With our 2022 Ordination-Graduation ceremony approaching, we are highlighting members of the graduating class. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.
Today we’re talking with Rabbinic Graduate Cantor Marcelo Gindlin.
1) With the ceremony approaching, what emotions are you feeling?
I am feeling many emotions as the ceremony approaches. The main one I have is that of gratitude. At the beginning of this journey, I realized what would soon become part of my daily life, regarding studying, learning, meeting professors and classmates. I knew there would be extensive reading, discussions, and exams. I could read stories in the bible, ask questions, talk with myprofessors, and share my thoughts with classmates.
It was as if the more I learned- the more I wanted to know. When reading bible stories, I connected with what was happening in that lifetime. I learned of troubles among the people, challenges, joys, and an overall hope in the hearts and souls of the ones from our past.
I feel that with the ceremony approaching, I have even more knowledge about our religion. I am excited to share this beloved event with those I hold dear. I know I am the same person inside, but I come to the ceremony a changed man. My love is greater. My soul is fulfilled. My heart beats strong, knowing I will be able to help and guide others in their lives. I am thankful for this opportunity. I am excited. I thank God and those around me who have been on this journey of knowledge, gratefulness, and love.
2) What is one learning from your Academy experience that you will take with you after graduation?
I connected with Jewish texts and really looked at how things were done on the pathway from our past to our modern world. The descriptions of a land fought for and the prayers of our people through the centuries stayed with me. The wisdom of those speaking from their heart to large gatherings, about respecting and cherishing Hashem, has been imprinted on my heart.
I learned that there is often no one-answer to questions- past or present. Listening to my classmates explain their views on a subject, caught my attention. Things they saw in a reading, differed from mine, but I could see and accept their point- their feelings- their answer to what felt right within them. I saw that each person responds to what is familiar to them. How they were raised, or the family and friends that surround them- they come forth with their own interpretations based on their own lives.
I feel that through my Academy experience, I got to know myself better. I especially appreciated the professors who shared their thoughts and knowledge with me. I made notes privately to myself about various information I gathered along the way. These thoughts would be shared with others in my future. Old friends, new friends, students, children, families seeking guidance…
I will take all that I have learned and as I enter a new pathway, give hope, help, and love to those around me.
3) Is there anything you learned at AJRCA that truly surprised you?
Yes. Connection and Affection.
I was truly surprised at how much I learned from my professors. How they spoke from and shared their personal experiences. They wanted us to get to know them and they wanted to know us. They shared their knowledge about the subjects that were going to be presented to us.
Many spoke about their families, their schooling, their hopes, and successes through their lives. I felt it was not just a basic teacher-student way of gathering information to pass the class.
They wanted us to succeed in many ways- guiding us where to read about a certain subject and where to find information that might help us.
Many wrote personal notes back to me about a completed paper, with comments of praise or suggestions of how it might read better. My classmates received these as well.
I was surprised at how many areas of exploration there were, just waiting for me to arrive and begin learning about. I was curious. Often, I continued past chapters in a book we were supposed to read. I wanted to learn more about the author and the subject and I enjoying discussing how I felt during class with my professors and fellow students.
I feel grateful and have so much respect to my professors, those who over the many months, taught me on this journey, through their knowledge, encouragement and sharing of themselves.
4) If you could go back in time and tell your pre-AJRCA self one thing, what would that be?
I would tell myself not to worry. All that lie ahead would broaden my knowledge in so many areas of Judaism. Making time for classes, exams, speaking in front of professors and classmates was a means of bringing me to the completion of my dream of becoming a Rabbi.
I would tell myself to be prepared. There would be assignments to research and complete. There would be videos to watch of important people that would make a difference in my life. Professionals will be guiding me. I would use what I learn and add to what I know.
All the above goes into one main thought that I would tell my pre-AJRCA self:
That I should look at the year/months ahead as a gift — a gift that keeps on giving. It is one that I will hold dear and use to help others throughout my life.