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Madelyn Divino
Mrs. Lucarelli
Comparative Civilizations
9 November 2015
Interview With Rabbi and Analysis
Q= Question A= Answer
Q: Why did you decide to become a Rabbi?
A: I used to practice law in Arkansas. While doing this, I volunteered at my temple. The
more time I spent there, the more I realized I liked being at the temple more than studying
law. I work for a higher class now- God.
Q: As I understand, Rabbis are allowed to be married. Do you think that this additional life
experience makes them a better leader than, say, a priest?
A: Life experience does come through relationships. My first wife died after seven years of
marriage, so I have empathy for widowers, and I remarried, so I have empathy for people
who have remarried. However, while I have gained life experience from this, it does take a
unique amount of love and dedication to be a priest and forgo these relationships. Some say
that without these relationships, priests can become more dedicated to God.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a Rabbi?
A: My favorite part (and least favorite part) is being a part of peoples lives, during their
times of pain and times of celebration. I like the intimacy of it.
Q: How old were you when you first became a Rabbi?
A: I was 35 years old.

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Q: What makes Judaism such a special religion?


A: Well, all faith traditions are special. But, Judaism is egalitarian, so everyone matters and
Jews respect everyones faiths. We believe in social justice that heals the world. There is also
divergence in practice, which means there is no right way to be Jewish, because this religion
is just between you and God.
Q: Which ritual/ceremony you run is your favorite part and why?
A: This is going to sound kind of hokey, but I am happy anytime my peeps come together. I
teach religious school for sixth, seventh, eighth, and tenth graders, and I especially love
teaching the Bar mitzvah kids (grades six through eight). I always tell them to be my Rabbi,
and they ask what a twelve year old kid could even teach a fifty five year old man. I tell them
that they need to teach me how twelve year olds think, so they can keep me relevant.
Q: What are the duties of a Rabbi aside from running services?
A: I am a part of the clergy of congregation, and I counsel and do hospital and home visits.
Q: What form of Jew are you (Orthodox, Secular, etc) and what does this mean?
A: I am a Reform Jew, and I walk with both feet in the modern world, with religion in my
heart and head. What makes us different from other Jews is that we apply religion to the
modern world with tradition.
Q: Were you Jewish your whole life? If not, why did you switch?
A: I was always Jewish, for as far as I can remember, at least.
Q: What is your vision for yourself, your family, and Judaism?

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A: I want to grow by learning to pay attention. I need to see and understand more to be
relevant to others. If you pay better attention to others, this could help the world- dont be
afraid or ignorant of people, because this happens too often.
Q: What are common misinterpretations about Judaism?
A: There are many. First, that we are legalistic. Many people think that the Torah is Jewish
law, where if you do not follow it, you will be punished. This is wrong- the Torah is a
teaching book, where information is given to people about how they should live their lives,
and the people interpret it themselves and make the choice about how they want to follow it.
Second, many think Judaism is exclusive, mostly because some rituals are performed in
Hebrew. Even though some rituals may be different, we are not exclusive at all. Worship is
for all people, and Jews really just want people to be good citizens to benefit the community.
Even when my daughter was very young, back in 1997, she came home from school saying,
Daddy, I am not a Jew. I said to her, Why not? and she said Because kids at school said
Jews have horns and a tail, and I dont have those! There is often a lot of discrimination
against minorities, and that is just the way it is.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important Jewish holiday and why?
A: Shabbat, which goes from every Friday night at sundown to Sunday night at sundown. It
is a day of peace, where people are supposed to put aside their pursuit of owning and
collecting, it is about just being. It is meant for downtime. However, other than this, every
holiday is equally important in Judaism because you have to pay attention to the significance
of each one. There is actually a joke about the Jewish holidays, because most of them are

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about one group defeating another group in history, so it is said that all the Jewish holidays
can be summed up in seven words: They attacked us, we won, lets eat.
Q: Could you explain some of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism?
A: There is the concept of one source of creation for all, which is commonly referred to God.
I dont have dogma as to what God is; there are no words to describe him. Also, a very
important part of Judaism is creating social justice through healing work. Another major
belief is to always opt for the right way, even if it is inconvenient or maybe even painful.
Q: You keep mentioning how society is related to Judaism. Is this religion very focused on
improving society and everyone overall?
A: Yes, it is very focused on the community, even on those who are not Jewish. Hillel, an
important interpreter of Jewish tradition said Rule number one is to take care of the folks
around us.... When the Messiah comes, everyone needs to be in the same boat. If only some
people are good, but others are not, it will not work out. It is important for everybody of all
religions to be on the same page and look out for one another.

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Analysis of Interview
After interviewing Rabbi Marc, I learned an abundance about Judaism. Knowing little
about the religion walking into it, I walked out feeling amazed at what I learned.
My favorite response from the Rabbi was what he said the common misinterpretations of
Judaism are. When he talked about how the Torah is usually perceived as Jewish law, I was
surprised to learn that this, in fact, was not true- the Torah is actually Jewish teachings that
can be interpreted in different ways. I also found it very interesting when he continued to say
the word we, referring to all people, and when I asked him about this, he told me how
Judaism is extremely inclusive. Jews respect everyones faiths, even if they do not
necessarily agree with them, and Jews constantly try to benefit their community through
good works. I found it fascinating that Jews are actually the very opposite of their
stereotypes, which are exclusive people who are not accepting of others and their beliefs.
I learned from the Rabbi about some very fundamental beliefs of Judaism, as well. For
example, there is one source of creation for all, which is commonly referred to as God.
Whatever people choose to call Him, he is the same creator for everyone in the world, but he
cannot be described in words because of His complexity. Also, a major concept of Judaism is
social justice through healing work, where people do good deeds to benefit their community.
Finally, one of the most important beliefs of Judaism is that though it may be uneasy or
painful, people should always opt for the right way.
It is clear that Jews are tolerant of all religions, accepting of all people, and keep societys
best interests in mind often. It was a pleasure to interview this Rabbi, listen to his insights,
and learn more about this fascinating religion.

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