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Behind the Sea

Qian Qian's Diary

What this Rabbi Learned from Not being Re-hired Posté le Jeudi 29 Septembre 2016 à 05h38

It's a familiar story, and I have been through it before, and so have you. In January the Synagogue Personnel Committee told me that they were recommending that the synagogue not renew my contract. I had fully furnished apartment been here six years, and now they said it was time to go. I could have contested their decision by going public to the entire congregation, but I decided that if my leadership didn't want me anymore to be their Rabbi, that I was leaving. And then came the grief...


Why didn't they want me anymore? What had I done, or not done, that displeased them? How had I failed them? Did this mean that I was a "bad" Rabbi? A "bad" person? And even worse, did they finally "find me out" as the imposter I sometimes think I am? It's called "The Imposter Syndrome," feeling that sometimes I have no idea what it is that I am supposed to be doing in my job, but if I could just "pretend" hard enough to be doing the right thing, I could pass for a "good" Rabbi. I had little idea how I had failed them, and myself, but I felt that a little piece of me had died. Here I was, 57 years old, once again looking for a job. Who needed it? Next would come interviews with more congregations, asking me the inevitable--Rabbi how did you screw up? Well, not in so many words, but that's really what they wanted to know. Next would come phone interviews agents voyage and personal fly-up-there-for-the-day interviews, and maybe even weekend interviews. Again??? Maybe the rabbinate wasn't for me anymore, maybe I should look in other directions...


So, I had lost something, a piece of myself, my dignity, my honor, my feeling of job satisfaction. How would I mourn, would I be angry and not talk to people I had known for six years? Would I trash my congregation's leadership and hope that they would be cursed by getting a rabbi who was incompetent and ineffectual? Would I begin to gossip and tell nasty stories about those who fired me? Well that's how I felt, and it was perfectly normal for me to feel that way. I was hurt, I was in pain, and I was looking for a focus to my anger. But I Zung Fu

 also knew that if I left angry, I would then not be completing my relationships with my members and friends, and that I would continue to carry those feelings of anger with me as I began a new rabbinic position. They would remain with me for as long as it took to conclude them. The problem would be, even as I began the new job, I would not be totally cleansed of the old one.

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