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April 27, 1990 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-27

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Harold Loss



'm almost uncomfortable with the term
`success,' " Rabbi Harold Loss says. "I
don't think of myself as 'successful.' I
think of myself as a hard-working rabbi who
enjoys what he does and has had the good
fortune to be part of an outstanding con-
gregation and community."
Success is defined in many ways, by
many different people, Rabbi Loss says. In his
view, it is a process rather than an end
"It's a continual evaluation. Those little
successes are sometimes far more important
than the things that people would see in a
very public forum."
For Rabbi Loss, those small but signifi-
cant victories are the essence of his day-to-
day work: "Helping a family through the
process of grief. Although at times it's very
painful, you know you've helped someone
with an important emotional issue.
"Seeing something in terms of Jewish
community that's happening around you and
being able to get somebody else excited and
involved. Taking teenagers and adults to
Israel. Developing school programs.
"Creating a Jewish structure in people's
lives Teaching something that makes a light
go on in a child's face when, all of the sud-
den, he understands something.
"Feeling that you're part of a staff with
common goals. Recruiting the right people
into the right places. Working well together
with the temple's rabbis, supportively, as a
However well a person functions in his
professional life, Rabbi Loss stresses that ge-
nuine success begins at home.
"It's easy to be a hero in everybody else's
eyes and not take the time to be involved
with those who need you most. If you're so
totally motivated in your work that you don't
take time for your family, and enjoy the joy
in that, then I wonder how successful you
really can be," he says.
The philosophical and ethical nature of
Loss' comments are born of a long tradition.
He represents the 18th generation of rabbis
in his family. A New York native raised in
Miami, Fla., Rabbi Loss attended Hebrew
Union College in Cincinnati.
He chose to come to Temple Israel 19



FRIDAY,,APRIL 27, 1990

years ago. "It was one of the great good for-
tunes in my life. There were many other
places I might have chosen. But I sensed a
real warmth in this congregation. And I've
never regretted that decision."
In the context of his rabbinical position,
Rabbi Loss says, success requires knowing
what he really wants out of life; setting at-
tainable short-term and long-term goals;
recognizing that other people's visions of suc-
cess are not necessarily his own; and im-
plementing his.own standards in the realms
of congregational life, Jewish community
and family.
"The beauty of being a rabbi," he says,
"is that there are so many opportunities to
influence the lives of other human beings
and at the same time feel good about what
you're doing."
Acknowledging that not every sermon is
a masterpeice, Rabbi Loss says he's benefited
from candid critiques.
"You have to have people you can trust,
who can point out your weaknesses as well
as your strengths, who won't simply relate
to you as rabbi with a capital 'R.' "
In keeping with his own words, in Rab-
bi Loss' home the "R" for rabbi gives way to
"D" for dad.
"You can't be involved with 500 kids and
not come home with a smile for your one,
two, or three," he says. "I have three
daughters. If I have a feeling of success, it's
watching them develop into really fine young
people." El

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