Be Brave Enough to Ask For Help.

a bright sky over the Sixth & I synagogue in Washington, D.C.

There’s a great story in the New York Times this week about Michele Lowe, a former advertising executive, who now coaches rabbis on their public speaking skills and helps them improve their sermons.

I’ll quote this section directly:

Some of Ms. Lowe’s clients are confidential, concerned to be seen as needing a crutch. At first, Dara Frimmer, a rabbi at Temple Isaiah on Los Angeles’s Westside, was reluctant to share that she had sought help on a sermon.

“There is a fear that rabbis have to be wholly original and brilliant and poised and always have the right words,” Rabbi Frimmer said. But she came to realize that turning to community in a time of need was a profoundly Jewish ideal. “With great pride I wrote at the bottom: ‘Thank you to Michele Lowe.’”

Everyone needs a little help sometimes — even people like rabbis, who spend their careers speaking publicly. Rabbis lead public services and private services. They stand before their congregations at bar and bat mitzvahs and at weddings. They spend time with their congregants during moments of joy and sorrow.

And yet: They still need help! It takes courage to be willing to ask — and to truly listen to the advice being given.

No one has all the answers. Everyone — even the pros — has questions.

Always be willing to ask.


That’s the outside of Sixth & I, a synagogue in Washington, D.C. The photo was taken by Ted Eytan and is used here thanks to a Creative Commons license.