We Can’t Fix Everything

Setting: A Torah study group at a long-term senior residence in Cincinnati. Harriet: I wish more people joined us today. But people forget we’re meeting. People here forget everything. There are so many people who are forgetting their memories. Me: That sounds really hard. Shirley: People forget things, but there are so many people here with interesting stories. I just…

ללמד ולאהוב — L’lamed V’le’ehov — To Teach And To Love

ואהבת את ה׳ אלוהיך בכל לבבך, ובכל נפשך, ובכל מאודך—“And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” — Deuteronomy 6:5 I love to teach—with all my heart, soul, and might. And I love my kids, the students I teach. There is nothing more magical than the moments when…

Together, with Intention

This past summer (2019) I had the honor and privilege of being the TJF fellow at Temple Sholom synagogue. It was a wonderful summer, full of new experiences and challenges. Rabbi Terlinchamp was on sabbatical throughout the summer, and I was very fortunate that the lovely staff and community of Temple Sholom greeted me with open arms. Throughout the summer,…

Listening to My Heart

Relationships in life don’t really end, even if you never see the person again. Every person you’ve been close to lives on somewhere inside you. Your past lovers, your parents, your friends, people both alive and dead (symbolically or literally)—all of them evoke memories, conscious or not. Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our…

Creating the Cincinnati Multifaith Calendar

This summer, I had a fellowship at the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue. I helped to create the Cincy Multifaith Calendar, an online resource designed to help students talk about their faith traditions and learn about the traditions and identities of their classmates. We gathered representatives of the major faiths in the Cincinnati area to write calendar entries for the holidays…

Living at Livingston

Last summer I had the privilege to be the Judaic director at Camp Livingston in Bennington, Indiana. Camp Livingston is a pluralistic Jewish overnight camp tucked into southeastern Indiana. When faced with deciding which TJF fellowship I preferred, I knew I wanted to be at camp. I grew up attending a variety of camps as a Jewish kid from the…

Uplifting/Lifting Up Their Stories

A woman recounted the painful loss of her husband and snippets of her childhood in New York, including fancy dinners and theater outings with her father, who was a food critic. These outings, she shared, led to her career as a clinical nutritionist. She spoke with pride about her two children. Unfortunately, there are few with whom she can talk.…

Israel and Its Many Narratives

Israel has always been important to me, but living in Jerusalem during my first year of rabbinical school deepened my connection to the land and the people. Working for the Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) this past summer allowed me to expand my knowledge of modern Israel and hone my skills in teaching and talking about this complicated place.…

Emunah and Avodah: Joining Belief and Action in Sacred Work

On the last day of his life, as the Israelites are preparing to enter the Promised Land without him, Moses offers his final teachings and directives to the Jewish people. He assures the Israelites that Torah—and the teachings and commandments contained therein—is not beyond them to uphold after he leaves them. Torah doesn’t live in the heavens and it isn’t…

Avodat HaKodesh

It was our Sage Hillel who taught us al tifros min hatzibbur  “do not separate yourself from the community” (Pirkei Avot 2:4). I was certainly glad to be part of a community this past summer at Congregation Adath Israel here in Cincinnati, Ohio. Community was truly the focus of my eight-week fellowship with this community, as I and, it seemed, the other…

Creating Community and Communities for All

This past summer I was fortunate to be able to work with the Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati (JFS). While many organizations focus on a specific area or type of Jewish communal work, the JFS’s efforts are broad and often help segments of the Jewish community that are rarely prioritized and often forgotten. JFS programs help serve and bring together,…

Expect the Unexpected

I walk into the classroom, all eyes on me. I remind myself that I have done this before, and that I am prepared. Little did I know at that moment the challenges I would face and the obstacles I would have to overcome. This year, as a TJF Fellow, I was placed at Rockdale Temple in their Rak Noar program.…

Paying it Forward: The Power of Mentors

My journey to rabbinical school began with a meaningful and impactful conversation with my mentor, Rabbi Educator Vicki L. Tuckman, z”l. After a long day at summer camp, we found ourselves sitting on her cabin porch around midnight as the stars rose over the Mahoning Valley. I remember her exact words: “You’re going to be a rabbi—you just don’t know it yet.”…

Who Am I? What Are We About?

The first time I stepped into a hospital room as a chaplain, I lasted about 90 seconds. The conversation was kind but awkward—I offered my well-wishes for a speedy recovery and invited myself out the door. I was convinced that this was going to be one of the most difficult summers of my life. But Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) surprised…

Theory in Practice

It does not matter what you say or how you say it; rather, it matters how it is received. —Rabbi Yaacov Leider The relationship between an educator and a learner is built upon the ability of the educator to effectively communicate material, emotion, and passion to their learners. The role of the educator is to foster and maintain among their…

Learning to Live Jewishly

When I began my year of teaching at Temple Sholom’s Religious School, I was nervous. It was my first time teaching in a classroom setting, and I was assigned to teach the post–B’nai Mitzvah class with students ranging from seventh to ninth grade. I felt unprepared to teach them but excited to try. For the first class I decided to…

All in a Row: Organization, Logistics, and Leadership

On paper it is easy. Make a list of what was needed, then do it. Contact a few people, make sure everything was set up in the right place—pretty straightforward. But I never had to plan an event before. I have done programing, certainly, but I have never had to handle logistics, or ensure that speakers were present and all…

The Paradox of Teaching

Over this past year, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies to kindergarten and third-grade students in my role as a TJF Fellow at Rockwern Academy in Cincinnati. As I was teaching, I was also reading Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach in the education seminar at HUC-JIR. In thisimportant work on education, Palmeroutlines six paradoxes of teaching, four of…

Think, Feel, Do: Jewish Curriculum Design

When I began my TJF fellowship at the Jarson Education Center two years ago, I took one look at the booklet containing grade topics for the entire school and offered, out of pure insanity, to work with the religious school director to write curricula for grades 2–5. In retrospect, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. A…