Where I Work showcases people who work in Rye. The feature is inspired in part by exploring how the pandemic has impacted our work environment and part by wanting to understand how and where people work inside the City of Rye.
Your Name: Daniel Gropper, Rabbi
Your Company: Community Synagogue of Rye, on Forest Avenue
MyRye.com: What do you do?
Gropper: Senior Rabbi. I serve as the spiritual leader of the congregation teaching, leading services and life cycle, trying to inspire others to live according to the highest ideals of Jewish values.
Where do you work?
Gropper: Most of my work takes place in my study in the synagogue. It’s on the 2nd floor of the synagogue building and because it’s close to our ECC and Religious School, I have the joy of seeing many of the children during the day. It’s also a little out of the way which allows me to read, think, write and meet with others.
A lot of my work; however, take place wherever I am. That could mean a hospital, a cemetery, a community center, someone’s office or home or a church. Being a rabbi (like a priest or minister) is a calling. You don’t get to just turn it off when you leave the synagogue. So, wherever you find me, that’s probably where I’m working.
Describe your desk and office.
Gropper: Over the years I’ve tried to make my study into a place that is comfortable for me and for others. I have photographs of places that bring me joy – like Hornby Island in British Columbia or the Rio Grande at night or pictures of my family to remind me who I work for.
I have “Jewish prayer flags” modeled after Tibetan prayer flags and First Nations art from Canada as those spiritual traditions inform me. I have a few gifts from various not-for-profit boards I’ve served on over the years, to remind me of the importance of service to the wider community and of course books. Lots and lots of books.
Of all the quotes on my desk (I’ve got a few), the one quote that continues to inform me by Rabbi Israel Salanter (that my mother copied down at a museum in Tel Aviv in 1993) says, “A rabbi whose community does not disagree with him is no rabbi. A rabbi who fears his community is no man.”