Rabbi Joseph Krakoff – Shaarey Zedek

Rabbi Joseph Krakoff will proudly announce his age of forty-two. 

This may not seem like a significant fact but to me, as the director/producer of what may become one of the most important documentary films about men and aging, Rabbi Krakoff is about twenty years younger than all the other men that make up this film.

From an outsider looking in, I found it fascinating that a 42-year old can be the spiritual Rabbi leader of one of Michigan’s most important and well-respected Jewish synagogues.

First, here is a little bit of information about our Rabbi…

Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff came to Shaarey Zedek in 1998 after receiving his rabbinic ordination and a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

During his years at Bucknell, Rabbi Krakoff spent a semester serving as a White House Intern in the Office of National Service helping research and replicate social action initiatives throughout the United States.  His life’s dedication to spiritual guidance and ability to connect with his congregation has enabled him to become one of Michigan’s most well-respected Rabbis.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

As my filming journey would have it, I found myself spending an afternoon with Rabbi Krakoff and a handful of charismatic, and intelligent men from the community of metro Detroit, all of which practices Judaism.  Some doctors, attorneys or just retired businessmen all aging, all faced with the inevitable process of aging issues, health, relationships, loneliness, and the sheer fact that each year they lose friends who have passed on.

Rabbi Krakoff’s teachings for that session with the men were all about aging.  They were passages from the Torah and Rabbinic literature.

My reason for this discussion filming session was to try to better understand what draws an aging man closer to spirituality.

The discussion was personal, and insightful and as our time wrapped up, the guys being guys started offering their best “sexual aging” jokes; all were laughing. 

Our teacher Rabbi, like a professor who was trying to get everyone’s attention was clearly a little embarrassed.  I guess this is the best part about aging at some point you just don’t care and if you have lived, loved and worked hard enough, you just don’t have to.

Thank you, Rabbi, for your humble and wonderful gathering.  It was an honor to be in the presence of these gentlemen.

To see the full website for the film, please go to www.embraceofaging.com.