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C. B. Lieber

A rebbetzin’s role isn’t the same as a rabbi’s because...

Monday, April 09, 2018

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A rebbetzin’s role isn’t the same as a rabbi’s because...
… a full-time rav needs to be available all the time, no matter what’s going on in his personal life. A rebbetzin’s job is very different. Her priority is her family, and it’s important that the children don’t become korbanos. I sometimes miss bar mitzvahs and weddings of people in my kehillah when my children have babies and need my help, but my husband doesn’t. Yes, a rebbetzin has to care about the congregants, but it’s very different from the way the rabbi is tied to them.

Rebbetzin Michal Cohen, Congregation Adas Yeshurun, Chicago, IL


… in a sense, people are expecting more warmth from the rebbetzin. Perhaps more emotional support or more time. A rav might not have the time to sit with someone on the phone for an hour, but a rebbetzin can squeeze it in — she can put in the laundry or make a kugel while she’s talking. We’re also supporting our husbands behind the scenes. In some areas, they’re more in the forefront, and in other areas we are.

Rebbetzin Deena Davidovich, Heights Jewish Center, Cleveland, OH


… the rebbetzin’s role is more to be a support system. She’s often more attuned and connected to people’s emotions. If a rebbetzin is inviting and embracing, it’s much easier for the rav to build on and enhance the relationship. If the rebbetzin is tuned in, she can make sure that everyone really feels part of a kehillah.

Rebbetzin Dubby Eisen, Kollel Bnei Torah, Flatbush, NY


… a rebbetzin’s role is really to touch the people — to welcome them, to make sure everyone feels at home. To greet all the women who come into shul and make sure they have a seat and a siddur. The rebbetzin often gets to know people on a one-on-one level. Sometimes she’s a little bit more approachable than the rav is, since people think, How can I bother the rav? Usually they don’t think that way about the rebbetzin.

—Rebbetzin Rana Frankel, Agudath Israel of the Five Towns, Cedarhurst, NY



… he’s more of an explicit spiritual mentor and guide, and she’s more of an implicit one, by her behavior, by her advice and personal interaction. And that’s how it should be. Most men wouldn’t come to ask advice of a rebbetzin, but many women feel more comfortable coming to the rebbetzin than the rav. It’s like a father and a mother — they have different roles to play, but the roles also overlap.

—Rebbetzin Via Kimche, Ner Yisrael Community of Hendon, London 



(Excerpted from Mishpacha’s Sanctuary Theme Section, Pesach Mega-Issue 5778)



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