holy One with travels to Israel and around the world.

Although we will miss Rabbi Paul, we understand that this sabbatical is essential to both his vibrancy and longevity. To ensure that Rabbi Paul can retreat, reflect and renew, we have developed the following sabbatical coverage plans: Our wise and compassionate Rabbi Julia Weisz will take a leading role in responding to the pastoral needs of our congregants ( rabbijulia@orami.org ). As she does now, she will make hospital visits, arrange for funerals, lead services, and take care of our community’s other spiritual needs. She will be supported by Cantor Doug, Rachel, Andrew, and Sam. Our fabulous office staff – Icela ( icela@orami.org ), Kellie ( kellie@orami.org ), and bookkeeper Lisette ( lisette@orami.org ) – look forward to assisting you. President Craig Steinhauer ( csteinhauer@nwfadvisory.com ) is always ready to listen and help.

Since we want Rabbi Paul to focus on his own renewal and spiritual growth, with his consent we have instructed him that during his sabbatical, he will not be reading his Or Ami email, blog, Facebook, or instagram, nor will he be accepting congregant phone calls. Although you might see him around town, please respectfully do not engage him in synagogue-related issues (of course, do say “Hi Paul” and chat him up). We are proud of how well we take care of our clergy, and we want him refreshed when he returns!

Rabbi Paul returns to our community at Shabbat services on Friday night, July 21 st when he will co-lead services with our new Cantor Kyle Cotler at Cantor Kyle’s first service. Please mark your calendars to join us to welcome him back and celebrate our new clergy team.

Baruch B’vo’echa * Baruch B’tzay-techa
Blessed may our Rabbi be as he goes off to learn * Blessed may he be as he returns to us renewed.