The Perils of Being a So-called Expert (#2 in 7 days)

Since starting work at a synagogue, I seem to have become an expert in Judaism to members of my church community. Perhaps because I speak of being excited to learn about the foundation of my faith when I tell them about the job. (Much more exciting than saying I answer phones and stuff envelopes, which is also not the be-all/end-all to my job.)

Which is a bit worrying given that so far I have only ingested two "Idiot's Guides to..." (both by Rabbi Benjamin Blech) and one other book. I am far far away from being considered an expert.

Thanks to my days in RWA (Romance Writers of America, which autocorrect wants to change to Rwanda), I have learned to preface a talk on writing with: "This works for me, this may not work for you."

I've amended that to respond: "Well, I've only just begun learning about Judaism so this might not be a complete answer..."or words to that effect.

Because I have learned that learning about Judaism, as with learning about any other faith, is a life long task.

Another reason to be careful with my words is that I know making any sweeping generalizations about a faith can be bloody annoying to the one who believes in that faith and knows of the subtleties and depth and breadth of that faith.

And so I hope my answers unveil common ground instead of divide, and offer my respect for the parent of my own faith.

But seriously, nowhere near an expert yet! Yet sadly, I may now know more than most of my fellow church-goers, because despite completing EfM (Education for Ministry), which gave me a deeper insight into the Hebrew scriptures as well as sending a couple of Hebrew words my way. Before then, I can safely say I knew very little about the Jewish faith, which seems like that would be a truth for many Christians, except perhaps for those who attended seminary (and took Hebrew etc). But then before EfM, I didn't know there were depths to the Christian faith that needed to be plumbed.

How do you deal with being treated as an expert, just because you happen to know a little more on the subject?


  1. Enjoyed #2. I've studied Judaism since high school and in seminary I was fluent in Hebrew (at least the written part). I still feel there is much to learn. Have fun in your new environment.


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