Getting In To See The Rav

Shuli* emails: I miss the days when a Shull’s Rav was everyone’s Rabbi. You could drop by to see if he is not busy..or wait a little, to have a heart to heart talk.
That was a personal relationship with my Rabbi. He knew me. There was
no prIce tag attached to my name. I was a member of his flock and just that.

Since then, lot’s of water went through the Nile…and you have to be on the
A list to have your Rabbi speak to you:
Weiss’s tenure: It required you to be well off or a confused female (prefer both)
Weil’s: Very strict guidelines: Rich only. Notice: No Rabbi In front of his name…considered himself CEO.

By the way, this Is not symptomatic only to Beth Jacob. Same disease festers in many Conservative and Reform Synagogues.

“Money makes the world go around the world go around…” and makes another tear drop from Ribbon Shell Olam’s eye.

Luke says: I’ve been in Los Angeles since 1994 and I’ve always found all of Beth Jacob’s rabbis easy to talk to. I’ve never tried to make an appointment to see one. My friends have found Rabbi Kalman Topp particularly accessible. Rabbi Weil was a social person but he kept a strict schedule and he was not pastoral.

Rabbi Kanefsky at Bnai David has long been about as accessible as a rabbi can be (not just to his congregants). Perhaps the strain of that contributed to his heart attack a few years back.

Rabbi Muskin at YICC has always been totally dedicated to all of his congregants and has made many a sick call. He’s not an outreach rabbi.

Aish Hatorah rabbis are outreach rabbis. They’re usually as accessible as humanly possible.

I find Chabad rabbis tend to be accessible. Like Aish rabbis, they’re usually outreach rabbis.They’re busy but they’ll usually make time for you if you need it.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe used to set aside three nights a week to meet privately with people but after his heart attack (circa 1978), he had to do away with this schedule.

Overall, the top rabbis are much more difficult to see these days then at any other time in Jewish history. I think life has become more bureaucratic. The big rabbis have staff now who protect them from the common people. It did not use to be that way. The simple people could get in to see the gadolim. Anybody could call up Reb Moshe Feinstein and get a halachic ruling.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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