For the past nine years, at this time of year, Andy Bachman, a favorite Vox Tablet guest, would be gathering his thoughts in order to lead High Holiday services at Brooklyn’s Congregation Beth Elohim. Bachman was the head rabbi there. It’s a synagogue with a reputation for community engagement and social activism, and claims among its congregants a host of outspoken and influential personalities (Sen. Charles Schumer and Jonathan Safran Foer are among them).
This year is different. Bachman stepped down from the pulpit earlier this summer and is therefore now preparing to have a much more intimate holiday season. That doesn’t mean, though, that the concerns and fate of the Jews no longer interest him or that he has lost interest in spirituality and leadership responsibilities.
He joined Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to discuss his view on life after professional rabbihood, why Jewish continuity is not something to fret over, and the reason he’ll miss poring over Beth Elohim’s archive of Manischewitz-stained, worn, and tattered photos, newsletters, and kiddush invitations.