What kind of rabbis turn for help with their sermons to Hollywood screenwriters? Rabbis who are empty inside. If you believe in what you are doing and are burning with passion to transmit it, then you won’t turn for help with your message to people who write sitcoms.
I bet you that very few traditional rabbis do any such thing because they are the most likely rabbis to believe in God and in their work.
Disembodied eloquence doesn’t do much. Your words only have as much power as you do. If you’re a compelling personality, then you will likely be a compelling speaker.
I’ve known a ton of rabbis and overall the Reform and the Reconstructionist ones are the least impressive and the Orthodox (and the most learned Conservative ones) are the most impressive.
The traditional rabbi knows the texts of the Jewish tradition and comes from a place of authenticity. The liberal ones don’t.
Comedy writer Janet Leahy was working on an episode of “The Simpsons” a couple of years ago, when her rabbi asked her for three jokes to punch up his Rosh Hashanah sermon.
With this year’s High Holy Days looming, Leahy sat on the sun-drenched terrace of the Stephen S. Wise Temple and listened attentively to two other rabbis pitching ideas for their biggest sermons of the year.