4 Questions with…Our 2022 Graduates: Michal Morris Kamil

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 Michal Morris Kamil

1) With the ceremony approaching, what emotions are you feeling?

Self realization would be first and foremost. We are a continual work in progress. As we mature, which is throughout our lifetimes, we are given opportunities to discover new worlds rich with new learning and re-visiting what we thought we knew, now through new perspectives and a refreshing openness for broader and deeper exploration. And all of it, we then process and reflect through our inner development and growing understanding and appreciation. As I reach the eve of this most meaningful benchmark on my journey towards becoming a Rabbi, I am in awe of the world that I have experienced and learned from, from engaging with a very broad and diverse range of texts, approaches, and traditions,from my teachers and fellow students who have taught, guided, and nurtured me every step of the way, and I am grateful for every single person who helped me reach this point, being blessed that there are so many. As the Rabbinic Semicha-ordination approaches, I pray and hope I will do justice to the title of ‘Rabbi’ in the service I will provide the communities I will be engaged with, fulfilling the expectations of this responsibility and providing for the the needs as they arise, spiritually, educationally, and through the leadership I can humbly and with humility offer.

2) What is one learning from your Academy experience that you will take with you after graduation?

I came into AJRCA thinking that the only way to serve people is to be a firefighter, an advocate, and as leader, be a Nachshon, who jumps in first so that others will find confidence. My studies and preparation have taught me that at times service is not by racing headfirst, but by creating space and time for purposeful and humble reflection and holding back so that the person you are engaging with develops their own tools and capacity to act on their own behalf, and that this facilitation and ushering’s power is in the quietness, the stillness, the wisdom that is created from the shared experience. I discovered that this urge to be a firefighter can sometimes be driven by ego and one needs to really look at that, and that ‘giving’ has many different forms of expression. Ultruism is often tzimtzum and not grandiose acts and small ripples are as impactful in doing good in this world for another as are waves.

I also learned how to practically apply Buber’s I-Thou relationship in chevrutah frameworks  through the study of texts to a far greater skill and depth, and in the tradition of our Talmudic sages for thousands of years. My Talmud studies, Hassidism classes, Liturgical studies, Homolitics, Chaplaincy, Counselling, Spiritual development-you name it, these discussions, dialogues, shared spaces of interpersonal engagement using the sources, old and newer, have been transformative.  I have worked in. Jewish education for decades, trained teachers, led schools, and still have been amazed by the growth and sensitization I have experienced in these areas through discourse, listening, reflecting, and processing.

I have learned to lead prayer, to appreciate prayer, to understand prayer. I never considered myself able to  be a pulpit Rabbi. Started off thinking I am suited to be involved only in social action. Through my school internships, and the training at school through tefillah, I have grown leaps and bounds. It’s awesome.
I mastered Aramaic with expert teaching. As an Israeli, spoken Hebrew is easy. But not the way we were taught-the study took me to places that highlighted the complexity, the grammar and logic, the history, the crossover of influences of other languages, the beauty of the play and punning involved in the Hebrew language, and the interplay with Aramaic, Arabic, etc.
Finally, I worked on my thesis, which has been in a subject area I have wanted to study for years. Israeli Religious Radicalism in Contemporary Jewish Texts. AJRCA enabled me to do this and who knows? Hopefully it is the seeds for a book to be published in the future?

3) Is there anything you learned at AJRCA that truly surprised you?

That I CAN be a Rabbi? That I could master Trope? That I can engage with people much younger than me in a way that was clear how much I had to learn from them, and build, despite our age differences and life experiences, incredible relationships? That I could perform in front of people and overcome my shyness? That there are such things as ‘pickle parties’? That I could control my impulses to immediately respond, stand up for, or be defensive, and be comfortable and listen deeply to all that was said to me and really think about it? Tons of stuff!

4) If you could go back in time and tell your pre-AJRCA self one thing, what would that be?

ONE? CAN’T DO ONE. Trust the process, have faith, and continue being you at your core-hard working, loving, inspired, and filled with the joy of the experience of learning and growing with the community.

Congratulations Michal!

One thought on “4 Questions with…Our 2022 Graduates: Michal Morris Kamil

  1. Wow Michali, can’t wait to call you Rabbi! רבה
    I’m looking forward to hearing/reading your sermons and hopefully sitting in your congregation while you’re leading the service! Much Love to you and so much pride!!
    אוהבת, דינה

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