When I was little, I knew one rabbi. When I was a teenager, I had met six rabbis. Now I’m married to someone who’s about to be a rabbi, and if I had to estimate how many rabbis and rabbinical students I know, that number might be somewhere around 100.
(On days when I’m in a room with a group of them talking shop, it feels like I know about ten thousand rabbis and us higher ed professionals are few and far between, even in Boston.)
Here are 18 non-googleable facts I have learned about rabbis that would have shocked the little me who only knew one rabbi:
- Rabbis are not all good people all the time. Sometimes they are jerks.
- Generally speaking, rabbis are funny when they get drunk.
- Rabbis can be heartbroken.
- Rabbis can get divorced.
- Some rabbis are polyamorous.
- Rabbis are shy sometimes.
- Rabbis’ spouses are expected to be more involved the more observant the congregation is.
- Rabbi fashion varies from congregation to congregation.
- Some rabbis don’t believe in Gd.
- There are different kinds of Orthodox rabbis.
- You can tell what kind of Orthodox a rabbi is by what kind of hat he wears. It’s like looking for distinct plumage in birdwatching, but with rabbis.
- Rabbis get in arguments with their loved ones sometimes.
- Rabbis are wrong sometimes. Like, actually, provably, 1 + 1 = 3, wrong.
- Rabbis don’t like being wrong.
- Rabbis cut people off in traffic too.
- Some rabbis drive on Shabbat.
- Some rabbis don’t keep kosher.
- When rabbis eat bacon, they eat bacon with a gusto other people will never know.
To my darling Suzie, for whom I learned to keep a kosher home.