Living a Jewish life is important to me, and I tend to see things through a Jewish lens. I’m a first generation American, and my parents z”l loved being in this country though they suffered horrible losses. Their personal experiences both before, during, and after the Holocaust played a large part in how they translated Judaism for themselves and us. We had a kosher home, observed Friday night rituals, but other days were not punctuated by the rhythm of Jewish life.
When I was young my parents sent me and my sister to Camp Ramah, and it was there that I understood what it meant to live a daily Jewish life. It was an immersive experience that shaped my Jewish identity and informs the priority that I give to experiential education in my work.
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, education director, consultant, counselor, facilitator, writer, and artist….but titles are just that, they never really tell the entire story.
These 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 in bringing the beauty of our tradition to others in meaningful ways led me to develop courses and speaking topics as part of an expression of “Inner Judaism”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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