1st Edition

The Rabbi As Symbolic Exemplar By the Power Vested in Me

By Jack H Bloom Copyright 2002
    356 Pages
    by Routledge

    356 Pages
    by Routledge

    The solution to the growing problem of stress and burnout in rabbis!

    Written by a practicing clinical psychologist who spent 10 years as a congregational rabbi, The Rabbi As Symbolic Exemplar: By the Power Vested in Me presents positive solutions to the inevitable negative effects of symbolic exemplarhood, coaching rabbis through dilemmas of the “inner soul.” Being a rabbi means serving as a Symbolic Exemplar of the best that is in humankind, being experienced and treated and expected to act as a stand-in for God, and a walking, talking symbol of all that Jewish tradition represents. The burden of being a symbolic exemplar of God is extraordinary, and the struggle to live up to its “requirements” can be one of loneliness, frustration, and despair, alienating rabbis who tire of living in a glass house.

    The Rabbi As Symbolic Exemplar examines how the symbolic role that serves as the source of the rabbi’s authority and power can lead to disillusionment and disenchantment. Author Jack H Bloom draws on his own experience as a rabbi who watched the successful career he enjoyed turn into one he desperately wanted to forsake and how he was inspired to become an “athletic coach” for rabbis. This unique book details how symbolic exemplarhood is created, what its downside is, what power it offers, how it can be used effectively, how rabbis can deal with their inner lives, and what can be done to help rabbis stay “human” while maintaining their leadership.

    The Rabbi As Symbolic Exemplar is equally effective as a complete text or as a source of stand-alone chapters on specific topics, including:

    • special tensions of being a rabbi
    • effects of symbolic exemplarhood on the rabbi’s family
    • educating rabbis on their power
    • training suggestions
    • curing and healing
    • and The Ten Commandments for rabbis

    The Rabbi As Symbolic Exemplar is essential reading for rabbis, rabbinical students, congregants, Christian clergy, seminarians and anyone interested in what it is to be a clergy person and how they can support the work clergy do. The book educates both clergy and laity on the humanity of clergy.

    Visit the author’s website at http://jackhbloom.com

    • Foreword
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
    • 1. An Athletic Coach for Rabbis: The Path I Have Come?!
    • 2. Psychotherapy and Judaism Today: The Interface
    • 3. Who Become Clergy?
    • 4. The Special Tensions of Being “The Rabbi”
    • 5. Symbolic Exemplarhood and the Rabbi's Family
    • 6. The Inner Life of the Rabbi or Who's at Home Anyway? And What's All the Commotion About?
    • 7. The Silenced Modim—Modim d'Rabanan: Tending Our Wounded Selves
    • 8. By the Power Vested in Me: What Rabbis Need to Know and Do
    • 9. The Seasons of the Rabbi: Dilemmas and Suggestions for Training
    • 10. Witnessing, Naming, and Blessing
    • 11. Curing and Healing
    • 12. The Eulogy As a Tool in Grief Work
    • 13. Ten Commandments for Rabbis
    • 14. Journey to Understanding
    • 15. A Refusenik Odyssey
    • Appendix
    • Index
    • Reference Notes Included


    Jack H Bloom