Orthodox rabbinic responsibilities: Implications for rabbinic training
Gewirtz, Gershon C.
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This study determined the professional responsibilities that Orthodox rabbis view as important for the Orthodox pulpit rabbi and that require professional training in order to be performed. Two hundred thirty-five rabbis, members of the Rabbinical Council of America, 45% of those surveyed, and twenty-six members of the 1992 graduating class of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the entire class, returned completed questionnaires. Data were analyzed to determine the responsibilities that are at least slightly important and for which training is at least slightly important.;Categories of rabbinic responsibility included: (a) Pastoral counseling, (b) Teaching, (c) Homiletics, (d) Halakha, (e) Administrative, (f) Social action, (g) Youth and outreach.;Differences in responses among five decades of rabbis and between each of the rabbinic decades and the graduating rabbinic students were analyzed. When the analysis yielded statistically significant differences between the mean of the students and the mean of a given decade of rabbis in either the question of responsibility or the question of the need for training, an analysis of variance was done based upon demographic variables. Variables were: (a) do all the members of your current congregation observe Orthodox Jewish practice in their personal lives? (b) if your answer is no, what percentage of your current congregation do observe Orthodox Jewish practice in their personal lives? Conclusions from this study suggest that rabbis and students agree that six pastoral responsibilities, four teaching responsibilities, four homiletics responsibilities, six Halakha responsibilities, one administrative responsibility, and one youth and out-reach responsibility are important and require training. No social action responsibility meets these criteria.