The gift of being a Rabbi was not a conscious decision but rather a tender and loving commandment “This is what you will do!” This “command” came from the unknown, yet illuminated depths of my soul.
My life was not to be in medicine, as I had previously thought, but to be a servant to my people, Israel.
The more I came to know myself, the more compassion,empathy, honor and respect I had for those I was privileged to serve. I chose to be an advocate for choice, acceptance and love; an enemy of rejection, authoritarianism and control.
My rabbinate was nurtured by my spiritual father, Ellis Rivkin who opened up worlds to me too numerous to mention; opening my soul to the supernal and material. His understanding of the dynamics of Jewish and human history as an ever changing balance between preservation, adaptation and mutation grounded in the Principle of Unity in Diversity was and remains the leitmotif of my career.
So, my rabbinate from ordination to now was to welcome the different,encourage diversity and encourage and embrace novelty. My commitment to Jewish tomorrows demanded of me to embrace what was repulsed and rejected for decades by our Jewish community. Thankfully that is changing.
Serving Temple Sholom for 28 years was a gift filled with blessings and love.
But no blessing is greater than my wife, Ann. Her love, nurture and support have sustained me to today. She is my life! Our children, grandchildren, and great grandsons keep our cup of life filled to the brim.
As I confront the ever present reality of mortality and discover other dimensions of my soul now coming to light, I say with joy and gratitude my life has been a Shehecheyanu.
Rabbi Mayer Selekman serves as Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sholom in Broomall, PA. He is celebrating 50 years in the rabbinate.