Are You Really a Defrocked Rabbi?

Rabbis do not really get defrocked, but some are unsuited. I’m sure you’ve known a few.

I thought I was suited quite well, thank you, but as we Jews say, “Humans plan and God laughs.”

This is my site. My pulpit. The one place on Earth I can say what I want. If you do not like it, one click and you are atta here. So if you stay, it is by your own choice.

Since I was defrocked, I’ve have very few opportunities to express all of the truths that seem so self-evident to me. Rabbis have big egos. We see things that appear self-evident, and we feel God demands we express what we see to anyone who will listen.

Godbless the Internet. Here I am reborn.

I was ordained at a major American rabbinic seminary. After finishing a normal college degree, I spent a number of years studying to be ordained. I served as a rabbi in several positions over a number of years.

Rabbi-ing is a multidimentional job. It requires diverse talents. No one does all aspects of the rabbinate wonderfully. I did some parts of the job well; other parts made me, uhhhh, a little uncomfortable. Any rabbi who is honest will say the same.

Are You Really Defrocked?

There is no official means by which a rabbi can be “defrocked” or stripped of his or her title. Occasionally, a rabbi does something quite horrendous and gets caught; as a result, no one will hire him or her. In addition, all of the major movements in Judaism have a rabbinical organization; one can be “kicked out” for not paying dues, as well as getting caught doing something nasty.

No, I’m not really defrocked. I pay my rabbinic organization dues, and I’ve never been caught with my proverbial pants down. But for a variety of reasons, maybe for no reason, I’m no longer employed as a rabbi. Occasionally, I do guest gigs.

When I stopped being employed as a rabbi, I figured that with my experience and training and knowledge, I would never run out of opportunities to let my rabbinic self out of its proverbial bag. You know, being the guest officiant at bris’s or teacher of adult bar mitzvahs. For a while, that was indeed the case. As time went on, I got asked less and less.

So this is my pulpit. Welcome to it.


5 Comments so far

I could not find your email, pardon if this is the wrong place (and delete it if so…

I like the list you posted on jewschool, but I think it proves that summarizing what a Jew should know is difficult. I can more or less (definitely more then less) tick all those, even quite nicely by average non-religious (ex) sabre, yet I don’t practice a daily Jewish life; am married to a gentile, am studying Buddhism. I prefer not to, but if I had to I would define G-d as Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent, and perceive “I am that I am” as the most revealing statement in the bible as to the nature of consciousness. Am I Jewish? Does it matter? Like you, I did not plan to become ‘non’ or ‘less’ – Jewish, it just happened. Questions I asked about life and existence were answered by life and existence through other medium. Long ago, another Defrocked Rabbi has said “In my father’s house, there are many mansions”. I suggest one could be practicing meditation or yoga, and become a ‘better’ Jew by the insight and humanness that such practice affords. I could be wrong. Actually, if I am Jewish, I am probably wrong and right at the same time…

Lechayim :-)

Comment by Komai 06.06.06 @ 9:42 pm

HI Bill,

SO as a Rabbi who does not mind being “out there” myself, what did happen vis-avis employment?

Comment by marc 06.12.06 @ 7:53 am

Dear Rabbi: My family used your Haggadah for the second year this Pesach, and you should know we took great pleasure in the fish, the soup, and your delightful little haggadah. Thanks for the memories, I’m making .Folllowing the meal I give monetary gifts to those children who can answer family questions such as nations of origin, birthdates, countries of origin etc. Great fun, thanks, Donald

Comment by Donald Mogerman 04.06.07 @ 12:00 pm

Can you think of advice for Jews living with chronic illness that come from Eastern Thought streams? I’ve been reading a book called “How to Be Ill” from a Buddhist perspective and wonder if there is ever such a Jewish one out there?

Comment by jw 06.30.12 @ 10:18 pm

How come you don’t use this venue to share some or your Torah? You thinking/learning on the parhshoit, modern jewish lit or anything else that moves me? I would enjoy reading it.

Comment by jn 11.26.13 @ 4:11 am



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