Year Five: My Rabbinical School Journey Continues
By Julia Grischenko
Each year, WRJ grants scholarship funds to provide living expenses for up to ten rabbinical students from outside of North America studying at HUC-JIR, Leo Baeck College in London, or Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany. Once ordained, these students return to their home communities and serve congregations affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Two very special WRJ scholars studying a Leo Baeck College in London reflect on their journey below.
I am a fifth year student in the rabbinical training program studying at Leo Baeck College in London. The fifth year is mostly dedicated to earning an MA degree through King’s College in London and rabbinical practice. My final year placement is with the Progressive Community Emanu-El in Odessa (Ukraine, FSU).
For my final placement, I have returned to the community where I worked for 10 years before I started my rabbinical training. I was originally the para-rabbi and now I am here as rabbinic intern. I came back to my community with great knowledge and experience, which I received during my studies. My mentor is Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny from Kiev, who has been my teacher and friend for a long time.
We do not have another rabbi in our community, so I am responsible for all rabbinic work, such as leading religious services and reading from the Torah scroll every week. I am also involved in the Sunday family school program with parents. Periodically I teach adults and the conversion class. I am now preparing a series of classes on Jewish history and tradition. I am very interested in the further development of our congregation; therefore we will open several new educational and social programs this year, including a young adult program and interfaith program. I also have a pastoral role and help members of the community with life cycle events.
I hope in one year, when I am ordained, I will attain the position as rabbi of this particular community in Odessa. Thank you to all of you who have made it possible for me to study in this rabbinic program.
Julia Grischenko is a 5th year Leo Baeck student from the Ukraine, FSU and a WRJ Scholarship recipient.
The WRJ Ten Minutes of Torah series is sponsored by the Blumstein Family Fund and by Sandi and Mike Firsel and Temple Chai Sisterhood.