One of the highlights of my year is when I get togethere with some Rabbi friends from all over the country for our annual young Rabbis conference. It started out with just six of us in 2003 when I was working as an assistant Rabbi in Los Angeles. Rabbis came from Berkley, Oakland, Sacremento, Vancouver, and Edmonton. Since everyone was from the West Coast we called it West Coast Rav.
Today, our small group has grown to include over forty young Rabbis from across North America (and one from Australia). Every year we get together in another Rabbis community for three days following the high holidays - when Rabbis can really use a vacation.
Since the frst year the conference has been in Vancouver, Oakland, Edmonton, Omaha, Charleston, Toronto, Skokie, and now in Kansas City. It is great for us to see our friends in their natural habitats, as well as an opportunity for the Rabbi to bring some great programming to the community. When it was in Omaha I believe the community benefitted greatly.
This year there are just shy of 30 Rabbis here. We also have the privilege of elarning with Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt and Rabbi Steven Weil. They were the senior Rabbis who really started the group. THey have both made a great effort to be a mentoring resource to young Rabbis throughout the world. I personally consider both Rabbis to have been incredoble resources to me in my short career so far.
The conference is mostly informal. We get to discuss all kinds of topics from synagogue poilcies to how to handle personal stresses of the Rabbinate to shring ideas on how we can improve in our ndividual roles. the group has really gelled over the year. the members of the gorup have become among my closest friends and the conerence is a place where we can all feel safe and be open because we are in the company of others who understand the specific issues that affect us as Rabbis.
The conference has just begone and so far we have juts been hanging out with one another. We are going into the first session right now. I know this is going to be a great time for all of us!