To Rabbi Pamela Gottfried of Atlanta, Rebecca Sirbu’s job is “like herding cats. She’s a rabbi’s rabbi.” Sirbu has a pastoral presence, Gottfried said, something that can be improved or worked on, but that cannot be learned. “Either you have it or you don’t – and she does.”

“Many prominent pulpit rabbis are extroverted, kind of out there,” she said. “They’re used to being in front. They’re leaders. Rebecca is not that kind of leader. She has a firm but quiet leadership. She creates a personal relationship with every rabbi in Rabbis Without Borders, and she also has the organizational skills to run a program for 40 or 50 of us at a time.

“And she does it all with a calm, smooth, gentle grace. She’s unflappable. She makes it possible for rabbis to learn and grow.

“There are different kinds of rabbinates – the prophet, the teacher, the pastor. She’s the pastor, behind the scenes, nurturing, supportive.”

Sirbu also is a matchmaker, with an uncanny knack for putting rabbis together with opportunities. Her Rolodex is huge and her network extensive, Gottfried said.

Gottfried, who is a Conservative rabbi and spent many years teaching in the Solomon Schechter high school in Westchester, tried a pulpit and realized herself ill-suited for it. She published a book, “Found in Translation,” and is writing a second one. She still is finding her path. Sirbu helps. “Rebecca is so gifted, and she takes time to get what each one of us is doing,” she said. “I do an art midrash, and she got me to do it at a retreat. That’s how she does things - she steps back. She would rather highlight someone else, and put them in the spotlight.

“That’s her mission. She sets up the program so that other people will shine.”