To know what being a rabbi is all about you need to speak with one. JobMonkey interviewed Rabbi Chaim Yosef Ackerman, Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Sholom, Columbus, Ohio. Find out he became a rabbi, and why he chose his career.
Q: What special training or education was required to obtain your job?
A: I studied for twelve years at the Rabbinical Seminary of America, and then held a part-time position for close to two years and a full-time assistant rabbi position for three years prior to coming to Columbus. The congregation here did require previous pulpit experience.
Q: What unique characteristics or qualities should a person have to do this job?
A: The ability to experience problems and celebrations together with people, giving of yourself to be there with them in mind and in emotion. I feel that most importantly, one must firmly believe in the potential of every person to achieve greatness, or we as their spiritual guides will fail them.
Q. What are the special challenges you encounter on your job?
A: I think that my job welcomes people's constructive criticism, mostly due to the fact that I am somewhat of a servant to the entire congregation. The ability to hear people's input is particularly important when they ultimately want for us, as a unit, to succeed.
Q: Why is your job important to your community?
A: I represent the religiosity and views of the Orthodox Jewish community. Often that requires that I be an ambassador to the community at large, and I want to strive to adequately portray and represent this constituency in a fashion that will make them proud.
Q: What do you like the most about your job?
A: Knowing that God has given me the privilege and opportunity to work with and help wonderful people makes me feel that I have a terrific job.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: When adults and children alike feel happy to see me, and feel that I am an important part of their lives.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing this career?
A: Stay the course, and do not settle for anything less than a thorough education and training experience. You will then have the tools to best serve your community and yourself!