Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Keeping the Faith" - The Movie

Hi all...

You likely have read my beloved bride's post by the same title.  If you have not, I suggest that you do so before reading this one.  It is at http://rabbijengorman.blogspot.ca/.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie - mostly.  There is the scene in which Ben Stiller's character brings in a gospel choir to sing the end of the service.  That was great.  But right before they enter, he runs through a list of things that they have tried to spice up the service.  Some have been good, others, "I think we can all agree that was a backwards step."  Your rabbis, and other assorted, sordid clergy, are constantly thinking about some way to keep you in the pews.

As well, I can appreciate watching a young rabbi and a young priest become slightly more seasoned.  I have been there.  I should write a book entitled "Mistakes I've Made."  Just to be on the safe side though, I will wait until after I renew my contract.  Luckily for me, it is a thin book...okay - maybe not.

The dangers of dating...no rabbi should ever go to a congregation single.  It is a minefield.  I am happy that I came to my professional life already married.  What happens when the president does not understand why the rabbi has no desire to date his child?  What happens when the rabbi breaks up with the president's child?  The movie dealt well with some of the minefield issues.

My issues are two.  the first is that the rabbi in the movie is willing to consider marrying out of the faith.  That is a challenge for the Jewish community to see its leadership do that.  That one resolves itself nicely, but I am still not entirely happy with the rabbi's decision.

My other issue is the rabbi's sermon towards the end of the movie.  Ben Stiller apologies to his congregation for not telling them what he was doing.  With due respect, he did not have to.  We clergy walk a very fine line.  We realize that we live in a fishbowl, and most of us are appropriately proud that there is nothing in that fishbowl to hide.  On the other hand, we are also entitled to a smidgen of privacy.  While we all accept the fishbowl, we do not have to check in with the board for permission to go out to dinner with someone.  A more appropriate sermon topic might have been talking about the rabbi on such a personal matter, although I have no clue how to write that without alienating the congregation.  The rabbi's private life is certainly not one of those areas in which the synagogue parking lot fulfills its often vital yet understated role.

Have a good evening.


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