Newspaper Page Text
Friday, July 4; 1919.
THE JEW'SH MONITOR 4 Chips From a Rabbinical Workshop By RABBI DA VIP ROSEN BA UM, Austin, Texa m. The Need of Departmentalizing the ' Rabbinical Profession. This is the age of specialization. The division of labor is a nestablished fact in our social and economic life.. The day when one would engage in more than one thing has long since been relegated to the past This is so self evident as to need no more than a brief statement of fact. On every hand we notice it as a sign of the time, and he who runs may read. ' The very progress of civilization is largely dependent upon this social manifestation of the day. It is appar rent that if one was to do only one thing, he could learn to do it with greater skill than if he were to busy himself in a variety of ways. The ad vancement of the age is thus secured by each one laboring in a limited field and developing that experience which only effort in a small sphere readily assures. This social arrangement has even taken hold of the scientific disciplines. For one to attempt to master the sciences would be absurd. Today it is even foolhardy for one to essay forth as an authority on any one entire science. Thus, for instance, the chem ist would select a special comer of his discipline and try to become effi cient in it, say, in organic, inorganic, or metallurgical chemistry. Similarly, the sociologist would find his whole field too large for intensive study, and therefore specializes in only one branch of his subject, like rural so ciology, social psychology, or social forces. It is equally true in the case of economics. The entire subject is too vast for any one mind to master. Hence one studies intensively that part of economics dealing with taxa tion, another with the labor problem, And a third with the economics of ag riculture, and so on; for specialization 1s the order of the day. And we see the specializing tenden cy also in the case of the recognized professions. It is becoming more and more evident that even there the di vision of labor is beneficial. The law yer, for instance, cannot lay claim to the mastery of more than one branch of the law. He specializes in one de partment of his profession and prac tices as the commercial lawyer, or the corporation, or the criminal lawyer. And one needing legal advice guides himself accordingly. He consults that lawyer whose specialty covers the point in question. And one needing counsel in constitutional or interna tional law, seeks the advice of still other jurists who made those branches of the law their special vocation. This is also true of the medical pro fession. The general practitioner in medicine is gradually becoming a thing of the past Medical science is too diversified to be mastered by any one man. Therefore physicians ordin arily specialize, one in surgery, anoth er in ear, eye, nose and throat diseas es, and still another in children's dis eases, and so on. For the more seriotn cases of sickness we invariably con sult the specialist. This is now a recog nised fact. There is no need of piling up Ossa on Pelion by multiplying examples to prove the axiomatic truth that with the enlargement of .the field of science the enrichment of our social tradition, and the broadening scope of the va- v riety of vocations, the tendency to specialize is growing apace. No need to belabor the fact that the division of labor is to go on in all fields of en-, deavor; for only then may we expect expertness, efficiency and competent service. Now, why should it not follow sim ilarly in course of time in the case of the rabbinical office? We have seen in a former essay that the rabbinical profession calls for a variety of tal ents. The Jewish minister and it probably applies with equal force to the ministers of other faiths is ex pected to be all things in one. We want the rabbi to be the experienced and well-informed preacher in the pulpit; the trained religious pedagog in the management of the Sabbath School; the scholar with diversified intellectual tastes and at home in a wide range of Jewish and general scholarship; the pastor with a keen sense of human nature to enter at all times into the hearts of his congre gants; the social worker trained in sociological and economic studies with readiness to take hold of the Jewish philanthropic and social agencies and of the community at large; and the spokesman with the knack of leader ship to represent his congregation adequately both before the Jewish and the general public in all matters af fecting the well-being of the city, state and nation. Is not there sufficient room for diversification and speciali zation? How may we reasonably ex pect one man to minister with satis faction in such a variety of ways? Must we not rather apply here also the principle of the division of labor in order to make our efficiency in the life of the Jewish community? The layman rarely realizes the man ifold exacting duties of the minis ter. Even the intelligent layman sym pathetically inclined to the rabbi, hardly appreciates his difficulties and the many and varied tasks imposed upon him. One frequently labors un der the impression that the rabbi has little to do. This is doubtless due to our non-religious or irreligious age with the scant interest ordinarily shown the synagogue and its minis tration. But the fact remains that weighty problems confront the rabbi in his labors as preacher, teacher, scholar, pastor, social worker and spokesman .Every one of these phases of his activity, to mention no others, calls for special aptitudo, adaptation and expertness. It seems therefore logical, and with out indulging too much in prophecy that the time is not far off when we may expect specialization in the min istry in general and in the rabbini cal profession in particular. What we have gradually learned to take as a matter of course in the sciences, in law and in medicine, we shall learn to apply to the ministration of relig ion. The all around rabbi trying to cover all the activities connected with a congregation will, in course of time, become a thing of the past, not unlike the general practitioner in medicine, and the non-specialist lawyer. Accordingly, students preparing for the rabbinate will, after finishing an academic course and familarizing themselves in a general way with the life, literature and thought of the Jewish people as a preliminary train ing for their profession, begin special studies for the specialized branches of the Jewish ministry. At least three kinds of specialist rabbis may be fore seen: the preacher, the religious edu cator, and the pastor; and the three together will minister to the compre hensive life of the synagog.- The preacher rabbi who will' also act as the spokesman and representa tive of the congregation, will culti vate scholarship, especially Jewish scholarship, and try to popularize it in the form of sermons and addresses from the pulpit; and as the spokes man of the congregation, he will pre sent the message of Judaism to his own people and to the community at large. He will be the expounder of our religion appealing to the heart of Israel, and trying to keep the fires of faith to burn brightly in the Jew ish homes. Even if productive schol arship will not be his forte, because that necessitates constant study and over-specialization in the technical sense, he will at least be able to main tain the scholarly air, speaking with authoritatitiveness and making his public utterances weighty and worth while. For he will be free from the time-consuming labors of the pastor and social service rabbi. He will, fur authoritativeness and making hia community on all public occasions, speaking in its behalf, and defending it, when necessary, as its learned spokesman. The religious educator will be in charge of all the educational agen cies of the congregation. He will be schooled in pedagogy, and especially in religious pedagogy ,as applied to the teaching of Judaism to the chil dren. He will be the educator par ex cellence. To him will be turned over the administration and direction of the Sunday school, as well as the spe cial classes for the young, and the study circles and the Bible classes for the adult. Moreover as the scientific student of education, he will be thor oughly trained in psychology, and doubtless somewhat at home in aes thetics. Therefore, we may look to him also for direction and supervision of the synagog music. And the pastor rabbi, in addition to the pastoral duties, will have charge of the philanthropic and social agen cies of the community, acting the part of social worker. He will be specially trained in sociological literature and the social theories of the day. As the pastor, the almoner, and the commun al worker of the congregation, he will minister not only to specifically Jew ish needs, but, in co-operation with others, to the needs of the commun ity at large. That we are not indulging in day dreams may be seen from certain rab binical tendencies, indicating clearly that specialization in the Jewish min istry is already in the air, without be ing recognized as yet as a part of our social tradition. In fact there are dif ferent types of rabbis already each one emphasizing .a certain phase of rab binical activity, and more or less ne glecting the others, or forced to do so because of the many-sidedness of the profession. Accordingly, we have rab bis who are first of all preachers, oth ers who are but splendid pastors, oth ers again largely religious teachers, and still others primarily scholars. Furthermore, in the large metropoll. tan congregations where the work for 1 rabbi is apparently too burdensome and the sevices of an assistant are se cured, the latter usually takes hold of some branch of synagog activity, like the religious education, and de votes his special effort to it Thus we see the beginnings of specialization in the Jewish ministry. Therefore, the larges metropolitan congregation, desiring its organiza tion to Build up Jewish life in its en tirety, and fostering all phases of Jewish activity in the community, will have to engage the services of every one of the three rabbinical officials. In this way only will the religious and spiritual needs' of a congregation be adequatley served. Just as, for in stance, a city needs several lawyers, each one making a specialty of a dif ferent department of the law; and just as the city must have several medical specialists, each one practis ing in a different branch of medicine; so the large synagog in order to do its entire work efficiently, will have to have the three types of rabbis joint ly doing the work devolving on a Jew ish congregation. Of course, the smaller congrega tions will be financially unable to in dulge in such luxuries. The synagogs of the smaller towns especially, with limited means at their disposal, will find it impossible to engage the ser vices of more than one minister. There a choice will have to be made as to what specialist of the rabbini cal profession the congregation pre fers. Does it desire the preacher will be the question of moment for it to decide. And after it has secured the specialist rabbi it desired most it will have to be contented with its minister who will probably be doing well in that branch of the rabbinical profes sion only of which he is a specialist. In the other departments of the Jew ish ministry for which he will have no special qualifications except in a general way, the congregation will have to learn to be patient and indul gent, if he only tries to do the best he can. Are we not patient with the physician or the lawyer who does not always give us immediate satisfac tion? We shall have to learn to exer cise the same degree of consideration for our religious leaders. At any rate, specialization in the ministry is inevitable. We cannot stop the course of progress if we set our hearts on efficiency and competent service in the ministration of relig ion. The rabbinical profession badly needs specialization; and before we realize it, it will be one of the recog nized aspevts of Jewish rvlgious life. A SVAP. A first clam up to the min- ute jewelry store located in one of the Urgent oil towns in Texas, for t40.000.00. An ex- rellent opportunity for some live merchant to make a for tune. The present owner ia de- nirous of giving hia entire time 4 to his oil holdings. For further confidential information, ap- ply to the Jewish Monitor. I Westbrook Hotel 300 fire Proof Rooms KO laths rORT WORTH, TEXAa Lcc Huckins OKLAHOMA CITY The Huckins TEXARKANA, TEXAS