hair · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · Los Angeles · marriage

A title first

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

It’s just a title, right? I mean, it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not I wear my ugly orthopedic shoes to shul (synagogue) or just don my sneakers. It’s not supposed to make my stomach hurt when I think about how difficult it is for me to follow services sometimes. It’s not the only reason I cover my hair one way and worry I should do it up in some other way.


My publisher wants to put that before my name under the as-yet untitled memoir I’m writing. “When’s your husband finishing rabbinical school?” he wonders. Two years. Is that when I’ll become a title first and a person second?

Whose funny idea was it to give me a title, anyway? By the time people start taking that title seriously, I’ll only have been Jewish about four years. That makes me a Jewish four-year-old. With the Hebrew skills of one, too.

This is G-d’s funny sense of humor, right?

Which is why when someone asks me at the shul where my husband is interning, “Are you ready to be a rebbetzin?” I start to nod and shake my head at the same time. I start to talk but all that comes out is a squeak.

How many years do you think it will take me to get used to the idea of being…Jewish? A wife? A REBBETZIN?

I guess we’ll see. Because I’ll be doing it all very publicly.

One thought on “A title first

  1. I think that when it comes to such titles you grow into them, and often people are never really prepared for what comes with it. It is a learning experience so I think if anything you will grow into it, just as your husband will grow into being a Rabbi.


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