Identity, Peoplehood

Aleph: 18 Surprising Facts about Rabbis

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:

  1. Rabbis are not all good people all the time. Sometimes they are jerks.
  2. Generally speaking, rabbis are funny when they get drunk.
  3. Rabbis can be heartbroken.
  4. Rabbis can get divorced.
  5. Some rabbis are polyamorous.
  6. Rabbis are shy sometimes.
  7. Rabbis’ spouses are expected to be more involved the more observant the congregation is.
  8. Rabbi fashion varies from congregation to congregation.
  9. Some rabbis don’t believe in Gd.
  10. There are different kinds of Orthodox rabbis.
  11. 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.
  12. Rabbis get in arguments with their loved ones sometimes.
  13. Rabbis are wrong sometimes. Like, actually, provably, 1 + 1 = 3, wrong.
  14. Rabbis don’t like being wrong.
  15. Rabbis cut people off in traffic too.
  16. Some rabbis drive on Shabbat.
  17. Some rabbis don’t keep kosher.
  18. 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.