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When the Rabbi Feels Trauma

When the Rabbi Feels Trauma by Paul Kipnes, CCAR Journal of RJ, Fall 2019

By Paul Kipnes

A mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
A mass shooting in the local dance bar.
A raging fire, forcing the evacuation of the synagogue and 75 percent of our congregation.

These three crises, all happening in eleven days, utilized skills honed over almost three decades as a rabbi, enabling me to engage in nonstop pastoral care, support the evacuees, and help organize the Jewish community. I was proud of our work we were doing. Well, until one morning when I found myself sobbing in bed. Then I knew that I had hit a wall, and that I needed significant help to put myself back together.

When the Rabbi Feels Trauma

This is a story about how the fallout from those events almost broke me. Me, a rabbi, trained in crisis counseling and pastoral care, who knew what to expect and yet succumbed to trauma anyway.

Read on: When the Rabbi Feels Trauma by Paul Kipnes, CCAR Journal of RJ, Fall 2019

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