A Question, a Request, and an Offer

This July will mark two years since I became the rabbi at Temple B’nai Jeshurun, and, I have to say, I continue to feel like I have come to the right place. I love this town; I love this community; and I love this congregation. Every day, I am grateful and glad to be the rabbi at TBJ. (And I hope, at least in some measure, that the feeling is mutual.)

It probably works out well that I happen to like people. I’ve met a slew of amazing and wonderful people. I’ve heard people’s stories, gotten to know many of you, and even had the privilege of being a part of your lives during times of joy, sorrow and struggle.

I have been moved by and deeply appreciate how warmly we have been welcomed, not only into this community, but also into your lives.

I have met so many people in the last two years, my question is: have I met you?

If you are reading this and the answer to that question is no, let’s fix that!

I’ve made a point of trying to meet as many people as I can, but I know that I haven’t met all of you yet, and I’d like to do that. If we have not met yet, or if we’ve only met briefly, I have a request and I have an offer.

The request is, if we haven’t met yet, please let me know… so we can meet! One way to do that is to come to something at the Temple, another is to reach out to me and ask if we can meet. Can’t come to me? No problem. I’ll come to you!

If you want to take me up on this request, you can reach me by email at nealschuster@gmail.com, or by phone or text at 913-963-6140. Send me a message saying that we haven’t met yet, that you’d like to, and what days of the week and times of day and where are good for you, and we’ll make it happen. (If, for some reason, you don’t hear back from me, please follow up. Whether it’s due to a failure of technology or a failure of me, I never begrudge a nudge!)

Yes, I just put my email and cell number in the bulletin. I’m sure there are people who might wonder if that’s a good idea. Won’t I be inundated with messages? Please, inundate me! After all, what’s the point of a rabbi if you don’t have a way to reach him?

That’s my request. Now for the offer.

If there is something in your life that you’re struggling with or trying to figure out, come talk to me. I’m not only about services and life-cycle events. I am literally your rabbi – as in, “Have you thought about talking to the rabbi about that?” I may not have all the answers, but I do seem to be pretty good at helping people figure out the right questions.

In the short time I’ve been here, I have had a remarkable number of conversations with people dealing with various issues in their lives or trying to figure out what to do about a situation they’re in, or how to deal with some sort of conflict or struggle. While I don’t have a Yelp account for people to post reviews, I get the impression that no one has left my office feeling that it was a waste of time to come see me. Even if you don’t walk away with answers, sometimes it’s good just to have someone you can unload to.

So, there you have it. A question; a request; and an offer.

The question: Have we met yet?

The request: If we haven’t met yet, please reach out so we can meet.

The offer: If you need someone to talk to, you can come and talk to me.

It’s as simple as that. Let’s make the most of our time together with me as your rabbi – may the two years behind us be only the beginning of many more to come.

Rabbi Neal Schuster