By Emily Cobert
This summer I had the privilege to work as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Shearith Israel. I was able to observe the rabbis, practice teaching and deliver sermons.
Prior to coming to Shearith, I’d just returned from a year of study in Israel as part of my training to become a rabbi. My year in Israel was a time of personal growth, learning curves and spiritual development. I made new friends and developed strong relationships with my future colleagues.
One Shabbat afternoon, I was enjoying a meal hosted by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. A friend of mine taught Torah and when we finished learning it was time to recite the Birkat Hamazon (Grace after the Meal). I took a moment to observe the space around me. I noticed how people recited the Birkat Hamazon with such ease. I wondered how many of my friends actually know what they are reciting. This question led to my class on the Birkat Hamazon. I wanted to know more about the prayer and what better way to do that then while learning alongside others?
Teaching in a classroom is only a snippet of the work of a pulpit rabbi. This summer I was lucky enough to attend lifecycle events including a bris, a funeral and a wedding. I was able to help support the Shearith community as well as observe how the rabbis officiate at these events. I also got to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work of preparing for these events. While my time at Shearith was short-lived, working as the rabbinic intern was a great starting point for my future development as a rabbi.
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share