MY PATH TO PRACTICE.
Judaism holds an important place in my life, and I tend to see things through a Jewish lens. It’s been that way ever since I was a teenager when I tutored b’nai mitzvah students while in high school. I’ve worked for Jewish organizations for most of my life, ranging from camps, synagogues and non-profit organizations. Looking back, it was the immersive experiences that made the difference in how I felt about being Jewish. I’m a first generation American, and though my parents z”l were not particularly religious, their personal experiences both before, during, and after the Holocaust played a large part in how they translated Judaism for themselves and us once they came to America. Their losses and mine had a huge impact on me and my sense of social justice.
I find it hard to define myself simply, not for any egotistical reasons, but because my varied interests have carried me into different career territory. I resist the one word answer to “So, what do you do?” because at different points in my life, I’ve been a teacher, consultant, counselor, writer, and artist….and continue to use the skills gained in those fields in my work.
As a Jewish education professional, I work with organizations to help them identify and train their future leaders, conduct effective outreach activities, and work on getting the resources they need to carry out a plan of growth. You can read more about that here.
WHERE IS JUDAISM HEADED?
We all share in a response to that question, since Judaism is us. Where are you headed in your spiritual journey? Do you have goals for yourself that involve something greater than the everyday? If you are curious about the future of Judaism and Jewish practice, I hope you read my blog. I will talk about the change that needs to happen (outreach, leadership development, new ways of doing things) and how you might play a role in that. I’ll also share ideas, tips, and tools that you might be able to use in your programs, organizations, or synagogues. I hope you get inspired to ‘Reclaim Judaism’ as the vibrant, exciting opportunity it is for those who want it to be part of their lives. I also think that reaching out to the under-affiliated is hugely important.
WHY I HAVE GRATITUDE
I’m happy to hear that my blog posts have made the rounds to Boards of Director meetings, Education Committee meetings, and more. I hope that some of these posts stimulated more conversations about Jewish education and practice. If so, please let me know, I would love to connect with you. My request is that you attribute properly, and include links to this blog’s home page or other content. Please share your successes with me and subscribe!
Is there a way that I can help you or your organization in any way?
Things I’ve done
- Developed new marketing materials and recruitment strategies for re-branding efforts, established new social media presence on several platforms
- Trained future leaders for non-profit organizations
- Wrote grants, negotiated articulation agreements with education providers resulting in over $175K gross revenue for institutions
- Taught courses in Bible, Comparative Religion, Jewish Issues, Parenting, Jewish Values, and Jewish Identity
- Edited a teacher aide curriculum, implemented in 3 schools within two years
- Developed concept for and created new membership groups
- Wrote curricula and teachers guides for middle-school/teen population: “Prophets Guide to Saving Society”, “Superstars of the Bible”,”LogIn to the Bible”, “Friending God”
I’ve worked in many types of non-profit and Jewish organizations.
Currently, I am the Director of Leadership Training and Development for a Jewish educational non-profit. Previously, I directed one of the largest supplementary high schools in North America (15 years) and supervised staff, created and conducted professional development workshops, worked in camping (17 years as camper, counselor, teacher, adviser, assistant director), planned and led service learning programs, developed and taught art and science workshops, conducted career development workshops, counseled individuals, and created and led outreach programs. I hope that my experience will add authenticity to my blog posts as they distill over 35 years of experience working in these formal and informal settings. I would like you to journey with me as we envision a different future for the Jewish community.
Connect with me on Twitter: @ruthschapira