12/03/2007

Rabbis and Bricklayers

"In Europe there were rabbis and bricklayers. After the war, some went to Israel and some went to America. The rabbis went to Israel and became bricklayers, and the bricklayers went to America and became rabbis..."

-Rabbi Boruch Milikowsky, as recounted in "They Called Him Rebbe", pp. 99-100 [soon to be reviewed on this blog, and released by Urim]

Though times have changed somewhat, Rabbi Milikowsky's observation still holds true, to some extent. I am becoming the case in point. I'm not becoming a bricklayer, but I have begun the process of career change. I will be a freelance translator, with a lesser emphasis on writing and editing. Teaching remains my main occupation as of this writing, but this is my last year in that field. A number of factors have conspired to push me in this direction.

I enjoy writing and seem to be pretty good at it; this blog taught me that. Translation can be enjoyable and challenging as well. I have a preference for Jewish-themes material, so that I actually learn while I work, but I am not limited exclusively to that. I'll also continue teaching, but on my own terms - what I want, where I want, and how often I want. I need it to be that teaching Torah is something that I do as a contribution, and not something that I feel forced to do to feed my family. I also need to actually feed my family (me and Latrell). It's kind of ironic that Israel has forced me to be much more focused on material concerns, but I'm not the first.

In any case, November has been a pretty good month so far in this new endeavor. I've landed a handful of jobs (thanks to those, including David, who helped get me started). My first article has been published - it's a piece on Israeli poverty which appeared as the cover story here (before you begin downloading, beware that the .pdf of the magazine is 46+ MB).

Thus far, it has been hard to blog at a good pace while keeping up with my writing jobs and also my teaching schedule. Time will tell if this becomes a permanent situation or if things will settle back to a regular blogging pace.

Wish me luck.

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