I’ve never had a good experience nor enjoyed co-teaching a class of young people with a fellow rabbi…until this year. Co-teaching our 10th graders with Rabbi Laurence Malinger has completely changed my view. He is generous of spirit, intensely prepared and has wizard skills relating with 16-year-olds. He is inclusive, broad-minded and has a keen eye to group process.
As you can imagine, given the intensity of the conversations between our congregations, he and I have become fast friends. I have seen firsthand that Rabbi Malinger is a partner’s partner and a mensch with a spine of integrity. But most importantly to TRT, Rabbi Malinger understands the complex emotions TRT congregants are feeling when considering the critical choice before us. He deeply understands that the merged congregation will be a new congregation and that the partnership will be one of equals. He understands that he will be a brand-new rabbi to many. I have faith in him and his deep desire to make this work.
Having been inside the process that brought TRT to this point, I can assure you that it has been both thorough and heartfelt, thoughtful and exacting. This is a moment filled with both possibility, with a healthy dose of anxiety in the mix. The scheduled discussion groups will go a long way to talking this through.
In truth, I tried to wriggle my way out of co-teaching with Rabbi Malinger, offering to teach the class separately. He shared that he had been co-teaching for some time with Rabbi Weber and that I should give it and him a try. He persuaded me and he was right. But first he listened to my concerns. In the weeks and months ahead, you will all have an opportunity to spend time with him. I know he’s excited to meet you and he’s just as excited to make you a part of the new congregation you all will share.
Rabbi Marc L. Disick