About

 

MY PATH 

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.

My varied interests and passions 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, facilitator, writer, and artist….but titles never really tell the entire story.  My experiences have allowed me to work with people in such deep and meaningful ways, helping them explore their purposes and inclinations, offering support while prompting them to push their own boundaries.

My interests are in leadership development, spiritual guidance, outreach strategies for growth, educating people about Judaism’s beauty, and helping people and organizations with 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 a response to that question, since Judaism is us.  We need to take more of an active stance in our future. We need to speak up. People have abandoned Jewish practices without even fully exploring the full potential of what is in our tradition. The Torah offers a beautiful road map for all of life, yet often remains an unstudied text. I think we need to do better.

If you are curious about the future of Judaism and Jewish practices, I hope you will read my blog and 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 at ruthschapira@gmail.com. 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  

  • Edited articles for publication for an international non-profit devoted to combating antisemitism and Israel bias.
  • 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: “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. 

Most recently, I was the Director of Leadership Training and Development for the Mussar Institute, a Jewish educational non-profit and trained facilitators, bringing Mussar courses online to new audiences. Before that I directed one of the largest supplementary high schools in North America (15 years) at Gratz College and supervised staff, created and conducted professional development workshops, worked in camping at Camp Ramah (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


6 responses to “About

  • Elisa Heisma

    Hi! Very nice and helpful blog. One question do you accept submissions from other Jewish bloggers as guest writers?

    • Ruth Schapira

      Dear Elisa, Hi, thanks for writing and reading! Yes, I’d be happy to review what you’ve written via an e-mail and would certainly post here if it fits within the framework of this blog. ~Ruth

  • Ravit Bar-Av

    Dear Ruth,

    I have read many of your posts and as a mother of two Jewish/Israeli teens I have always relate to your optimistic concern about the future 🙂 For me, being Jewish is way beyond religion – just like you wrote in one of your recent blogs. I am trying to teach my kids that concept and hopefully with time and maturity it will sink. I also learned that for them, our visits to Israel are the most meaningful way to connect with their heritage and the best way to build their identity as individuals who belong to a much bigger entity. Recently I have learned about Naale Elite Academy http://www.elite-academy.org which is now also a program I represent in the US. Elite Academy is a HS initiative in Israel fully covered by the Israeli Education Ministry and the Jewish Agency, where Jewish kids entering 10, 11 and 12 grade can apply for studies in Israel. Families can choose the appropriate school according to their level of observance and their kids will learn Hebrew, acquire an Israeli HS diploma and will find that deep connection to their heritage. If any of your readers would like to learn more they are welcome to write me at naale.eusa@gmail.com
    As always, I look forward to your next post,

    L’Shalom,
    Ravit Bar-Av

    • Ruth Schapira

      Dear Ravit,
      Thank you for your interest in reading about Jewish teens. It sounds like you’re focused on teaching your kids all the right things, and your commitment through your actions and especially manifested in your choice of career, will teach them a whole lot about what’s important to you.
      Kol tuv,
      Ruth

  • rfaintich

    Ruth,

    If you would like to cross post your blog to the Kehillah Co-Operative (the new national virtual community for Jewish youth professionals) we would love for you to do so. (www.kehillahco-op.groupsite.com) Feel free to just copy/paste the content and note it as cross-posted in our Blog section.

    Kol haKavod,
    Robyn Faintich

    • Ruth Schapira

      Robyn, thanks so much, I totally forgot about registering for the kehillah site, but now I have! I look forward to seeing you there.
      Kol tuv, Ruth

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