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 Joey Angel-Field.
1) With the ceremony approaching, what emotions are you feeling?
I’m feeling humbled and satisfied, and if I’m being honest, a little shocked, shocked that it’s been such a long time, shocked that I’m finally reaching the end.
2) What is one learning from your Academy experience that you will take with you after graduation?
The more we learn, the more we become compassionate and see our fellow human beings for what they need, and to meet them where they are.
As Rabbi Sessler, and Lord Sacks obm pointed out-Many people worry about their own stomachs and the state of other people’s souls. The real task is to do the opposite: to worry about other people’s stomachs and the state of your own soul. Rabbi Yisroel Salanter said, “Someone else’s material needs are my spiritual responsibility.”
3) Is there anything you learned at AJRCA that truly surprised you?
I always thought I was a fast learner, but it seems that it takes time and sometimes a few different voices for me to finally follow someone’s counsel or explore their preferences. It’s no wonder we read Torah throughout the week and the year and over and over, over the course of our lives.
Halakha, or Sharia, or the Tao/Dao, are just the way we go. Any way can be a way, it’s easy to agree with the Kotzker Rebbe on this point.
There is no singular tradition that should get to be classified as traditional with a capital T. Even our legal texts maintain the “Eilu v’eilu” that they can all be correct and holy answers.
Just as our tradition was recited and handed down, it’s now in our hands to keep it rich and make sure that we are still engaged in a lifelong learning. I know sometimes we’re hardheaded, but when all else fails, try reading the instructions (Torah is from the same word as a teacher, it’s an instruction manual).
4) If you could go back in time and tell your pre-AJRCA self one thing, what would that be?
Take it all in. Even after a long time, it will still feel pretty quick. Don’t take yourself too seriously, have a good time, enjoy laughs and sharing those and making others do so.
Even though the world is no less turbulent than when I first thought about school, or when I first started (in many ways it is significantly more so) — remember to stay close with family and friends who ground you and keep you tethered when the abyss is especially chaotic.